Msgr. Weisgerber’s D&P Interview with Salt & Light

Last Friday on June 19, Archbishop James Weisgerber, the president of the CCCB, gave an interview with Salt & Light Television (Zoom) in French where he defends Development & Peace. Below is a rough translation of the interview submitted to Socon or Bust by a viewer. As you can read by the highlighted text below, the bishops are not going to be addressing the issue in any substantive way, or taking the necessary steps to correct this massive abuse. The abuse and the blood money is going to continue to flow. Laws will be overturned in the Global South and it will be Canadian Catholic money leveraging it.

I will be providing my rebuttal to Msgr. Weisgerber’s remarks shortly.

Sadly, dear friends, we are heading for a very, very painful experience. People of Life and Family should not accept the answers given by the Archbishop. The scandal continues…

INTERVIEWER (Sebastian Lacroix): As we announced a bit earlier, we have the chance to have with us Msgr. James Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Thank you for being with us.

JW: It’s a pleasure, Sebastian.

INT: You’re the Archbishop of Winnipeg, of course, and you will always be, after the end of your mandate [as pres. Of CCCB] which comes to an end this Fall, already. Two years, it goes fast?

JW: It goes very fast…

INT: It’s good that you’re here, because we can do a summary of the year. We do it with politicians but we can also do it with the Church and with you as president. It has been a busy year. Today, we will talk about those allegations against Development and Peace, to the effect that Development and Peace has financed organizations that promote and/or obtain abortions. You have employed two bishops to perform an investigation over there [in Mexico]. They went with the president of Development and Peace, they met with the different partners. This week, your permanent council [of the CCCB] of a dozen bishops have seen the results of that investigation which will be communicated to all bishops what of those allegations against Development and Peace?

JW: It’s not public yet because we have to send it to the bishops across Canada, and that will take two or three weeks, and after that, there is a description of the visit and also the recommendations that will be on the Conference’s website, but I can assure you and the Canadian Catholic public that the delegation found that there was no foundation to these allegations. They performed an investigation that was very close [here he means an investigation that was very much on the ground] with the organizations as well as with the Conference of Bishops, and we can assure you that none of the money was spent to promote abortion, nor for support of abortion with the funds of Development and Peace, and neither by those five groups [i.e. the five groups did not spend ANY money on promoting abortion]. But those groups work with other groups [suggesting these other groups may not be morally acceptable]. But that’s important for the church because in the last forty years, the Church has desired for Christians to be involved in the world, especially with poor people, and to work with anyone. But we must really distinguish between moral values, and we could not support anyone who went against Church teaching. And we are confident that Development and Peace does not do that. But things change and we have to review all this, and Development and Peace has asked the bishops plenary to talk about this and we will come up with a new protocol to protect [Church teaching] and be sure that we are following Church teaching.

INT: The bishops took this thing very seriously.

JW: Very, very seriously. Because, in fact, what is at issue is authority in the Catholic Church. Is it websites that [are in charge?] or is it the Catholic Church?

INT: Ah, there! These allegations came from the internet. But they raise questions about the Catholic label of Development and Peace. Development and Peace is the organization for charity and social justice of the Catholic Church in Canada. Do Canadians know and feel this?

JW: Well that’s the question– who’s going to pronounce [themselves on that] or judge that? Groups on the internet that we don’t know, or bishops who are designated by the Church, by the Good Lord, to do that? We assume our responsibilities. We support this organization. It’s been forty years. We are very proud—

INT: You founded it.

JW: Yes. I’ve been a member since the beginning, and I have been very involved all these years. It’s difficult to work with others with whom we do not share the same values and there are policies, and there are ways of doing this which is very, very – how can we say this – it’s all explained by the Church — we have a theology for this. And it’s up to the bishops to issue the teaching, but it’s up to the laypeople to apply it and also the bishops.

INT: Do you think the confidence of Canadian Catholics has been affected?

JW: But–that’s a big question. Because the existence of these websites is new. And the authority that is given to these websites is the new question. But I return to the key question: who is the authority in the Catholic Church?

