As Socon or Bust readers have recently learned, the Archdiocese of Toronto has recently reformulated its working relationship with Development & Peace to put funding restrictions to ensure no monies are awarded to anti-life groups. Before any monies are advanced to its partners, Development & Peace must now obtain episcopal or ecclesiastical assent of the national church for Toronto donations. We caution ‘Bust readers, however, that while we might think that the momentum is going our way (and it is, to some extent), there is still a long way to go. Socon or Bust is simply not convinced that the conditions imposed by the Archdiocese of Toronto are going to be that effective, and has called for a release of the identity of the groups in question for further investigation. We are not convinced that all of the groups which the Archdiocese of Toronto has approved will be pro-life. We simply don’t know until we know who these groups are and a thorough investigation is performed.
Moreover, while the Archdiocese of Toronto has required the local church’s participation in selecting suitable groups, this is in itself no guarantee that the group is worthy of Catholic money, as this sad story is about to make evident. (In case you are counting, this will be number 44 on the list of anti-life, anti-Catholic groups which Development & Peace has been funding.) In fact, simply presuming that money going to a group sponsored by a national Church in the Global South does not necessarily mean that the group in question is pro-life. We would like to think they would be pro-life. But what we would like to think and what the reality is are simply two different things these days in the Catholic Church.
In our initial investigation of Development & Peace, we had simply passed over investigating groups officially associated with the Catholic Church in the developing world. Unfortunately, such an exemption can no longer be made. The next case on the docket comes from Brazil. Socon or Bust has previously reported on two pro-abort groups Development & Peace has been funding. They are number 11 and 12 on our list:
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Over the weekend, we happened to stumble on yet another Brazilian anti-life group which Development & Peace has been funding. However, unlike the other Brazilian groups we’ve uncovered, this particular group is associated with the National Confederation of the Bishops of Brazil. On page 98 of their 2006-2011 South American Development Program, Development and Peace lists Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) as one of their partners.
This is how their website describes their objectives and the principles they work under:
Cimi stands for Conselho Indigenista Missionário, an organization that supports the struggle of the indigenous peoples in Brazil…The objective of CIMI was defined in 1995 as follows:“Driven by our faith in the gospel of life, justice and solidarity and faced with the aggressions of the neo liberal model, we decided to intensify our support and presence with indigenous peoples, communities and organizations and intervene in Brazilian society as their allies, strengthening the process of autonomy of these people in the construction of an alternative, multiethnic, popular and democratic project.” The work of Cimi is based on the following principles: 1. Respect for indigenous diversity in its ethnic-cultural and historical plurality and the value of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples; 2. The indigenous people as prime actors and Cimi as an ally in the fight to guarantee their historical rights; 3. The choice for the indigenous cause, and the commitment with it, within a broader perspective of building a society based on democracy, justice, solidarity, multi-ethnicities and multi-cultures. Cimi believes that the indigenous people can inspire the world of today, review the meaning, the history, and social, political and economic practices within this world. (Source)
CIMI certainly has its work cut out for it given the very disturbing “controversy” which surrounds the indigenous population of Brazil. Apparently, many of these indigenous tribes practice infanticide for babies whom they find undesirable. It’s really not unlike the excuses that we hear from those “progressives” in our modern day civilization when they justify the murder of unborn children for a host of absurd reasons. Targets for termination include those who have physical disabilities; those who happen to be the wrong gender; babies born out of wedlock; and one of the unfortunate babies who happens to be conceived as a twin and must be “reduced”. It’s a kind of social eugenics which progressives have adopted to suit their own twisted ends. The only difference on this score between the progressives and these indigenous tribes is that the latter don’t have the sophistication to kill in utero, so they wait until the baby is born and then kill it. It’s therefore not at all surprising to hear, therefore, that the Brazilian government – always waiting for an opportunity to legalize abortion in that country – turns a blind eye towards this barbaric practice and tolerates it.
It is also given support by (who else!) the academic community in the country. The justification, of course, is the wonderful philosophy of cultural and moral relativism – the same relativism that then-Cardinal Ratzinger condemned in the pro eligendo summo Pontifice Mass of John Paul II, and which holds that all cultural practices are morally equivalent or justifiable. Dr. Erwin Frank, an anthropology professor at the Federal University of Roraima, Brazil, for instance, was cited in a Telegraph story a few years ago as defending the practice of infanticide saying, “This is their way of life and we should not judge them on the basis of our values. The difference between the cultures should be respected.”
In CIMI’s stated objectives cited above, their first few words are: “Driven by our faith in the gospel of life…” With such a prominent placement for “the gospel of Life”, one would think that CIMI would be at the forefront in taking every available measure to stamp out this barbarism. However, CIMI does not take this view at all. It takes the government’s approach and refuses to support action to stop the practice. Faithful lay Catholics from Brazil have also exposed the treacherous silence of this organization, and continue to lift their voices in outrage that a purportedly Catholic organization could be so complicit in this barbarism:
* Did you know that in several native Indian tribes in Brazil, newly-born children are buried alive, strangled, or simply abandoned in the jungle to die?
