D&P apology to Campaign Life clears the air

  • July 12, 2010
D and P Campaign LifeTORONTO - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has formally apologized to Campaign Life Coalition for "inaccurate" statements in a memo that called the pro-life lobby part of "the far right fringe element of North American society," linked Campaign Life with violent activists and accused it of misrepresenting facts and distorting reality to serve their ends.

Development and Peace formally retracted the statements in the memo and apologized in a June 30 letter to Campaign Life national president Jim Hughes.

"The issue has finally been cleared up," said Hughes.

"Any time somebody says something about your organization that is untrue it's absolutely essential that you rectify the situation," said Hughes. "We had letters from our supporters saying 'What's going on? Get this thing straightened out. Why is this happening? Is any of this true?' ”  

Dialogue with Campaign Life over the memo has resulted in "a better understanding and better awareness of one another," said Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey.

Casey said the apology was the result of dialogue and not the threat of a lawsuit, though Campaign Life did have legal representation.

The apology from Development and Peace states that "CLC did not initiate or participate in any campaign directed and targeted against Development and Peace."

"CLC is in no way associated with violence and has a written policy against violence," said the letter from Casey to Hughes. The apology also said the memo contained "several statements concerning Campaign Life Coalition which we have learned are inaccurate and regarding which we acknowledge being misinformed.”

The original memo, distributed internally in March to Development and Peace staff and national council members, was leaked and published online by LifeSiteNews. LifeSiteNews operates a pro-life web site from the same Toronto building in which CLC is headquartered, but it operates independently.  

At the next Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops plenary meeting in October an ad hoc committee of bishops will deliver a report on the LifeSiteNews-Development and Peace controversy. Development and Peace has prepared for the bishops a "major document on criteria of partnership and ways for moral co-operation in controversial situations," said Casey.

Whether new policies or guidelines for Development and Peace will come out of the bishops' plenary is up in the air, said Casey.

"I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

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