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Tuesday April 20, 2010

Development & Peace Admits Concern over Diocese Funding Restrictions

By Patrick B. Craine

MONTREAL, Quebec, April 20, 2010 ( – The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) has admitted that they fear financial difficulties stemming from new diocesan policies that have been implemented recently by some Canadian bishops. The new policies have been developed in response to revelations over the last year that dozens of D&P partners in the developing world are engaged in promoting abortion and other questionable activities.

The admission came from D&P’s executive director, Michael Casey, in an online video to D&P members. “There have been changes in a number of key dioceses across the country in their policies around [the Share Lent campaign], in the way that they’re going to be doing the collection, which has given us some concern about the prospects for our financing coming from the Share Lent collection,” he said.

The video is addressed to D&P members gathering at regional assemblies in eight cities across the country from April 9th to May 17th. Casey tells them that these assemblies will be “a bit different this year,” noting that “we have some important issues to examine as a movement.”

Over the last several months, D&P has been engaged in a process of “institutional reflection and renewal” under the guidance of an ad hoc committee set up by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in response to the scandal, which first broke last March. This committee of four bishops was instituted at the CCCB’s plenary assembly in October and will report on D&P’s progress at the CCCB’s plenary assembly this fall.

At the October plenary D&P reported that, up to that point, the controversy had had little effect on their finances. “Among the individual and regular monthly donors to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, we have had 34 individuals (of our 6,110 donors) cancel their monthly contributions as a direct result of the controversy, representing 0.5% of our donor database,” the written report stated.

Three dioceses are known to have implemented special policies in light of the scandal, but Casey’s comments would seem to indicate there may be others as well. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, who has been the most vocal in calling for a renewal of D&P, decided that Share Lent funds would only go to D&P partners that are approved by the local bishop. Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke stipulated that his diocese’s contributions must be directed to emergency relief work. And Bishop Nicola De Angelis of Peterborough is withholding 10% of the funds and giving the faithful the option of directing Share Lent funds to other charities. Bishop De Angelis has also decided only to release funds to D&P partners that are approved by the local bishop.

In addition to the potential financial loss from the Share Lent campaign, Casey also indicates that D&P will soon be renegotiating their funding agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency, and that they are concerned about losing some funds there as well.

Casey notes further that D&P is in the process of developing a new five-year plan for 2011-2016, which means a review of their programming and partners.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Michael Casey by press time. Last month, Casey stated that D&P does not grant interviews to LSN.