Development and Peace scandal: taking stock after 2 years

March 11, 2009.

That was the day that LifeSiteNews did the Church a tremendous service by blowing open the Development and Peace scandal.

It’s hard to believe that two years have already passed. The Church in Canada has never been the same since.

An ever increasing number of Catholics are being made aware of the D&P scandal. A growing number are fed up with episcopal incompetence and dissent. The relationship between bishops and laity is strained, especially among the most faithful in the flock. Catholics are finally cluing in to the reality that the actions of our bishops and the teachings of the Magisterium are often at odds. Sometimes brutally so.

Things could have been vastly different.

What if the bishops had taken the reports about D&P seriously from the beginning? What if they had paid attention rather than brush them off? What if they had conducted a cooperative investigation with pro-life groups and bishops in other countries rather than a cover-up and whitewash? What if they had addressed the facts rather than shoot the messengers, even discounting the concerns of fellow bishops in another country?

What if the bishops had admitted that something was wrong at D&P, as the Vatican has done with Caritas Internationalis? What if they had rolled up their sleeves and taken concrete action from the beginning, rather than a half-hearted and neglectful lip-service to the truth?

So much strife and division could have been avoided. If the bishops had chosen to admit the truth rather than lie to our faces, the tone of the blogosphere would have been soooo different. It could have actually been a binding moment rather than an occasion of fracture.

One of the lessons of the sex-abuse scandal was that such crimes cannot be hidden indefinitely. Eventually, the truth comes out, especially in the age of the Internet. I’m not sure the bishops have yet grasped this.

Progress has certainly been made.

  • The Canadian bishops are committed to consulting bishops in foreign countries and ensuring that D&P partners “will reflect the obligation to respect life values and conformity with Church teachings.”
  • The bishops are implementing an exit strategy in case some D&P partners were found to be unworthy
  • However, so far there has been little admission of actual problems. The bishops have only conceded that  two partners posed serious concerns. Socon or Bust identified 47.
  • We’ve been told that D&P has cut funding to about half of its partners, but we don’t know which ones. It’s all secret.

So while we’ve made some progress, much remains to be done. Transparency is still lacking.

We must remain steadfast and vigilant. Continue praying and working for reforms at D&P.

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