Reigning in Development & Peace: Toronto Archbishop First To Face the Facts

Below is the full text of Archbishop Collin’s letter concerning the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Lenten contributions to Development & Peace. I have added my comments where appropriate…

Statement Concerning 2009 ShareLife Allocations to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and to the Pastoral Mission Fund.  

July 23, 2009

The time has come to make the decision concerning the allocation of this year’s ShareLife funds to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and to the Pastoral Mission Fund.

For over 40 years Canadian Catholics have promoted social justice through the work of Development and Peace, which engages in social justice education work in Canada, and which supports various social justice projects in other countries. It also serves to channel emergency disaster relief to foreign lands. The Archdiocese of Toronto resolutely supports the mission of Development and Peace.

Although all of its activities are ultimately based on the call of Jesus to help those who suffer, Development and Peace does not engage in explicit works of evangelization. Because of this, in 1982 Cardinal Carter established the Pastoral Mission Fund, to assist missionary Sisters and Priests with projects directly related to evangelization.

In 2008, the Pastoral Mission Fund supported 384 projects in 28 countries: 206 in Asia, 151 in Africa, 26 in the Americas, and 1 in Oceania. To qualify for funding by the Pastoral Mission Fund, these initiatives must be endorsed in writing by the local bishops in these areas, and therefore we may have confidence that the important work that we support is being carried out by organizations whose activities are all in complete conformity with the principles of our faith. A similar process is used by Catholic Missions in Canada. 

So, in other words, the Archbishop is setting up the proper controls and protocols when the Church engages in missionary work in other countries to ensure Catholic dollars are being used in conformity with Catholic principles.  By engaging the local church in these countries, this respects the jurisdictional boundaries of the bishops of these countries as well as the principle of subsidiarity which is a core Catholic value in administration.

In the Archdiocese of Toronto, both the Pastoral Mission Fund and Development and Peace are funded through allocations from ShareLife, which was established by Archbishop Pocock in 1976 because Catholic organizations could not in conscience join together with any organization that goes against Gospel principles, specifically those related to the sanctity of life. Funds raised through ShareLife must always be used in a way that respects the principle upon which ShareLife was founded. In 2008, $1,325,000 was allocated to the Pastoral Mission Fund, and $1,125,000 to Development and Peace.

When any organization has been in operation for over 40 years, it makes good sense to undertake a thorough review of how it is fulfilling its mission, and how it is responding to current needs. In the case of Development and Peace, such a review is all the more opportune since the recent controversy regarding the way it funds organizations operating social justice projects in other countries has also surfaced some legitimate questions.

The “legitimate questions” that the Archbishop is referring to obviously relate to D&P’s funding of its pro-abortion partners.

 Even acrimonious controversy can be fruitful if, always acknowledging the good intentions of others, we make use of it to bring about improvement.

The Archbishop has acknowledged that there have been heated exchanges, but instead of trying to “cumbaya” the controversy away, he frankly acknowledges that these sorts of rancorous and caustic disagreements are sometimes necessary in order to get to the truth of the matter and “bring about improvement”.  Indeed, when one side simply refuses to acknowledge the facts and they also happen to be in a position of power, it becomes an absolute duty of the opposing side to cause conflict and acrimony.  I am very grateful for the Archbishop for having the courage to make this statement since many of his brother bishops shun conflict, even when the truth is at stake.

In order that Development and Peace may flourish, in this coming year there needs to be a comprehensive review of the organization, including its mandate, its governance and organizational structure, its policies and protocols related to the funding of projects, and the instruments of communication linking Development and Peace and the Canadian bishops. The recommendations of the delegation sent to Mexico to examine a sample of the projects of Development and Peace provide valuable insights that would be helpful in such a review.

There needs to be a whole scale reorientation of the management of Development & Peace towards sanctity of life issues, just like Caritas in Vertitate says.  Right now, I am skeptical whether the current management personnel of Development & Peace have sufficiently converted themselves to the Gospel of Life to implement this re-orientation.  40 years of this fraudulent “social justice” trash does not disappear from D&P’s “social justice” world view just because they’ve been caught.  Let’s not drink the Koolaid here, folks. And what’s worse, the management of Development & Peace is still cruising the Catholic Media circuit (most recently on Salt + Light), ignoring what Caritas in Veritate says about their detachment from pro-life concerns.

Not only is there a great need for better communication between Development & Peace and the Bishops, there needs to be a real and effective communication between the bishops and the pro-life community who pointed to the proverbial elephant in D&P’s boardroom. There’s no point to the bishops being better informed of D&P’s policies if D&P cannot be trusted in the first place!  In fact, the real scandal is the lack of co-operation between the bishops and the pro-life community in Canada.  And really, if we are honest, that’s because for the past 40 years, the bishops have been missing in action on the issue of the respect for human life.

A thorough review, if it is acted on, can be the foundation for a renewal and strengthening of Development and Peace. That is what we all want.