* Did you know that the Catholic agency charged with helping the Indians (the CIMI – Conselho Indigenista Missionário – Missionary Indian Council) agrees with the FUNAI approach to infanticide and refuses to help the Indians to abandon such practices?
The denunciations are many. The facts are easily verifiable. The truth is there for all to see. Only those choosing to blind themselves cannot (or refuse to) see. Many Indian themselves are already opposed to the killing. Nevertheless, both FUNAI and CIMI ignore them and oppose a bill that aims to stop infanticide.
And why is this Catholic Agency CIMI in favor of such a inhuman status quo? Could it be that, although they call themselves ‘Catholic’, they belong to another religion, a relativistic and neo-pagan one, which denies the revelation of Jesus Christ and replaces it by the most barbaric tribalism?
Congressman Henrique Afonso elaborated a bill [the Muwaji Law] to combat infanticide, protect the fundamental rights of Indian children as well as of other children belonging to non-traditional societies. CIMI issued a legal opinion against the bill. In a document imbued with cultural and moral relativism, CIMI affirms that the “supposed practices’ [infanticide] which the author “considers to be harmful” and against human rights, are not considered as such by many of the tribes.
They argue that what can be seen as criminal and deserving of punishment by one group may not be so by others.
Click here to read more about the documentary prepared to expose CIMI’s unwillingness to stop the practice.
In fact, a spokesperson for CIMI, while giving the obligatory “no one is in favour of infanticide”, refuses to support legislation which would curb the practice and prefers political eunachary to a just intervention to stop bald-faced murder:
Missionary Saulo Ferreira Feitosa, assistant secretary of CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Commission), sees conflict in the debate between universal ethics and a community’s morals. “Nobody is in favor of infanticide. Now, as long as cultural customs are morally accepted, they cannot be combated through intervention.” (Source)
The practice of infanticide will eventually die out on its own, according to Saulo Ferreira Feitosa, a professor of bioethics at Brasilia University and vice-president of the Catholic Indigenous Missionary Committee. “Of the 250 indigenous tribes in Brazil, we think this practice still exists in only 13,” he told AFP. “This type of problem will not be solved with punitive legislation. If that were the case we would not have a million underground abortions” in Brazil, where the procedure is illegal, he added. (Source)
Once again, we see official organs of the Church contradicting the clear magisterial teaching concerning the defense of the common good and upholding basic human rights, and cowardly remaining silent as the most barbaric action is committed on a defenseless human being. As noted above, “CIMI issued a legal opinion against the bill [prohibiting infanticide]. In a document imbued with cultural and moral relativism, CIMI affirms that the “supposed practices’ [infanticide] which the author “considers to be harmful” and against human rights, are not considered as such by many of the tribes.”
In late March, Development & Peace exposed themselves in their outlandish statement which sought to deflect the issues surrounding their partners’ pro-abortion advocacy by soft-peddling the decriminalization of abortion: “The principal advocacy issue which has spurred and fuelled the reactions of our attackers has been the issue of de-criminalization of abortion which remains a highly contentious issue in many societies.” (Source) Needle exchange programs are highly contentious too and yet their justification is the exact same as that which is used in trying to defend the status quo on abortion in the West and infanticide among these tribes. And what is that justification? It is cultural and moral relativism.
This is in stark contrast to what the Church teaches in regards to how the objective moral law must provide “appropriate penal sanction”:
The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.” (CCC, 2273):
Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law…(Humanae Vitae, 17)
Now, it must be admitted that there is indeed a moral distinction between this Development & Peace partner and the other Brazilian pro-abort partners which it has funded. In the latter cases, these groups were actively looking to decriminalize abortion. In CIMI’s case, they’re looking to maintain the status quo of infanticide to ensure their self-loathing ideology of cultural relativism is upheld. For an ostensibly Catholic organization, however, the distinction is without a difference because, what these Brazilian groups do share in common is that none of them want to see abortion or infanticide “criminalized”, and they actively make representations to that effect.
The duplicity among these so-called Catholic organizations is apparent for all to see, since not one of them would tolerate the legality of an action they believed to be an heinous crime. Does anyone really believe, for instance, that if these natives were doing massive damage to the environment, we would hear such rationales as, “The practice of infanticide environmental devastation will eventually die out on its own…” or “Now, as long as cultural customs are morally accepted, they cannot be combated through intervention.” So, what are we to conclude from this? Quite simply: these groups – and those who support them – do not view abortion or infanticide as heinous crimes. That much is obvious.
Was Development & Peace at fault for sponsoring this group like it was for the others? In so far as they have no guidelines on upholding Catholic teaching concerning the dignity of human life, the answer is in the affirmative. But, the culpability is less than it was for the other groups they sponsored, simply because CIMI is an officially sanctioned group of the National Bishops Conference of Brazil. After all, if you can’t trust another Bishops’ conference, just who can you trust?
And that is really what this whole thing is about, is it not? It doesn’t take long to scratch the surface of these corrupt church organs like Development & Peace and CIMI to find out that they are merely a symptom of a much larger problem in the Catholic Church’s leadership and its commitment to uphold Catholic teaching.
That is why it is a fair question to ask if a good portion of the bishops in the Western world are even Catholic anymore.