The latest D&P lament can be read here. A few selections….
If we move towards a model whereby the Church hierarchy can control how we manifest our vision of a more just world, we are doing a great disservice to our partners and to ourselves. Our ability to live in enduring solidarity – our very identity as a movement – will be compromised.
This young lady has absolutely no clue about what Catholic authority means. The Church is not a democracy. We are subject to legitimate authority, provided that authority is manifestly in union with the Bishop of Rome. The views that this woman holds to are not a surprise. She probably was never taught what true Catholicism is.
This approach to global relationship – whereby if a Bishop in the South expresses unjust and unfounded concerns over the work of one of our partners, we are obliged to cut ties with that partner – runs counter to everything I have learned from Development and Peace about solidarity in the midst of struggle. It totally delegitimizes what we claim is our approach to international work – that which sets us apart from so many other development agencies.
Which is why Development & Peace is substantially not Catholic.
If D&P’s membership can’t accept the authority of the local bishop in the Global South to veto any proposed spending in his diocese under the auspices of the Catholic Church, then D&P membership needs a bit of education on what being Catholic is all about. The local bishop has full jurisdiction on what Catholic activities are engaged within his diocese. No so-called “social justice” agency pretending to be Catholic can contradict or oppose him. If D&P has a problem with that, perhaps it’s time to move along and become another secular NGO or “ecumenical” NGO like Kairos. But they don’t get to take Catholic money with them. That means that 90-95% of their revenue will then be totally funded from CIDA, and that’s if they are lucky to retain funding in the future.
I recognize that the poltical climate – both in the Church and in Canadian society – is undergoing drastic changes. NGOs that have for decades been at the forefront of progressive social movements are now being forced to reassess their priorities to suit the agenda of a Conservative government, lest they face devastating funding cuts. As more and more progressive Catholics find a home in other denominations, our church is also becoming increasingly conservative and fails to see the importance of the justice work that Development and Peace has been engaged in for close to half a century.
The Church is not being increasingly “conservative”. However, the Church is finally waking up to the fact that you can’t kill unborn babies (or enable those who work for it) and call yourself Catholic. Wouldn’t it be great if D&P members actually started to address the issue of ABORTION – the greatest civil rights issue of our time – and their role in being on the wrong side of this issue. But, then again, it doesn’t fit with their agenda of “empowerment of women”, does it?