CCCB President on Websites Confronting D&P: “they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic”

OTTAWA, June 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite a June 22 press release stating that neither the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) nor Development and Peace (D&P) would be commenting on the results of a recent investigation of five of D&P’s Mexican partners until the results were made public, the President of the CCCB, Archbishop James Weisgerber, has been making the rounds of the media in the last several days, giving numerous interviews on the topic. 

The archbishop has given separate French and English language interviews to Salt and Light Television, as well as interviews to Zenit News, the Catholic Register and Catholic News Service (CNS) on the results of the investigation into the CCCB development arm, which was caught by LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) funding numerous groups around the world engaged in pro-abortion advocacy.

Michael Swan,  with CNS reports that the archbishop reversed the decision not to comment prior to the release to all bishops saying: “This thing is heating up. Before we release all the recommendations, I’m just giving an overall impression, given the fact that the group found no difficulty.”

In the interviews the archbishop stated that the recent investigation found nothing amiss with Development and Peace’s funding of its Mexican partners. The Catholic Register, in an article also written by Micheal Swan, its associate editor, reported that the “Canadian Bishops clear Development and Peace of any wrongdoing.” Lastly, a Zenit report by Salt & Light TV correspondent David Naglieri, was titled, “Probe Clears Canadian Agency of Funding Abortion.”

The archbishop, who heads the Winnipeg Archdiocese, told Zenit: “I can tell you that the bishops’ visit found no evidence that Development and Peace was in any way implicated in abortion services or abortion advocacy.”

“[But] that really wasn’t the allegation being made. The allegation is that they are funding people who are involved in other ways, and we found no evidence of that, either.”

Even with the investigation having been limited to the first five groups in Mexico, the evidence against the D&P funded groups is incontrovertible in its own right, and has also been attested to by a major pro-life leader in Mexico. Even though some of the most compelling evidence was scrubbed from one of the Mexican group’s websites shortly after LSN broke the story of D&P’s funding of the group, the info is retained by LSN.

In addition, the evidence against the D&P groups throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia, has been confirmed by the head of the Peruvian Bishops Conference Family Commission, Priests for Life Canada, and a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Not all Catholic news services were as quick to accept unreservedly Archbishop Weisgerber’s avowals. Catholic World News (CWN) reported, “Ironically, the CCCB statement was issued just as Vatican Radio aired a report on complaints from the Peruvian bishops, who said that the Canadian agency had indeed given support to groups agitating for unrestricted abortion in that country. The LifeSiteNews service has provided evidence that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace also gave support to pro-abortion groups in Mexico and other countries. A series of exposés by LifeSiteNews has been sufficient to convince several Canadian bishops to suspend diocesan funding for the agency.”

CWN also reported, quoting form the Salt and Light interview, “In an obvious slap at LifeSiteNews, the archbishop invoked the authority of the hierarchy as the basis for his sweeping statement. ‘What is at issue is authority in the Catholic Church,’ he said. ‘Is it web sites or is it the Catholic Church?'”

Archbishop Weisgerber has repeatedly expressed the same sentiment in his other interviews.  

The Catholic Register reports: “The role of web sites in stirring controversy has become a challenge for bishops.” Weisgerber told the Register: “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.”

Although there have indeed been a number of blogs regularly covering the scandal, LifeSiteNews, which has taken the lead on the issue, is neither a website nor a blog. It is a widely read international news service that disseminates its reports via email and its website. LifeSiteNews daily news reports are re-published and quoted around the world by numerous other news services and websites and in print publications and radio and television programs.

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