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Pro-life groups call for reform of Canadian Bishops’ Development and Peace

A contingent of pro-life organizations from the U.S. and Canada have joined LifeSiteNews.com in calling for a reform of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace ahead of the agency’s national collection on March 17th.
Tue Mar 5, 2013 - 2:56 pm EST

MONTREAL, March 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A contingent of pro-life organizations from the U.S. and Canada have joined LifeSiteNews.com in calling for a reform of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace ahead of the agency’s national collection on March 17th.

The organizations are partnering with LifeSiteNews.com in the Charity in Truth Project, an initiative launched on Monday to promote Pope Benedict XVI’s reform of Catholic charities.

The project, based at CharityinTruth.ca, will involve a series of campaigns focused on specific Church-run charities that have funded abortion, contraception, homosexual ‘rights’ and other evils. Through a video, petition, and other resources, the first campaign seeks to rally Catholics in prayerful support of the effort by Canada’s bishops to reform Development and Peace.

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, said his organization is grateful for the Canadian bishops’ expressed commitment to reform, but is nevertheless concerned over D&P’s continued lack of transparency.

“Despite a record of funding pro-abortion groups around the world, Development and Peace still resists publishing a full list of their grantees,” he said. “We are surprised that the faithful Catholics who give their hard earned money to the organization would accept this lack of transparency.”

Jeff Gunnarson of Campaign Life Coalition said the Charity in Truth Project “will be a great help to the Catholic faithful who desire only that their money would go to the development projects that advance an authentically Catholic vision of human dignity.”

“We fully support Pope Benedict XVI’s call for Catholic organizations to ensure that none of their funds aid and/or abet abortion or any other act that degrades the dignity of the human person, but only serve to uphold that dignity and thereby follow church teaching on social justice issues,” he added.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, said they strongly support the call for reform. “Our organization is deeply troubled by Development and Peace because we understand that it is not upholding the Catholic values that it is supposed to,” she said. “The truth of what’s going on with Development and Peace must be ascertained.”

Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Quebec-Vie, insisted that any organization dedicated to promoting justice ought to recognize the threat against children in the womb.

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“Surely the unborn are the most denigrated, despised, ignored, and persecuted class of human beings in all history,” he said. “Which is why any organisation such as D&P or others that hope to realize in this world the Will of God must as a priority correct the massive injustice being done today to our brothers and sisters in the womb.  They must proclaim in word and deed that, in the name of justice, abortion is a practise that must be abolished.”

“So long as the truth that the unborn are human beings and loved by God as persons is denied, peace and justice will never truly exist,” he added.

D&P has been embroiled in controversy since 2009 when LifeSiteNews began an ongoing series of reports revealing that the agency has sent Catholic dollars to over two dozen groups in the developing world that advocate legal abortion, among other evils.

Even though D&P has withheld its list of partners since 2009, LifeSiteNews and other Catholic researchers have still found pro-abortion groups among the fraction of partners they profile on their website. The two currently profiled are APROSIFA, which has produced literature on how to obtain abortions, and the NGO Forum on Cambodia, which has called for greater access to “safe abortion.”

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D&P’s theme for this year’s Share Lent fundraising drive is ‘Human Dignity’ yet the campaign materials fail to even mention the right to life, focusing exclusively on issues like the option for the poor, care for creation, and economic justice. This, despite the fact that the Church’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church states that "promoting human dignity implies above all affirming the inviolability of the right to life, from conception to natural death.”

Fr. Boquet said he hopes those charged with reforming D&P recognize the urgency of their task. “Our missionaries around the world are constantly battling against organizations who promote the idea that legitimate development and relief efforts can be bundled with destructive anti-life programs,” he explained.

“This scandal is now the norm in international development circles, and anyone representing the Church in these areas should not only be aware of this trend, but should actively and openly oppose this destructive agenda,” he continued.

“Morally sound channels of operation must be developed without delay so that the good charitable work of the Church can proceed, and that Catholics can support these efforts without concern of funding bad groups,” he added.

For more information, including video, petition, and other resources, visit CharityinTruth.ca.

Any other organizations that wish to join the Charity in Truth Project as a partner in this and future campaigns can contact us at [email protected].


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