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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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EXCLUSIVE: Canadian bishops’ aid agency still funding pro-abortion groups, denies wrongdoing

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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Part one of a multi-part series. Part two is here, and part three is here.

MONTREAL, March 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Canadian Catholic bishops’ international aid organization, Development and Peace (D&P), has been funding at least seven organizations that actively promote the depenalization of abortion in Latin America. Many of the groups are also heavily involved in anti-family activities that clearly violate Catholic teaching, such as promoting gender ideology, marching in “gay pride” parades, advocating for the legalization of same-sex "marriage," and supporting LGBT film festivals.

As D&P prepares for its annual nationwide collection this Sunday, the organization is denying any wrongdoing. But a representative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to LifeSiteNews (LSN) saying that the bishops “appreciate” the information, and encouraging LSN to “engage D&P in an in-depth conversation, making use of this information to bring about improvement if necessary.”

The seven organizations are present in five countries: two in Brazil, one in Colombia, one in Honduras, one in Haiti, and two in Paraguay.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has been repeatedly exposed by LifeSite and other news sources as a financial supporter of groups that endorse and promote pro-abortion and anti-family policies.

As a result of the revelations, the Catholic bishops of Canada created a standing committee in 2010 to ensure that D&P would cease to fund partners involved in pro-abortion and anti-family activity. At the same time, however, D&P ceased to publicly list most of the groups it supports, making their claim impossible to verify. D&P even went to court to prevent the list from being published.

However, seven out of the ten groups LifeSite was able to identify as D&P aid recipients for this story were involved in anti-life, and often anti-family, activism, raising questions about the remaining recipients that are still being concealed from the public.

Development and Peace: Our partners have never ‘supported … abortion in any way’

When LifeSite asked D&P to comment on this story, it received a response from the organization's Communications Officer, Gay Decker, claiming that “In 50 years of existence, of solidarity, and of work for social justice, Development and Peace has never, nor have any of its partners supported or promoted abortion in any way.”

In making this claim, Development and Peace is not only denying the veracity of dozens of LifeSite stories documenting the pro-abortion activities of D&P partners, but is also denying the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s affirmation in 2011 that D&P was funding pro-abortion organizations in Mexico, one that was confirmed by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. The Peruvian bishops also accused D&P of funding pro-abortion groups in their country in 2009. As late as 2014, Bishop of Pembroke Michael Mulhall was withholding Lenten collection money from D&P because of revelations of new pro-abortion partners discovered by LifeSite.

Deacon René Laprise, a media representative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), stated, “As you know, D&P is responsible and accountable for this dossier. The Bishops are always concerned that the policies and partnerships that are formed by D&P do not undermine Catholic doctrine, ethics, and social teaching, and they support efforts on the part of D&P to vet partnerships carefully.”

“We appreciate your bringing this information to our attention and would encourage you to engage D&P in an in-depth conversation, making use of this information to bring about improvement if necessary,” he added.

Following LifeSite’s inquiry with D&P regarding this story, one of the organizations exposed in this article, Decidamos, began immediately to eliminate webpages from its site containing evidence of its anti-life and anti-family stances. However, foreseeing such a development, LifeSite had already made PDF copies of the pages, to which we link below.

In part one of this series, LifeSite will present extensive documentation on two of the seven pro-abortion organizations funded by D&P in Paraguay: “Decidamos” and “Servicio Paz y Justicia Paraguay.” The pro-abortion activities of five other D&P partners will be documented in subsequent reports.

Two pro-abortion groups in Paraguay recipients of D&P funding

In Paraguay, Development and Peace is funding Decidamos (“We Should Decide”) and as late as 2014 was funding Servicio Paz y Justicia Paraguay (the “Peace and Justice Service of Paraguay” or SERPAJ Paraguay). Both publish statements or other material on their websites supporting the depenalization of abortion and agitating for the LGBT agenda, and both work with various coalitions to promote the same causes. Media in Paraguay have reported on the participation of both groups in protests and other activities to advance anti-life and anti-family policies.

Among the pro-abortion announcements published by Decidamos on its own website is an article touting a report by a “human rights” organization to the UN  urging the depenalization of abortion. (As will be shown in detail below, Decidamos is a member of this pro-abortion organization, whose acronym is “CODEHUPY.”)

Another announcement defends the proposed homosexualist “Law Against All Forms of Discrimination” and denounces Paraguayan legislators for rejecting it and for insisting that homosexual relations are unnatural.