INT: Quite right.

JW: Yes.

INT: These allegations appeared on the English-speaking side. In your discussions without giving the details has it come to the fore that the Catholic Church on the French-speaking side is less affected by this whole story than the English side?

JW: In fact, this is one of the challenges of the Bishops Conference because there are all kinds of difficulties. There are two ways of seeing reality because it’s through the media. Therefore, to live as one Church with two cultures, two [customs?] two experiences, and the websites are mainly in English, there hasn’t been the same repercussions, but there has been the same questions. The bishops of the English side have the same concerns, and therefore we will work together. In fact, it’s maybe a good thing because the bishops of the English sector are very agitated by this, but the others do not have the same experience [difficult to understand..], and they do not have the same[?] emotion in the same sense.

INT: Which does not mean that they do not take it seriously…

JW: No, no, it will balance out the affair.


11 thoughts on “Msgr. Weisgerber’s D&P Interview with Salt & Light

  1. Interesting. Instead of waiting until another Canadian Bishop dissents from this opinion of +James’, which none will yet do because they haven’t yet seen the report, you do exactly what he says you are guilty of, and side with some reports (however compelling) over the voice of a Bishop who explicitly states the reports are wrong.

    Had you waited for another Bishop to offer his disagreement, you would have no longer played into the website v. bishops argument. Oh well…

  2. Kelly, I’m not sure I understand your point. At the prompting of a friend who past on some information to me on Brazil, I was the one who broke this story wide open after LifeSite reported on the abuses in Mexico. Therefore, it’s little late for Socon or Bust not to be known as one of the “websites” +James is referring to.

    I don’t need to wait for a Canadian Bishop to repeat back to me what I have reported to him.

    The very *reason* the bishops know what’s going on is BECAUSE of both LifeSite’s initial report and my follow up ones, and so it’s a little late to play cat and mouse games, even if I wanted to….which I don’t.

    Generally speaking, if I know something is true and should be reported, I don’t wait and ask for permission from anyone.

    Besides, it’s not the bishops vs. the websites. Its’ the bishops vs. THE EVIDENCE. Pictures, Audio, Third Party Websites, The Pro-Abort Partners Websites, etc.

  3. Yes but his argument is that it is the Bishops v. The Websites.
    To wait until another BIshop voices his dissent from +James’ views would moot +James’ argument.
    BTW, do you know of any Bishops that are going to publicly disagree with +James?

  4. Well, I doubt you will see that happen simply because everything is going to be done behind closed doors. It’s very unlikely that this is going to be brought into the open, unless some major crisis happens. It could, but it’s not likely.

    Which kind reinforces my point about the laity speaking out. If we have to wait for the bishops, we’ll wait along time.

  5. No the report should be released.
    Do you mean to tell me that if D+P is really funding abortion providers, not one Canadian Bishop will dissent from +James opinion?

  6. You folks really need to give this a rest. It was obvious that when the report came out you would turn your noses up at it.
    You represent the lunatic fringe of the Catholic Church, but that should be expected. Throughout history there has always been radical fringes of mainstream religions that have tried to move things in a misguided direction. Take a look at your medieval history, you are in good company.

    You are fools who have nothing useful to contribute to any dialogue on social justice and the Catholic Church. I guess we have to accept that all religions suffer from this. Islam has the Taliban, Catholicism has Socon and Lifesite.

    I have never seen such blindness, but I know all societies have to deal with this.

    Another thing. Who do you think you are? You have done no research and have produced one cheesy video defaming D&P. Why do you call yourselves Catholic? You don’t accept the authority of the Bishops, what authority do you accept?

    have a good day!

