.- Representatives of UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization have proposed forming a âstrategic allianceâ with the Catholic Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, but without renouncing abortion, the promotion of the morning after pill, gender ideology and many other topics that contradict the teachings of the Church.
The Director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, Carlos Polo, told CNA that the proposal was made to the Justice and Solidarity Department of the Bishops' Conference for the Caribbean and Latin America (CELAM) during a meeting in Quito, March 23-27.
Polo, who participated in the meeting as part of the Peruvian bishopsâ delegation, explained, âI was very interested to hear what representatives of UNICEF and the PHO would say to members of the childrenâs and youth ministry of the different Episcopal conferences of Latin America.â
âI know many of those who were in attendance, and I knew they would be aware of the double-speak of these organizations involved in birth control and abortion around the world. In fact, various bishops, priests, religious and lay people who were there listened with bewilderment to these officials,â Polo recounted.
According to Polo, it became obvious during the course of the meeting that âit is not possible to work with organizations that actively promote an ideology that leads many away from the faith or to allow that [ideology] under the pretext of helping some children, [when] others are aborted.â
Polo requested interviews with Dr. Oscar Suriel, International Advisor for Family and Community Health at the PHO, and with Dr. Manuel Manrique Castro, who introduced himself as an official with a long career at UNICEF and now in charge of reigniting the relationship between UNICEF and the Catholic Church.
Both officials were told the interviews were for journalistic purposes and would be recorded, and both voluntarily agreed to participate, Polo said.
When asked about the PHOâs promotion of abortion by Polo, Dr. Suriel âat first completely denied his organization engaged in such activity.â However, Polo told CNA that he then âquoted from some PHO documents showing that it had been one of the political actors behind the pressure to get the Nicaraguan government to reinstate so-called âtherapeuticâ abortion.â Dr. Suriel responded to the documents presented by Polo by saying that the âPHO does support therapeutic abortion but not abortion per se.â
But Polo also pointed out that the PHO supported the law legalizing abortion in Mexico City. Dr. Suriel had âno response.â âSurielâs contradictions only increased as we discussed the issue of the morning-after pill and so-called reproductive rights,â Polo said.
During his interview with Dr. Manrique, Polo asked him about UNICEFâs involvement with abortion and âreproductive health.â âThese are small matters that do have much importance,â Manrique replied. However, Polo noted that the official website of UNICEF sells and distributes suction machines that are used to perform abortions. Manrique said he didnât believe that to be the case, and that he was aware of the accusation but that it was unfounded.
When confronted with UNICEFâs support of therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua and Mexico, Manrique replied that it was related to âcases that dealt with particular persons.â âIn a failed attempt to explain this situation,â Polo added, âhe ignored that the signature of a UNICEF official and its logo appears on public documents, as I showed him.â
âEven more incredible was his explanation about the promotion among young people of condoms for the prevention of AIDS, which UNICEF carries out. Manrique told me it was not an official position of the Catholic Church and he quoted examples of some bishops who support the use of condoms in these cases,â Polo continued. Dr. Manrique mentioned the secretary of the Bishopsâ Conference of Colombia and various Brazilian bishops, to which Polo replied: âIsnât Pope Benedict XVI, who was recently attacked for saying the contrary, the official voice of the Church? Manrique responded, âThat is what you say.ââ
After the interviews were finished and the cameras were turned off, Carlos Polo told CNA that both Manrique and Suriel âharshly criticized my questions about these issues and they urged me not to broadcast the videos. Suriel said, âYou donât know how much money will be lost if this collaboration does not take place.ââ
Commenting on these statements, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren, president of the Peruvian bishopsâ Committee on Life, Family and Childhood, said, âMany Catholics who are unaware of the anti-life policies of these international organizations deserve to have full knowledge of their ideology and concrete actions and how they are totally incompatible with the doctrine and ministry of the Church.â
âUNICEF and the PHO donât seem to understand that we are apostles and not mere social workers. We also convey the Lord of Life in every social work we do. If we cease to be apostles, the loss for the Church in terms of her identity would be incalculable. Jesus referred to this when he said if salt loses its flavor, it is only good to be trampled underfoot. So as far as we are concerned, they can keep their money. We will keep our Faith and our commitment to human dignity,â the archbishop said.