Bishop praises NGO for excluding contraception requirement from aid to the poor

.- Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Spain, praised the efficient and generous work of the organization Manos Unidas to help to the poor and needy, underscoring that the Catholic NGO, in contrast with other aid organizations, does not make acceptance of contraception a condition for helping poor countries.

The bishop made his statements in a letter supporting the 2007 campaign against hunger by Manos Unidas, an organization that grew out of the Catholic Action movement in 1960 and was officially established in 1978.

In his letter Bishop Fernandez said the “ecological disaster” of below replacement birth rates in Europe is now being imposed by some on poor countries.

“There is an effort to impose this policy, to take this path with poor countries.  There are enough resources in the world for everyone, and then some.  But, in order for everyone to have what they need, we must share and even give up some of what we have.  There are national and international organizations that make acceptance of a sweeping contraception policy a condition for aid.  We will give you humanitarian aid if you sterilize women and if you drastically (no matter how) reduce the number of births,” Bishop Fernandez stated.

On the other hand, he emphasized, “Manos Unidas has preferred to take a different approach—that suggested by Jesus Christ and by the Gospels. Moved by love, share what you have with those who have not.”

“Instead of making the table smaller so there is more for us to eat, Manos Unidas prefers to make the table bigger so that, by giving up a little bit of what is ours, we can give something to those who have nothing.”

“And this is an approach that has been very effective in 40 years of service.  In 2005 alone, Manos Unidas gave more than $57 million in aid,” he said.

Lastly, in reference to the 2007 Manos Unidas campaign, Bishop Fernandez said, “You know how to read, they don’t.  We can change that.”  “Hunger is sometimes not just for bread, but also for culture,” he noted.  “A person who knows how to read has a path forward in life and can better take care of himself,” the bishop stressed.  He encouraged everyone to participate.

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