Bishops who withheld funds from Development and Peace pending results of a study into problematic partners will have to wait a little longer to get answers.
Though the study’s results were expected in June, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) released a statement July 18 saying the joint study it was conducting in conjunction with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) was still “ongoing.”
The CCCB confirmed in April that preliminary research had suggested that some of the partner agencies funded by Development and Peace appeared to be in conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching, particularly around the sanctity of life. Those preliminary findings prompted a dozen bishops, including Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, to announce that they would withhold the proceeds of parish collections from Development and Peace until their concerns were addressed.
That decision still stands, said Archbishop Smith.
“While the joint review of International partner organizations continues, the Archdiocese will continue to withhold that portion of donations to the Together We Serve appeal that usually goes to Development and Peace,” he said in a July 27th email message to parishes. “I am confident that the CCCB and Development and Peace officials who have undertaken this review are working diligently to address our concerns, and I look forward to the results of their study.” In 2017, the archdiocese forwarded nearly $240,000 to Development and Peace through the Together We Serve appeal.
“Some of our parishioners have been asking about participation in the upcoming annual general meeting of the Edmonton diocesan council of Development and Peace, and in the fall education campaign, Share the Journey, which focuses on Pope Francis’ call for us to create a culture of encounter with migrants and refugees in our communities,” Archbishop Smith said. “We continue to support these educational initiatives and the involvement in them by parishioners.”
Genevieve Gallant, the agency’s director of public engagement, said in an email message that “Development and Peace – Caritas Canada continues to work closely with the CCCB as we collaborate on the review process and to develop a lasting solution. We are working to ensure the exercise will be completed in time to feed into the Bishops’ plenary meetings in September, and are prioritizing improved communications throughout this process.”
Neil McCarthy, a spokesman for Cardinal Collins, said the Archdiocese of Toronto doesn’t typically release funds until the fall, “so hopefully we’ll have some additional updates by that time.” Canada’s largest diocese contributed about $800,000 to Development and Peace last year as part of its ShareLife campaign.
Gallant said Development and Peace staff across Canada are preparing a fall Caritas Internationalis campaign ‘Share the Journey’ as well as an activity report on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.
“As we continue in the review process and in our daily efforts to build solidarity, we are grateful for the support of bishops, clergy, our members and the public without whom we would not be able to serve the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters in the Global South,” Gallant said.