31 March 2009

Priests for Life on D&P

Today, Fr. Thomas Lynch, the Director of Priests for Life released a press release on the Development and Peace situation titled "To whom much is given much will be demanded." Read the story here. In the letter, Fr. Lynch commended the Bishops who've called for a full investigation of D&P, and asked all the Canadian Bishops to do the same. His final words need to be carefully considered by everyone following this story:

"The development work of the Catholic Church is an integral part of our constant teaching and call. The furtherance of this work in full and uncompromising accord with well known and immutable Catholic principles of social justice for all - especially the pre-born, defenseless and vulnerable - is essential."

Let's keep praying for a good end to this situation, and for our bishops and priests to continue to stand up for life always.

More allegations against D&P Partners

Lifesite has found two more D&P partners that allegedly support abortion. See the story here. The groups are Kay Fanm and Fanm Deside, both located in Haiti. These two new allegations bring the total number of partners allegedly involved in abortion to 12 in 6 different countries. I would like to be shocked by this, but I am finding that I just expect new allegations to be made every day. The evidence against these two parties is as compelling as the evidence against the rest.

Lifesite has also published a good summary of all the allegations to date in a new editorial found here. The final point at the end of the editorial is that the time has come for the CCCB to launch an independent investigation into D&P's partners before any more money goes to them. I hope the CCCB takes that suggestion to heart.

Each new allegation is simply confirming the feeling I've had since this story broke- there is something rotten in the Development and Peace organization. I want to believe that D&P is unaware of these groups practice of supporting abortion and contraception, but I'm starting to wonder if they actually knew about these connections and have failed to do their job of ensuring that Catholic teachings are followed. I know there are many Catholics who do not follow the Church's teaching, but I really hope that an organization as intimately connected to the CCCB would not fall into that category. Each new revelation makes me question this however.

All I can say is keep writing your bishops and priests, and keep the pressure on D&P to do a thorough investigation and not simply brush this all under the rug. I'm presently trying to compose my own new response to D&P. Once I send it, I will post it here, and if I get a response, I will post that here too.

Let's keep praying for this organization, and God's will will be done.

It has also come to my attention that some of you are interested in commenting/passing things along to me that you are not comfortable sharing in the very public comment box. As a result, I've created an e-mail account you can send messages to: catholiclawstudent@gmail.com

30 March 2009

D&P Responds, More Allegations

It was a busy weekend in the D&P story. I'm going to list off and link the developments first, and then comment.


  1. On Thursday, Lifesite reported that its continuing investigations of D&P had turned up partners in Africa that advocate abortion and contraception. See story here. The partners are Women
    Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (Nigeria), Coalition Nationale des Femmes - Droits et Citoyenneté (Guinea) and Forces en action pour le mieux-être de la mère et de l'enfant (Togo).

  2. On Friday, Lifesite reported that it had uncovered two D&P partners in Brazil who support abortion. See the story here. The partners are Rural Women's Movement and Federation of Organs for Social and Educational Assistance.

  3. Two more Canadian Bishops, Archbishop Miller of Vancouver and Archbishop O'Brien of Kingston, announced that their diocese will investigate D&P's partners before turning over any money to them. See the story here.

  4. On Friday, D&P's new President, Pat Hogan, published this response to the original allegations against the Mexican partners. In it D&P agrees to "temporarily suspend funding to all five Mexican partners."

  5. I finally received a response on Friday to my questions. Sort of. I asked five distinct questions, and the response was a form letter giving me the link to the above mentioned response. Mr. Hogan's entire response to me was this:

    "Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing your concerns with me.
    I am writing to you today as the new President of Development and Peace to share some reflections on the events of the last two weeks. It has been alleged on some internet sites recently that Development and Peace has been funding pro-abortion groups in Mexico. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
    Please read my latest statement about these events at the following link: http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/pressroom/2009/comm2009-03-26-eng.html
    Yours in Christ,
    Pat Hogan
    President of National Council
    Development and Peace"

  6. According to both the National Catholic Registrar and Lifesite, D&P has refused to respond to allegations that some of its Bolivian partners also support abortion. The Registrar sent a series of questions to D&P and was told by D&P's communication manager Eleanore Fournier-Tombs that, "We don't have anything to add on the article that was published about Bolivia." Interestingly, the CCCB has also refused to respond to these allegations stating they do not have the information to answer the questions.

So, to summarize, another 5 of D&P's 200 partners have been accused of promoting abortion. Two of the groups even define abortion as a "right" on their websites. Two more Canadian Bishops have declared that these allegations are serious enough to require an investigation. D&P has finally made a response that takes the allegations seriously and is attempting to deal with them. D&P has failed to address any of the new allegations.


Wow. I am still shocked by how large this story is getting, and shocked by D&P's inability or unwillingness to take this story seriously.

