The Bishops of Canada, gathered in Plenary Assembly, have discussed the mandate and operations of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in the light of Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. They also considered other issues that, during the past months, have shaken the trust of some of the faithful who support this organization with their donations.
The Bishops believe in the project of Development and Peace and appreciate the excellent work this organization has done throughout the years. They also want to support the continuation of this important apostolate of the Church in Canada. To this end, the Bishops wish to collaborate with Development and Peace to ensure that the implementation of its mandate is in harmony with the identity and mission of the Church.
They are encouraged by the intention of Development and Peace to review the implementation of its mandate in the light of Caritas in Veritate, and to improve its oversight of the mandates and operations of its partners in collaboration with local episcopates. For the Bishops of Canada, these are essential initiatives.
The Bishops have decided to establish an ad hoc committee which will collaborate with Development and Peace in this work of revision and in implementing the recommendations this past June of the CCCB Committee of Inquiry.The ad hoc committee will report on the progress made by Development and Peace on these issues at the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Canada in 2010, which will then allow the Bishops to decide on future actions.
Aware that Development and Peace is already engaged in this process of renewal, the Bishops decided, in the interval, to support Development and Peace and its 2010 Share Lent collection.
So very typical. There has been no admission of guilt at all. No statement of repentance or remorse. Just the typical tongue bath of cheap and meaningless do-nothing euphemisms of “improving oversight”, “revising the work”, and “renewing the process” – bureaucratic bilge and ecclesiastical spin for the ignorant masses and the bishops’ own compromised and darkened consciences.
The above Statement does not correct the CCCB’s “Committee of Inquiry” Report which ignored the real allegations made against Development and Peace and which falsely maintained that the allegations made by LSN were “not founded on the facts“. There was no correction of this gross error, when, in fact, everything that has been reported by LSN and Socon or Bust was and is absolutely true. Then again, what can we expect from these bishops? If they are not serious about abortion; they are not going to be serious about correcting the record, and vindicating the reputations of faithful Catholics which some of them have shamelessly smeared.
The Statement above says that the collaboration with local bishops in the Global South are “essential initiatives”. What does this mean? Does this mean that each of Development & Peace’s partners has to get approval from the local bishop to continue to receive funding? I doubt it. And if that’s not true, then just how “essential” is it to the bishops?
The Statement says that there will be an ad hoc committee created to “report on the progress” one year from now. Another committee! Yes, that’s what we need: more bureaucracy created as a result of restructuring, re-organizing, re-shuffling, re-tooling, re-jigging and recycling…to defer, delay, deny and decline the necessary action actually required to turn this thing around right now. This means the funding for Development & Peace’s partners stays in tact not only for the 2010 Lenten campaign, but likely until 2011, after which the new program will be determined. And there is no guarantee, of course, that their current partners will not be funded again for the next five years after that.
The bishops don’t want dialogue. They want the benefits of the spin that “dialogue” will give them. But they are not serious about abortion. We’ll get to it, when we get to it…next year some time. Our ad hoc committee will give you a “progress report” on how things are going.
Until then, it’s business as usual.
Last week, my wife and I were fortunate enough watch a movie, re-enacting the life of Saint Teresa of Calcutta. It was an excellent re-telling of her life and the actors and actresses were superb. Late in the movie, they re-enacted a scene which was only a few years before her death. Her Order, the Sisters of Charity, had grown substantially, and because of it, the organization and the structure to support it had ballooned as well. In this scene, Saint Teresa was sitting at the Board table with her “Board of Directors” in a Manhattan highrise. They were talking about their budget and discussing ways on how to overcome the budget shortfall. She called the server over and pointed to a bottle of water in front of her. She asked the server how much the bottle of water cost. The server said “$3.00”. She then got up from her seat, called her priest-friend over, and told him to shut down the Board and the bureaucracy.
Just like that. She shut it down, and she didn’t give a damn what had to be dismantled to do it or what jobs were lost.
She saw that the organization she was leading was way off the beaten track from its original mission. So she took corrective and drastic action to get it back on track. Immediately.
Let this be a sobering reminder to the very few responsible bishops we have left in this country on how to act: if you are part of an organization which has lost its way and is now even acting against the Church’s mission as is the case with Development & Peace, it’s time to take drastic action to correct the problem.
Do the right thing and pull out. Just like Saint Teresa did.