Bishops join D&P national council

  • August 13, 2020

A nearly three-year process of investigation and review at the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has resulted in a slimmed-down national council with four bishops appointed to the development agency’s governing body.

Calgary Bishop William McGrattan, Pembroke Bishop Guy Desrochers, Ste.-Anne-de-la-Pocatiére  Bishop Pierre Goudreault and St. John’s, Nfld., Archbishop Peter Hundt will represent the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on the new national council, according to a joint release July 28 from the CCCB and Development and Peace. The remaining 11 representatives will be elected by D&P’s 10,000 members.

Following the recommendations of a Deloitte LLP organizational review, the national council will go from 21 to 15 members. 

Former national council president Ray Temmerman is glad to see the bishops return to the agency’s governing body. The national council had included two bishops from its founding in 1967 until 2014, when the CCCB decided on a more arm’s length relationship through a liaison committee between the CCCB executive and D&P.

“I hope they and the NC can work on this together as equals and in mutual respect,” said Temmerman.

Prior to this, Development and Peace was the only Caritas agency in the global Catholic network of aid and development organizations which did not have bishops serving on the governing board. 

The new structure is the result of an extensive review of D&P into claims that some of its partner organizations supported abortion. Twelve bishops subsequently suspended their financial support, although it was reinstated provided no money went to 55 partner agencies the CCCB had requested further information about.

The review came up with 14 recommendations, including stronger governance and defined roles for the governing bodies, a new composition of the national council that includes CCCB representation and a clearly defined partnership policy, with roles for staff, management and the national council in choosing partners.

The four new bishop-representatives will be spread out over four new committees charged with implementing the recommendations.

CCCB president Archbishop Richard Gagnon called the process of investigations and negotiations over the last three years “collaborative conversations.”

“The necessary changes to be made, as well as the good will and hard work they entail, will help the Church radiate its mission to the world,” Gagnon said in a release.

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