Bishop of Pembroke Restricts Diocesan Funds to Development and Peace

PEMBROKE, February 22, 2010 ( – Bishop Michael Mulhall of the Diocese of Pembroke has announced that he is following the lead of Archbishop Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto in placing restrictions on the disbursement of diocesan funds to the development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P). 

In a letter to his diocese Bishop Mulhall identifies the reason for his action as “information … which raised questions regarding the work of certain partners of (D&P) in the area of abortion advocacy.”

That information, the result of a series of investigations into D&P partners by (LSN) last year, showed that D&P was funding numerous groups which advocate for abortion.  While the D&P funding ostensibly was intended for projects not associated with abortion, bishops and pro-life groups in those nations where the groups were active expressed serious concern that the Catholic Church of Canada would fund groups that actively oppose them on the issue of the right to life of unborn children.

Bishop Mulhall’s letter notes that he restricted last year’s contribution to D&P and also intends to restrict the 2010 collection currently underway.  The diocese is stipulating that its funding is to be used only for D&P’s emergency relief work. According to a 2009 ShareLife brochure from the Archdiocese of Toronto, emergency assistance makes up only 6% of D&P’s allotments. The lion’s share (71%) of D&P funding goes towards “strengthening social movements,” “democracy and participation,” and “women’s empowerment.”

The Diocese of Pembroke had previously given 75% of its Lenten collections directly to D&P to be used as D&P saw fit. 

Bishop Mulhall’s letter notes that in 2009 the 75% allotment, totaling $114,960.00, “was sent to Development and Peace to be forwarded to Caritas Haiti for immediate earthquake relief.”

The 2010 Lenten collection will be restricted even further, with an undetermined portion of the collection going to D&P and only for emergency relief work.

The bishop notes that the bishops of Canada are engaging in a ”broad study of the status and goals of Development and Peace” and he is awaiting the completion of the evaluation.

See Bishop Mulhall’s full letter here.

9 thoughts on “Bishop of Pembroke Restricts Diocesan Funds to Development and Peace

  1. Great news….this is how these things start to generate momentum. Let’s hope our own archbishop Prendergast announces something similar…

  2. John, I realize you are just providing LifeSite`s story here, but something confuses me in your overall approach, and I wonder if you can clear up the matter.

    Suzanne, in a comment a few posts back, writes “when you send a cheque for $1000 for a project, that pays that abortion group’s overhead and helps them live another day to push abortion.“

    Now, the Bishop of Pembrooke has a desire that his funds be used for emergency services. Suppose those emergency services are not morally objectionable, but they are being provided by a group that furthers an agenda which in ways is at odds with the Church’s. By Suzanne`s logic, and I suspect you`d agree with her, that Pembrooke money is going to projects that those groups don’t have to use other money on. As a result in those cases where particular groups further at least aspects of an agenda at odds with the Church, don`t they now have more of their own money to spend as they see fit.

    What I am saying is, if there is an overall objection to working with groups who have ties to agendas that are at odds with the Church`s own, I don`t see how Bishop Mulhall or Archbishop Collins are doing anything that deserves any sort of congratulations.

    What I am identifying is not where I stand on the matter, but how I am confused by what I perceive to be your response. Can you help clear it up for me?

  3. The majority of funds which are directed to pro-abort groups are not for relief efforts. While it is true that, like in Haiti, funds can certainly be directed to pro-abort groups involved in the “relief effort”, on balance, it is better to restrict the money to relief efforts instead of allowing a carte blanche ability to use the money for their pro-abort partners “social movements”.

    One would think that they would need the money to eat and find shelter, but there is of course no guarantee that excess money received won’t be used to promote their advocacy.

    I agree with you, though, Kelly. This restriction, while good, is far from ideal.

  4. John, I haven`t followed this conversation too closely since the fall. But the whole point of my question is this (and I`m asking a question because I am confused by your response)…

    When you say this “restriction, while good, is far from ideal“ I`m trying to figure out how you say it is good in the first place.

    Group A provides legitimate services, and necessary services, but also provide service or ideological support for something that is at odds with the Catholic Church. Now, so far as I understand it D&P funds projects. Suppose they choose to fund a project of Group A`s that is worthy of funding. By funding that project Group A does not have to use their own funds, and can then you their own money to fund something perhaps more questionable.

    I don`t see how Pembrooke and Toronto`s episcopal leadership really have dealt with this. By restricting the way in which there money is being used, I don`t see how this is different from the response emerging from other Bishops which is becoming, `yes some of these groups may provide support for matters at odds with our own views, but we are not funding those matters, we are funding particular projects which are worthy.`

    Like I said before, please don`t interpret this as my own opinion about these matters. I am simply trying to figure this out. I haven`t been able to put my finger on it, but perhaps these comments are getting at what I am trying to sort out.

