Michael Roy

Letter intended to support D&P called ‘misguided’

By 
  • April 17, 2019

An explosive letter from Development and Peace partners in the Philippines protesting a year-long review of the Canadian agency’s international partnerships is misguided and unhelpful, said Development and Peace deputy executive director Romain Duguay.

Although the letter seems intent on supporting D&P, “it has the counter-effect of what they want to do,” said Duguay.

Fifty-two of Development and Peace’s (D&P) 180 partnerships have been under review since last year by a committee from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and D&P’s national council. At issue is whether these partners are in conflict with Catholic social teaching on issues like abortion.

Signed by 11 of D&P’s Filipino partners, including the executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, the April 3 letter calls on Canada’s bishops and D&P’s national council “to repudiate those who use their political ideologies to defame Development and Peace and ourselves and whip up hatred, division or indifference.”

“Someone wants us to have a clash with the CCCB,” Duguay said in a phone call from Montreal. “There’s definitely someone who doesn’t understand the situation right now — (which) is that if the CCCB leaves the table, there’s no more D&P.

“We understand the intention. We thank them for the intention. From D&P, of course we are listening to them, we understand their concern. But that gesture is not going to help. If they want to help, then just bring us examples of what our partners are doing so we can clarify the situation.”

Since late 2017, D&P has been fighting off rumours and social media claims that it partners with organizers in Latin America, Africa and Asia that promote abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Beginning in January 2018 the Catholic development agency began a review, the second in five years, of its partnerships. In March of 2018, CCCB staff shared preliminary results of the review, based largely on Internet searches, with bishops at the annual meeting of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops.

Led by Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, a dozen bishops subsequently decided to withhold Lenten collections from D&P until the investigation concluded. In August last year D&P staff submitted a 290-page report that narrowed the investigation to 52 partner organizations and provided point-by-point answers to accusations against the partners.

At the October plenary meeting of the CCCB, bishops sought further clarification and the 12 withholding bishops individually began to release funds with the understanding that no money would go to any of the 52 partners still under investigation.

A March 29 joint statement from D&P and the CCCB clarified that “no questions have been raised about any projects the (agency) is helping to fund.”

The seven-page letter from the Philippines, obtained by the Montreal-based Catholic news agency Presence, called the investigation “deeply unfair.”

“For a distant and anonymous committee with no knowledge of our circumstances, our lived experiences, or the challenges facing us, to make summary and unilateral judgments of us at a time of growing authoritarianism is deeply dangerous,” says the letter, sent to all Canadian bishops and members of D&P’s national council.

D&P and Caritas Philippines are both members of the worldwide Caritas network of Catholic charities.

Donors to any Caritas agency can be confident their money is supporting projects and programs consistent with Catholic teaching, said Caritas Internationalis secretary general Michel Roy.

“We are very clear that life is sacred and has to be respected from conception to natural death,” he said.

The partner review is headed for a final report at the end of May, said Duguay. The bishops and the development agency continue to guard the names and allegations against the 52 partners.


Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you. 

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.