By John-Henry Westen
TORONTO, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a two-page statement issued today, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has released his long-awaited decision regarding funding of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P). For 2009, says the statement, “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.” The measure will serve to clear up the problems with such funding since none of the pro-abortion groups funded by D&P are known to be endorsed by their local bishops in the developing world.
After LifeSiteNews.com broke the story regarding evidence of D&P funding pro-abortion groups throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa, Archbishop Collins was the first bishop in the country to announce he was withholding funding pending investigation. “Development & Peace has not as yet received its funding from ShareLife for 2009. Be assured I will not allow any money raised in the Archdiocese of Toronto to be used for pro-abortion activities or organizations,” he said at the time.
In the current statement, Archbishop Collins also calls for a “thorough review” of D&P. “(I)n 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 significance of the decision is heightened by the fact that the Archdiocese of Toronto, the largest in Canada, provides over one million of the annual ten million dollars D&P receives from dioceses. Given the numerous groups funded by D&P which are not approved by local bishops, the Toronto Archdiocese funds may not be used up. In such a case, the statement notes that the Archdiocese will re-allocate the portion left over.
While the leadership of D&P have accused LifeSiteNews.com of malicious attack, and even selfish motives in exposing the matter, the Toronto archbishop notes that the controversy has raised “legitimate questions.” He adds: “Even acrimonious controversy can be fruitful if, always acknowledging the good intentions of others, we make use of it to bring about improvement.”
In conclusion, Archbishop Collins indicates that future funding for D&P will be contingent on reform of the organization. “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,” he said. “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.”
LifeSiteNews called the archdiocese of Toronto for comment and was advised that that Archbishop Collins will not be giving interviews on this matter.
See the full statement from the Archdiocese here: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009_docs/dpstatementjuly2309.pdf
See the comprehensive LifeSiteNews Feature Page Development and Peace Funding of Pro-Abortion Groups 2009
We are vindicated.
Short of pulling out completely, I don’t think we could have expected a more resounding rebuke and correction of Development & Peace from Archbishop Collins.
This is a significant victory, but I do have a one rather substantial reservation.
But first the good news….
#1 – The Toronto Archdiocese accounts for over 10% of the entire Church’s contribution to D&P. That’s a large portion.
#2 – Other dioceses will now follow suit and demand the same concessions.
#3 – The move forces D&P to consult with the local bishops which is something that Socon or Bust has been insisting on since this whole scandal broke. It’s incredibly arrogant to be funding groups in the Global South without the local Ordinary’s knowledge. It becomes unconscionable when they also happen to be pro-abortion and anti-Catholic.
#4 – The Archbishop has called for a “thorough review” of the entire organization, its policies, and its mandate. He even goes so far as to emphasize and imply that if deep renewal is not achieved, the future of Development & Peace is in jeopardy. The Archbishop’s judgement completely vindicates LifeSiteNews and Socon or Bust’s reporting of the D&P abortion scandal. It also sends out a strong message to those church bureacrats and clerics who have been blindly defending Development & Peace despite the overwhelming evidence of wrong-doing.
#5 – This is probably the sweetest part of the letter: “Even acrimonious controversy can be fruitful if, always acknowledging the good intentions of others, we make use of it to bring about improvement.” In other words, if you have to vigorously challenge and upset people, even priests and bishops, with accusations, it’s not a bad thing, provided it’s done with civility and it’s true. It’s also a good thing to state one’s opinion forcefully and with vigour, provided it is reasonable and done in a civil tone. For too long, Catholic lay people have given TOO MUCH deference to church bureaucrats, priests, and bishops. This has been a very big mistake. It’s a disorder; it’s unbalanced; and it needs to be corrected. Socon or Bust is proud to have been part of that correction thusfar.
“It is the hallmark of the truth to be worth suffering for. In the deepest sense of the word, the evangelist must also be a martyr. If he is unwilling to be so, he should not lay his hand to the plow.” … Bishops also had “to be ready to learn and to accept correction. [Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1989, cited in The Courage to be Catholic (George Weigel)]
My only reservation
The only reservation I have about this solution is that unless a significant number of dioceses follow Toronto’s lead, the Archbishop’s provision will not make any real difference. Since all of the money collected by D&P from the dioceses goes into one pot, it is possible that the Archdiocese of Toronto has effectively vetoed any fund distribution to any pro-abortion partner. The Archdiocese of Toronto may not need the support of any other diocese to effect this change. However, there might be a downside to this, depending on how this funding arrangement is implemented.
Let us say, for example, that of D&P’s 300 partners, 100 of them were found to be either explicitly pro-abortion or held other anti-family, anti-Catholic beliefs. This means that even if 2/3 of the dioceses insisted on not funding these partners, D&P could “assign” their funds to the 200 legitimate partners , while keeping the remaining 100 anti-family partners by “assigning” their funding to the remaining 1/3 of the dioceses who had no funding objections.
The problem here is the fungibility of money. So, once again, the devil is in the details. We need to know how the Archdiocese of Toronto is going to ensure that the money they send is not going to be used to prop up D&P’s other unsavory activities in the same way that D&P’s “project” funding is used with their pro-abortion partners.
The greater number of dioceses that follow Toronto’s lead will be the extent to which the funding to pro-abortion groups in the Global South can be squeezed out.
Still, all in all, the momentum is going our way. This could be the beginning of the end for the “social justice” revolution in the Catholic Church.
Only time will tell.