Further to that remarkable interview that the Archbishop of Winnipeg gave the Catholic Register in which he declared that bloggers who dare question or criticize his judgement in the D&P abortion scandal are “not part of the church”, below are my rebuttals to the notable comments made. It will help, I hope, put the substance of the matter back on the table.
Development and Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners, said spokeswoman Wanda Potrykus.
Ms. Portrykus says that Development & Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners. But, folks, has not the Archbishop exonerated D&P? In his media blitz around the country, he has given no substantial criticism or even hint of any meaningful reform but only assured us all that the CCCB and D&P have followed very defined, strict pastoral guidelines in doling out our cash to rabid pro-abortion organizations. Why, then, if they haven’t done anything wrong is it necessary to re-examine the protocols for engaging [their pro-abortion] partners? Why is it necessary to do anything but rebuff us and carry on, business as usual? Does this comment mean that they will have the audacity to ask their partners about abortion, and possibly exclude them if they are involved in any way in abortion advocacy? And if that is so, isn’t that the very thing we have been asking for?
But it’s not as if it just hands money out with no strings attached, she said. “Anything we allocate money to, we have written reports that have to be submitted showing how the money was spent and whether it was spent as it was intended,” said Potrykus.
1. What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You – D&P and its supporters believe the representations and declarations of avowed pro-abortion advocacy groups when these very declarations are contingent on them receiving D&P’s funds. Does anyone really believe that groups dedicated to overturning pro-life laws are going to answer honestly, truthfully, and completely when one of their major funders is a Catholic organization? An example will help put things in perspective. Let’s say that D&P decides to fund a particular group. At the end of the year, D&P asks for a report about how their $30,000 grant was spent. What does their pro-abortion partner tell them? They give D&P selective information about their great programs, of course. Of the $30,000 they have received, two of three programs are moral and legitimate while the third one is not. The third one is called “gender equity training”. (In fact, if you read the latest D&P annual review, you will see that they even use this phrase “gender equity” in their literature.) In their report, they talk generally about this training which might be not be overtly objectionable (although alarm bells should be sounding off with D&P staff, they choose not to hear them). But the report doesn’t tell them about the “reproductive rights” part of the program. What D&P doesn’t know, after all (wink,wink), won’t hurt them. That way, everyone wins. The official answer, therefore, is that $10,000 of this money was spent on “gender equity training”. And the D&P official reading the report in Toronto puts a checkmark in the “Verified Box” and moves on to the next report. That’s how it works, folks. That’s how it works.
In fact, in the eye-witness account of the 8th of March Women’s Collective in Nicaragua (See D&P Funding Feminist Group Who Seeks to Loosen Nicaragua’s Abortion Law), “Conchita” told me that when one of the tour visitors asked who funded their organization, Ms. Torres, the pro-abortion activist who is the director of the clinic, told the visitors that they were funded by Development & Peace. This is even more revealing since the tour did not involve Development & Peace so there was no reason for Ms. Torres to offer that information, unless of course, the funding received by Development & Peace was substantial and relevant to the Clinic’s pro-abortion advocacy.
In the end, it’s all a matter of trust. D&P trusts pro-abortion groups. They believe and side with people who think it is totally moral to dismember an unborn child in the womb and crush its head over the protestations and objections of pro-life groups in the Global South, as well as the whole Peruvian Bishops Conference. They cover their eyes and their hearts and their minds when these groups are shown to be advancing the most heinous crime ever known to mankind. They rationalize and tolerate this because these groups are also advancing what D&P considers to be “social justice” like environmental and mining issues. It’s sick. But then again, the Canadian Church is one sick and whithering branch, isn’t it? Indeed it is. We’ve been withering for the past 40 years since the Winnipeg Statement.
