Guest commentary

OTTAWA, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As LifeSiteNews reported, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has slashed by 65% its usual funding to the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ international aid organization, Development & Peace, for its 2011-2016 programs. It appears that the Canadian government has realized something that the Catholic bishops of Canada have not: that Development & Peace has some major problems which need an immediate and dramatic response.

The great irony, of course, is that instead of the Canadian bishops cleaning up the mess in their own backyard, the Canadian government has gone a long way in doing it for them. Caesar has decided that Development & Peace doesn’t meet the government’s standards for good stewardship of taxpayer funds. As government spokesman Justin Broekema said: “CIDA is responsible, particularly in times of fiscal restraint, for ensuring Canadian tax payers’ dollars deliver value for money and the strongest results in the lives of people in need.”

In July 2011, Socon or Bust published a comprehensive entry on how Development & Peace was doing in relation to other charities in Canada. The source of information for the entry was an article from the Summer edition of Money Sense.

The findings of the report were very sobering indeed for Development & Peace. In the category of Overall Charity Efficiency, Development & Peace received a grade of “C+”, the lowest of all 15 Canadian international charities, while also receiving a “C-” in Governance and Transparency, tying 3 other charities (including Amnesty International) for the lowest ranking.

Seizing on this report, LifeSiteNews readers and the Catholic blogosphere illuminated government officials as to the problems with Development & Peace. The Money Sense article (an independent and credible analysis of the international charity industry in Canada) likely had at least some influence on the cut to Development & Peace’s funding program, since the government’s stated “value for money” criteria was far from being met by the Canadian Catholic Church’s official aid and development agency.

In Embassy magazine’s follow-up article to the funding cut, there was speculation that the reduced funding might also have been related to Development & Peace’s direct involvement with the overtly political, ecumenical group, KAIROS, whose membership includes both Development & Peace (as a founding member no less) and the CCCB.

KAIROS’s funding was cut in 2009 by the Federal government because of their political advocacy against the State of Israel, as well as not meeting the conventional objectives for international aid, including providing water, health and education in developing nations. Instead, they consumed themselves, like Development & Peace did, with the latest “social justice” avante-guard causes like climate change, “eco-justice”, and the rest of the social Marxist fromage.

As with Development & Peace’s financial stewardship scandal which Money Sense exposed, Pro-Life Media, Catholic magazines and the Catholic Blogosphere reported on the close relationship between Development & Peace and KAIROS. This cozy connection between the Canadian Catholic Aid Agency and KAIROS caused some in the social justice industry to speculate openly about whether Development & Peace’s funding cut was in part responsible by their relationship with KAIROS:

“Mr. Casey said he doesn’t know whether the funding decision had anything do with the group’s advocacy work, or its membership in KAIROS. But Tony Martin, a Catholic former NDP MP and Development and Peace supporter, said he sees a connection. “The pattern is that anybody who stands up and is critical or lobbies government opposed to some of the activity of Canadian multinational corporations are going to get cut off at the knees,” he said from his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He cited the KAIROS funding decision, and another government decision in December cutting funding to the Mennonite Central Committee, which is also a member of KAIROS.” (Source)

Mr. Martin’s observation was not too far off the mark. Concerned citizens’ complaints were not only restricted to abortion, but also included objections to taxpayer money being used to fund neo-Marxist revolutionaries in the Global South by these church organizations. During its never-ending abortion drama, Development & Peace, with its sordid 40+ year history of adopting socialist sensibilities, was also caught funding neo-Marxist groups who also freely admit to being pro-abortion.

For over three years now, both Socon or Bust (my blog) and LifeSiteNews (a news service - not a blog) have discovered at least 53 groups whose aims and policies are in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s teaching on human life. Some groups’ aims are more heinous than others, but all of them should be disqualified from receiving any Catholic aid whatsoever.

Despite the voluminous and troubling  evidence discovered thus far, most, but thankfully not all, of the Catholic bishops of this country have not sufficiently understood the systematic and deep-rooted problems with the orientation of Development & Peace. This was evidenced, for instance, by the bishops’ recent “solidarity” trip to Haiti where they were led around the island by George Soros’ pro-abort feminist shills. Do they even know who George Soros is? Remarkably, this “solidarity mission” was made after newly-elected CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith, asked Catholics to “trust the bishops” in October of last year.

The Church in Canada is coming to a crossroads of sorts concerning Development & Peace. This ongoing and perpetual failure to clean up Development & Peace points to something more than just Church politics and image. It points rather to a fundamental philosophical and theological error which many Canadian Bishops have adopted since the Winnipeg Statement. It’s called proportionalism.

Instead of recognizing the possibility of the intrinsic wickedness in an act, proportionalism seeks to downplay the inherent nature of an act to focus on the consequences instead. According to Blessed John Paul II, it is a teleologism which…

...by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation (Veritatis Splendor).

It was this fundamental guiding error the Canadian bishops used with the Winnipeg Statement in which they said “a Catholic could contracept in good conscience”. It’s the same principle today when they are effectively telling Catholics they can give to pro-abort groups “in good conscience”.

And yet, this is not what the Church teaches at all. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II founded the Pontifical Academy for Life to promote the dignity of human life in medical science. In its statutes, it clearly says that close collaboration with medical doctors and researchers is to be encouraged, but only insofar as these doctors believe what the Church believes on the sanctity of human life:

The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the Pontifical Academy for Life shall maintain a close connection with the bodies and institutions through which the Church is present in the world of the biomedical sciences, of health, and of healthcare organisations, also offering its collaboration to medical doctors and researchers (including those who are non-Catholics and non-Christians) who recognise that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death, as enunciated by the Magisterium of the Church, is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine. (Article, 6)

If this is true for one area of Church mission, it is true for all areas of Church mission. As we can only co-operate with non-Catholic and non-Christians who share the Church’s values on the sacredness of human life in bioethics, so too is that principle no less binding in the area of human development and aid in the case of Development & Peace.

This means, of course, that the cumbaya “solidarity” missions with pro-abort feminists, anti-Catholic bigots, Marxists with masks, and the rest of the Church’s enemies embedded should be over. And so should sentiments like those of Bishop Fred Henry who said:

“The group may not be perfect but they must be doing a lot of good work even if there are a few positions and actions that we will have to challenge them on,” (Source).

No one would believe that the Catholic bishops of this country would hitch their wagon to organizations devoted to human trafficking, child pornography, or (heaven forbid!) climate change denial, despite all of the other social “good work” that they might do in the community. For some inexplicable reason, however, when the sin is about abortion or contraception, all of this other “good work” that the pro-abort pushers do somehow overrides their efforts to legalize abortion. Then, it becomes all about “walking with Jesus” or some other nonsense.