Well, it’s that time of year again when the Catholic bureaucracy in this country revs up the Share Lent machine to suck in all the donations from gullible Catholics. Yes, folks, it’s that time again for “Social Justice” where much of our hard- earned money goes to really worthy causes of poverty and disaster relief financing anti-life and anti-Catholic groups who push for reproductive “health” and gender mainstreaming.
The machine took a big hit late last year in its direction and many of their partners were not “renewed“. That we can’t deny. But none of us should be under any delusion that everything is OK. Far from it. We need to keep the pressure on, remembering that these changes were not made without intense pressure from LifeSite and the Catholic blogosphere.
As Socon or Bust predicted, the job is only partially done. There’s still a big room for improvement. In point of fact, there are still some big problems with Development & Peace.
The first problem is that Development & Peace is still on the anti-life bandwagon. Yes, you read that right, folks….they.still.haven’t.gotten.the.memo.
One of the groups that they are still funding is a group called Women for Change in Zambia. It has such an Obamian ring to it, doesn’t it? What precisely do they mean by “change”? Well, their website tells us about one of their strategic objectives:
Increased number of youths in Women for Change operational areas are organised and empowered to address gender, economic, human rights, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues.
Now folks, what do you suppose “reproductive health” means? Preventing maternal mortality, for instance? Check out what kind of associations they have and where they get their philosophy from on page 29-30 of this CEDAW document. (By the way, this is the kind of thing that CEDAW is involved in — in case that you haven’t heard of them. You’ll need to know what CEDAW is about for the second exhibit here below.)
education to health, reproductive health and community health;
And once again, we find another D&P partner participating in CEDAW conferences (page 30, no.12): Africa NGO Meeting on Realising the Potential of CEDAW and the Optional Protocol to CEDAW as a Tool for the Protection and Promotion of Women’s Human Rights.
You should also know that Women for Change is the go-to organization for references from Women on the Waves in Zambia. Who are Women on the Waves? They are a group whose sole purpose in life is to increase access to abortion throughout the world. They operate a ship to perform abortions off shore and they mail abortifacient pills to people in countries where abortion is restricted. So it’s shocking that on their Zambia page, right after they describe the legal restrictions on abortion in that country, they name Women for Change under the heading “Zambia clinics and associations”. What do you think that means?
The second problem with Development & Peace is that it’s still inviting speakers from organizations which they have (presumably) stopped funding — or maybe they haven’t – we simply don’t know. Socon or Bust readers will recall the Mexican Group, Agustine Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights. They were one of the first five groups busted in LifeSite’s original report on the D&P abortion scandal. You can read a little about them here. It just so happens that Fr. Luis Arriaga, its director, is back in Ottawa for a speaking tour Apr.2-3. Big Blue Wave has more of the details here.
The bigger problem with Development & Peace – above and beyond the actual problematic groups that it continues to fund – is the issue of transparency. LifeSite News has been trying to get them to release the names of all the groups that they fund, but they refuse to do it, citing “security concerns”. Last year after the bishops finally figured out that their very credibility was on the line, D&P said it planned “to rationalize and reduce the number of projects from nearly 250 to 130-150“. If you visit their website’s program section, however, they only list a fraction of the partners they actually fund. I estimate that there are about 100 groups whose identity has been kept secret. Just how can this outfit be considered credible when it won’t release the names of the beneficiaries of Catholic offerings? In other words, their attitude is, “Give us your money. Trust us. And don’t ask too many questions.”
If the bishops of this country were really concerned about getting the rot out of D&P, they would be conducting their own investigation into these secret groups. But we know what happened the first time they conducted an investigation, don’t we? There’s a very simple solution to this “dilemma”, of course. Development & Peace could give us the names of the groups. We would investigate and release the results of the investigation but keep the names of the groups and their countries anonymous. Then everyone is happy. No bogus security concerns will be breached, and transparency is respected. But that’s not going to happen, is it?
We have to come to the source of the problem here which is plain old trust. We can’t trust D&P because we can’t trust its management. If you can’t trust your management to have a pro-life ethic, all of the internal controls and layered bureacracy an organization puts in place will mean not much more than Juan Valdez’s rejected beans. Take it from someone who knows what he is talking about because to know such things is part of my profession. The Vatican figured this out when it changed upper management at Caritas. But for some reason, the CCCB thinks it can rely on the bureaucracy and its controls to ensure that Catholic money is not going to objectionable groups. It’s just window-dressing without getting serious about the problem. If the mitre fits, it’s time to wear it.
Once again, Socon or Bust calls on all good Catholic to abstain from donating from Development & Peace this Lent under pain of mortal sin!
They are still under the Catholic Blogosphere’s interdict and will be for many years to come.
If you want to give to a worthy charity, check out this site. Yes, I know, it’s not run by Professional Catholics and you won’t get a tax receipt either. That’s why we should support it.