    Canadian Bishops clear Development and Peace of any wrongdoing
    Thursday, 25 June 2009

    Written by Michael Swan, The Catholic Register,

    The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s Mexican partners were “imprudent” when they signed a civil society submission to the United Nations on human rights, but Canada’s bishops have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Development and Peace or its partners, Archbishop James Weisgerber has declared. The report into allegations made by that Development and Peace funded Mexican groups lobbying in favour of legal abortion will include recommendations for tighter protocols on future partnerships, but those recommendations won’t be revealed until all the bishops have had a chance to read the report, said the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president.Weisgerber reversed his earlier decision not to speak about the investigation findings before all the bishops had read the report, prepared by two bishops who travelled to Mexico April 15 to 18 to speak to Development and Peace partners and to Mexican bishops. “This thing is heating up,” he said. “Before we release all the recommendations, I’m just giving an overall impression — given the fact that the group found no difficulty.”Development and Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners, said spokeswoman Wanda Potrykus. But it’s not as if it just hands money out with no strings attached, she said.“Anything we allocate money to, we have written reports that have to be submitted showing how the money was spent and whether it was spent as it was intended,” said Potrykus.The archdiocese of Toronto won’t decide whether it will release ShareLife money to Development and Peace before the report has been read by all the bishops and the CCCB has agreed on a course of action, said spokesman Neil MacCarthy. Archbishop Thomas Collins has vowed that no ShareLife money will go to Development and Peace if there is evidence it is helping fund pro-abortion advocacy.But, MacCarthy added, “We also recognize that we need to make a decision on the 2009 allocation before the end of our fiscal year, which is July 31.”“I would hope on the basis of that (report) the dioceses would give their money,” said Weisgerber. Weisgerber is urging Catholics to turn to their bishops rather than blogs and web sites when it comes to defining who or what is Catholic.“People are taking interpretations and making them fact. People are believing these facts as though they were indisputable, when clearly they are very disputable,” said Weisgerber. “They are interpretations from a political standpoint.”It is not necessary that Development and Peace work only with groups that espouse Catholic moral teaching, said Weisgerber.“It is also very clear from the direction given by Pope John XXIII and by the (Second Vatican) Council that the church is to work with other people — but not, in a sense, blindly,” he said. Weisgerber used the example of yearly Vatican contributions to UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children with which the Vatican has disagreed on contraception and abortion policy. Vatican donations are earmarked for specific programs or projects which reflect Vatican priorities.“We give money to projects, not to organizations,” he said.The bishops are seeking clarification on a letter sent from the president of the Peruvian bishops’ Commission on Family, Childhood and Life to Weisgerber. The May 28 letter from Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi claims three Development and Peace partners in Peru are “very committed with the pro-abortion movement here in Peru.”“For this to come, again from a commission to me and to be released to the public before I receive the letter — there’s an agenda at work here,” Weisgerber said. Weisgerber regrets the controversy has distracted people from the bishops’ development agency’s core purpose.“Our first responsibility … is to help poor people,” he said.The role of web sites in stirring controversy has become a challenge for bishops.“These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone — I think first of all they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they’re followed by so many people… the bishops I think take a more reasoned approach to the whole thing.”

  8. CCCB Committee of Inquiry Reports: Development and Peace cleared of suspicion
    29 June 2009
    (CCCB – Ottawa) In its report on five Mexican Non-Governmental Organizations that had received project funding from Development and Peace, the Committee of Inquiry of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has come to the conclusion the allegations are unfounded “that financial assistance by Development and Peace aided projects related to the promotion of abortion.” At the same time as recognizing that the five Mexican organizations were imprudent in signing a United Nations report on the human rights situation in Mexico that included orientations not in accord with Catholic teaching, the Committee of Inquiry has encouraged the CCCB to continue to support Development and Peace, which it had founded more than 40 years ago.

    The report was presented to the CCCB Permanent Council, which accepted it and its recommendations. Following this, a statement has been issued by CCCB President Archbishop V. James Weisgerber.

