I’m really glad the weather has been crappy in Ottawa for the last few weeks because the Development and Peace scandal is moving so fast that I haven’t had much time to get outside. The rainy days have made it easier to stay inside and report on the scandal.
It appears that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is discretely distancing itself from the whitewash report issued in June 2009 that absolved D&P from any wrongdoing. This report, which has been proven to be a fraud, had been cited ad nauseam by every man, woman and dog that opposes pro-life reforms at D&P. So the fact that the report seems to be headed towards the shredder is an amazing sign of progress.
When did this apparent turnaround happen?
It occurred just last week, on May 4, to be precise. You’ll recall that Socon or Bust reported on a Québec priest named Fr. Claude Lacaille who has launched an all out war against Archbishop Prendergast and all faithful Catholics who want D&P to be fixed. Well, Fr. Lacaille’s rants got noticed by the CCCB too. I was shocked that the CCCB issued a statement to counter Fr. Lacaille’s diatribe. The statement contains some major problems, as John pointed out here. But it also contained some good stuff.
First, there’s only one reference to the whitewash report, but the reference is actually utilized to criticize the D&P partner that got nixed by Archbishop Prendergast. Here’s the quote:
In spring 2009, a Committee of Inquiry from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) had found that the Centre PRODH was one of several Mexican groups which was “imprudent in signing a United Nations report on the human rights situation in Mexico that included orientations not in accord with Catholic teaching.” (Source)
While that sentence was indeed contained in the whitewash report, it had heretofore been consistently ignored and dismissed by the CCCB as an unimportant footnote. The emphasis had always been on how the report exonerated D&P of any wrongdoing. Now, the tables are turned. The footnote has become the key takeaway of the report while the exoneration is no longer mentioned. The CCCB goes even further in another paragraph of their statement on Fr. Lacaille:
Thus, Father Lacaille is incorrect in stating that the Centre PRODH had earlier been absolved by the CCCB [“a été lavé de tout soupçon”]. Furthermore, whatever questions or comments from one or other website or blog, the important issue for the Bishops of Canada and for Development and Peace is that the Centre PRODH does not have the full support of the local Bishop in Mexico.
So according to the new spin, the Centre PRODH had never been exonerated. Say what? Don’t forget, my friends, that this is the same CCCB that spent two years repeating that there was “no evidence” and “no foundation” to the allegations against Centre PRODH and four other Mexican partners.
There’s obviously an inconsistency and discontinuity in discourse here. This ain’t no typo. While we may not like this flip-flop-ism and we may legitimately question the motivations at work behind the scenes, we must still recognize that something big has happened here. Until May 4, every public statement by the CCCB regarding the D&P controversy would always either cite the whitewash report as proof that everything was under control at D&P or make some other reassuring statement about D&P.
The times they are a changin’.
I think two events served as catalysts for this change:
- Archbishop Prendergast’s decision on April 1 to boot the Centre PRODH out of Ottawa. This was essentially a vote of non-confidence by the good Archbishop toward the whitewash report’s claims.
- The revelation from Archbishop Martin Currie that he didn’t write the report (despite claims from the CCCB to the contrary) but that D&P actually co-authored the audit of itself. This story broke on April 21.
When you have both the alleged co-author of the report (+Currie) and a prominent Archbishop (+Prendergast) both throwing the report under the bus within the same month, the writing was on the wall for the CCCB. Neither of the two catalysts above could have happened without LifeSiteNews and the blogs. It was LSN and the blogs that provided Archbishop Prendergast with the evidence to realize that the Centre PRODH was not squeaky clean. It was LSN that interceded with Archbishop Prendergast to cancel the visit. It was LSN that interviewed Archbishop Currie and obtained a confession from him.
Yet, the CCCB statement doesn’t express any gratitude in their statement to Fr. Lacaille. Au contraire, they pulled no punches in blasting blogs and the social media for stirring the pot. They made every effort to make sure that no credit was attributed to them. They use our evidence but treat us as monsters.
Honestly, we don’t do this to gain credit. But the schizophrenic nature of the CCCB statement is troubling. It betrays the divisions among the episcopacy.
We’ve made some real progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Please keep praying and keep the pressure on.