Washington D.C., Aug 2, 2013 / 16:20 pm
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.