I am impressed by the (now) four bishops who've taken action and are launching an investigation into D&P. That's all I've been asking the bishops to do. As shepherds of their flock, it is their duty to ensure that the time, talent and treasure of their flock is used in accordance with the teachings of the Church.

I am disheartened by D&P's response. In many ways, to me at least, it seems like too little too late. This story first broke on 13 March 2009. It took D&P two weeks to respond with anything but denials. Only now (I'm assuming because bishops are asking questions and the flow of money has slowed) are they actually doing anything to investigate these partners. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they are doing it, but shouldn't these investigations have been something they did before partnering with these groups in the first place?

And, if they actually take this seriously, why are they not commenting on the other allegations made? I know it takes time to identify the appropriate course of action, but then they should respond with "we are looking into this" not "we have anything to say."

Also, why the scurrilous attacks against the people who've brought this story to light? Why is the national president responding to inquiries by concerned Catholics saying "alleged on some internet sites recently" and not noting who is making the allegations? Lifesite is much more than an internet source- it has credible journalists who back up their stories with facts. They aren't just bloggers who can get away with saying anything they want.

To be quite honest, I am disappointed that they responded to my e-mail with a form letter that didn't address the questions I asked (I posted those questions on a previous post.) The link the president gave me didn't answer my questions, which were about the process D&P uses to select partners. I know I don't have a lot of money to make donations with, but one day I might, and anyway, the size of the donation should not impact the quality of the response given.

I hope D&P follows through with its commitments to investigate all its partners. I hope they are willing to do a proper, unbiased investigation, because the evidence Lifesite has gathered is compelling to say the least. I also hope they agree to investigate the other partners allegations have been made against. In light of this whole situation, I think the entire D&P council needs to open investigations into all their partners, and make some changes to how they decide who they will partner with. In short, I think D&P needs to do some major spring cleaning before we, as Catholics, can support them again.

As always, feel free to comment, and I will let you know more as soon as it develops.

Oh, and in response to questions about where else to donate money instead of D&P, Lifesite has compiled a list of pro-life groups working in the developing world. You can see the list here.

25 March 2009

D&P and Diocese of Peterborough

Bishop De Angelis of the Diocese of Peterborough announced in a letter to his diocese today that D&P will not receive any funding until from his diocese until a thorough investigation into the allegations of supporting abortion is conducted. See story here.

In making this move, Bishop De Angelis joins with Archbishop Collins of Toronto. Neither bishop is denying funds to D&P, they are just refusing to release any funds until someone gets to the bottom of this story.

I want to commend both bishops for taking such a strong stand for the unborn, and I hope that other bishops will do the same. When you write to your bishop about this topic, mention that other bishops are refusing to give funds to D&P until this is investigated and ask them why they aren't doing the same thing.

The Share Lent collection goes this weekend, so we need to make sure our priests and bishops are aware, and thinking about this issue before they permit the collection to be taken.

In Defence of Lifesite

Based on responses I've been hearing from friends, family and some strangers, I feel a need to defend Lifesite. Before I do that, I want to link to the editorial Steve Jalsevac and John-Henry Westen, the managing director and editor-in-chief of Lifesite respectively, published yesterday on the D&P saga. You can read it here.

I don't blame them for publishing the editorial, and I think they do a good job of reiterating their position. I have to compliment them on their reasonableness and charity in their frank discussion of the events of the past 10 days. (I know if it was me, I'd be hard pressed to not be snarky and sarcastic.)

I think the line that made me saddest and proudest of Lifesite is this one from the very bottom of the article "The Development and Peace response has caused many, especially persons who are not regular readers of LSN, to question the credibility of LifeSiteNews.com. That has forced us to continue to provide additional evidence of the facts until the facts overwhelm, which we are committed to doing in the coming days."

First, I think its sad that people would rather assume Lifesite is not credible than really look into the allegations against D&P. I have been following Lifesite news for the last year and I find them to be an invaluable resource in learning about what is going on in the world because the mainstream media rarely delves deeply into life issues. Every time I have done external research to their reports, I have found their reports to be accurate and credible. In some cases, I find that they have actually pulled punches that I would have landed much harder. (Again, its that charity thing I struggle with :) They do good work, and for anyone who isn't familiar with their work, stay with them.

Second, I am proud of them. It is when people are tested that we see their true colors come out. I can imagine that the feedback they are receiving right now is not always pleasant. And yet, they have not stooped to the level of ad hominum attacks or lashed out with angry, hurtful comments. Instead, they've made a commitment to investigate this issue until "the facts overwhelm." That's true journalism. They want you to be convinced, because of the facts, not because they say it.

In many ways its the opposite of what D&P has been doing. D&P tells you their position, but gives no explanation for it. Lifesite on the other hand cites and backs up all the statements they make. Who is the most believable? I think you all know my position.

