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KAMLOOPS, British Columbia, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Eleven Canadian bishops are now withholding this year’s Lenten collection from the bishops’ own charitable arm Development and Peace (D&P) over its ties to pro-abortion groups.

Bishop Joseph Phuong Nguyen of Kamloops, British Columbia, announced his decision in a letter April 13.

The bishops are withholding funding based on the interim findings of an ongoing investigation by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops into D&P’s global grantees.

A report in February revealed the Catholic international agency has partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality, or pro-transgenderism.

“Some partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching, that they may not fully respect the sanctity of human life from conception to its natural end,” wrote Nguyen in a letter virtually identical to those released by his fellow bishops.

Nguyen is joined in his action by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg, Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver, Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Bishop William McGratten of Calgary Alberta, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Saskatoon.

Dioceses across Canada donate to D&P through the annual Share Lent campaign, or through ShareLife in Toronto. The Lenten campaign brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016-2017, according to Edmonton’s Grandin Media.

In Toronto, D&P received $800,000 from ShareLife last year, according to the Catholic Register.

The bishops are withholding the 2018 collection from D&P “until such time as we receive clear assurance that its partner agencies comply with Catholic teaching and the criteria set out by Caritas Internationalis,” as Nguyen wrote.

Smith told Grandin Media he was shocked by the interim report to the Western and Northern bishops’ assembly in February, and Collins wrote the findings “produced alarming concerns about dozens of overseas organizations.”

Winnipeg’s annual D&P collection is usually not sent to the international aid agency until August, Gagnon wrote in his pastoral letter.

“That space of time should give Development and Peace ample opportunity to make the required reforms,” he stated. 

“It is very important that the concerns surrounding the recent review of D & P partners are attended to properly.”

LifeSiteNews has reported extensively for years on Development and Peace’s funding of pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-LGBT groups in the developing world. It reported last March D&P had been funding at least seven Latin American organizations that actively promote the legalization of abortion, including one in Haiti.

The bishops’ investigation was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that partnered with Development and Peace, Grandin Media reported.

A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal, Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau and Primate of Canada Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec City, are waiting for the final report of joint review before making any decisions on funding.  

However, “I assure donors from the Ottawa and Cornwall dioceses that only partnerships that are in conformity with Catholic social and moral teaching will receive our contributions,” Prendergast told LifeSiteNews.

The CCCB released a statement April 10 confirming a “joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP” into D&P’s partners in the Global South.

See LifeSiteNews’ comprehensive coverage on Development and Peace funding here.