TORONTO, Ontario, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Canada’s bishops call on Catholics to increase support to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace in the wake of massive funding cuts from the Canadian government, Canada’s largest Catholic newspaper says the beleaguered development arm is going to need to improve its Catholic identity.

“If  D&P is to improve its popularity (i.e. donations) among lay Catholics, it needs to become less political and more Catholic,” the Catholic Register writes in a March 27th editorial.

D&P is facing a funding crisis, with plans for layoffs and reductions in their third world partnerships, after they learned last month that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) cut D&P’s funding by 65%. While the organization had requested $49.2 million over the next five years, they will only receive $14.9 million. They had received $44.6 million from 2006-2011.

“In light of [the funding crisis], lay Catholics should be assessing how they feel about D&P,” write the Register’s editors. “The agency has been widely (and justly) criticized in recent years for aligning with a few organizations that operate afoul of Church teachings on life issues. Unfortunately, those disputes tend to overshadow D&Ps considerable good work on behalf of the Canadian Church.”

“For years Catholics have counted on generous government grants to bolster D&P’s efforts,” they continue. “But that well is running dry. If Catholics still believe in D&P, they’ll have to prove it — with their wallets.”

Beginning in March 2009, LifeSiteNews and Catholic bloggers began documenting the pro-abortion advocacy of D&P partners hailing from at least 13 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Just this month, LifeSiteNews reported that D&P is funding a Haitian woman’s group, APROSIFA, that openly hands out free contraceptives and has produced literature on how to obtain abortions.

In the wake of the abortion scandal, the Catholic Register has been a strong proponent of reforms at D&P, taking the lead of prelates such as Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.

Last spring, after Archbishop Prendergast was forced to cancel a talk hosted by D&P because he discovered the speaker advocates abortion “rights”, the Catholic Register issued a blunt appraisal of the situation: “Someone is guilty of either appallingly poor judgment or blatant incompetence,” they wrote on April 6, 2011. “Either way, it begs the question: how many questionable agencies are still endorsed by D&P?”

At the time, the editors warned that Catholics’ “generosity will dry up unless D&P can provide rock-solid assurance that donations only support groups in harmony with Church teaching.”

In their editorial this week, the Register flagged D&P’s continued lack of transparency, saying that it “needs to be more accountable and transparent regarding operating procedures and partners.”

Despite the controversy over their funding practices, 2012 was the second year in a row that D&P carried out its Share Lent campaign while failing to release a full list of its current partners.