2. No abortion policy – D&P has admitted that it has no abortion policy. Therefore, there are NO strings attached as far as abortion advocacy goes. You cannot pull a string where one does not exist. And if there is no stated requirement that the money cannot be used for pro-abortion advocacy, why would you, as a pro-abortion activist, not use it for that purpose? In your reporting to the useful idiots in Canada, you just lump it in with “gender equity training” and “stopping violence against women” and move on. In fact, that’s what they’ve likely done. The March 8th Collective in Nicaragua, for instance, considers pro-life laws “violence against women”. The banner says it all:
D&P, therefore, is not funding pro-abortion advocacy. It’s funding activities which help prevent “violence against women”.
See how it works? A little bit of semantic sleight of hand and the whole Canadian episcopacy is in the tank for the abortion lobby and helping to perpetuate the abortion holocaust all around the world.
3. Fungibility – For those of you who don’t know what this word means, it simply means something that is interchangeable. One of the obvious problems with funding pro-abortion groups who may do other work is that the money you give them ultimately gets used to leverage and enable their “reproductive rights” romps. For instance, let’s say you’re a pro-abortion group in the Global South somewhere. You need money. You hear about D&P from your friends in another country whose pro-abortion lobby is being financed by D&P. So to get the money, you set up a little organization to promote “social justice”, oppose “violence against women”, and promote “gender education”. Then you apply for the money and you get it. All of a sudden you’ve got an office, phones, computers, etc. etc. In other words, the money that D&P gives you (or a good part of it) pays for the overhead, and from there you can launch your pro-abortion advocacy campaign in addition to doing the token social justice work for D&P. And that’s only one way of scamming D&P. There are plenty of other ways too. I mentioned the semantic fraud above. Then there are the various ways of misrepresenting the financial records. Indeed, the sky is limitless. But this, of course, assumes that D&P has strong internal controls to prevent abuse – which they don’t. And that is why this whole question comes down to trusting the organization itself. Relying on ineffective and weak controls, as D&P does, is completely useless and futile. D&P chooses to trust its pro-abortion partners. And that’s what makes us the useful idiots for the pro-abortion lobby.
“People are taking interpretations and making them fact. People are believing these facts as though they were indisputable, when clearly they are very disputable,” said Weisgerber. “They are interpretations from a political standpoint.”
Indeed. I think it’s quite revealing that Msgr. Weisgerber would characterize our disagreement as “political”. For a proponent of D&P’s work to be calling our efforts to show the evidence of funding pro-abortion groups “political” reveals the mindset of Msgr. Weisgerber. It’s also somewhat a case of the pot calling the kettle black as D&P has always been considered a political tool of the Left to advance its causes. Moreover, if Msgr. Weisgerber wants to dispute the facts, then he is very welcome to do so. So far, we have not heard one scintilla of contradictory evidence which casts even the slightest doubt on the facts as they have been reported. Indeed, that’s hardly surprising since the facts are spread all over D&P’s partners’ own websites (that is, if they haven’t yanked them yet) or on a letter from a Peruvian bishop’s office. But then again, D&P and Msgr. Weisgerber know Peru better than Peru’s own bishops.
Weisgerber used the example of yearly Vatican contributions to UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children with which the Vatican has disagreed on contraception and abortion policy. Vatican donations are earmarked for specific programs or projects which reflect Vatican priorities.
If Msgr. Weisgerber wants to point to the Vatican as an example of how to behave regarding abortion-pushing organizations, I think that is a very commendable idea. In fact, the Vatican STOPPED funding UNICEF back in 1996 precisely because that organization was advocating contraception and the liberalization of abortion laws in developing countries. UNICEF was denying the charges at the time. The Vatican’s announcement was widely covered by the mainstream media at the time, as well as pro-life media (see report here). Below is an excerpt from this press release by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See Concerning its Decision to not Contribute to UNICEF in 1997
November 4, 1996
The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations announced today at the pledging conference for Development Activities, held at the United Nations in New York, that it “cannot offer any symbolic contribution to UNICEF” this year.
