By John-Henry Westen
CORNWALL, October 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Monday, LifeSiteNews.com sat down with Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John's, Newfoundland for an interview. Archbishop Currie was listed as the co-author of the June report which was the result of an investigation into evidence uncovered by LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that some of the groups funded by the international development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) were advocating for abortion.
The June report sparked controversy as it stated: “we believe the allegations by Lifesite News … are not founded on the facts.” In the interview however, LSN was able to demonstrate directly to the archbishop that the allegations were indeed founded on facts. After seeing the evidence first hand, the bishop stated apologetically, “I just should have followed up more.”
The archbishop, who was amicable and courteous throughout the interview, explained the process of the investigation. He noted that he travelled to Mexico with the rest of the investigation team which included Bishop François Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec as well as representatives from Development and Peace.
He explained that the investigation was limited to the first five groups in Mexico that LSN had identified as pro-abortion. He revealed that the investigation team questioned the five groups directly. He said that he accepted the word of the groups when they told him they in no way supported abortion.
“They themselves, in honest and blunt questioning, told me that they themselves are not in favor of abortion,” he said. “In no way are they supportive or sponsoring anything dealing with abortion. That was their frank [response], when we asked them point blank.”
Archbishop Currie also noted that he was only aware of the groups having signed onto one problematic UN omnibus document, part of which was an endorsement of abortion.
When LSN noted that that the UN document in question was only one piece of seven pieces of evidence LSN had reported, the archbishop admitted frankly he was not aware of and did not consider the other evidence. “No, the other ones, to be honest with you, I haven't followed too closely,” he said.
Asked if there was any reason why LSN was not consulted or contacted during the investigation, Archbishop Currie replied, “No, not that I know of … on that matter, really to be honest, I can't really comment.”
Despite the brevity of the interview, LSN was able to show the archbishop online evidence of direct pro-abortion advocacy of one of the five groups he investigated. To this revelation the archbishop frankly and apologetically acknowledged, “I just should have followed up more.”
The archbishop also noted that in meeting with the bishops of Mexico and one of their experts on bioethical matters, the Mexican bishops' expert, Dr. Pilar Calva, had indeed indicated serious concerns with the groups in question. When asked why those concerns of Dr. Calva were not mentioned in the report, Archbishop Currie said he thought they were in the report. “I think they were,” he said.
As no mention of the objections of the Mexican Bishops' expert was made in the publicly released report, LSN inquired about the existence of a separate report. However, CCCB Communications Director Gerald Baril, who sat in on the interview, affirmed there was no other report sent to the bishops.
Asked then if the Canadian bishops were aware of Dr. Calva's concerns, Archbishop Currie replied, “I think so, or they will be, I think they will be.” (Presumably meaning during the forthcoming discussion, which was to ensue in the following days of the Plenary)
In conclusion Archbishop Currie assured LSN of his own pro-life convictions, and also noted that D&P staff “now have a better awareness of the whole situation. They're trying to be more cautious and more careful, to hook up better with the bishops” and to do more investigation of groups they are going to sponsor.
The archbishop imparted his blessing on the LSN reporters after the interview.
See related LSN coverage:
See LifeSiteNews Feature Page on Development and Peace