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Thomas Cardinal Collins at Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa, prior to the 2016 National March for Life.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

TORONTO, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins has joined several other Canadian bishops in withholding this year’s diocesan ShareLife collection from Development and Peace.

His decision comes in the wake of revelations that the Catholic international aid organization partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality, or pro-transgenderism.

A review by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) into Development and Peace’s global grantees “has produced alarming concerns about dozens of overseas organizations,” Collins said in an statement posted Wednesday on the archdiocesan website.

“We anticipate a more detailed report on the situation in the coming months. In the interim, we will be withholding our 2018 allocation to CCODP [Canadian Catholic Organization from Development and Peace] until more information is provided to the CCCB,” he wrote.

Collins is the eighth and highest ranked prelate to withhold funds from Development and Peace at this time.

He joins Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Alberta, Bishop William McGratten of Calgary Alberta, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Saskatoon.

“CCODP is a significant recipient of funds collected as part of our annual ShareLife appeal. We consider our relationship with our donors to be that of a sacred trust,” wrote Collins.

“As CCODP is the development arm established by the Catholic bishops, it is critical to ensure that it allocates no funds to projects or groups that operate contrary to the moral and social teachings of the church,” he concluded.

Hagemoen released a pastoral letter Monday echoing these concerns.

His diocese will withhold the diocesan Share Lent collection from D&P “until such time as the bishops of Canada receive clear assurance that Development and Peace’s partner agencies around the world are in compliance with Catholic teachings,” Hagemoen wrote.

Smith told Edmonton’s Grandin Media last week he was “shocked” by the review’s interim report, which was presented at the February Assembly of Western and Northern Canadian Catholic Bishops in Winnipeg.

“An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” Smith wrote in a pastoral letter announcing his decision to withhold D&P funding.

That includes Catholic teaching on “abortion, contraception, sterilization, same-sex relations and gender theory,” according to Grandin Media.

Dioceses across Canada donate to D&P’s annual Share Lent campaign, which brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016-2017, Grandin Media reported.

In Toronto, D&P received $800,000 from ShareLife last year, according to the Catholic Register.

The bishops’ review was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that is partnered with the Catholic aid association, according to Grandin Media.

Romain Duguay, deputy executive director of Development and Peace, told Grandin Media that Development and Peace is committed to upholding Church teaching, and is looking into the issues raised by the review.

“We will do our due diligence to respond to them and demonstrate that we are not doing anything against the position of the Church,” Duguay said.

LifeSiteNews has reported extensively for years on Development and Peace’s funding of pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-LGBT groups in the developing world. That includes reporting last March that D&P had been funding at least seven Latin American organizations that actively promote the legalization of abortion, including one in Haiti.

The CCCB released a short statement Tuesday confirming the bishops’ conference “at various times receives inquiries and questions about some of the partners involved” with Development and Peace, and that “a joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP.”

The review is “a work in progress, for which preliminary findings have been shared with the Bishops of Canada” and Development and Peace, the CCCB stated. It “remains hopeful that any necessary clarifications will be determined shortly.”

A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lepine, and Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix are waiting for the review’s conclusion before making any decision on funding.  

See LifeSiteNews’ comprehensive coverage on Development and Peace funding here.