OTTAWA, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishops of Winnipeg and Vancouver have joined eight of their confrères in holding back this year’s ShareLife collection from Canada’s Catholic international aid organization, Development and Peace (D&P), over its partnerships with abortion-supporting groups.
These decisions are based on interim findings by an internal review of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. These findings revealed Development and Peace partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality, or pro-transgenderism.
An April 10 letter from Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg explaining the situation will be read at all diocesan parishes this Sunday. Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver released a pastoral letter on Wednesday announcing his decision.
The letters are similar to those issued by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Bishop William McGratten of Calgary Alberta, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Saskatoon.
Canada’s bishops have been “made aware of a recent appraisal” of these partners, “and have become concerned that a sizeable number of them have practices and positions which conflict with Catholic moral and social teachings, such as respect for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death,” wrote Gagnon.
His diocese is withholding the 2018 Share Lent donations “until such a time as we receive assurance from Development and Peace that its partner agencies comply with Catholic moral and social teaching and with the criteria of Caritas Internationalis (of which Development and Peace is a member).”
The annual Lenten collection for Development and Peace is “normally” not sent to the international aid agency until August, Gagnon wrote.
“That space of time should give Development and Peace ample opportunity to make the required reforms,” he stated. “It is very important that the concerns surrounding the recent review of D & P partners are attended to properly.”
Dioceses across Canada donate to D&P’s annual ShareLife or Share Lent campaign, which brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016-2017, according to a report by Edmonton’s Grandin Media.
In Toronto, D&P received $800,000 from ShareLife last year, according to the Catholic Register.
Toronto’s Cardinal Collins called the concerns about D&P “alarming” in his statement.
Development and Peace “is a significant recipient of funds collected as part of our annual ShareLife appeal. We consider our relationship with our donors to be that of a sacred trust,” wrote Collins.
“As CCODP is the development arm established by the Catholic bishops, it is critical to ensure that it allocates no funds to projects or groups that operate contrary to the moral and social teachings of the church,” added Collins.
Edmonton’s Smith said he was “shocked” by the revelations about D&P presented in February to the Assembly of Western and Northern Canadian Catholic Bishops in Winnipeg.
“An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” he wrote in his April 4 letter announcing his decision to withhold funding from the Catholic charity.
Some of those conflicts are with Catholic teaching on “abortion, contraception, sterilization, same-sex relations and gender theory,” according to Grandin Media.
The bishops’ review was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that is partnered with the Catholic aid association, it reported.
Romain Duguay, deputy executive director of Development and Peace, told Grandin Media that the organization is committed to upholding Church teaching, and is cooperating with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in the investigation.
“We will do our due diligence to respond to them and demonstrate that we are not doing anything against the position of the Church,” Duguay said.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a short statement Tuesday confirming “a joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP.”
The bishops’ conference “remains hopeful that any necessary clarifications will be determined shortly,” it stated.
A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lepine, and Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix are waiting for the review’s conclusion before making any decision on funding.
See LifeSiteNews’ comprehensive coverage on Development and Peace funding here.