I’m not sure that is what we all want, but that’s what the pro-life community wants.

I would suggest two principles that should govern the way in which Development and Peace operates in funding projects in foreign lands:

1) It is not enough to examine the suitability of individual projects. The organizations that operate the projects must also be in harmony with the principles of our Catholic faith. If they are not, then there are plenty of other worthy projects that are operated by organizations which we can in good conscience support, and funding should go to them.

This recommendation effectively dismisses D&P’s phony argument that they don’t fund “organizations” but only “projects“.  In fact, they’ve already admitted that they fund their partners.  As everyone knows and as the Archbishop acknowledges above, there are plenty, PLENTY of alternative groups who would be worthy of our money and who respect Catholic principles on the sanctity of human life.  D&P and its collaborators, however, don’t want to give up the “social justice” cliques and networks that they have been funding these past 40 years.  That’s why we have heard nothing but denials.  If they were truly neutral on who they fund, they would have admitted the facts, cleaned up their act, and moved on. Instead, they foolishly dug in their heals to protect their current clientele. 

2) We must always act in concert with the local bishops who are responsible for the Church in distant lands. This is required by natural courtesy, and also by the way the Church is structured. The bishops on the scene are also the ones who can verify that organizations in their country are appropriate partners, and are not in any way supporting anything contrary to our faith. Projects which we fund need to be in some way approved by the local bishop or the bishops’ conference.


I simply refuse to believe that the majority of D&P’s funding decisions are done in consultation with the diocese where these funds are ultimately used.  It does happen in a few cases, but given the kind of groups D&P funds, it cannot be widespread.  How could they be consulting with the local diocese when the very groups they are funding, as the case of East Timor has demonstrated, are against the entire country’s Catholic bishops, or against other parts of the Church itself?  Does this not demonstrate a profound disconnect, disorder, and even arrogance of Development & Peace? That it knows better than the local Church or the country’s Catholic community on how funds can be best used for authentic development and peace?  If D&P wants to eradicate “patriarchal oppression” which the groups it funds keep clamouring against, it should first take the log out of its own eye by ceasing its “we know better” approach to the Church in the Global South. We know better to do what, precisely? Work to weaken countries’ abortion laws, sponsor groups who set up condom distribution centers and send our kids off to learn how to put condoms on a bottle? Instead of funding groups which seek to push the West’s sexual imperialism on the innocent poor, it should seek to push back the anti-life, anti-family agenda by using its funds to build up a culture of life in these countries. (Source)

This is really a brilliant move on the part of the Archbishop.  How can the Canadian bishops reject this proposal?  After all, would they appreciate other bishops meddling in the affairs of their own dioceses in the name of the Catholic Church?  I think not.  This is what we call “Checkmate” or “Game, Set, Match.”

It is vital that this coming year be one in which Development and Peace experiences profound renewal, and the depth of that renewal will determine its future.

In other words, clean up your act or fold up the tent.

For 2009, we will again be allocating $1,325,000 to the Pastoral Mission Fund. We will set aside $1,125,000, which will be available for projects of Development and Peace which are operated by organizations endorsed by local bishops. Any funds which have not been expended will be re-allocated to the Pastoral Mission Fund.

The key here, however, will depend on how the Archdiocese of Toronto accepts D&P funding allocations.  It will do us no good if D&P simply “assigns” the acceptable partners to Toronto’s contributions while they use the funds from other dioceses to keep funding their pro-abortion partners. 

Future ShareLife funding for Development and Peace will depend upon our assessment of the degree to which the issues that concern us have been resolved.

Another friendly reminder: “I’m serious. Clean it up or else.”

There can be no real conflict between zeal for social justice and zeal for the sanctity of life. Both are fundamental to the Gospel of Christ, and both must animate His disciples. They are as closely related as charity and truth, and as we seek to be faithful to our common mission as disciples we can all profit by meditating on the most recent encyclical letter of Pope Benedict, which guides us on the path ahead.

This is exactly what the Pope’s new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, says! D&P has neither acknowledged the encyclical’s strong pro-life message, nor have they acknowledged that it does indeed matter that these organizations also fund pro-abortion activities. One cannot “detach” development from the respect for life.  And yet this “detachment” between development and respect for life has been D&P’s operating principle for the past 40 years! 

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[67]. 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.


One thought on “Reigning in Development & Peace: Toronto Archbishop First To Face the Facts

  1. Thank you John for remaining faithful even though Canada is now part of Pagandom. Remember when the age of consent was 14 in Canada about a year ago and a small group of us put the names of the liberal-minded MP’s who voted to keep it low from the Liberal Party, the NDP, the Bloc, and a few of the so-called neo-conservatives on our web sites , and the age of consent is now 16. Professor Tom Landers worked very hard as well. The Bill passed by only three votes, and even though we wanted it higher it is going in the right direction because we held our politicians accountable. You also know many of our church are liberal-minded, but when we hold them accountable and publish their names on our websites good things sometimes happen. Blessings.

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