Donations to Development and Peace withheld

Partner organizations appear to conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching, Archbishop says

After receiving the results of a review of Development and Peace partner agencies, the Archbishop of Edmonton has decided to withhold from D&P all donations made through the 2018 Together We Serve appeal.

In a letter to parishioners dated April 4, Archbishop Richard Smith described the initial results of the review as alarming. “An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” he wrote.

“For this reason, the Archdiocese of Edmonton will withhold the D&P portion of the 2018 Together We Serve donations from Development and Peace. The funds will be withheld until such time as we receive clear assurance that funds received from present and future Together We Serve collections will be used only by agencies whose mission, values and practices cohere with the teachings of the Catholic Church and with the criteria of Caritas Internationalis, of which the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the Canadian representative.”

Archbishop Richard Smith

Archbishop Smith said he was shocked to learn of the problems in a report presented to the February meeting of the 25-member Assembly of Western and Northern Canadian Catholic Bishops in Winnipeg. The bishops were told that the review of partner agencies raised questions about non-compliance with Catholic teaching in such areas as abortion, contraception, sterilization, same-sex relations and gender theory.

Romain Duguay, deputy executive director of Development and Peace, said the organization remains committed to upholding Church teaching, is cooperating with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in investigating the issues raised by the review, and aims to improve communications with the bishops.

“The Archbishop has raised serious questions and they need to be answered,” Duguay said in a telephone interview from D&P headquarters in Montreal. “We will do our due diligence to respond to them and demonstrate that we are not doing anything against the position of the Church.”

“We understand that there should have been more communication on our part. But we are confident that this process will strengthen the relationship with the bishops, and they will see that we are actually very strong about the position of the Church and all the values that the Church wants to promote.”

Duguay said the review by CCCB staff was prompted last fall by an inquiry from the Catholic Women’s League regarding a women’s health clinic in Haiti which is a D&P partner; they’d heard that the clinic director expressed support for legalized abortion. When D&P looked into the claim, they discovered it was unfounded, and they provided a letter from the local bishop expressing support for D&P’s assistance to the clinic.

Romain Duguay

Funding anything to do with abortion, contraception, or ‘reproductive rights’ is simply not on the table for Development and Peace, Duguay said.

“If we believe that an organization is doing something that is not right for us, not right for the Church, we won’t do it. There are plenty of other organizations that can do that work, but we will not do it.”

He explained that Development and Peace works with local partners because they want to empower local people and groups that are helping the poor in their own countries and working to address social justice issues. But organizations and projects may evolve over time and come to embrace values that are not in keeping with Church teaching. “If that’s the case, D&P will not work with them and will go in search of another partner.”

The latest issue underlines the importance of D&P conducting regular reviews of partner agencies and projects, he said.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Church in Canada, and one of 160 members of Caritas Internationalis. It was established by the Bishops of Canada in 1967 to foster justice and integral human development in the southern hemisphere.

Parishioners in the Archdiocese of Edmonton have been generous supporters of Development and Peace over the years, initially through the annual Share Lent Campaign and most recently through   Together We Serve, which raises funds for 11 different charities including D&P. In 2017, the Archdiocese forwarded a total of $239,670 to Development and Peace through the annual appeal.

The Archbishop said he had no choice but to withhold the 2018 donations, given the “disturbing results” of the review. Bishops and parishioners alike, he said, expect Development and Peace to honour its Catholic identity and mission in all of its activities.

Each bishop will issue his own response to the review. Duguay said “several bishops” have expressed concern. Among them are Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary and Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, who have published similar letters to their parishioners about withholding D&P donations.

“We’ve told them the same thing we are telling Archbishop Smith, that this is a natural process (of ensuring accountability) … and we are hopeful that it’s going to be resolved in a quick manner and a very strong manner.”

Archbishop Smith’s letter also assured parishioners that the Archdiocese would continue to respect the intent of their donations, and expressed gratitude for their support.

“I recognize that there are many people in the Archdiocese who give of themselves generously in support the good works of Development and Peace, whether by donation or by assisting in the organization’s educational and advocacy initiatives. I write this letter in a spirit of transparency and accountability, and promise to keep you posted on developments regarding this current issue.”

