By Patrick B. Craine

CORNWALL, Ontario, November 9, 2010 ( – The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP, or D&P) has developed an “exit strategy” to end “controversial” partnerships, according to a newly released summary report from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

The new report is the result of a year’s worth of cooperation between the CCCB and D&P. While the report fails explicitly to acknowledge that D&P has funded numerous or even any groups who advocate for abortion, contraception, and the homosexualist ideology, it nevertheless proposes what pro-life advocates have welcomed as some concrete and positive changes to the organization’s procedures. These include tightened funding protocols, and implementing a practice of contacting their partners’ local bishops.

The report was delivered by the Ad Hoc Committee on Development and Peace at the bishops’ October plenary meeting. The committee was established last October at the bishops’ 2009 plenary assembly to evaluate D&P and guide its renewal through a reflection on Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate. At their 2010 plenary, the bishops decided to establish a standing committee to continue the ad hoc committee’s work.

The report summary explains that the new committee is aimed to help the bishops and D&P to “collaborate more closely on achieving their common goal, which is to help the world’s most vulnerable persons.”

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that he hopes D&P’s commitment to serve “vulnerable persons” will include serving unborn children. “They are the ones now facing the greatest assault in the Third World,” he explained. “Many poor countries are facing intense economic pressure from wealthy governments to liberalize their abortion laws.”

According to the report summary, D&P is “preparing protocols to ensure that organizations requesting future funding are fully aware that CCODP is a Catholic agency which adheres to Catholic principles.”

These protocols will require prospective partners to “disclose any projects that they may be involved in which would contradict Catholic principles of respect for life.” The bishops have proposed a revision of D&P’s “Partnership Agreement” that “will reflect the obligation to respect life values and conformity with Church teachings.”

Additionally, it says CCODP has developed and proposed an “exit strategy” for “the cancellation of any controversial partnerships.”

D&P has drafted “proposed criteria on ethical issues for working with its partners,” which the summary says “will provide a ‘theological framework’ for CCODP activities.”

D&P has also developed a “specific protocol” making it a “regular routine” for program officers to “establish contact with local Bishops [in the developing world], including visiting them and providing information on CCODP and its local partners.”

The summary says these officers may also be in contact with the country’s episcopal conference and the local Caritas organization.

The proposed documents are to be made public after they have been formally approved, a process they say will take several months because it involves changes to D&P’s by-laws.

Hughes applauded the Canadian bishops for “outlining some important steps to change procedures at Development and Peace,” saying “they are obviously making a concerted effort to clean things up.”

“We hope the bishops and CCODP understand that defending the unborn and the natural family is very much a high priority social justice issue, as the Pope made clear in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate – the very document D&P’s renewal is meant to be based on,” he said.

In that encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that “respect for life … cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples.” “Openness to life is at the centre of true development,” he said.

See the LifeSiteNews Development and Peace Feature Page, Funding of Pro-Abortion Groups 2009/10