TORONTO, June 7, 2013 ( – “I think there was a sense that we could sup with the devil if the spoon were long enough,” is how Catholic author and commentator George Weigel spoke of the ongoing purging of Catholic charities’ partnering with objectionable groups.

For decades, Canada’s Development and Peace, America’s CRS, CCHD and Catholic Charities USA, France’s Secours Catholique and other official Catholic aid agencies have courted scandal by partnering with actively pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups on various social justice or other aid projects.  However, in recent years the Vatican has begun to reform the agencies on the order of Pope Benedict XVI.

In the final days of his papacy, Benedict XVI issued the apostolic letter “On the service of Charity” directing bishops to ensure Catholic charitable agencies, especially those run by the Church, are always faithful to Church teaching, and if not, that they be stripped of the name “Catholic.”

In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews co-founder Steve Jalsevac, Weigel said, “I think there was a sense that we could sup with the devil if the spoon were long enough, and that we could bend these governmental agencies – for that’s what they largely were – in a better direction.”  He added, “That has proven very, very difficult, and I think there’s a genuine examination of conscience, not to mention of budgets and policies and priorities, underway throughout the Catholic world on this.”

That Vatican reform did not progress without difficulty.  When the Vatican forced the retirement of the head of the umbrella group of diocesan Catholic charity groups – Caritas International in Rome – ousted leader Lesley-Anne Knight put up a public fuss.

Speaking to the forced change of leadership at the international level, Weigel said, “certainly the change in leadership at Caritas International should help push all of this in a more evangelical direction, and indeed in a more honest direction.”

As if to confirm the Vatican’s move, Knight was hired months later by a pro-abortion ‘human rights’ organization.

Weigel suggests that while change at the international level is underway, much work remains at the local level.  “This is true at the macro level in terms of international aid work, it’s not so true at the micro level. I mean if you look at the Catholic dioceses of the United States … every one of them in their Catholic charities operations, I think without exception, is deeply involved with governmental agencies, whether it’s social services, education, health care etcetera. All of this needs to be re-examined.”

“And some of it is being re-examined under real coercive pressure, as governments are insisting that our institutions do things that we simply can’t do,” said Weigel. “I hope we don’t get to the point where we are required to sever any connection with the State in the providing of social services, health care, education etcetera, but it could come to that if the integrity of our work is to be maintained. “

Some such severing has already been forced on the Catholic Church in the United States.  Beginning in Boston in 2006, and continuing in other cities and states, Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down their operations after state laws insisted that they permit homosexual adoptions.

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In conclusion, Catholics should, says Weigel, “continue to press the international aid agencies, the social service agencies, of our state, local, provincial, national governments, to cease doing wicked things, either in the name of a false notion of compassion, or through what seems to be at the bottom of a lot of this, which is a kind of eugenic mentality, which is deeply eroding Western consciences, and which is making the West no friends in the developing world.”  

See the first two parts of this LifesiteNews video interview on various subjects:

Part 1 – VIDEO Exclusive: ‘Pope Francis is a genuine Christian radical,’ says George Weigel

Part 2 – Weigel on Communion for pro-abortion politicians: VIDEO II, Exclusive interview