Another announcement recently displayed on the site gives voice to a group of leftist organizations in Brazil who met to urge South American countries to seek “the legalization of abortion in Uruguay, ... same-sex marriage and the right of gender identity in Argentina.” Another publicizes the pro-abortion Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Women (“Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer” or CLADEM) and its push to stop the investigation of doctors who have undertaken what it calls “therapeutic abortion.”

On its Facebook page, Decidamos displays a pro-abortion, homosexualist announcement from the “feminist manifesto” of the Fifth Feminist Encounter of Paraguay. It states: “We women...are not complicit in the daily deaths caused by the criminalization of abortion, regarding which there has been a coverup of by the silence of complicity. From our diversity of feminisms -- rural, political, popular, urban, artistic, lesbian, masculine, feminine, queer, technological, anarchist, academic, organized, revolutionaries, strange -- we oppose these deaths, with commitment and without fear."

SERPAJ Paraguay also posts pro-abortion and LGBT “rights” material on its Facebook page, including requests from UN agencies for the legalization of abortion and promoting contraceptive use (for example, here, here, and here). The posts note that the UN has urged Paraguay to “revise its legislation regarding abortion, including additional exceptions to the prohibition of abortion.” It promotes the LGBT agenda, including lurid announcements of the “LESBIGAYTRANS film festival” (warning: disturbing images), marches for gender identity, and gay “pride,” announcing to readers that “being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans is NOT an illness.”

Both Decidamos and SERPAJ Paraguay have publicly endorsed LGBT “rights” marches for years. Both groups endorsed the 2015 march in the nation’s capital according to Paraguay’s La Nacion. SERPAJ Paraguay endorsed the 2016 march according to Radio 1000, and Decidamos participated in the 2013 march according to Ultima Hora, and also supported the 2010 “LESBIGAYTRANS” film festival, according to the Feminist Communication of Paraguay. SERPAJ Paraguay’s participation in homosexual marches goes back to the first one in Paraguay in 2003, according to the Paraguayan newspaper ABC.

As late as 2015, Decidamos was supporting pro-abortion feminist marches, according to Paraguay’s government news service, Agencia de Información Paraguaya.

SERPAJ Paraguay’s involvement in “sexual and reproductive rights” education

In addition to its participation in pro-abortion and LGBT “rights” coalitions (see next section),  SERPAJ Paraguay promotes the work of another organization of which it is an intimately-involved member: JAIKUAA. This group exists to indoctrinate adolescents in a leftist ideology of “sexual and reproductive rights,” including homosexual “non-discrimination,” gender ideology, the use of contraceptives, the right to sexual “autonomy” and freedom, and other themes common to pro-abortion and anti-family agendas.

SERPAJ Paraguay’s involvement in JAIKUAA and its causes is extensive. Officers of SERPAJ Paraguay represent JAIKUAA at conferences (see page 1 of program: “Palabras de Marta Almada, Coordinadora del Servicio Paz y Justicia Paraguay, Representante del proyecto Jaikuaa”). And it promotes JAIKUAA’s work in its own publications, including the group’s conferences to give teens “training and to collectively plan activities they will conduct in their communities to promote public policies for sexual and reproductive health and to demand the protection of sexual and reproductive rights” (see page 11).

SERPAJ also advertises the teens’ theater performances (see page 19) promoting the same sexual “rights.” SERPAJ Paraguay also declares that it organizes, under its own individual banner, seminars with government officials and other organizations to promote the theme of “education, sexuality, and rights,” including sexual “diversity,” free from “patriarchy”(see pages 3-6).

What SERPAJ Paraguay and JAIKUAA mean by “sexual and reproductive rights” is only vaguely addressed in its promotional literature, which incessantly repeats that teens have a “right” to a “integral sex education” by the state, one that is “secular,” and that stresses “autonomy,” “equality,” and “diversity,” as well as freedom from “patriarchy.” However, it makes it clear that contraception of all kinds, particularly those distributed by government clinics, is one of those “rights.” The organization also struggles against “cultural norms” that “don’t contribute to the free exercise of a healthy sexuality,” which includes non-discrimination for “sexual orientation or their gender identity” (p. 31).

JAIKUAA has produced a disturbing sex-ed video that seems to sexualize infants and young children.

Membership in pro-abortion and homosexualist “human rights” groups

Both Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY are active members of a coalition that regularly publishes “human rights” reports and press releases advocating the depenalization of the killing of the unborn as well as promoting LGBT and transgender “rights.” They are also members of another coalition that is seeking to pass a transgender and LGBT “non-discrimination” law in Paraguay, one that legislators have called the “anteroom to gay marriage.”

