Anne-Marie Gorman.

CWL funding for Development and Peace remains on hold

  • September 8, 2019

OTTAWA -- The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) will revisit its decision to suspend funding to Development and Peace once the Canadian bishops’ audit of overseas partners is complete, says its national president.

In an e-mail interview, national president Anne-Marie Gorman pointed out the CWL released funds collected under its national One Per Cent program in the late fall of 2018. The league had decided to withhold the monies in early 2018 over concerns the Canadian bishops’ overseas development arm was funding projects through partners that advocated for liberalized abortion laws contrary to Catholic teaching. The CWL then suspended its collection under the National One Per Cent program at that time.

A number of Catholic bishops also withdrew their support for Development and Peace then, prompting the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) to launch an extensive audit of about 52 partners that continues, though Development and Peace has indicated it no longer funds projects through them while the audit is underway.

In 2019 “the membership were able to support D&P through their local diocese via the Share Lent program as most diocesan bishops supported it,” Gorman said. 

The commitment of Canada’s largest women’s organization — with more than 77,000 members — to the pro-life cause was also reflected in its national resolution adopted at its 99th annual convention in Calgary Aug. 18-21 to urge the federal government “to honour its legal commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by providing legal protection to children before birth.”

The resolution, brought to the floor by the B.C. and Yukon Provincial Council, points out in its brief the 1989 Convention, ratified by Canada in 1991, came out of the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child that called for protections for children “before as well as after birth.”

“Canada has no law protecting children before birth,” the brief says. “Canada signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child without reservation on the legal protection of the child before birth. This makes Canada legally bound to honour its commitment, not only to Canadians, but to the world.”

Also, in the theme of protecting life from conception until natural death, the League adopted a resolution to call on the federal government to “support, sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

The national president and other members of the executive committee will make an annual trip to Parliament Hill in the fall to bring these resolutions before parliamentarians and civil servants. 

The league has fresh momentum after adopting a strategic plan that was the result of a lengthy consultation, but Gorman said the plan will be implemented in stages.

Gorman said an Implementation Committee will “be working diligently” on strategies.

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