Just when you thought that the lame duck whitewash report on Development and Peace couldn’t get any more obscure, shrapnel starts flying.
Last month, the bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Msgr Francois Lapierre, weighed into the controversy surrounding the CCCB’s contorted report. Bishop Lapierre was one of the co-authors of the report, along with Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s.
A couple of months ago, you may recall that Archbishop Currie confessed that he hadn’t co-author the report:
Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s Newfoundland has said that a report that exonerated several pro-abortion groups funded by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) and that slammed LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), was actually written by D&P along with the then-General Secretary of the Bishops conference, Mario Paquette. Archbishop Currie, one of the two Canadian bishops who traveled to Mexico in 2009 with D&P representatives to investigate the groups in question, and whose signature appears on the official report of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), made the comments in a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.com Wednesday.
“I came back to Newfoundland and the report was being prepared at the office of Development & Peace, and I think by the CCCB by Mario Paquette,” said Archbishop Currie. “By Mario Paquette and by [D&P Executive Director] Michael Casey and them. I did not know anything about how the report was prepared. All I know, I went down there and I was a part of the delegation – LaPierre and myself.” (Source)
Well, Bishop Lapierre decided last week to relate his version of he story, while going to great efforts to not criticize Archbishop Currie. Commenting on Archbishop Currie’s story, Bishop Lapierre said “That’s not how it happened at all”:
“I worked on this report with Mgr Paquette who was the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The report was not written by Development and Peace.”
“Msgr Paquette and I wrote the report together in Montréal. Msgr Martin Currie could not be with us. Msgr Paquette sent him the text to submit it for his approval.” (Source)
Hmmm… Is this what they call an awkward moment?
Two bishops with different versions of the facts. I don’t know who to believe.
And so the drama of who wrote the report continues. This has all the makings of a whodunit. I’m guessing the Professor with the Candlestick in the Billiard Room. What about you?
Usually when a report is done properly and with due diligence, you don’t get a zillion controversies erupting like this. The only consistency surrounding this report is the never ending soap opera of doubts and confusion.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Both bishops agree on one important fact: Archbishop Currie did not co-author the report. He merely reviewed it and signed it.
Regardless of who wrote it, anybody who read the report and also saw the evidence knows that the report is a compete lie. The Cardinal of Mexico has debunked the reports conclusion regarding one specific partner, thus further shattering the crumbs of what was left of the report. The statement by Bishop Lapierre doesn’t change the fact that the contents of the report are false.
Two other problems about Bishop Lapierre’s statement
There two other important problems with this article, which was published on the website of Radio Ville-Marie. By the way, this is the same liberal radio station in Montréal that let Fr. Claude Lacaille voice some deranged statements against Archbishop Prendergast and the CCCB and which earned him a humiliating body slam from the bishops conference.
The first problem is that the article claims that the whitewash report “exonerated” the five Mexican partners. Sigh. That interpretation is so April. This is June, people. Get with the times. The latest exegesis of the flip flop lame duck report, coming directly from the CCCB itself, reads as follows:
Thus, Father Lacaille is incorrect in stating that the Centre PRODH had earlier been absolved by the CCCB [“a été lavé de tout soupçon”]. (Source)
The times they are a changin’. Radio Ville-Marie doesn’t play Bob Dylan, nor did they apparently get the memo about this new spin from the CCCB about their report. While the CCCB’s revised exegesis quoted above was issued on May 4, Radio Ville-Marie’s article is dated May 14, a full 10 days later . Somebody dropped the ball at the radio station. Funny how low-budget, unaccountable blogs are always a step ahead of the bling Catholic media.
The second problem with the article is that Bishop Lapierre insists, despite everything that we’ve seen and heard, that the Mexican groups were staunchly pro-life:
“They sought to prevent abortion and to defend life in an integral manner.”
Just to clarify, the word “integral” in my translation above doesn’t fully capture the meaning of the word “intégral” that he used. His use of “intégral” means that the partners’ defense of life was complete, exhaustive, comprehensive. In other words, they were above reproach.
Well, I’m sorry, your Grace, but that statement is not supported by the facts. “Intégral” would mean using all means available and with 100 percent dedication. That’s clearly not the case. Maybe these partners did try to persuade some women to not have abortions, as you claim. Good for them. But why then would they actively lobby against a constitutional amendment to protect life from the moment of conception? How is that consistent with an “intégral” approach to the defense of life, your Grace? Why would the head of the Centre PRODH, Fr. Arriaga, refuse to offer assurances to Archbishop Prendergast that his Centre was not supporting groups espousing abortion? Is that an “intégral” support for life?
Of course, being pro-life means more than just opposing abortion. It also includes helping the poor, fighting injustice, supporting the physically and sexually abused, consoling the afflicted, caring for the abandoned, and much more.
Even on the specific issue of abortion, an “intégral” pro-life commitment means more than just outlawing abortion. That’s why we pro-lifers launch awareness campaigns to educate people on the sanctity of life. That’s why we teach our school children that every life has value. That’s why we have founded so many crisis pregnancy centers to offer material, psychological, emotion and spiritual support to women in distressed pregnancies. That’s why we do sidewalk counselling in front of abortion mills to offer women an alternative, even at the 11th hour. That’s why we offer to adopt their children. That’s why we pray for these women every day and for the cowardly men who impregnate women and then either run away or pressure women into having an abortion.
All these aspects are very important, your Grace. But when all this fails, when an individual nonetheless decides to have an abortion, we need laws that stop the murder of the baby. In no other sphere of immoral behaviour do we leave a legal void in this manner and leave the individual conscience to reign as a supreme god. Whether it be murder, rape, theft, fraud or any other crime, we make efforts to educate and prevent crimes, but we also make them illegal in case the prevention doesn’t work. It can be no different for little babies who want nothing more than a chance to live.
Thus, whoever opposes such laws is not defending life in an “intégral” manner, your Grace. Such a person is not persuaded that life is sacred because he is willing to leave a baby’s life subject to the arbitrary decisions of a distressed individual or couple.
That’s not credible nor serious. And if you’re honest with yourself, you know it.