I'm also waiting with great interest to see what they have to say about further allegations against D&P partners. I don't think this story is over, not by a long shot.

Please pray for everyone involved in this process- D&P, Lifesite, D&P's partners, the bishops, the laity who contribute, and watch and wait. The truth will come out. I can only hope we will all act on that truth.

24 March 2009

Luxembourg Becomes 3rd Country to Legalize Euthanasia

You may remember that last year I blogged about the euthanasia situation in Luxembourg. (See posts here.) The Parliament passed the bill, but because Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy, it needed the royal assent of Grand Duke Ferdinand. The Grand Duke refused to sign the bill because he finds euthanasia morally wrong.

The only thing for the Parliament to do was change the constitution so it no longer needed the Grand Duke's assent. That is what they did. And now, as a result, euthanasia is legal in Luxembourg. (See story here.)

As I did before, I want to express my admiration for the Grand Duke. He is living his faith the way all politicians and leaders should- that is, he is following it, no matter what it means. He is now just a figurehead in his country, but his courage in standing up against this atrocity must be commended. If the world only had more leaders like him, life would be a lot different.

And I just want to note that Europe is setting a scary example for the rest of the world. In the US, Washington and Oregon only went so far as to legalize assisted suicide (which is bad enough) but the European countries are skipping that minor step and jumping right to full fledged euthanasia! Although, maybe that is better- none of this , well its only for the terminally ill junk we get in North America, when we all know it really isn't limited to that. In Europe, they aren't limiting themselves at all- it's just full steam ahead on the Good Ship Death. (taking snarky hat off now)

I pray God blesses you, Grand Duke (sorry I don't know the proper form of address) and that other leaders will take courage from you position and also stand by their convictions. We all need to pray hard people, pray hard!

Update: Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has a great post on the Grand Duke here.

D&P's Partners and the Mexico City Policy

Lifesite has released another well documented article on further actions taken by D&P's Mexican partners (2 of the same partners from the first e-mail) regarding abortion. Read it here.

As this story seems to show no sign of ending because D&P is exhibiting no willingness to respond or take action to investigate (I still have no response to my e-mail of a week ago) I am going to encourage everyone to write their bishop and ask him to take action.

Mention to them that you've read the CCCB's response (linked to in the previous post) but that you don't think it takes the allegations seriously enough. Also mention that Archbishop Collins of Toronto is taking steps to investigate the allegations, and ask them what they are doing. I'm hoping that if the Bishop's hear enough about this, they will take action, and hopefully their action will convince D&P to end their partnerships, because at least one of these abortion supporting partners will remain a partner until 2011.

The contact information for every bishop in Canada can be found here. My Bishop (Legatt of Saskatoon) has indicated he is going with what the CCCB says, so I ask all members of the Saskatoon diocese to flood his office. I've also heard rumors that my other Bishop (Henry of Calgary) is doing nothing. (Once I can substantiate these rumors I will- at that point please flood his office as well.) And for those of you fortunate enough to be in Archbishop Collins diocese, please write him letters of support.

If your bishop has taken a stand (one way or the other) please comment in this post so we all know where our Bishops stand. If you don't know what to say, or how to give the bishop's the evidence, feel free to take anything off of this site that you think is valuable. I have permissions from everyone who's contributed to share their thoughts, and as long as you provide the links to Lifesite, Catholic Registrar and Development and Peace, they can have no copyright issues with you.

The Share Lent campaign is picking up steam, and do not want any children aborted because of money from Catholics in Canada, however indirect the connection might be.

20 March 2009

Development and Peace Responds

At some point today, the CCCB released a response to the D&P issue. I received this statement, along with 2 others to my email as a pdf. It was forwarded to me by a friend who had asked his Bishop about the allegations. Lifesite has published a copy of the CCCB's letter, so I'm linking to it. It is the exact same letter as the one I received via e-mail. The link is here. D&P also published the same letter. If you want to see it on their website, it can be found here.

The other 2 letters I received are from D&P themselves. One is a letter, a summary of which is found on their website, explaining D&P's position. The link is here. The other letter is a description by D&P of their partners in Mexico. I can't find the same letter online, so I have cut and paste it at the end of this post.

Lifesite has now published the interview that led to their first story. It can be found here.

Lifesite has also published the response of several other Catholic organizations to the allegation. The link is here.

They have also published the response of a pro-life leader in Mexico who has first hand experience of these groups. It can be found here.

In many ways this case seems like a he said/she said case in court. Neither side agrees on what is going on. Lifesite has direct testimony from a D&P employee stating that D&P works with groups involved in abortion. D&P's president has denied that and claimed that those partners don't support abortion but instead signed their name to a document dealing with abortion but don't support it.

To be quite honest, I'm not sure what to think, so I'm going to try to break it down by treating it like a legal case (because thats what I've been trained to do). That means looking at the allegations and evidence offered to support or deny them.

