A major new development has emerged about the controversial former partner of Development and Peace (D&P) called Centre PRODH and its former Director Fr. Luis Arriaga. This trumps all the information we’ve spoken of during the past two years, because it comes directly from D&P itself. There’s no more point in talking about the Canadian bishops’ whitewash report from June 2009 and we can even leave aside all the evidence compiled by LifeSiteNews and Socon or Bust over the last two years on this partner. The members and employees of Development and Peace (D&P) have themselves volunteered the most damning indictment of Fr. Luis Arriaga and the Centre PRODH.
This changes everything.
Last week, the National Council of D&P (its highest governing body, equivalent to its Board of Directors) held its annual meeting. The union representing the employees of D&P presented a report summarizing their assessment of the crisis. You can read an excerpt of the report on the blog of the D&P members that are trying to block pro-life reforms to their organization. This report from the union is very important because the employees at D&P have access to lots of internal information that has been hidden from the public.
The report explains that upon arriving in Ottawa, Fr. Arriaga met with Church authorities who were seeking clarity on his position on life issues. In an effort to put an end to the controversy, the Archdiocese of Ottawa asked Fr. Arriaga to sign a statement professing his belief in the sanctity of life. Here’s how the D&P report recounts the meeting.
Now in Canada, Luis Arriaga found himself obliged to continue his defence when he was asked to sign the following declaration: “The Centre PRODH supports the cause of life from conception to natural death; the Director and staff reject any link associating the Centre with abortion rights.” Lawyer and human rights defender Luis Arriaga refused to sign such a declaration which, in his own words, is a violation of basic human rights. (Source)
The statement that Fr. Arriaga refused to sign is the most basic profession of faith in the sanctity of life. It can honestly be called a litmus test. If you don’t agree with those basics, then you definitely can’t claim to be pro-life. Notice that the statement didn’t require any heroic virtue, such as promising to publicly witness to the sanctity of life or defending the unborn against hostile lawmakers. It’s the barebones minimum of assent to Church teaching and a statement that his organization is not linked to pro-abort groups. By refusing to assent, he has inevitably chosen dissent.
Not only did he refuse to sign, but he called the declaration “a violation of basic human rights.” Imagine that: a priest who views Church teaching on the sanctity of life and the crime of abortion to be a violation of basic human rights. The implication, of course, is that he considers abortion to be a basic human right.
What more needs to be said? This nails it. There’s no ambiguity here, no possible excuses that he was just co-signing a statement with a coalition of diverse interest groups. It doesn’t get any clearer than this. Straight from his own mouth and relayed by a union that is trying to portray him the best possible light.
No wonder the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Sarah Du Broy, said the following:
“Fr. Arriaga could not promise to Archbishop Prendergast that the Centre didn’t back or didn’t support pro-abortion organizations”. (Source)
Sadly, the members of D&P didn’t bat an eyelash when they presented Fr. Arriaga’s dissent in their report. Look at how they continue the story:
By late afternoon on March 31, after trying in every possible way to the answer the charges of which he was the victim since the beginning of this campaign against him and his organization, Luis Arriaga notified Development and Peace of his decision to return to Mexico.
A few days later, the CCCB informed Development and Peace that it had received a negative letter from the office of the Archdiocese of Mexico. That letter led to the unilateral decision to cease our support to PRODH. However, neither the letter nor the attached three-page document brought any new evidence to the fore which had not already been refuted by Luis Arriaga and PRODH in 2009 and 2011.
Let me get this straight. The man refuses to profess that he’s pro-life. Worse, he calls the pro-life position a violation of human rights, implying that abortion is a human right. Yet, he was still “trying in every possible way to the answer the charges of which he was the victim?” And he thinks that some purported “evidence” from 2009 or early 2011 will somehow make the Archbishop ignore that he just told him directly to his face that he won’t assent to Church teaching on the sanctity of life?
You can’t be serious. Was he on drugs?
And the D&P employees continue to portray him as the “victim” of unfounded charges, saying that “neither the letter nor the attached three-page document brought any new evidence to the fore which had not already been refuted by Luis Arriaga and PRODH in 2009 and 2011.” Have they gone mad? He just hanged himself in front of the Archbishop and they don’t see any new evidence? What the heck is going on?
Dear reader, do you know what happened here? It’s clear these D&P members:
a) don’t have a clue about what the Church teaches on the sanctity of life and abortion; and/or
b) don’t care what the Church teaches because they have their own viewpoint.
Given what we’ve read elsewhere from D&P members, it looks like b) is the honest truth.
That’s the only way that Fr. Arriaga can make such an overt defection from Church teaching right before their very eyes and still be presented as an innocent victim and a swell guy who shouldn’t be reproached.
As I wrote above, this changes everything. It tells us volumes about who we’re dealing with and the magnitude of chasm that separates these folks from the teaching of the Magisterium. Clearly, we’ll never reach a compromise that satisfies these people.
The National Council, on the other hand, has been much more cautious in their public statements. Either they have a greater degree of assent to Church teaching or have simply done the math and realize that D&P cannot survive without parish collections. I honestly think it’s a combination of both. There’s some evidence that they may not be entirely comfortable with the radicalism of the D&P members. But that’s a topic for another day.
For now, let it be settled once and for all that Fr. Arriaga was given the opportunity to assent to the sanctity of life and to distance his Centre from all the accusations about ties to pro-abortion groups, and yet he chose to reject the offer. This definitely provides a further beating to the dead-horse CCCB whitewash report, as well as the whitewash disseminated by some Jesuits earlier this month. It also kills the statement of the bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Msgr Francois Lapierre (co-author of the CCCB’s whitewash report) who lauded the Centre’s pro-life credentials in May.
Who can you trust these days?