Strawmen & Glasshouses

The Catholic Register ran an article yesterday on Development & Peace’s assessment of Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical on human development.  Let’s see what D&P has to say…

It’s almost as if Pope Benedict XVI had Canada and its controversies in mind as he penned the first social encyclical of the 21st century.

He sure did. That’s exactly what I thought too.  In fact, I was delighted to see how the Pope linked authentic development with a requisite respect for the dignity of the unborn, which is more than we can say for Development & Peace.  I think the encyclical’s theme of joining both development and the pro-life ethic is a deliberate attempt by the Pope to address the abuses of the national hierarchies and their development and aid agencies’ sponsorships of pro-abortion NGOs. Canada is not the only country with this sort of problem. It’s a problem in Europe as well.   I can’t say enough about the timing, though. God certainly has His ways.

By updating Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, and making an explicit link between church teaching on economic development and Pope Paul’s teaching on human sexuality, abortion and contraception — Humanae Vitae — it was as though Benedict had the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in mind, said Michael Casey.

Huh?!  I agree entirely!  It’s as if the Holy Spirit was guiding the Holy Father’s hand to remind the Canadian bishops of their duty to uphold the dignity of each human life.  Sadly, however, as the last few months have demonstrated, Development & Peace has most assuredly not done this at all. In fact, they have done the exact opposite for decades now.  Even on its face value, Development & Peace has already admitted that it has no abortion policy when confronted with the fact that their partners are pro-abortion

Why would the Holy Father even mention the unborn in an encyclical on development and aid, if it were not to draw attention to the fact that development and aid non-governmental organizations (both religious and secular) continually marry “sustainable development” and “population control” with one another? 

Hey, Mike!  You know all about how secular NGOs push their “gender equity” agenda, don’t you?  After all, at one time you worked for one of them for 14 years before coming over to D&P:

In fact, the current executive director of Development & Peace, Michael Casey, worked for one of these NGOs called the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) for 14 years before accepting his position with Development & Peace in early 2005.  The Canadian Cooperative Association has a “Gender Statement of Practice“ which would be objectionable on many levels, the most blatant being their support for “sexual and reproductive rights”.  According this Gender Statement of Practice, it list three levels of “gender equality”:

1. Women’s equal participation and empowerment in decision making processes;
2. Access to and control over the resources and benefits of co-operative development;
3. Promote and support the individual human rights of women and men, boys and girls’ including sexual and reproductive rights. (Source)

“It will certainly inform our discussions on policies and on our orientation. It will be stuff to work on over the next few months,” said Casey, executive director of Development and Peace.

I’m not exactly sure what this means. Does it mean that D&P is going to actually abide by what the Church teaches on life and family?  Will D&P’s sexual orientation change from enabling abortion activists to enabling a culture of life?  Will D&P allow Benedict’s encyclical to “inform their discussions” on life issues, or will it be more denial, obfuscation, and not-so-smooth lies about who their sexual partners are and where our money is going?

For months Development and Peace has been engulfed in controversy over whether some of its partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia have advocated for more liberal abortion laws. Casey said Caritas in Veritate is “an endorsement” of Development and Peace’s work.

Please, quit the bullkaka.  Let’s get real here.  You’re not fooling anyone, Mike.  The Pope has taken indirect aim at Development & Peace’s pro-abortion group funding practices and slammed it as hard as he could without naming names.  Let’s all get a reality check, OK?

Mike, you can’t keep repeating the claims which are clearly contradicted by the evidence.  The evidence against D&P is substantial, broad, and diverse. You have not answered one single, substantial allegation that we have made with a counter argument or contradicting evidence. Not one. You just keep beating up the same old straw man.  I do not understand how you can think repeating the same old lines will convince anyone.  This kind of tactic only works when you can keep the evidence from widespread dissemination.  It just doesn’t work in the age of the internet, Mike.  Give it up.