Facts and Evidence

1) Lifesite raised the issue. In a civil case (which is what this would be) that places the burden on proof on them to prove on the balance of probabilities that their allegations are true. The civil standard of balance of probabilities means 51%, it does not mean beyond a reasonable doubt.

2) Lifesite in it's first article raised a prima facie case. That means there was enough evidence in the article to establish the allegations. Lifesite had the transcript from Brunelli stating that some of D&P's partners were involved in abortion. Lifesite cited all their claims, and gave evidence showing that a) money went to specific organizations and b) those organizations support abortion in some way.

3) D&P has responded by denying these partners are involved in abortoin supporting activities. As evidence of their assertion, they offer the description of each of their partners found at the bottom of this e-mail.

4) The CCCB has spoken and said that D&P follows the church's teaching on life. They offer no evidence beyond their statement.

5) Mexican pro-life groups (who deal with these partners regularily) have stated they promote abortion. The only evidence offered is their testimony.

6) Catholic pro-life groups have stated that D&P should no longer be funded because of these activities. They offer no evidence to back up their claims and seem to be relying on Lifesites coverage.

7) D&P has been further accused by the National Catholic Registrar of funding pro-abortion groups in Bolivia. The evidence offered is the description of the group on its website, and links to the funding they have recieved from D&P.


The testimony offered by the Mexican pro-life leader is unsubstantiated. I cannot properly consider it to draw my conclusion.

The testimony of Catholic pro-life groups is hearsay and cannot be properly considered as they do not seem to have done any research themselves, but are relying on the Lifesite article.

The CCCB's statement is a wordy statement that says almost nothing about the allegations. It states D&P follows the teachings on the sanctity of life. They offer no proof, so their statement has little weight.

The Lifesite and Catholic Registrar report are properly cited. You can follow the links (as my friend Robin did) to learn more about the groups in question and their activities.

D&P response offers no citations or proof to back up their response.


As stated at the beginning, because Lifesite made the allegations, they are required to show on the balance of probablities that their allegations are true. Once they have done that, D&P merely needs to show that they have a plausible, alternate scenario supported by the facts and evidence to refute the allegations.

I think Lifesite has done a good job in establishing the facts supporting their allegations. D&P has not addressed these in any substantial manner. Their response has simply been a denial. Their alternate theory is not supported by any citations or evidence, and is directly contradicted by Lifesite's properly cited evidence.

In my opinion, on these facts, Lifesite has met the burden of proof to show D&P partners with groups who support abortion. The conversation with Brunelli is very revealing, especially this statement: "For us, the criterion is not pro-life or pro-abortion, it is 'do the piece of work that they propose to us is something we want to support and something within our parameters?" If it is yes, we support them and if not, we don't."

In my mind, I think it is likely that D&P has partners who support abortion. That means D&P supports abortion indirectly and I cannot in good conscience support them without supporting abortion myself. Until D&P pulls its support from these organizations (which it does not intend to do, based on its statements) I cannot and will not give funds to them. I will also tell others they should not donate as well.

If other evidence comes to light, I am more than willing to revisit the issue, but I am very dissapointed with D&P's response. I have never received a response to my e-mail, and their denials do not show them taking this issue seriously. They do not cite any sources they give and seem to expect us to believe them just because they say so. These are serious allegations and need to be addressed properly. D&P has failed to do this and should not be supported.

Feel free to comment in the comment box- I am open to being convinced that I am wrong, but based on the evidence, I don't see any other option. If you would like me to send you the originals of any of the 3 documents, just leave me a message stating so and I will e-mail them to you.

D&P's description of its Mexican partners is here:


Commitment to human rights has always been and remains an important focus for DEVELOPMENT ANDPEACE. Our work is devoted to social justice in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, promoting a globalculture of peace and justice based on our profound belief in the sacredness of all life and the dignity ofthe human person. As a Catholic organization, we are in full communion with the Catholic Church inCanada and the Bishops of Canada on all moral and ethical issues governed by the teachings of theCatholic Church.

Human rights are an important and topical issue in Mexico in every sense of the term. Mexico is
periodically reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (based in Geneva), most recently inFebruary 2009. Official government institutions as well as civil society organizations (NGOs) areconsulted in this process.Our partners and some grassroots Catholic groups who are not partners of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (religious orders, parishes and Catholic laity) also participate in these national consultations, with a widevariety of other groups who report on human rights issues in their respective sectors.

The Report of Organizations of Civil Society on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights inMexico is the summary input of all of these various submissions into the final UN document Report ofthe Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review ‐ Mexico, which is then reviewed at the UnitedNations and with the Government of Mexico.It is this Report of Organizations of Civil Society on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights
in Mexico that is cited in the article recently posted on a pro‐life Website, alleging that five of our
partners in Mexico (out of 11) are actively promoting abortion. A brief profile of these partners follows.