    In light of the facts uncovered in its visit to Mexico, 15 to 18 April 2009, the Committee has issued seven recommendations to ensure this situation does not happen again. Its recommendations include:

    That Development and Peace be more vigilant in demanding information from possible partners and in ensuring more thorough consultations with the Bishops appointed to its National Council;
    That Development and Peace foster good relations between its partners and the Episcopal Conferences of the countries in which they are located;
    That Development and Peace staff be encouraged to develop a good and sound understanding of the social doctrine of the Church;
    That there be a frank and transparent dialogue between LifeSiteNews and the Bishops of Canada.
    The Committee of Inquiry comprised Most Reverend Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John’s and Bishop of Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Most Reverend François Lapierre, P.M.É., Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Assisting them were Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H., CCCB General Secretary, and Msgr. Carlos Quintana Puente, C.S.S., from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he is Executive Director of its Secretariat for the Church in Latin America. Three persons from Development and Peace saw to travel arrangements and other details of the visit to Mexico, where they also helped in organizing the visit and facilitating contacts. The staff from Development and Peace were Mr. Michael Casey, Executive Director; Mr. Paul Cliche, Deputy Director of the International Programs Department; and Mr. André Charlebois, Program Officer for Latin America.

  9. LifeSite at odds with Canadian bishops’ Development and Peace report
    Tuesday, 30 June 2009

    Written by Michael Swan, The Catholic Register,

    Views : 69

    Allegations against the Canadian bishops’ development agency are a “counter-witness to that Gospel spirit that should guide all Christians,” say Bishops Martin Currie and Francois Lapierre.

    Currie and Lapierre’s inquiry into stories that accused the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace of giving money to groups which advocate for legal abortion in Mexico clears the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace of involvement in pushing for legal abortion in Mexico. Having consulted with Mexico’s bishops and interviewed five Development and Peace partners whom said were promoting legal access to abortion, the bishops “did not find any evidence that they have been implicated in promoting abortion,” said the report released publicly June 29 (see ).

    Public release of the inquiry report came one week after it was mailed to all of Canada’s Catholic bishops. editor John Henry Westen rejected the report’s conclusions.

    “They got our allegations wrong,” Weston told The Catholic Register. reports have alleged that Development and Peace partners advocated for more liberal abortion laws and greater legal access to abortion throughout Mexico.

    “It makes me wonder, really, whether they even read the LifeSite reports on this,” Westen said.

    Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey said his organization is anxious to seek reconciliation with and find closure on the issue.

    “There needs to be much more of that spirit of openness and consultation and togetherness,” said Casey. “That has been very, very lacking in this episode here. I hope we will be able to build from this.”

    But Westen sees no prospect of closure coming out of the bishop’s report, saying, “there’s a big difficulty now in terms of credibility with the bishops.”

    The archdiocese of Toronto has yet to make a decision about the 2009 ShareLife allocation to Development and Peace, but will make that decision before the July 31 end of the fiscal year, said archdiocese of Toronto director of communications Neil MacCarthy. The allocation was delayed pending the report.

    Members of the CCCB’s new committee on communications expressed anxiety about how the Development and Peace controversy has played out in the media, said CCCB communications manager Gerald Baril.

    “They’re not that happy with the way the CCCB is functioning in terms of communications,” said Baril.

    Communications has been the major problem from the Development and Peace point of view, said Casey.

    “A lot of it is a basic misunderstanding and lack of awareness of the work of Development and Peace and our role,” Casey said. “We have to be much more clear in articulating and explaining this, so that it isn’t misunderstood and distorted.”

    Under the heading “Reflections and Hopes,” Lapierre and Currie make recommendations for achieving peace on the issue. For the CCCB they recommend continued support for Development and Peace, that bishops help its staff “develop a good and sound understanding of the social doctrine of the church,” and that the bishops encourage Catholics to “continue being generous in providing humanitarian aid in the name of their Catholic faith.”

    For Development and Peace Currie and Lapierre recommend it ensure more thorough consultations with the bishops, particularly those on its board, and particularly when abortion, contraception and other moral issues are involved.

    Currie and Lapierre appeal to to “establish an open and fruitful dialogue with Canadian Catholic groups.”

    In a separate statement, CCCB president Archbishop James Weisgerber urges Catholics to support Development and Peace at “a critical moment in the life of the world.”

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