Furthermore, unlike Development & Peace’s objectives and policies, Caritas in Veritate EXPLICITLY links the social doctrine of development to the pro-life ethic. In fact, it actually cites the monumental pro-life encyclicals, Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae:

The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II’s Encyclical Evangelium Vitae. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that “a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.” (CV, 15)

If Caritas in Veritate is giving a strong “endorsement” of the work of Development & Peace, where is the strong link between life ethics and social ethics in the objectives and policies of Development & Peace?   They don’t have it anywhere in their literature. It is no where on their website.  They go out of there way to say that they have “no policy” on abortion.  It would be scandalous enough, if this was merely an abdication of their responsibility.  But as we all know too well, Development & Peace doesn’t merely ignore the “strong link” between “life and social ethics”, it does exactly what the encyclical condemns “by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized” in funding pro-abortion groups in the Global South. A more explicit condemnation of the funding practices of Development & Peace could hardly have been expressed. 

Furthermore, the encyclical expressly says that respect for life cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning development. Note the word “detached”. It’s very important because it becomes all the more striking when one considers that Development & Peace has indeed detached itself from the Church’s teaching on abortion and contraception since they don’t have a policy on abortion or restricting the funding to their pro-abortion groups! 

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. (CV, 28)  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 which de 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.

Furthermore, the astute reader will notice above that the encyclical makes a very simple but profound statement when it says that: OPENNESS TO LIFE IS AT THE CENTRE OF TRUE DEVELOPMENT.  Where is such a statement in D&P’s literature, and more importantly where is it reflected in their programs and activities?  How can one reconcile such a profound and life-affirming belief with the belief that “violence is forcing a girl to carry a pregnancy to term”, as one of D&P’s partners says? 



Development and Peace was established immediately after Populorum Progressio was issued in 1967, and the organization has always taken that encyclical as a founding charter.

No doubt that Populrum Progressio was the founding charter of Development & Peace.  However, since its inception, Development & Peace has eschewed and ignored Humanae Vitae which was published merely one year later in 1968. That is the very reason that Benedict has sought to combine and link these two church teachings into one document in order to remind Catholics that authentic human development cannot be separated from the respect due to the unborn, the dignity of the human person, and the beauty of the natural sexual act.   Not only has Development & Peace ignored the life ethic of the Church, it is funding groups who actively work against it.  And what is worse, when they have been outted, they deny what is before their very eyes, and it’s quite pathetic.  That’s why, today, on July 12, we’re all still the useful idiots of the abortion propaganda lobby.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber was not surprised the Pope tied Populorum Progressio to Humanae Vitae.  “The sort of liberal wing of the world always wants to deal with poverty by reducing the number of people. The church’s position has always been, reduce the poverty and then the population tends to level off. But reduce the poverty first,” said Weisgerber. Weisgerber believes the update of Populorum Progressio will help Development and Peace. “Development and Peace is committed to the integral teaching of the church. I wouldn’t want to think they’re trying to get away with anything. I’m sure they will embrace this,” he said…

“Reduce the poverty and then the population tends to level off?”  What is the rationale between reducing poverty and the population levelling off?  There are plenty of people who make a decent salary who don’t want to have just 1.5 children.  In fact, the obligation to have more children (all things being equal) becomes more pronounced if one has the means to support them.  On the other hand, for the NGOs and the abortion partners which D&P is involved with in “reducing the poverty”, their primary mandates concern population control.  The population does not tend to level off with reduced poverty unless, of course, it is accompanied by a massive abortion and contraception campaign.




One thought on “Strawmen & Glasshouses

  1. Somehow the view of the left has been to promote population control for many years. Ruth Ginsberg of the U.S. Supreme Court let her view slip just recently in an interview. Henry Kissinger, I believe is of the same view – why do you think they (media) hold him in such high respect? Population control is important because they believe that they can only have world government with a lesser world population.

    Development & Peace plays right into the above vission with its support of quasi moral teachngs of some dissident left-wing thinking theologans. It’s no wonder many Catholics are confused and even priests.

    People need to wake, up in my view, and our pastors need to preach on important topics in their homilies. People know the truth when they hear it and they follow truthful leaders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
24 ⁄ 6 =