1. Red “Todos los derechos para todas y todos” (“All Rights for Everyone” Network)

A social network of 54 organizations—including many Catholic organizations and the Justice, Peace andLife Commission sponsored by religious organizations—that works for human rights throughout Mexico. D&P funding is institutional, to help the network structure civil society, and organize meetings andtraining courses. The organization participates in the periodic review of human rights in Mexicoconducted under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Network’s areas of workare: human rights for women; the collective rights of indigenous peoples; economic, social, cultural and environmental rights; security and administration of justice; working with formal structures of human rights; and the protection and training of “defenders” of human rights. The organization takes positions on women's rights. Their work is well respected both in Mexico and internationally.

2. RMALC (Mexican Action Network on Free Trade)

As its name indicates, this network of NGOs was founded in response to the Free Trade Agreement ofthe Americas (FTAA) and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The issues they address concern the impact of free trade (and its current rules) on the poor and workers. Like many other Mexican civil society organizations (105), they signed the document submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in the context of the periodic review of human rights in Mexico.

3. Center PRODH (Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center)

An organization founded by the Jesuits to promote human rights, participation and social justice.
Development and Peace provides them with institutional support, particularly to increase their
capacities to defend victims of human rights violations. For example, a member of their staff was
assassinated, and they worked with our Education Department to bring the perpetrators to justice. The recognition of the seriousness and quality of their work is great: they have consultative status with the UN’s ECOSOC and are accredited as observers to the Organization of American States. They receive funding from several Catholic organizations, including the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops and several Caritas organizations in Europe.

4. CENCO (National Centre for Social Communication)

Founded in 1964 by the Mexican Catholic bishops and independent since 1969, CENCOS maintains links with the Church. Its area of activity is civil communication, community radio, freedom of speech and press, etc. CENCOS develops communication tools to assist in the development of democracy, justice, equality and human dignity in Mexico. CENCOS receives funding from, among other sources, the World Association of Christian Communication.

5. CIEPAC (Centre for Economic and Policy Research and Community Action)

A group based in Chiapas that focuses on developing more just economic and social models and respect for human rights, particularly for the indigenous peoples and farmers of Chiapas. They work in research and education. We have worked with CIEPAC in our campaigns on water and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our funding provides core institutional support.

In all these cases, the organizations supported by DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE do not advocate or promote legalizing abortion. They work in many diverse areas of social justice according to their mandate and, on the occasion of the periodic UN human rights review, they participate in major national coalitions—along with many Catholic and non‐Catholic organizations—who advocate that human rights berespected in Mexico.

(Note- The last 9 paragraphs of this post are not mine; they are the text of D&P's description of their Mexican partners. I have included the full text here because I could not find an online source to link to. They in no way represent my position, which can be found at the top of this post)

19 March 2009

Another Abortion Partner with Development and Peace

In what seems to be an ever deepening tide of evidence, the National Catholic Register is now reporting that Development and Peace has partnered with a pro-abortion group in Bolivia. Read the story here.

The group, CEPROSI, is called a "feminist woman's health NGO" and acording to sources cited in the article has been one of the most "militant and radical" groups attempting to lobby the Bolivian government to pass pro-abortions laws.

My thoughts on D&P are clear in the earlier posts on the subject, so I'm not going to repeat them or editorialize in this post. I'm just passing along this story.

18 March 2009

Development and Peace Update

As promised, here is another update on the D&P Story. Archbishop Thomas Collins of the diocese of Toronto has reportedly (in a letter to the priests of his diocese) called for an investigation into D&P. Read the story here. He has stated that if money is going to pro-abortion groups, funding will be denied to D&P from the archdiocese of Toronto.

In case anyone is wondering, Archbishop Collins has strongly and vocally suported D&P in the past when he was Bishop of Edmonton. (See here) There is no way he can be (in my opinion) accused of having an agenda against D&P.

I had the privilege of hearing Archbishop Collins speak last September and he is an amazing speaker. From what I've seen, he's also a great shepherd of his flock. I want to thank him for speaking out about this- as far as I'm aware, he's the first Bishop to address the allegations.

He hasn't forbidden funding- he's simply asking that an investigation be conducted to ensure that abortion is not being supported. I think that's a very prudent decision and I hope other diocese look into this further.

Making issues like this public is important- so very important because that's how change is made. I certainly don't think D&P purposely chose to partner with pro-choice organizations, but it seems to be clear that they are. A public investigation, and open and frank discussion by the D&P leadership is what we need so everyone can be confident that their donations do not support abortion. And D&P may need to find new Mexican partners, but if that's what it takes to save lives, then that's what needs to be done.

More updates as I find them.

