Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast called the status of the partnership review “the elephant in the room.” Register file photo

A year later, cloud remains over Development and Peace funding

  • March 19, 2019

The status of Development and Peace as a Catholic charity in good standing hangs in limbo with no end in sight to a year-old review of some of the agency’s partnership agreements.

A committee of the Canadian bishops and Development and Peace continues to convene weekly to examine 52 of D&P’s 180 partners accused of being in conflict with Catholic teaching on abortion, contraception and gay rights. Meanwhile, the annual fund-raising drive to support D&P — the Share Lent campaign — continues in most Canadian dioceses. 

Senior staff at Development and Peace “are bound by confidentiality in this process,” communications staff told The Catholic Register

“At this point we’ve all decided to put a moratorium on any interviews, any media presence with regard to that review until it is done,” national council chair Evelyne Beaudoin said. “At this moment, I would think that the best thing to do is put all the energy into that Share Lent program, which will in the end be very helpful for the poor.”

In an e-mail, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast called the status of the partnership review “the elephant in the room.”

Prendergast is one of six bishops on the CCCB liaison committee with Development and Peace. The bishops attend Development and Peace national council meetings, but do not vote. Prendergast was in Montreal March 9-11 with the D&P board discussing fund-raising, federal government funding, the next two years of campaigning based on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical and attracting more young people to social justice work in the Church. The partnership review was not discussed.

Prendergast insisted the review, prompted by Internet research by CCCB staff last March, is necessary.

“There were questions about the values of these partners being compatible with the Church’s reading of human dignity,” he said. “This, I understand from the liaison committee itself, is moving slowly and it is unclear when the review will be completed.”

A dozen dioceses withheld their D&P contributions following the CCCB staff report, but have since resumed funding, although none of those funds go to the 52 agencies in question. 

The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) has disbursed all funds it had been holding for Development and Peace in its One Per Cent Program and suspended all further collections at the national level until the CCCB concludes its investigation. 

“I have full confidence that Development and Peace will remain the official international solidarity organization of the Catholic Church in Canada,” St. Boniface, Man., Archbishop Albert LeGatt wrote in a letter to parishioners. “I am sure that Development and Peace will continue, as it has been for over 50 years, to make a difference where our brothers and sisters in the Global South appeal to our solidarity and to our fraternal support of their many efforts for justice and peace according to God’s design.”

No diocese in Canada has opted out of the Share Lent collections.

“The status quo stands,” Development and Peace public engagement officer Genevieve Gallant said. 

“Fund-raising for Development and Peace continues and the CCCB and the bishops of Canada are fully supporting Development and Peace during this process.”

Concerns that the process, already a year old, has no deadline are misplaced, Gallant said in an e-mail.

“It is normal for a thorough, collaborative review to take the time it needs so the CCCB and the bishops of Canada have full confidence in our work,” she said. 

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