It indicated that the annual contribution of the Holy See to that organization is a symbolic offering representing the Catholic Church’s desire to work with these entities such as UNICEF which share a general concern for children, while symbolically responding to UNICEF’s desire to collaborate with the Church’s child-focused projects throughout the world. At the same time, this donation was seen as a recognition that the work and policies of UNICEF were not contradictory to the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. This has been particularly important in view of the encouragement which this donation has given to individual Catholic and like-minded donors, and which has also led to various special activities, including the sale of UNICEF Greeting Cards in Catholic institutions.
The decision to suspend the practice of making a symbolic contribution was the result of the Holy See’s increasing preoccupation with the changes in UNICEF’s activities which have begun to divert some of its already scarce economic and human resources from the care of the most basic needs of children to other areas outside of that specific mandate given by the United Nations to UNICEF. In particular, the Holy See is concerned about:
- The failure of UNICEF TO provide accountability for funds which donors have “earmarked” for specific and morally unobjectionable child-related projects despite numerous requests by the Holy See for such assurances;
- The participation of UNICEF in the publication of a United Nations Manual advocating the distribution of abortifacient “post-coital contraceptives” to refugee women in emergency situations;
- Credible reports that UNICEF workers in various countries were distributing contraceptives and counselling their use….
If Msgr. Weisgerber wants to quote the Vatican on its pastoral application to funding pro-abortion groups, let him follow in their footsteps and cut the funding to D&P’s pro-abortion partners as well.
“We give money to projects, not to organizations,” he said.
Baloney. D&P deposits the money into an organization’s bank account. A “project” alone doesn’t have a bank account, unless, of course, it is merely a project bank account of an organization. There is always an organization behind it – and therein lies the risk.
“For this to come, again from a commission to me and to be released to the public before I receive the letter — there’s an agenda at work here,” Weisgerber said.
The agenda is called the “Gospel of Life”.
“Our first responsibility … is to help poor people,” he said.
That’s not a problem. It’s the second and third “responsibilities” that are the problem. In some cases, some of D&P’s partners have “reproductive rights” as their primary mission, your Grace. Open your eyes:
“In answering the question “What is YARAC?” the organization emphasizes their focus on reproductive education: “YARAC is the result of a workshop to conclude a three-year project with young adults and adolescents about their reproductive rights and behaviours in Plateau State, Nigeria.” YARAC says that one of their organization’s values is to “recognise civic and reproductive rights of youths and adolescents.” And one of their “specific activities” is to “develop and promote youth and adolescent friendly programmes,” including around the area of “basic reproductive health needs including HIV/AIDS awareness” (see YARAC’s ‘Full Organization Profile’, http://yaracnigeria.org/node/320).”
“These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone — I think first of all they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they’re followed by so many people… the bishops I think take a more reasoned approach to the whole thing.” (Source)
We have a duty to fulfill our priestly mandate and the right to bring our concerns to the attention of the bishops and the Catholic people. And that’s precisely what we’re doing:
Can. 204 ß1 Christ’s faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. They are called, each according to his or her particular condition, to exercise the mission which God entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world.
Can. 212 ß3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.
The Archbishop has a duty to conform his pastoral directives to the Gospel of Life.
He also has a duty to his brother bishops in Peru to respect their jurisdiction as Pastors of the Church there and refrain from imposing D&P’s perverse view of “social justice” on the poor of Peru.
He should behave in the same manner towards D&P’s pro-abortion partners as the Holy See did with UNICEF. Since the Archbishop brought up the example of the Vatican’s response to UNICEF as a pastoral model, then he should complete the journey he started and go and do likewise.
Finally, His Grace should heed St. Paul’s advice not to provoke the children of the Church towards anger (Eph 6:1).
The foundation that the Canadian episcopacy laid with Development & Peace and the Winnipeg Statement as its pillars is now sinking. It’s a sad thing for them, but did they not know that a foundation built on sand eventually crumbles?