17 March 2009

Further Development and Peace Developments

Shortly after sending out the e-mail and posting a story on the blog last week alleging that Development and Peace (D&P) are funding/partnering with groups who support abortion, I received a response from a friend whom I'd sent the e-mail to. She had passed it along to other friends, who were involved with D&P and they'd asked D&P for their response. D&P's executive director, Michael Casey posted a response to the article at here and asked D&P members to forward all inquiries to him. In his response, he states that D&P follow the teachings of the Church, and stated that some journalists deliberately misinterpret D&P's work. In my opinion, this response did not go far enough to address the issue, because serious allegations were made, so I wrote to Mr. Casey asking him 5 specific questions (after explaining my interest in the issue). My questions were:

1) What is Development and Peace's position on abortion?
2) Do you carefully examine all groups you give funds to/partner with to ensure they do not in any way support abortion or pro-choice activities in general? How thorough are your background checks on these organizations?
3) Did you give or partner with:
a) Augustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights
b) Mexican Network for Action Regarding Free Trade
c) Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action"
d) National Center for Social Communication
e) Network for All Rights for Everyone
4) If you did partner or grant funds to any of the above groups, are you certain they do not in any way support abortion? If so, why are you certain of that?
5) A local Development and Peace member told a friend of mine that "Lifesite has been trying to discredit D&P for some time"; Is this the position of Development and Peace, and if so what proof can you offer of that?

I have heard no response to my questions. Other people I've spoken to who also contacted D&P after the response were posted have also heard nothing.

I was asked to pass the Mr. Casey's posted response along to everyone I'd sent the first e-mail to so that they could have both sides of the story. I think that is a fair request, and that's what I'm doing now. The reason I didn't post it when first requested is I wanted to get more facts straight, because I realized in my zeal to protect life I may have jumped the gun. I should have contacted D&P before making the first post, so I do apologize to all of you

Further developments have occurred.

Yesterday, Lifesite responded to the controversy around their first article (Read it here). In my blog post, I asked you not to donate to D&P because of the abortion connections. I want to make it clear that was my request, not something Lifesite was advocating. They were just trying to pass the information along. Despite Mr. Casey's response, I am still asking you to not donate to D&P. Another friend was curious about the allegations, so she did a little bit of investigation to see what was really going on. Below are her findings. (I have not changed them in any way except for some formatting because the copy and paste didn't work so well):

Life Site News on Development and Peace

Well, here it goes! This is a crazy problem.

I have spent the last 2 ½ hours reading about all of this. I'll try to lay this out systematically.

Firstly: here is the link to the LifeSiteNews.com article, where they accuse Development and Peace of funding pro-abortion groups in Mexico. Read it!:


Secondly: here is the response of D & P to the article. Read it!:


Thirdly: Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about abortion, just to refresh ourselves: (See CCC paragraphs 2270-2275)
"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception."
"Formal co-operation in an abortion constitutes a grave offence. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life […] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society."

I would like to say that I have not approved of some of Life Site News' tactics, and find them to be at times reactionary and emotional. Take for example their recent push for donations, wherein the donor's name is sent to Henry Morgentaler…. saying that the donor gave to the site in Morgentaler's name. Yes: ask for donations. Yes: send the list of names to Morgentaler and the government of Canada. No: to mud-slinging, almost ad hominem tactics, getting more money out of people through the incentive of making Morgentaler squirm. The focus becomes weighted on the people in both camps, and not as weighted on our unborn brothers and sisters (http://lsn1securesites.net/lifesitenews/donate/informationmcc.html).

I say all this because I have to admit I was going to the reading prejudiced against Life Site News. Not that I believed they were lying, I just wanted to make absolutely sure of everything that was said in the article.

Breakdown of claims in the article:
• I was unable to find some of the numbers on the internet: such as the statement of how only $50,000 of the $438,000 went to Caritas, the organization that actually helps the poor with food and medical help (I'm not saying it will never be found anywhere)

• The recipients of money are confirmed here, on D & P's plan for Latin America, 2006-2011 (see p. 128, especially 131-132): http://www.devp.org/devpme/documents/eng/pdf/ProgramLatinAmerica2011_Eng.pdf.

• The number $438,000 is confirmed on the mini report: http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/publications/documents/Mini_RapportAnnuel_2008.pdf.

• I went to all the sites of the partners to D & P in Mexico. I either used Google to translate the site from Spanish, or put portions of pdf's through an online translator.

