A sceptical note on Canada’s bishops and Development and Peace
December 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The bishops’ annual plenary session in Cornwall, Ontario, from October 17–21, began with the Editor of LifeSite-News, John Henry Westen, being told he was not welcome, not even at the sessions open to the public. Despite having arrived already and having attended the opening Mass, he was shown the door.
The Conference concluded with a short speech from the new President, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith. If people were feeling “panicky and worried,” he said, they should “step back and take a breath and look gently at what the bishops are asking for and simply trust the bishops and the leadership of Development and Peace to move forward on this.” (Deborah Gyapong, B.C. Catholic, October 31, 2011)
The rude rebuff to LifeSiteNews (LSN) reveals the CCCB bishops still do not grasp the urgent need for honesty and truth. Canada’s pro-lifers have helped build LSN over a period of 15 years into a first rate news network whose dispatches are now read throughout the world. But at the CCCB old habits of secrecy, lack of transparency and resentment still prevail.
Over the last three years—since March 2009—LSN reporters (helped by bloggers) have patiently and factually revealed the entanglements of D & P with anti-life and anti-Catholic partners in South-America, Africa and Asia. Some bishops are not the least bit grateful. They reject the message and now want to shoot the messengers. Meanwhile, under their ‘oversight,’ D & P had become exclusively political, knowing nothing about the Catholic understanding of Justice and Charity as being open to the dignity of all human life. In 2009 D & P confirmed that abortion and sodomy were of no concern to them or their projects.
The Archbishop’s closing statement does not inspire confidence. Why trust the Bishops, when they are the authors of the scandal? Let us go back to the beginning.
Step 1: In 1967, the bishops founded D & P as an autonomous, lay-run society to extend aid to underdeveloped countries. The encyclical Populorum progressio of Pope Paul VI was its intellectual basis. Aid and disaster funding would come from Catholics and be distributed overseas but not to Catholics only.
Step two: Arrangements with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) doubled every dollar collected by the Church, which in some provinces had already been doubled beforehand. One dollar became four dollars. Condition by CIDA: no grants to Catholic-only-projects; that would be favouring one religion over another. Result: the abandonment of overseas Catholic missionaries and their charitable enterprises.
Step three: In July 1968, Pope Paul published Humanae vitae (On human life) “Defend the dignity of life at all times, from conception till natural death.” Canadian bishops answer the Pope with the Winnipeg Statement, September 1968: with regard to contraception people can do as they deem fit. Don’t be old fashioned! Result: Encyclical became a dead letter; and the defence of life and family was left to flap in the wind.
In May 1969, “Catholic” Pierre Trudeau made the killing of pre-born babies legal in Canada. The CCCB’s reaction: a five sentence Press release, regretting his action. The arrangements with CIDA, the secularization of Quebec, and the Bishops own “No” to Pope Paul in 1968 set the tone for D & P for 40 years: it became a political rather than a charitable organization.
The CCCB itself allowed a leftist coterie of activists to dominate its own “Social Justice” outreach from the seventies to the nineties. Cardinal Emmett Carter set up his own fund for Catholic missions overseas and used Toronto’s Share Life collections for that instead of giving it to D & P.
Today Pope Benedict has put an end to the continued evasions of the Canadian bishops and those of other countries (USA, Great Britain). He has made Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s own aid society, the norm for development. The dignity of life must be an overriding interest. Evangelization should be an integral part. He reminded bishops worldwide that Populorum progressio and Humanae vitae were written by the same Pope. The two are inseparable.
The Canadian bishops have never retracted their “No” to Pope Paul. Today D & P administrative personnel in Quebec are in revolt. Some have left ; others are threatening. Good. (LifeSiteNews; Blogger Socon and Bust, Oct. 12, 2011)
As for donations to D & P, let us stop now. Wait three years to see if episcopal “oversight” has remade secular, political D & P into a Catholic charitable organization. If so, only then let us resume the donations.
This article is republished with permission from the December 2011 edition of Catholic Insight