Caritas in Veritate, the Pope’s new social encyclical which deals with the current financial crisis in the global economy, has also touched on some points regarding the respect for human life. The Holy Father even cites Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae in this encyclical. In particular, the Holy Father calls out “non-governmental organizations who work actively to spread abortion”.
Here is the relevant text from the encyclical (emphasis in red):
28. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.
Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. In economically developed countries, legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.
Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies whichde facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.
Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, through their development and aid agency, Development & Peace, have been funding over 40 anti-family, anti-catholic groups, many of whom are working to overturn abortion laws and promote “reproductive rights” in the Global South.
It is unclear whether the bishops of Canada will stop funding groups which, as the Pope says, “work actively to spread abortion”.
As Development & Peace has already admitted, and in contradiction to the Pope’s teaching above, the question of abortion and other life issues is detached from its work of “development and peace”. Development & Peace has no policy on abortion and permits its abortion partners to advocate for the loosening of abortion laws in the Global South. It is unclear whether the bishops of Canada will acknowledge the Pope’s remark about the necessary partnership of the “development of peoples” and the respect for life. Since the release of the Winnipeg Statement 40 years ago, the dissent from Humanae Vitae among the Canadian episcopacy has been widespread, although largely silent.