• I couldn't find all the quotes, but now I don't doubt they were there. I couldn't find all of them only because I could not copy and paste entire legal documents into the translator, for time's sake. BUT I FOUND ENOUGH TO CONVINCE ME THAT MATTHEW CULLINAN HOFFMAN IS TELLING THE TRUTH IN THIS CASE. This conclusion is a bit startling, considering I was slightly prejudiced against Life Site.

o Whenever he states that a group's name was on such-and-such a bill / document, I was able to confirm it every time

o See Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico, etc., clauses 34-40, the link is in the Life Site article. These clauses do indeed make the claims Hoffman is speaking of, namely, advocating abortion on demand, standardizing Mexican abortion laws, and a woman's right to "emergency" contraceptives, in other words, abortificients (ie: "the morning after pill")

o "The National Center for Social Communication also acts as a mouthpiece for pro-abortion groups such as 'Catholics for the Right to Decide'…." I also found connections to a group called "Catholics For a Free Choice," I don't know if they are the same group or not. In one part of their site, they complain about the lack of legal attention to abortion in a recent document, "specifically the legal interruption of pregnancy was the missing item."

o So conclusion 1: D & P IS giving money to the groups mentioned in the article, called by them "partners" in Mexico. The groups ARE advocating pro-choice or pro-abortion stands.

• So then I came back to point Life Site makes about funds being "fungible." Even if D & P makes it clear to these organizations that they do not wish their funds to go towards "pro-abortion activities," the fact remains that money is fluid and not concrete; D & P's donations could help those organizations free up other assets so those assets can go towards pro-abortion activities

My "in-between" thoughts
• D & P and the organizations they partner with in Mexico are doing many other activities that any Catholic should support (hence the reason why Michael Casey of D & P accuses Hoffman of misconstruing the intentions of these organizations. You see, the pro-abortion mandate is not the only mandate, and many of their mandates are good)

• A lot of the main issues were admirable: gender equality, free trade, sustainable development, teaching people how to take care of themselves, tougher sentencing in rape and domestic abuse cases

• It occurred to me that D & P has seen that help will come to Mexicans sooner if they work through established organizations. HOWEVER, if this admirable desire requires compromise on life and death matters, it needs to be reoriented towards the Gospel of Love, even if it means starting smaller in 3rd world countries

So then I came back to Michael Casey's reply to the Life Site article:
• "We do not, in any way, support projects that would contravene these fundamental principles, most certainly not projects related to abortion."

o True, they don't support these projects, but

o They ARE supporting the organizations, which is all the Life Site article is claiming

o I sense a distinct lack of citation, especially after reading Hoffman's cited article

• "It is dangerously irresponsible and slanderous on the part of some journalists, through ill-conceived conjecture and hypothesis, to deliberately misinterpret the social justice initiatives of our southern partners in this light."

o I see now that it is not "conjecture" and "hypothesis," because the organizations are open and honest on the internet

o Moreover, Hoffman has cited EVERY claim (except the $50, 000 one) so that anyone can verify what he's saying. If it's merely a reactionary article, he would not have done this

o (Also see above: I think what Casey is saying here is that the organizations do a whole lot more than advocate for abortion. He's right, but they STILL are advocates for abortion)

• He then spends a long paragraph telling us all what we already know: about D & P's admirable work in various areas of social justice around the world

And so my thought right now (I'm willing to be shown other information, etc) is that as a Catholic Christian it is my responsibility to work for social justice, both domestically and internationally. I most likely will not be funding D & P, unless other information turns up, but will continue to fund organizations that I have checked out. There are countless numbers of small Catholic organizations who are working for sustainable living and long-term solutions.

Respectfully submitted ,


First, I want to thank Robin for her amazing investigative work. It is something I should have done but I didn't. She has done an amazing job.

Second, I am disheartened by her findings. I think it is a tragedy that a Catholic group supported by the CCCB would partner with groups who support abortion. I understand that abortion is only one part of their mandate, but that doesn't make it better. Even if D&P asks them not to use their funds for abortion related purposes, their funds free up other funds that can be used for abortion. In my mind, that makes any donation I might make to D&P complicit in abortion, and that makes me complicit in abortion. For that reason, I cannot and will not support D&P until they withdraw from their partnerships with these groups.

I am more than willing to consider other information in this area, but I am very disappointed with D&P's response. They have failed to address some serious allegations, and have instead resorted to impugning the journalistic integrity of Lifesite. If you hear more on this from D&P, especially where they respond to specific allegations please comment in the comment box.

For the person who asked me to pass along both sides of the story I am trying to pass along both sides, and I would love to talk to you about D&P so I can learn more. You are right that both sides should have been heard from the start, and I apologize to you specifically for not doing that. My goal is not to upset anyone, and I know this is a deeply distressing subject, and I thank-you for reminding me of the duty to share both sides.

As I find out about further developments, I will post them. And I ask you all to add the executive and membership of D&P to your prayers.

13 March 2009

Development and Peace and Abortion

As you are all undoubtedly aware, abortion is an issue that lies close to my heart. When I read this article, I was mad, and so I am posting this because I want the information to get out to as many people as possible. I am also asking that you read the following post with the charity in which it was intended, because I am not trying to upset or anger anyone. I am simply, as always, concerned about the lives of the least of us; that is, the unborn who are completely voiceless.

