Most Reverend Nereo P. Odchimar, D.D.,
Bishop of Tandag
President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Tandag, 8300 Surigao del Sur
As a Catholic residing in Canada, I am writing this letter to apologize for the destructive actions being taken against your country by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, through the intermediary of their official development agency called Development and Peace.
I am aware that the bishops of the Philippines have been actively opposing the Reproductive Health Bill 5043 because of concerns that the bill would endanger children in the womb and promote contraception. May God bless you for your persistent and courageous witness to the Gospel of Life.
As you know, the Welga ng Kababaihan is a network of more than 50 non-government and people’s organizations that are actively pushing the Filipino government to implement this bill. Unfortunately, one of the prominent members of this network, the Freedom from Debt Coalition, is being funded by Development and Peace, the official development arm of the Canadian Bishops.
The leaders of Development and Peace are fully aware of the anti-Catholic actions of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, but they continue to fund this organization. Consequently, the Canadian bishops will continue to support your opponents in this crucial policy debate.
The Philippines are not the only country where Development and Peace is funding anti-Life, anti-Catholic groups. To date, a total of 44 such groups operating in about 20 countries have been identified, but the Canadian bishops have not publicly admitted the problem. It is worth remembering that the Canadian bishops publicly dissented from the teaching of Humanae Vitae on contraception in 1968 and have never retracted that position. This dissent has permeated pastoral practices in Canada for more than 40 years, including the operations of Development and Peace.
Last year, the bishops of Peru sent a strongly worded letter to the Canadian bishops asking them to cease funding such groups in their country. I would recommend that you do the same.
Once again, I apologize for the actions of the Canadian bishops. I pray that despite the efforts of the Freedom from Debt Coalition and Development and Peace, you will succeed in blocking this dangerous bill. Please be assured my prayers.
May God bless you and your country.