PEMBROKE, Ontario, March 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The diocese of Pembroke, Ontario has decided once again not to send any of this year’s Lenten collection to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), which has been embroiled in controversy over its funding of pro-abortion organizations.
“We used to call it the Development and Peace collection, but now we call it the Diocesan Lenten Missionary and Development Collection,” Msgr. Douglas Bridge, Chancellor for the Diocese of Pembroke, told LifeSiteNews (LSN).
In a letter dated February 24, 2012 sent to all parishes in the diocese, Bishop Michael Mulhall wrote that the bulk of Lenten alms collected this year will be used for “emergency and development projects,” including supporting Christians in Iraq and a development project in Egypt which will “support the Coptic Catholics who are being targeted after the recent change of government.”
A smaller portion of the alms will be used to support the diocese’s on-going work in Lima, Peru, and the “missionary efforts” of religious communities with connections to the diocese.
“We are assured that these funds are reaching persons whose lives are better because of your generosity,” the bishop wrote.
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In a letter to the faithful last July, Bishop Mulhall stated his decision to withhold funds from the CCODP after the aid organization was called to task by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast for sponsoring a “solidarity visit” with Fr. Luis Arriaga. Arriaga was then-executive director of Centre PRODH, a Mexican aid group with connections to pro-abortion organizations. After a personal meeting with the priest, in which the priest reportedly refused to sign a statement supporting life “from conception,” Archbishop Prendergast abruptly cancelled the visit a day before the scheduled event.
Scandal again hit the CCODP just last month as evidence surfaced that the aid organization was continuing to support a Haitian group that hands out free contraceptives and disseminates a book promoting abortion.
The international arm of the Canadian Bishops recently received another financial blow when the Canadian Conservative Government cut their funding for the next five years by 64%.
Msgr. Bridge told LSN said that Bishop Mulhall will continue withholding financial support to the CCODP “until the whole thing is settled with regard to the relationship between the Conference of Bishops and the Development and Peace group.”
“The Bishop changed his [funding] policy last year and he [is] just maintain[ing] the same policy this year,” he said.