The Editors


Where’s the money going? A question for Canada’s bishops as they prepare to meet

The Editors
The Editors

Sept. 17, 2012 ( - In 2010, the Canadian bishops pledged a reform of their aid organization Development & Peace after it was rocked by scandal over its funding of groups in developing nations that advocated legal abortion, contraception and other policies contrary to Catholic teaching. D&P apparently then did an overhaul of its aid recipients’ list, but the list was never made public.

Three quarters of the way into 2012, Canadian Catholics have no idea exactly who their donations have been funding since 2010 and how much has been given to each group.

Canada’s bishops will meet for their annual general assembly in Quebec on Sept. 24-28. As always, D&P will be on the agenda and D&P reps will be attending as usual, with plenty of opportunity to engage the individual bishops. As the bishops prepare for that meeting, we would respectfully ask them to pose just one simple question: Where’s the money going?

Since the pledge of reform in 2010, the aid organization has run two Share Lent campaigns – its major annual fundraiser in Catholic parishes across the country – without releasing the list of its grantees. We are now approaching the third Share Lent campaign.

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D&P has apparently been so desperate to keep the list a secret that they went to federal court to block an access to information request.

The page of their website listing grantees has stated for well over a year now:

“We are currently finalizing our new 2011-2016 International Program and will be updating our listing of programs and partners. We invite you to visit our website regularly for new information.”

Canadian Catholics are repeatedly asked to support the Church’s official development agency. It only makes sense: the Church’s relief efforts are crucial to her very mission. But in the face of a funding scandal, how can we possibly trust D&P will use the money responsibly, especially when D&P refuses to reveal where it’s going?

If the Canadian bishops’ official international aid group is serious about reform, why haven’t they increased the transparency about their funding relationships?

We’ve been assured that the bishops expect D&P to partner with groups that are not pro-abortion. Archbishop Richard Smith, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, says the bishops “would not have patience for one minute to be supporting any partner that would in any way be pro-abortion.” If all D&P’s grantees are now thoroughly pro-life as Archbishop Smith says they should be, why not publish the names as had been done in previous years? And why not also publish exactly how much is being given to each group?

How else can D&P possibly win back the trust of Catholic donors and assure the bishops and the faithful of their commitment to Catholic teaching?

Sadly, the evidence suggests D&P is withholding the list because they know it would spark another scandal. Just from the sample of grantees they’ve discussed in recent promotional materials, we know D&P is still funding pro-abortion groups.

It could also be that there is an internal struggle still ongoing among the bishops over D&P’s Catholic identity. Note the following on the D&P website:

“We currently work in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East on the following themes:

  • Empowering women, indigenous groups and other marginalized people;
  • Building democracy;
  • Promoting peace;
  • Local management of natural resources; and
  • Strengthening respect for human and environmental rights.”

From that it seems D&P is still clinging to its failed and very problematic 1960s model of a purely secular-liberal agenda of social and political reform.  That model is totally out of sync with the Catholic evangelization model presented by Pope Benedict in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

Catholics desperately want to get behind the Church’s development efforts. They want to respond generously to their bishops’ repeated calls to support what should be crucial overseas activities – works that Pope Benedict says have ‘openness to life’ at their centre.

So, for devout Catholics, it’s truly sad that they have to ignore pleas from their shepherds to support Development and Peace. Experience has shown that they simply cannot trust D&P with their money, and nothing substantial has been done yet to win back that trust.  In fact, this complete withholding of information about what is being done with their money has made the situation worse than ever.

Catholics should be calling on the bishops, at their upcoming meeting, to demand that D&P release the names and the dollar amounts. If the reform has been authentic, it shouldn’t be a problem. Real transparency is crucially needed at this time.

Parish priests, when the Share Lent collection comes around in five months, may be forced to tell D&P they will withhold the cheques until a complete list is published – one that does not contain even one group that opposes Catholic moral teachings.

And finally the list should also include woefully underfunded pro-life organizations in the developing nations, who are fighting powerful, massively funded population control groups intent on destroying their family-centered and religious cultures. Supporting these pro-life groups is an essential work of true social justice.

No matter what side of this debate you find yourself on, how can one credibly ask people to support an organization that refuses to tell donors where their money goes?

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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