Commentary : Storm within Catholic Church in Canada over CCODP LifeSiteNews Report
By Steve Jalsevac
March 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Our report last Thursday on the Canadian bishops' Development and Peace organization funding groups involved in pro-abortion advocacy has caused a storm within the church in Canada. We have received a flood of emails about the report (too many for us to respond to) and have corresponded with a number of bishops about it.
Let's make a few things clear about this.
First, we have not advocated that, because of this situation, readers withhold their contributions to Share Life, Share Lent and other campaigns now underway in Canadian dioceses. We merely reported the facts about serious problems related to one of the Lenten campaign recipient organizations.
That our investigation was released during Lent was much more of a fluke than a deliberate plan. The fact that the D&P name is prominent in Lenten campaign literature jogged us to investigate if the organization has improved from some past questionable practices. We did not expect to find what we did, but upon doing so felt obliged to report it.
As we were astonished by our discoveries, so were many bishops. Some readers emailed us copies of correspondence in which they asked their bishops to correct the problem. They did not at this early stage threaten to withhold their annual Lenten contribution. That would seem to be the right approach.
We have been made aware that the problem is in fact being addressed by a number of bishops. Bravo for them.
Unfortunately, so far, Development and Peace itself is taking a reactive, shoot-the-messenger approach rather than addressing any of the specific items in our report.
Executive Director Michael Casey has posted a response on the CCODP website (http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/pressroom/2009/comm2009-03-13-eng.html) in which he accuses LifeSiteNews of some pretty nasty things. He writes, "It is dangerously irresponsible and slanderous on the part of some journalists, through ill-conceived conjecture and hypothesis, to deliberately misinterpret the social justice initiatives of our southern partners in this light."
“Conjecture?”“Hypothesis?” We have to wonder, did he read our report? Did he go to any of the links included or read the several statements from his Director of International Programs, Gilio Brunelli?
We have seen one email to a reader from a D&P representative that reports our reference to the obvious meaning of Brunelli’s statements as "slander or a complete misinterpretation." Interesting, however, that many readers also saw them just as we did, including the international leaders quoted in today’s report. How could they not? By the way, those quotes from Brunelli are totally accurate. And we have more.
There is more to come on this development. The truth, when publicly revealed, often leads to much needed corrective actions that might otherwise not have happened. We are confident that good will come from the D&P revelations as well.
In this case, it is very likely that during this time of intense international and internal pressure upon Mexico to liberalize its abortion laws, a Canadian Catholic organization will no longer be sending funds to groups that advocate the killing of unborn children. Of course CCODP did not intend the funds to be used for this objectionable purpose, but nevertheless, funding to such groups always has a way of freeing up other funds for the unethical activities. That's just common sense.
Who knows, considering the crucial need at this time, CCODP might even redirect their grants to Mexican pro-life groups. Is that not a valid and pressing social justice need?