Jesuit leadership defends pro-abortion organization denounced by Mexican cardinal
June 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The leadership of the Jesuit order in Canada and Mexico is standing behind a pro-abortion organization sponsored by the order in Mexico, which was recently denounced by the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City and cut off as a grant recipient by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
According to an open letter published on May 25 by the Jesuit provincial superiors (see English translation following article), the Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights (PRODH), is “a constant engagement in favor of the right to life of all” which “merits our support.”
The letter also claims that the PRODH’s center’s then-director, “is a religious with an excellent reputation with the Church” whose “expertise is recognized in the Church in Mexico.” The superiors add that Fr. Arriaga “acts in conformity with the directives which are given to him by his jesuit superiors.”
However, the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, Norberto Rivera Carrera, had already expressed a very different view of the organization, in a letter to the Canadian bishops which was published following the Jesuit communique.
PRODH “does NOT represent the sentiments of the Church and has been characterized by its support and encouragement of groups and activities that are an affront to Christian values,” the Cardinal wrote, according to a translation of part of his letter published by the Toronto Catholic Register.
“With respect to the theme of defence of life, the organization has supported pro-abortion groups and promoted the purported woman’s right over her body, against unborn life,” the Cardinal added.
When LifeSiteNews asked the Jesuit superior of Francophone Canada, Jean-Marc Biron, to discuss the proof gathered by this news agency of PRODH’s pro-abortion activities, Brion’s press secretary responded by saying that “we are not going to grant you an interview either on or off the record.”
“We worked for several weeks in order to publish our declaration, which clearly presents our common position, and we are sincerely certain of the obligation that we have to support the PRODH Center,” wrote press secretary Pierre Bélanger.
This news agency made another request to Biron and Bélanger on Friday asking for clarification of their views in light of the statements by Cardinal Norberto Rivera. No response has been received.
LifeSiteNews first revealed the pro-abortion activities of PRODH in 2009, in a series of exposés on dozens of pro-abortion, pro-contraceptive, homosexualist, and anti-Catholic groups funded by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), a foreign aid agency which receives a large percentage of its funding from donations collected by the Catholic bishops of Canada during Lent.
Despite the fact that the organization had openly signed numerous pro-abortion statements, including a protest against a pro-life amendment in the Mexican state of Jalisco, an investigation by Canadian bishops claimed to have cleared PRODH and four other groups of pro-abortion involvement. D&P continued to provide funding to the organization.
However, D&P severed ties to PRODH following the cancellation of a speaking engagement in April of this year by the-PRODH Director Luis Arriaga, by Ottawa Archbishop Terrance Prendergast. Prendergast confronted Arriaga about his organization’s pro-abortion activities after receiving Cardinal Rivera’s letter denouncing PRODH.
Arriaga’s departure from PRODH was announced only two days following the Jesuits’ letter defending him and his work. The organization claims that he was appointed to a five year term, which had now come to an end, and that his exit had nothing to do with the organization’s loss of D&P funding.
Translation of Letter:
May 25, 2011
The Jesuits of Canada and Mexico express themselves over the Miguel Pro Center for Human RIghts (PRODH) and its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga
Sensitive to the requests that have been made to them in the name of individuals and groups, the pronvincial superiors of the Jesuits of French Canada, English Canada, and Mexico, are issuing this statement to support the integrity of the work of the Miguel Pro Center for Human Rights of Mexico and of its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga, an organization carrying out the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the Miguel Pro Center for Human Rights (PRODH) of Mexico, was invited by the leadership of Development and Peace to speak last April about the work of the center that he directs. A set of circumstances rendered his contribution impossible . More specifically, pressure groups have accused the PRODH Center of having contributed to the promotion of abortion in Mexico.
Two years ago, therefore, a special commission of the CCCB travelled to Mexico and concluded that, if prudence was lacking regarding participation in coalitions linked to the promotion of the rights of the person, in no way had the PRODH Center participated in the promotion of abortion, and no fault could be attributed to the international development organization Development and Peace, which had supported the Center.
In the spirit of the social teaching of the Church, and in support of the PRODH Center and its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga, for affirming in such a way the Christians engaged in the promotion of social justice and the rights of the person, the provincial superiors of Mexico and Canada would like to express the following.
· As the report of the special commission of the CECC affirmed in 2009, the Miguel Pro Center of Mexico has not participated in the promotion of abortion.
· Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the PRODH Center, is a religious with an excelent reputation with the Church, who acts in conformity with the directives which are given to him by his jesuit superiors. We note that his expertise is recognized in the Church in Mexico, in view of the fact that he acts as an advisor of an episcopal commission on social issues.
· In the context of the widespread violence in Mexican society, the work of Father Luis Arriaga, as well as all of the members of the PRODH Center, is a constant engagement in favor of the right to life of everyone. The lives of these defenders of human rights are themselves threatened and we affirm that it is international solidarity that allows them to continue their indispensible work.
· More generally, the Christian witness in favor of the promotion of justice, and the promotion of the rights of the person to which it is linked, is done on the cutting edge, in difficult contexts where the partisans of the status quo do everything to block the advancement of fundamental gospel values. In the circumstances, the people who work in this field, as does Fr. Luis Arriaga and his team, merit our support.
Montréal, Toronto, and Mexico, May 25, 2011
Jean-Marc Biron, Provincial Superior of French Canada
S.J. Jim Webb, S.J., Pronvicnial Superior of English Canada
Carlos Morfín Otero, S.J, .Provincial Superior of Mexico
Pierre Bélanger, S.J.