Loading
Africa archbishop affirms support for Catholic Relief Services
By Kevin Jones
Africa archbishop affirms support for Catholic Relief Services

.- A Madagascar archbishop has distanced himself from controversial claims that Catholic Relief Services distributed contraceptive drugs and abortifacients in his country, affirming that the agency’s actions do not violate Catholic teaching.

The U.S. bishops’ conference reported Aug. 2 that Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina voiced his “strong support” for the relief agency and confirmed that CRS does not provide or facilitate access to contraceptive or abortion-causing drugs in the region.

The archbishop, who serves as president of the bishops’ conference of Madagascar, spoke by phone Friday with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, U.S. bishops’ conference president, and CRS chairman of the board Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.

According to the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop Tsarahazana said that there had been “some confusion in his archdiocese that was quickly resolved.” He said Catholic Relief Services acted according to Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion, which Catholic teaching recognizes as sinful.

The Madagascar archbishop said he would consult with other bishops in his country to confirm that such activity is not taking place.

The U.S. bishops’ inquiry comes after the D.C.-based Population Research Institute on July 26 charged that Catholic Relief Services is “using funding from American Catholics to distribute contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices in concert with some of the world’s biggest population control / family planning organizations.”

The institute contended that the agency’s cooperation with U.S. Agency for International Development contractors, particularly in the SantéNet2 project in Madagascar, has compromised its Catholic identity.

The Population Research Institute said the Catholic bishops of Madagascar came to their organization after CRS failed to address their concerns about its activities. In September 2012, the relief agency’s president and CEO Carolyn Woo visited Madagascar at the local bishops’ request.

The institute quoted Archbishop Tsarahazana and several local priests reporting that the agency was involved in promoting family planning efforts that contradicted Catholic teaching.

It reported that the archbishop had said that Catholic Relief Services, without his knowledge, was “working on an artificial contraception project here.”

“And, then, the Catholic people around here heard about it and said:  “What’s that all about?  That’s supposed to be ‘Catholic’?” he said.

The report also said that some local clergy complained that the agency failed to work with the local Catholic Church, voicing concerns that there are too few Catholics in its local staff.

John Rivera, Catholic Relief Services’ communications director, said July 30 that the relief agency was “confused” by the “strong allegations” because “we simply do not engage in such work.”

“All current CRS grants in Madagascar clearly delineate what activities CRS will implement within its programming portfolio, and artificial family planning and abortifacients are most definitely not included in any of our programming grants.”

The agency said its programs in Madagascar are involved in water and sanitation, food aid, child vaccination, nutrition and malaria prevention.

It condemned the initial Population Research Institute report as “inaccurate and misleading.”

Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said he was “delighted” that Cardinal Dolan contacted Archbishop Tsarahazana and that they were “able to talk about the problems.”

“We don’t have any quotes from the conversation, but we did learn that there was some confusion in the archdiocese. But the issue has now been resolved. So I’m delighted.”

Mosher said he would like to know how the agency resolved the problem about the alleged assistance in providing drugs and procedures that violated Catholic teaching.

He added that the Population Research Institute was able to be “an honest broker and help to bring Cardinal Dolan together with the archbishop” to resolve the controversy.

His conciliatory statements are a change in tone from the institute’s earlier report, co-authored by Mosher, which had contended that its investigation in Madagascar showed “a long-standing pattern of complicity and cooperation” in programs that violate Catholic teaching.

The report said that by cooperating with USAID, Catholic Relief Services had “in effect lost its Catholic identity” and was now “just one more secular humanitarian organization funded by USAID.”

The Population Research Institute report insinuated that CRS’ hiring of a regional manager with past employment in family planning with the United Nations’ Population Fund was intended to broadcast the Catholic agency’s seriousness in carrying out a “family planning / population control program.”

Tags: Catholic Relief Services, Africa


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: