Canadian bishops' report: Mexican aid partners ‘imprudent’ but not pro-abortion

Archbishop Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Bishops' Conference
Archbishop Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Bishops' Conference


An investigating committee with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released its report concerning allegations a CCCB-affiliated agency was supporting pro-abortion groups in Mexico concluding that the charges were unfounded but deeming the groups in question to be “imprudent.”

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) was accused of distributing funds to five organizations that support the legalization of abortion and the distribution of contraceptives in Mexico.

The CCCB’s Committee of Inquiry made a visit to Mexico in April after which it rejected the allegations that Development and Peace projects there provided financial assistance to projects related to the promotion of abortion.

However, the committee said the five organizations in question were imprudent in signing a United Nations report on human rights in Mexico that included “orientations not in accord with Catholic teaching,” the CCCB stated.

A fact-finding report issued by the committee said the United Nations report in question represented a “sum total of all the recommendations of 50 Mexican human rights organizations.”

“Each organization presented its own views without necessarily consulting the others. This is why some of them, by their signature, now appear to accept what the others had presented,” the report said. Some organizations “took advantage of this opportunity” to add “sexual and reproductive rights” to the document, hoping to “open the way to abortion” and leading to the initial allegations against the five groups.

The report also noted a 2007 legal debate in Mexico about whether to oppose imprisonment as a punishment for abortion. According to the report, some Catholic groups “claimed that to be in favor of abolishing imprisonment for abortion meant promoting abortion and not being pro-life.”

“Development and Peace does not fund projects that support or promote abortion,” the report concluded.

The committee also issued recommendations in response to the charges, asking the CCODP to be “more vigilant” in demanding information from possible partners and in ensuring “more thorough” consultations with bishops appointed to its national council. It also asked that the organization foster “good relations” between its partners and the episcopal conferences of the countries in which they are located.

The committee also advised that Development and Peace, a group founded by the Canadian Catholic bishops, be encouraged to develop a “good and sound understanding” of Catholic social doctrine.

It then endorsed a “frank and transparent dialogue” between the bishops of Canada and LifeSiteNews, the pro-life news site which reported the allegations about Mexican CCODP partners.

In a Monday statement about the inquiry, CCCB President Archbishop James Weisgerber explained that the dialogue recommendation came because the committee and the CCCB Permanent Council are “deeply concerned about the series of public allegations, accusations and denunciations that were the reason for the Committee of Inquiry to be established this past March.”

“This is an important moment in the life of the Church in Canada,” Archbishop Weisgerber said. “On behalf of my brother Bishops, I urge all Catholics, in the words of Saint Paul, not to ‘bite and devour one another,’ but ‘to restore one another in a spirit of gentleness,’ and so ‘to work for the good of all, and especially of the family of faith.'

Other allegations linger about CCODP financial involvement with pro-abortion groups in Peru, where a local archbishop has said there was “no doubt” three such groups were funded by the Canadian organization.

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