Catholic Register Editorial Confronts Development & Peace

Praise be to God!

This week might well prove to be a historical turning point in the battle for the soul of Development and Peace (D&P) and of the Canadian Catholic Church more generally.

It all started last week, with the unprecedentedly bold statement by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, who not only cancelled the talks of Fr. Luis Arriaga, but unequivocally affirmed that the Mexican priest’s organization was supporting groups in favour of abortion rights in Mexico.

Just a few days later, the Catholic Register has now come clean on the D&P scandal by publishing two excellent articles in which they call D&P onto the carpet for its support of groups that endorse abortion. This is a huge development because the Catholic Register had been active, over the last two years, in defending and whitewashing D&P’s actions.

Wow! The tide is turning, my friends!

The first article, penned by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, has already been commented upon by John here. Fr. Raymond’s article provides an excellent summary of the last two years of controversy and a powerful exposé of last week’s events surrounding Fr. Arriaga. He also emphasizes the defiant attitude of D&P in response to Archbishop Prendergast’s decision:

In response, D&P executive director Michael Casey released a most unworthy statement, obscuring rather than addressing the main point of the archbishop’s decision. Defiantly, it went on to defend the centre’s “outstanding work in defending the lives of the most vulnerable in Mexican society, including migrants, women and indigenous people.” The unborn notably did not make that list. (Source)

Thank you, Fr. Raymond, for this excellent exposition.

The second article is an editorial by the Catholic Register entitled Questions still. This piece focuses mainly on the last four months, after the announcement by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops of a new policy to keep a closer eye and shorter leash on D&P to ensure that it would behave. The editorial is baffled, like most of us, as to how Fr. Arriaga’s organization could have slipped through the cracks of this new policy:

Yet Arriaga was invited to Ottawa to represent D&P during the critical ShareLent fundraising appeal. Someone is guilty of either appallingly poor judgment or blatant incompetence. Either way, it begs the question: how many questionable agencies are still endorsed by D&P? (Source)

Personally, I don’t think it was poor judgment or blatant incompetence. Given all the evidence of the past two years, I prefer Fr. Raymond’s explanation of defiance.

The editorial closes by calling into question the pertinence of donating to D&P:

It’s a critical quesiton. As the international development agency of the Canadian bishops, D&P is the social-justice arm for all Canadian Catholics. Donations from the pews help fund the important work of D&P. But that generosity will dry up unless D&P can provide  rock-solid assurance that donations only support groups in harmony with Church teaching.

While the wording of this article is not as strong as Fr. Raymond’s, it’s still very firm and quite revolutionary given the Catholic Register’s treatment of the D&P issue up to this point.

I would like to sincerely thank the Catholic Register for taking a fresh look at the issue and finally deciding to side with the unborn. I would encourage our readers to drop a line to the Catholic Register to thank them for this more honest coverage: editor@catholicregister.org.

Socon or Bust has had some strong criticism for the Catholic Register over the past two years, but we don’t hold onto grudges. If the newspaper has had a genuine change of heart, hatches will be buried fast.

I imagine (hope) that both articles will be included in the print edition. If any readers get their hands on a copy, please let me know.

Do you realize that this opens up a whole new dimension to the D&P scandal? Indeed, the print edition of  the Catholic Register reaches thousands of older Catholics who are less likely to read the Internet and thus less likely to know what’s going on at D&P. As awareness rises, the pressure on D&P will reach a tipping point.

This could be a historic week, my friends!

This leaves Salt and Light isolated as the only major Catholic news source who has yet to admit the truth about D&P. I don’t know how long their resistance will last. We pray that they will come around. In the meantime, we must press on without them. While no coverage of the Fr. Arriaga fiasco has appeared on their website, I don’t know if they offered coverage on TV. Since I don’t subscribe to S&L, I’m counting on our readers to let us know if they see anything. Mind you, S&L did produce a story today on D&P. It has nothing to do with the scandal, however, but rather about a comic book produced by D&P. Sounds like business as usual at Fr. Rosica’s shop.

D&P’s defiance is not an isolated phenomenon. Based on the CCCB’s spin of last week’s events, it appears that many bishops are also defiant. The CCCB’s statement makes no mention of abortion (Archbishop Prendergast used the word three times in his short letter), but only of a “controversy” and “allegations”. The CCCB statement also contains the following blatant lie:

“The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is committed to respect for life, and is making every effort to ensure its programs are in full compliance with Church teachings.”

Not even close. They’re defiant, as Fr. Raymond eloquently put it. And the fuel for their defiance can only come from within the episcopacy. Do you really think D&P could continue these shenanigans if all the bishops were opposed? Too many of them are clearly blocking the pro-life bishops from resolving the scandal, and thus the blood money continues to flow. I think that a split among the episcopacy will become more evident if this scandal isn’t resolved soon.

So as we rejoice in these articles from the Catholic Register and as we remain hopeful that pressure will continue to build as awareness grows, we must stand firm until every penny of blood money is stopped.

4 thoughts on “Catholic Register Editorial Confronts Development & Peace

  1. Well, I have to hand it to them. Maybe they read our criticisms of their scandalous coverage, and did something about it.

    Catholic guilt: you can always count on it. 🙂

  2. Way to go, guys.

    The ball is in the bishops’ court. I have no confidence in D&P’s ability to redeem itself. Its membership or at least its leadership seems, at best, indifferent to the plight of unborn children.

    Will the bishops deliver? Past on past results, it will take a lot more goading.

  3. The other significant point here is that it’s the FIRST TIME a Catholic priest has gone publicly critical of Development & Peace. So far, the hierarchy – even the ones supportive of us – have expressed their support for Development & Peace.

    This is rather brave of Fr. Raymond, and it’s not exactly a career-enhancing move on his part…which tells you about this man’s character. Bishop material, perhaps?

  4. Me again. Just wanted to direct your attention to this CR article from 2009.

    http://www.catholicregister.org/canada/development-and-peace-faces-new-abortion-funding-allegations-from-peru

    I appreciate your enthusiastic about Father de Souza’s column and the editorial–heck, I’m enthusiastic myself–but the CR has always, ALWAYS sided with the unborn against abortion.

    At the same time, it has to report the news. And that means reporting what people tell them and getting as many sides of the story as they can. This applies to D & P just as much as it would if they decided to report on the suspension of Father Corapi, which I rather doubt they would.

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