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.
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.