  5. Kelly, what you are saying is valid. However, what is important here is the trajectory.

    If all of the bishops restricted the funds to only relief efforts, then presumably, many of the groups who are currently objectionable might be cut out. Or maybe not…

    Your points are legitimate. However, it is unlikely that there wont be at least SOME cutting back on some of these groups.

    I’m more interested in building momentum on ANYTHING I can get my hands on. Beggers can’t be choosers.

    If anything, it shows at least the bishops are starting to acknowledge that there might be a serious problem.

  6. No John.

    If the original problem was that D&P funding groups that in turn funding some objectionable actions or agendas, this doesn`t change anything by the Archbishop in Toronto, and the Bishop in Pembrooke.

    You appear to be engaged in doublespeak, hence my call for some clarity. Either working with groups who have some questionalbe ties is objectionable from a Catholic moral theological point of view, or it isn`t.

  7. Kelly,

    I don’t engage in doublespeak, my friend.

    I have admitted that the problem substantially remains, but what is more important is the momentum that is building. With enough momentum, hopefully, real changes will be forthcoming.

    You will NEVER see me endorse D&P or giving money to them under their current regime.

    But just like a pro-life Catholic can work to curtail abortion by praising marginal steps towards its eradication, then I can do so here as well.

    And actually, the Archbishop of Toronto’s actions…if matched by more bishops…would indeed start to make a major impact – since the higher proportion of money’s having to be approved by local bishops would necessarily cut out funding many pro-abort groups. That’s why I am encourging and praising these moves.

  8. John, I said you appear to be using `doublespeak`and hence because I was sure you wouldn`t see yourself as doing so, that is why I asked for clarification.

    What I am getting at is this: Part of the frustration about this whole conversation last year is that it never really developped. The charge was made that D&P was funding some groups that have questionable practices, like abortion advocacy. The response was “No D&P do not fund abortion services,” which I had never thought was a charge being made.

    I think this is one of the contributions made by your own Archbishop at the Assembly in Cornwall this Fall. He said we actually need to address the actual accusations that are being made.

    Now, so what I don’t understand about Toronto and Pembrooke is how what they are doing is really any different. Remember that quote I provided by Suzanne (“when you send a cheque for $1000 for a project, that pays that abortion group’s overhead and helps them live another day to push abortion”). I said I suspected you agreed with it, and if you do, what Toronto and Pembrooke are still doing, is the same thing that every other diocese is doing.

    You write “the Archbishop of Toronto’s actions…if matched by more bishops…would indeed start to make a major impact – since the higher proportion of money’s having to be approved by local bishops would necessarily cut out funding many pro-abort groups.”

    That in itself makes sense to me. So I get that. That makes sense. The project has to be approved by a local Bishop. I don’t remember however getting that impression out of Pembrooke but I can’t seem to open the damn thing.


  9. 1. I agree with Suzanne’s assessment, obviously….and many other points of contention including internal controls, trust, pro-marxist slant of D&P generally, etc., etc.

    2. Toronto – read “My Only Reservation” section in this entry:

    The key here is the momentum. As it stands now, this action. IF NOT DUPLICATED BY OTHER BISHOPS. is not going to really impact anything. But as I said above, if more bishops jump on this solution, then it most certainly will. I also know very good news about Toronto that you don’t know about, Kelly, but which I cannot yet blog about. 🙂

    3. Peterborough – Does not restrict D&P donations per se, but does recognize there is a problem and allows Catholics to participate in the Lenten donation without giving to D&P. This is a moral and psychological victory that cannot be underestimated especially early on in this war. There is also the practical side of people checking off “Other Charities” who would otherwise have no clue what was going on. We might be able to siphon off 10-20%.

    4. Pembroke – The devil is in the details here. If Pembroke plays an active oversight role here, this move could be just as effective as Toronto’s. Take Haiti. D&P has many partners on the ground there. At least three of them are pro-abort/pro-contraception. Caritas Haiti was not listed as one of them in their program (I don’t think). CH is not pro-abort. If all of Pembroke’s money were to go to CH, and there was no discretion in giving it to the other agencies which are not really relief agencies, then that’s another point for our side. Most of D&P’s groups are marxist, feminist “social justice” organizations. They are not relief agencies like CH is (among other things). If the diocese of Pembroke insists on vetting that the money they give really does go to relief efforts, there is bound to be a positive outcome to that. In other words, instead of D&P flipping “Fanm Decide” – a radical feminist group – $10,000 of Pembroke’s money which they would otherwise do, they would simply have to redirect it to CH or another non-proabort group.

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