“Social Justice” funding and the necessity of having pro-life groups involved

Some time ago,  Socon or Bust revealed how Development & Peace was funding a group in Brazil, Conselho Indigenista Missionário or “CIMI” for short.  This particular group’s claim to notoriety is that it actively opposes the criminalization of infanticide among the indigenous population of Brazil

Missionary Saulo Ferreira Feitosa, assistant secretary of CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Commission), sees conflict in the debate between universal ethics and a community’s morals. “Nobody is in favor of infanticide. Now, as long as cultural customs are morally accepted, they cannot be combated through intervention.”  (Source)

The notable thing about this group, however, is not that Development & Peace is groovy with funding them, but that CIMI is an official group associated with the Bishops of Brazil.

In an article published by LifeSiteNews.com in April, the Archdiocese of Toronto had followed through with its pledge to restrict Development & Peace’s partner funding to only those groups approved by the bishops of the global south countries.  As Socon or Bust has pointed out in the past, however, this measure, while an improvement, does not in itself address the problems adequately since…

1) the other Canadian dioceses have not participated with Toronto, and therefore the allocation of money by one diocese does not limit Development & Peace’s ability to continue to fund pro-abort groups;


2) there is no guarantee that the funded “Catholic” groups do not tolerate the same anti-life, anti-Catholic vision as Development & Peace does.

In its April 2010 press release, ShareLife which directs a portion of Toronto’s lenten appeal to Development & Peace, stated the following:

With the cooperation of our partners at CCODP, the conditions stipulated by Archbishop Collins have now been met, ensuring that all contributions to ShareLife are used in accordance with the outlined criteria for the 2009 and 2010 campaigns. Fifteen projects were identified in developing countries for ShareLife funding and endorsements have now been received by either the President of the Episcopal Conference, the Secretary-General of the Episcopal Conference, or the local Ordinary where the project is taking place, attesting to the suitability of the partner carrying out the work. (Source)

Socon or Bust has now completed its review of the groups which the Archdiocese of Toronto has agreed to fund via Development & Peace, courtesy of LSN’s original article. The list of groups is located here. Of the 15 groups listed, while there are 5 existing ones which Development & Peace has previously funded, there are 10 new groups.  That’s good news to some extent. However, the astute reader will notice that the first group mentioned – one that is already being funded by Development & Peace – is CIMI:


CIMI, the Conselho Indigenista Missionário – training indigenous women, youth, and popular movement members

And so, sadly, we see that Socon or Bust’s prediction (and fear) which it made here has come true. 

The Archdiocese of Toronto’s funding restriction to support only groups approved by other Catholic bishops doesn’t eliminate the problem.  There are still holes in this arrangement.  There is no guarantee that funding an “official” Catholic group – even if it is associated with a National Conference of Bishops – is a guarantee that the group in question witnesses to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life.   It will certainly go a long way in addressing the issue, and for that we can be thankful.  But it’s still not enough.

Is not Development & Peace, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in Canada?  Does having such an “official status” guarantee anything at all in terms of respecting the Church’s teaching on defending human life?   No doubt that restricting funding to “official groups” of the Catholic Church will cut the funding abuse which we have seen with Development & Peace, but it will not eliminate it. In fact, the abuse can still be significant, even with this control. 

The Bishops should be seeking the opinion of Canadian and target countries’ pro-life groups to get their intelligence and input into these kind of funding decisions.  A second opinion from pro-life groups who are “on the ground” and actually know what is going on in the abortion wars would be a great way of closing up any loopholes.  It’s not as if we are asking for the moon, after all.  Just a little bit of independent investigation with the help of groups who are on the front lines in defending the unborn.

A google here…a phone call there.  A couple of hours, corroboration included.  And presto! Problem solved.

Archbishop Collins is a good man.  He was the only bishop who made a relatively bold move in addressing the funding abuses at Development & Peace.  We commend him for his stand. But the measures put in place, while good and praiseworthy, don’t stop all the pucks getting past the goalie.

14 of the 15 groups which the Archdiocese of Toronto has approved are likely in conformity with Catholic teaching.  However, the bottom line is that (at least) one of the groups the Archdiocese is funding through Development & Peace is offside in a big way. 

The opposition to criminalizing infanticide, and the cultural relativism which undergirds it, needs to be addressed with the Brazilian bishops.  We hope and pray that the Archdiocese of Toronto has the courage to do it in the immediate future. Believing the same thing on paper is not the same thing as believing it in the flesh.  We’re not in a mess in the Catholic Church because we have no problems.   We have major problems.  All that the faithful are asking for is an admission of them and a resolution to fix them in a way that will actually work

Is that so much to ask? Is it?

For our part, the lines are open: pacheco377@gmail.com.   If they’re serious and awake, we’ll see the simple recommendations listed in this blog post implemented. 


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