OTTAWA, December 7, 2012, ( – Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told yesterday that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will be studying how Pope Benedict’s new directive on Catholic charities “may be fully implemented in our country.” The apostolic letter “On the service of Charity” was released Saturday, and directs bishops to ensure Catholic charitable agencies, especially those run by the Church, are always faithful to Church teaching, and if not, that they be stripped of the name “Catholic.”

“Speaking for myself,” said Archbishop Prendergast, “I am sure that each bishop will take this articulation of how our charitable outreach should cohere with the gospel message and the Church’s social teaching.”

Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller similarly told LifeSiteNews that the Motu Proprio is a “welcome addition to the teaching of the Church’s social doctrine.”  He added, “This reminder that charitable works must be in conformity with all of the Church’s teachings will strengthen the work of these organizations as they focus on work that follows Catholic teaching and respects canonical norms.”


For at least some of the bishops of Canada, the Pope’s new document bolsters the case for the reformation of the CCCB’s own international charity agency, Development and Peace.  Prominent members of the agency, however, who have put up severe resistance to pro-life reform and oversight from the bishops have said that the majority of the bishops of Canada are opposed to the reform.

The push for reform stemmed from exposing D&P’s funding of abortion advocacy groups. 

What effect the pope’s new Motu Proprio will have on the outcome of the D&P debate remains to be seen.

There are some bishops who have not seen conformity with Catholic teaching as a requirement for support by Catholic charitable monies.

Calgary Bishop Fred Henry, who sits on the special committee of bishops established to oversee D&P, has in the past expressed public approval of funding groups not in line with Catholic teaching. 

Responding to recent LifeSiteNews revelations that D&P still funds groups promoting contraception, Bishop Henry 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.”

“LifeSite seems to want a squeaky clean world but have no idea as to how to get there,” he added.

However, the Pope’s insistence that Catholic charities remain in conformity with Catholic teachings or else be stripped of the ‘Catholic’ name and funding by official Catholic sources, echoes what several Canadian bishops have said in reference to Development and Peace.

The current President of the Canadian Bishops Conference, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said in a televised interview in January 2012 that the bishops of Canada “would not have patience for one minute to be supporting any partner that would in any way be pro-abortion.” 

Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast was interviewed in June in response to a report from the union representing D&P employees which criticized attempts at pro-life reform and supervision by the bishops as “a turn to the right,” which counters the “prophetic spirit” that gave rise to D&P. 

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Archbishop Prendergast told Canadian Catholic News reporter Deborah Gyapong, “If the name Catholic is attached you have to be 100 per cent in favor of the cause of life. If they want to go off and have a group that doesn’t have a Catholic character, let them go off and start something else.” 

The first Canadian bishop to voice such concern was Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins who, after the initial reports by LifeSiteNews were released, insisted that D&P’s funding “is not enough to examine the suitability of individual projects.” 

“The organizations that operate the projects must also be in harmony with the principles of our Catholic faith,” he said. “If they are not, then there are plenty of other worthy projects that are operated by organizations which we can in good conscience support, and funding should go to them.”

Contact Information:

Important: see Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON KIM OE3
Phone: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
E-mail: [email protected]

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton
CCCB President
8421-101 Avenue
Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1
Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
E-mail: [email protected]

To contact any Canadian bishop, find contact information here.

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