OTTAWA, April 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has cancelled the speaking engagements of the head of one of Development and Peace’s partners, after personally investigating and finding that the actions of the partner are “incompatible with the Church’s defence of the right to life from conception to natural death.” 

The archbishop has cancelled the scheduled appearances of Father Luis Arriaga, director of the Miguel Pro Centre for Human Rights (PRODH), who was to appear at the diocesan centre Saturday and at Catholic parishes in the archdiocese over the weekend.

A notice on the archdiocesan website announced that the archbishop had met with Fr. Arriaga upon his arrival in Ottawa, and “discussed with him, and with representatives of Development and Peace, the Centre’s support of groups espousing abortion.”

“Since the Centre’s support of groups in favour of abortion rights in Mexico is incompatible with the Church’s defence of the right to life from conception to natural death and the mission of Development and Peace, and in order to remove any doubt about this commitment, the speaking engagements of Fr. Arriaga have been cancelled,” said the statement.

As LSN reported Tuesday, Fr. Arriaga has shown a history of support for the pro-abortion group Catholics for the Right to Decide, while his organization has repeatedly put its own name to pro-abortion declarations. In November of 2010 the priest praised and received an award alongside Consuelo Mejía, director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, while he also participated in an event commemorating the 15th anniversary of the pro-abortion group.

The confirmation by Archbishop Prendergast of PRODH’s pro-abortion activities is extremely significant for LifeSiteNews (LSN) and those who have followed the Development and Peace funding scandal over the past two years.

The Miguel Pro Centre is one of the first five groups LSN identified as pro-abortion in our inaugural report on the scandal in 2009.  It was also one of the five groups investigated – and cleared of any wrongdoing - by a delegation of Canadian bishops (led by Development and Peace staff) who went to Mexico to try to determine the veracity of LSN’s reports.

The report on the conclusion of the investigation signed by the two investigating bishops and endorsed by Archbishop James Weisgerber, then-President of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, stated “we believe the allegations by Lifesite News … are not founded on the facts.”

That report, never retracted or corrected despite subsequent findings of numerous other pro-abortion groups funded by Development and Peace, plus additional, highly incriminating evidence on the original groups, slammed LSN as a “counter-witness to the Gospel.”

Archbishop Prendergast is the first Canadian bishop to have publicly stated that a specific Development and Peace partner group is acting in a manner incompatible with the right to life. 

Previously a Peruvian archbishop also undertook an independent investigation on groups in his country funded by Development and Peace – the charity arm of the Canadian Bishops conference. 

In a May 28, 2009 letter, Peruvian Archbishop Antonio Eguren “formally” requested that the bishops of Canada cease funding pro-abortion groups in his country: “It is very disturbing to have groups which work against the Bishops of Peru by attempting to undermine legal protection for the right to life of unborn children, be funded by our brother bishops in Canada,” he wrote. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009_docs/Perubishopsletter.pdf

Full statement of Archbishop Prendergast.