It’s not the first time such questions have been raised. In 2009, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) assigned a fact-finding delegation to Mexico to investigate allegations that five groups in that country that received project funding from D&P had demonstrated support for abortion. The Committee of Inquiry found that neither the groups nor the projects funded by D&P supported abortion, and recommended that the CCCB continue to support Development and Peace.

Given the seriousness of the questions raised, however, the Bishops established an ad hoc committee aimed at renewing the mandate of Development and Peace, ensuring that its partners maintain close ties to their local bishops, and restoring the confidence of Catholics who finance its programs with their gifts. The committee was given more weight in 2010 when it was established as a Standing Committee of the CCCB.

The Standing Committee’s mandate included ensuring that D&P is in conformity with Church teachings; receiving pertinent information from D&P on a regular basis regarding its current projects and partners; ensuring that any future cases of concern regarding D&P projects are appropriately reported and addressed; and encouraging D&P in implementing the principles of Caritas in Veritate, the 2009 encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI on Integral Human Development. Respect for life, the Pope wrote, “cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples.”

However, problems arose again in the spring of 2017, when, author of the 2009 allegations, published a series of stories alleging that D&P was funding a total of seven “anti-life and anti-family organizations” in Latin America.

At the time, Development and Peace issued a statement assuring supporters “unequivocally, that we do not support any programs related to abortion. Our actions are firmly guided by the teachings of our Catholic faith; they are the foundation upon which Development and Peace was built.”

“Our activities, and those of our partners abide by a set of key principles supported by the Bishops of Canada and are evaluated according to these principles.

“Because of the very serious nature of these accusations, however, we are in discussion with the Bishops of Canada and our Board of Directors to ensure that our programs and partners are in line with our mission and mandate.”

Dioceses across Canada have strongly supported the organization’s annual Share Lent campaign. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, $8.3 million was raised through Share Lent. Development and Peace recorded a total of $41.6 million in revenues, compared with $44.3 million in expenses, to finish the year with a $2.7-million deficit.

In most dioceses, the Share Lent campaign is conducted through a special collection. In some dioceses such as Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, Development and Peace is supported through an annual appeal that includes several other charities.

Duguay invited donors who have concerns to contact Development and Peace.

“We still want them to believe in Development and Peace, that we are very strong in our belief that we are doing the best that we can with the money they provide us, that our position is very clear and in line with the social justice teachings of the Church, that we are committed to demonstrate and communicate better what we are doing in the field, and that we hope they will continue to work with us.”

This article was updated on April 6, 2018.



16 thoughts on “Donations to Development and Peace withheld

  1. It seems to me that withholding all funds earmarked for Development and Peace is a sledgehammer knee jerk response when perhaps the Bishop could have done his homework, found out which projects, from many, are offensive, and work with CCODP to address the issues. So now all projects are affected and what happens to all of the donations? Do they go back to the parishoners who support the good works of CCODP?

  2. I cannot believe what I am reading or the position of Archbishop Richard Smith and the other bishops.

    The reason Development and Peace is under attack is because it is totally consistent with Catholic Social Teachings ever since they began. This includes the social encyclicals of St. John Paul II; those of Benedict XVI and those of Pope Francis.

    It is those who define “pro-life” as only being about anti-choice legislation; contraception and pretend our current development mode is “pro-family” … or the lived reality generated in any way is consistent with our CST who are not consistent with our actual teachings.

    That these amazing teachings are not known by our bishops never mind included in every Catholic Religious Education class from K – post graduate is thanks to the influence of the super-rich in influencing how we understand them through media outlets such as EWTN and LSN.

    Read them for yourself – they are readily available on the internet.

  3. Having been an enthusiastic supporter of Development and Peace since it’s 1967 inception, I was disillusioned to hear of the conflicting partner organizations in 2009. Since then I have redirected my donations to Samaritan’s Purse water projects.
    Kudos to the bishops and the CWL for addressing this issue. I hope that the truth will prevail and I can be convinced that our church is diligently upholding it’s values in all the agencies it funds.

  4. It is quite sad to read that the same group Life Site had brought up the same old issues with potentially more serious outcome this time.
    It appeared as if time had stood still since the iissues were brought up in 2009 giving rise to my personal suspicion that we are collectively stuck in a rut that we don’t know how to deal with.
    In a fast changing world, where myriads of human related issues are awaiting to be dealt with,to be stuck because of complaints from the same organization that had consistently opposed D&P for years, is nothing short of a tragedy.