Both Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY are listed as members of the pro-abortion Paraguay Coordinator for Human Rights (“Coordinadora Derechos Humanos Paraguay” or CODEHUPY) on the organization’s website. Their names have appeared on every “human rights” report of CODEHUPY for at least eight years. Both groups are designated as “institutional members” (the highest degree of association with the group possible), and both contribute directly to the CODEHUPY reports, which consistently denounce and oppose the pro-life movement, agitate for decriminalizing abortion, advocate anti-family “integral sex education,” and promote the gay agenda.

For example, the CODEHUPY 2016 “human rights” report, pages 316-324, contains a detailed account of pro-life activities in the country, for the purpose of denouncing them as “anti-rights.” CODEHUPY and its D&P members are incensed that the Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution exhorting the government to reject abortion as a “human right,” to protect life from conception, and to declare 2016 as the “Year of the Right to Life.” They call the resolution “another example of the conservative and anti-rights perspective of a great part of this collegial body” (p. 321). They’re also alarmed that several representatives have organized a Parliamentary Front for Life and Family.

“The period of the report is characterized by few advances in reproductive rights and by the reaffirmation by the Paraguayan government of its anti-reproductive-rights position,” states the report. “Various initiatives show that the protection of life is an affirmation that is empty of content that is utilized as an excuse to deny rights” (p. 315).

However, the report rejoices that the government has promised to “guarantee to every person of the age of sexual fertility. . . access to contraceptive methods, in accordance with their needs and preferences” (p. 317). It also urges that there be a “social and political debate over the penal law regarding abortion” (p. 324) and asserts that “it is necessary to openly address a proposal of depenalization” of abortion (pp. 318-319).

The report also advances the “LGBTI” agenda, complaining that lesbian prisoners can’t get “conjugal” visits with their sex partners, and scolding the government of Paraguay for expressing reservations about gay agenda and gender ideology items in a recent Organization of American States “human rights” resolution. (See pages 91-105 of the report.)

Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY members contributed chapters to the 2016 report on such topics as “political rights,” “the right to protest,” “the right to conscientious objection,” and “the right to education,” although those sections do not touch directly on life and family issues.

SERPAJ-PY also displays several of the anti-life and anti-family CODEHUPY reports on its own website, here, here, and here, although the majority of the site is currently offline for maintenance, including the main page.

Similar anti-life and anti-family material can be found in the 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 CODEHUPY reports, in which both Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY participated.

Both Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY are also members of the Network Against All Forms of Discrimination (“Red Contra Toda Forma de Discriminación” or RCTD), which exists to promote the “Law Against All Forms of Discrimination,” which makes homosexuality and gender identity into categories protected from “discrimination.” An article published by Decidamos admits (and laments) that pro-family legislators have identified this law as the “anteroom to gay marriage, the legalization of abortion, and the marginalization of religious institutions that are very strongly rooted in the country.”

Denial and confirmation

When LifeSite contacted Decidamos and SERPAJ-PY, it received very different answers about the pro-abortion and homosexualist positions they have associated with in the past.

A Decidamos representative who only identified herself as “Cinilda” told LifeSite that the organization is a member of CODEHUPY, but doesn’t necessarily support all the material in the CODEHUPY reports, although she did not disavow the material. No explanation was given for the anti-life and anti-family material from CODEHUPY and other organizations posted on Decidamos’ own website -- LSN was simply told that Decidamos doesn’t address such issues.

However, a SERPAJ-PY representative was more forthcoming. LifeSite called the organization and talked to Vidal Acevedo, who recognized the SERPAJ-PY is a member of both CODEHUPY and RCTD, and had even helped to found the first of the two groups.

While Acevedo emphasized that his organization does not work “directly” on topics such as eliminating penalties for abortion or LGBT “rights,” he recognized that SERPAJ-PY supports the goals of CODEHUPY and RCTD with respect to those issues.

“We do not work directly on those topics. We support the labor of the organizations that work on those topics, but in a direct way we don’t work on those topics,” said Acevedo. “We support them but we don’t work on them directly.”

Contact information (please be polite and respectful in all communications):

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Standing Committee on D&P
Deacon René Laprise, Director of Media Relations   
Address: 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 2J2, Canada
Phone: (613) 241-9461 ext. 225
Fax:     (613) 241-9048
Click here to send an email.

General Secretariat of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Msgr. Frank Leo, General Secretary
Address: 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 2J2, Canada
Phone: (613) 241-9461 ext. 206
Fax:     (613) 241-8117
Click here to send an email.

Bishop Douglas Crosby, president of the CCCB:
Phone: (905) 528-7988 x2222
To send an email, click here and click on “email” link to the left.

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Phone (local number): 416-922-1592
Toll-free: 1-800-494-1401
Fax: 416-922-0957
E-mail: [email protected]



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