John-Henry Westen

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New CCCB president: ‘Simply trust the bishops and the leadership of D&P to move forward on this’

John-Henry Westen

CORNWALL, October 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The new president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging the faithful to “simply trust the bishops and the leadership of Development and Peace” as they move forward in handling the controversy over the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton told Canadian Catholic News’ Deborah Gyapong that those Catholics who are feeling “panicky and worried” over the D&P situation should “step back and take a breath and look at gently and simply at what the bishops are asking for and simply trust the bishops and the leadership of Development and Peace to move forward on this.”

Over two years ago LifeSiteNews and various pro-life blogs (most notably Socon or Bust which now counts 52 D&P groups not worthy of Church funding) published investigative findings showing D&P to have supported numerous pro-abortion groups throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa.  After numerous denials by D&P, a CCCB investigation led by D&P executives deemed LSN’s findings to be without foundation.

Even after bishops in the developing world confirmed the LSN findings, there has still not been a correction to the CCCB report which slammed LSN as having created “scandal and division” and of being a “counter-witness to that Gospel spirit that should guide all Christians.”

In his comments to Gyapong, Archbishop Smith said the bishops want to call people “back to a fundamental trust in our process, trust in our structures and trust in our bishops.”

Archbishop Smith and Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, a member of the CCCB standing committee on D&P, used the word “hysteria” to describe reactions to the D&P controversy.

The Catholic Register article also quoted Bishop Henry’s recent interview with Salt and Light TV in which Bishop Henry stated that the Canadian Bishops are not seeking direct approval from local bishops prior to funding projects in their dioceses.

Of note however, Neil McCarthy, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Toronto told the Register that Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will continue the “practice of supporting only projects that are supported by the local bishop.”

At the conclusion of the Register article, Bishop Henry is quoted as saying that the bishops want to “problem-solve together” including all factions in the debate. “We tend to put people in boxes,” he said.  “We say well, you’re progressive; you’re conservative, you’re clergy, you’re a bishop. We’re the People of God, trying to problem-solve together.”

In addition to refusing LifeSiteNews entrance to the bishops conference this year, the CCCB executive has refused two publicly made and other privately made offers of dialogue with LifeSiteNews, despite having asked in their 2009 public report that “the leadership of Lifesite News … establish an open and fruitful dialogue” and that there be “a means for frank and transparent dialogue between Lifesite and the Bishops of Canada.”

* Important: See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

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