Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with … the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
The tension between supporters and detractors of CCODP has not been a healthy one, and it’s time all Catholics rallied around the Catholic social development agency, as well as embracing a firm commitment to life.
As expected, the topic of CCODP came up at the Canadian bishops’ annual plenary meeting in Ottawa. Although most of the discussion took place behind closed doors, enough can be gleaned from the bishops’ decisions to infer that a thorough airing of all concerns took place.
The concerns involved indications that CCODP had been working with some Latin American organizations whose commitment to human life before birth was suspect, or worse. There appeared to be no evidence that CCODP money went to abortion programs, but the taint of the association was enough to sound alarms from coast to coast, with many bishops deciding to withhold funds from CCODP until the matter was resolved.
The bishops’ meeting seems to have done that. The bishops came out of the plenary solidly behind CCODP and its international mission. That was expected and that’s how it should be. The life-saving and improving work done by the group through its international partner Caritas Internationalis is invaluable and is a concrete example of the Church implementing Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), and Gospel values being employed for the common good.
Both the bishops and CCODP appear to realize they need to take care that funds are used carefully and are seen to be used carefully. CCODP plans to review its mandate in light of Caritas in Veritate and to vet its overseas partners through local bishops’ conferences.
In addition, a new ad hoc committee will allow the bishops to “collaborate” with the organization to make sure its work is carried out “in harmony with the identity and mission of the Church,” according to a statement from the bishops.
Finally, in response to a call for unity among groups that defend life and dialogue among pro-lifers, the CCCB will create an ad hoc committee to “develop an intermediate and a long-term strategy for the promotion of a culture of life and family in Canada.”
The way this debacle was resolved needs to be seen as a way that disagreements between groups within the Church can be dealt with. There’s no place for division in the Church. Social justice and pro-life are each important elements, and all of us need to embrace both, even if the effort stretches us beyond our traditional comfort zones.
A perfect example of this was offered with the Pope’s recent willingness to accommodate traditional Anglicans by adapting the Church’s externals to allow some Anglican practices.
We too need to understand that we can learn some lessons from Pope Benedict’s willingness to accommodate non-essentials.
It should be apparent that the storm over CCODP should never have reached the magnitude that it did.
For every person who was more than ready to write off the organization for being too radical there was another who was too quick to dismiss the allegations against CCODP as the work of reactionaries.
Neither approach is helpful. The way CCODP was maligned was almost designed to put the organization on a defensive posture.
Also unhelpful was the way CCODP stalwarts, both laity and clergy, attacked the accusers rather than consider whether the agency might need to take a look at some of its bedfellows.
The bishops’ committee that went to Mexico answered some of those questions, but not all. Now that the bishops as a whole have dealt with the issue at their plenary, it’s possible to see something positive coming from the whole debacle.
This is welcome news. Sometimes we need a shake from the complacency that surrounds us all. CCODP and pro-life supporters have all been given such a shake. (Source)
With due respect to Paul Schratz, the editor of BC Catholic, I take exception to some of his points:
1. There is indeed a place for division within the Church. Division is not a bad thing per se. Sometimes it is necessary, especially if great evil is being accommodated under the guise of “unity”. Unity in the service of truth is a great blessing. Unity in the service of propping up pro-abort groups, however, is a sham and a lie. In that case, not only is division a great blessing, but a necessity. Did not Jesus say that He came to bring a sword? What do you suppose He meant by that?
2. Paul says that “social justice and pro-life are each important elements, and all of us need to embrace both“. That has never been the issue. Development & Peace never openly denied that “pro-life” teachings were important. They knew if they did that, the jig would be up. So Paul’s point is rather irrelevant. There has never been an open disagreement between “social justice” vs. “pro-life”. In theory,we are all on the same side. In practice, however, the “social justice” clique tolerate and close their eyes to their partners’ rabid support for abortion, contraception, and anti-Catholicism in order to advance the “social(ist) justice” agenda. It’s not that the “social justice” clique in the Church necessarily support abortion; it’s just that they really don’t give a damn about it. That’s why they have “no policy” on it when it concerns funding their pro-abort partners. Pro-lifers, on the other hand, give generously to supporting the poor in the developing world. (In fact, my family gives more financial assistance annually to alleviating poverty i.e. “social justice” than we do for pro-life causes!) The only comfort zone that exists is the one that Development & Peace has been inhabiting, and it is so wide and permissive that it has become a veritable Canadian bank for anti-life forces in the Global South, financed by us useful idiots in the parish pews.
3. Paul also said above that “it should be apparent that the storm over CCODP should never have reached the magnitude that it did.” Maybe, but maybe not. This whole drama could have been avoided by admitting the facts, and acting to address the consequences of those facts. That never happened. Not by Development & Peace. Not by most of the bishops. And not by the CCCB or its mouthpieces in the Catholic media. It’s only when the whole thing became so ridiculous and absurd and obvious that some bishops refused to play the fool any longer and started to finally put up some resistance. Then the deck of cards started to shake. But, dear friends, let us not deceive ourselves into believing that the magnitude of the pro-life response was not necessary to bring it to that point. One or two stories would have hardly been enough to force the issue. It took an avalanche of constant reports and blogger pressure to bring it to the point. To believe otherwise is to drink the Koolaid. And that’s why Joe Six Pack Catholic Bloggers , independent Catholic News Services, and most particularly, the faithful laity who act on these reports are so critical to the survival of the Church and its pro-life witness. If Catholics had to depend on Our Channel of Hope or other presumptive Catholic media outlets under the thumb of liberal bishops, just what do you think the chances would be of this scandal coming out into the open? If you said, “nil”, you would be correct, and the abortion juggernaut would have continued unabated. Ignorance, they say, is bliss. In this case, it would have been bliss for the pro-abort pimps in the Global South, aided and abetted by a corrupt and negligent hierarchy in North America.
After all, just like the brohahaha over the Muhammed Cartoons a couple of years ago, the picture below (and the substantial details of the widespead support of Development & Peace’s pro-abort partners) just never made it into the official media organs of the establishment. They just covered it as “allegations”, but never dug into the meat of the allegations themselves. Ask yourself why? Evidently, it’s not merely Development & Peace and the CCCB that need to do some soul-searching. The establishment Catholic media in this country needs to start calling the rot instead of covering it up, and being rightly perceived as the lap dogs of the lukewarm leadership in this country.
BC Catholic is a good, solid paper, but let’s all get a reality check here. The pressure that was laid upon Development & Peace and the CCCB was in direct correlation to the level of their denials, lies, and distortions. Don’t shoot the messenger when he is right. And don’t criticize the messenger’s tenacity when it is that very quality that helped spill the beans.