New Bishops’ Statement on D&P Calls for Greater Oversight and Work with Local Bishops

Mon Oct 26, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

CORNWALL, October 26, 2009 ( - On the final day of their Plenary Assembly which met in Cornwall 19-23 October, the bishops of Canada approved a statement on the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), which has been involved in a controversy over revelations that it was funding numerous organizations that advocate for abortion.  The statement said that the bishops were encouraged by the intention of D&P "to improve its oversight of the mandates and operations of its partners in collaboration with local episcopates."  The statement added that, "For the Bishops of Canada, these are essential initiatives."

The bishops said the recent Encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, provides light for helping review the mandate and operations of Development and Peace. The encyclical, released last July stresses that, "Openness to life is at the centre of true development."

In their statement, the bishops also said they "have decided to establish an ad hoc committee which will collaborate with Development and Peace in this work of revision and in implementing the recommendations this past June of the CCCB Committee of Inquiry."  The inquiry had been established earlier in March following allegations that D&P was funding projects involving "pro-abortion" groups which supported "the legalization of abortion on demand throughout Mexico."
The new ad hoc committee will be asked to clarify the role of the bishops in the governance structures of D&P, as well as give special attention both to the oversight by the organization of its partners and projects, and how it is strengthening links with bishops in those countries where it is present.

The committee is to report to the 2010 CCCB Plenary Assembly on D&P progress on these issues, which will allow the bishops of Canada "to decide on future actions."

The bishops noted that important questions had surfaced over the past months that have "shaken the trust of some of the faithful who support the organization through their donations." The statement concluded: "Aware that Development and Peace is already engaged in this process of renewal, the Bishops decided, in the interval, to support Development and Peace and its 2010 Share Lent collection."

On the closing day of the 2009 Plenary, the bishops also proposed the establishment of another ad hoc committee to develop an intermediate and long-term strategy for the promotion of a culture of life and family in Canada.  It would submit a proposal to the Permanent Council before the 2010 Plenary Assembly.

See related LSN coverage on D&P here.

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