By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, March 16, 2009 ( – Catholic International pro-life groups have reacted with dismay to evidence that the official development arm of the Canadian Conference of Bishops is funding pro-abortion groups in Latin America.

Human Life International (HLI), the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CFAM) and the Latin American Alliance for the Family (ALAFA), are all urging the Bishops of Canada to cease funding the groups which, among their various activities, also advocate for abortion.

A investigative report that found that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) has channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that support abortion in Mexico was published last week (See it here: CCODP does not fund the groups because of their abortion advocacy, but a senior representative also indicated that the organization was not concerned if groups to which it sends money for projects fitting the CCODP mandate act against Church teachings on life and family in their other activities.

“I find it shocking,” said CFAM President Austin Ruse in reaction to the revelations. “The Church in Mexico is under great pressure on the abortion question. To think the Church in Canada undercuts this by funding pro-abortion groups is despicable.”

“Somebody should be fired,” Ruse concluded.

Christine de Vollmer, President of ALAFA questioned “whether the CCODP really understands what development is all about,” and said, “I am sure the Mexican Bishops have not been consulted. Do the Canadians ignore the fact that you cannot build development unless you respect basic human rights? This is imperialistic meddling at its worst!”

HLI President Fr. Tom Euteneuer said, “This shocking and scandalous revelation is comparable to scandal of the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development funding ACORN. Of course, to their credit, the USCCB withdrew funding once the truth came out that they were indirectly funding groups that actively promote anti-life policies and candidates.”

Fr. Euteneuer concluded: “HLI is issuing a forceful call to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to cut all funding to these and any groups that either directly or indirectly support the anti-life agenda. The Bishops may have done so without knowing the full range of these groups’ activities, which is still very problematic; but their response to these revelations is key.”

See related coverage:

Hundreds of Thousands in Canadian Lent Collection Money Funding Pro-Abortion Groups in Mexico