    1. Life Site News is an Alt-right organization that prints complaints about the Pope and any real Christian activity that is taking place. To them you are either anti-gay and anti-choice or you are not a Catholic. If their supporters can’t make profits from you, be gone. It is shameful that many of our brothers and sisters take LifeSite seriously and that the Bishops are openly influenced by the Evangelical Right. I think that we should have real Catholic leadership and not try to starve poor people into submission by denying them the money collected for them. We may have to start Catholic charitable organizations independent of political elites and use the internet for financing. There would probably help available from the Vatican if we ask. There are still many Catholics who put faith ahead of business, even in Alberta.

    2. “Anti-gay” and “anti-choice”? Clearly you believe in the work that D&P has been doing.

  5. The 2009 investigation of D&P was a sham – orchestrated by the then Executive Director who let the Bishops see only what he wanted them to see. Fortunately other Bishops were not convinced by the attempted white-wash and slowly moved to achieve more control over the organization.
    The alarm was raised initially because an anti-abortion group had access (as did everyone) to D&P’s list of agencies receiving its support. Following that episode D&P stopped making public (even to its members) the list of supported agencies. Good for the CWL cracking that secrecy. Very unfortunately the Executive Director can’t tell the truth without triggering a strike by his staff. The current organization should be disbanded and a new one established with tighter control by the Bishops.

  6. Look folks. This is not rocket science, okay!

    They refuse to show their books! Got that folks?? Your donations right!!

    Now stay with me , are you still there?? They ask for your trust after all the years of failing

    the people. Will the Lord not hold all of us accountable if we continue funding this org.

    which has shown repeatedly to be in cahoots with Abortion-Contraception?

    Don’t give them a penny or listen to any stories of reform. We’ve heard it all for years.

    Time to close up shop Bishop’s. Give your money to CHALICE. They are authentic!

  7. Perhaps we should withhold judgement and action until the committee finishes their investigation and we are informed of their findings. Are D & P partners to be assumed as guilty until proven innocent?
    Development and Peace has done much to help the marginalized and yes they have fought for women’s rights in areas of being involved in decision making, in their right to education, being able to work to feed and clothe their families, as well as building peaceful relationships to better their communities.
    It is much easier to destroy the good work by a negative comments (sometimes not always accurate) than to rebuild after the comment is made public. I have no problem with D & P being accountable and in partnership with bishops reviewing partners, but let us not forget the good being done by the organization.
    I pray that people will wait to be informed before jumping to conclusions and withdrawing their support, thus impacting the already marginalized even more.

    1. 40 partner organizations under investigation is ridiculous! D&P alone is responsible for this!

  8. The bishops of Canada hired a Marxist named Clarke to establish D&P as the charity wing of the Canadian Catholic Church. Ever since, D&P has been lying to the good bishops and shovelling money to ‘partners’ of the Marxist/ Socialist ideology. All the hires in D&P, for the time Clarke was leader, were carefully selected and trained. With millions of dollars at stake and leftist objectives opposing church teachings, they adopt a policy of keeping CCCB in the dark. It worked like a charm. Guided tours in foreign countries, supposedly to audit delivery, became perk holidays. Everyone was more interested in keeping it going than in spending donated Catholic funds appropriately. 40 bad partners has to be the tip of the iceberg. D&P is corrupt from top to bottom but gets away with it because, for the bishops, it is unbelievable that D&P has been a lying socialist front for all these years.

    1. Congratulations to the Alberta bishops who stopped wasting donated funds and said no more to D&P.

  9. Talk is cheap and I feel there should be a very thorough and indepth investigation into this. These committees being set up to do this should be held accountable for the research that they do. In the meantime the Canadian Church should withhold all funds. I have discontinued supporting Development & Peace and it is going to take a very persuasive investigation to convince me to come back to the Fold. I send my own donations direct to secure and reliable people that I know will use my donation for the right purpose. It is time that the Church wakes up and investigates D & P through & through or disbands it and starts anew.

    1. Disbanding Development and Peace and starting fresh is the solution. They have a history of supporting partners that do not uphold church teachings.

      We are losing ground on abortion in the “global south” because of some of their partner organizations. We have been funding our church’s demise.

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