As you may be aware, Development and Peace holds a Share Lent campaign to raise funds every Lent. They have a campaign underway again this year. Development and Peace is a Canadian Catholic organization that raises money and awareness of third world issues. For example, one year they focused on the problems of clean drinking water. Another year they focused on exploitative mining practices in the Global South.

While Development and Peace does a lot of good work, they also support groups that support and promote abortion. For more information on how and where this is happening, please see this link.

It concerns me greatly that a Catholic organization gives money to groups that promote abortion. It concerns me even further that when asked, they state "The criterion is not pro-life or pro-abortion...If the piece of work they propose to us is something we want to support it is something that is within our parameters, if yes we support them, if not we don't. "We don't have a policy for or against abortion." As a Catholic organization, they must, to be in line with the Church, be against abortion.

The leadership of Development and Peace does not appear to be willing to investigate where they spend their funds. Since those funds come from Catholics like you and me, we need to be concerned. Even $1 donated to an aid organization that promotes abortion is too much because it makes us all complicit in the abortion. The Catholic Church is against abortion in all circumstances, and I think it is reprehensible that an organization that won't take steps to ensure the money it raises doesn't go to abortion groups gets to speak and raise funds inside the Church, often at the end of or during mass.

I certainly don't think that the individual members of Development and Peace are anti-life, but I am afraid that they don't know enough about what their group does. I am asking all of you to not donate to Development and Peace until they put an end to this practice (which has been ongoing since at least 2000). There are many other worthwhile aid organizations that follow Catholic teachings that would love to receive your donations. Please choose one of them instead, and please inform you local Development and Peace committee about why you are not supporting them, so they can pass your comments onto their leadership.

If you want to contact the leadership directly, the information is below:

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs
Phone: 514-257-8711
Email: info@devp.org
Development and Peace Website

Address in Toronto:
10 St. Mary Street, Suite#420
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M4Y 1P9
Phone: (416) 922-1592
Fax: (416) 922-0957
Toll Free: 1-800-494-1401

Address in Montreal:
1425, René-Lévesque bld. West, 3rd Floor
Montréal, Québec
Canada, H3G 1T7
Phone: (514) 257-8711
Fax: (514) 257-8497
Toll Free: 1-888-234-8533

Please also pass this information onto your priests and other Catholics you know. All the good work Development and Peace does is undone by their complicity in abortion. They need to know that Catholics will not support that.

God Bless,

11 March 2009

Fighting for the Church

I don’t often take the time to actually write letters to the editor or reply to columnists, but an article I read in yesterday’s Edmonton Sun annoyed me so much I felt compelled to respond. (Read the article here)The article was titled “Vatican Lives in a Vacuum” and essentially went after the Church because of its response to the excommunication of the parents and doctor of a 9 year old girl in Brazil. The girl was pregnant with twins (the stepfather is accused of rape) and the doctor and mother decided that abortion was the only option. For their part in the abortion, the mother and doctors were excommunicated. (Read that story here)

Here was my response to the article:

I would just like illuminate a few teachings of Catholic doctrine that Ms. Jacob's column "Vatican lives in a Vacuum" misunderstood. The archbishop speaking out did not excommunicate the mother and the doctors; they were automatically excommunicated as soon as they made the decision to force the child to have an abortion because such action is considered a mortal sin by the Church. Anyone involved in procuring an abortion is immediately excommunicated, whether they are informed so by their bishop or not. While the statement didn't specifically mention the step-father, you can be assured that if he is guilty of rape, he has also been excommunicated for the same reasons.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always wrong. They do that because they believe that the unborn fetus is a human being, and to abort the child is murder. Church law does not change on a case by case basis; it is law because it applies in every case. While this is an incredibly tragic case, the abortion simply compounds the crime of rape. If you read the doctor's reports further, they conclude that a vaginal birth could have killed the girl, not the pregnancy itself. That means the children could have been safely brought to term, and a C section performed. This choice would have saved all 3 lives, instead of killing 2. Not only that, there are potential long term complications from the abortion itself, which could include infertility later in life if the girl wants to have a family.

And finally, the tongue in cheek statement "you naughty Catholics shouldn't have sex unless you are planning to procreate" is actually true. Pregnancy is the natural end result of sex; why else do you think people spend thousands every year to try to avoid it with birth control that is never 100% effective. If you have sex, there is a possibility that you will get pregnant. The condom, even if used properly, is only 99% effective. That means 1 in 100 couples who have sex and use the condom correctly will end up pregnant. If you are not prepared to have a child, you should not be having sex; it's not that difficult to understand.

When writing a column on a statement made by the Catholic Church, please do a little bit of research first so you understand where the church is coming from rather than demonizing it because you disagree. The teachings of the church come from a large body of research spanning 2000 years and are based in theology, philosophy and science, and the church articulates reasons for every doctrine it has. If you'd like to know more, please don't hesitate to ask.


If the article upsets you as well, please send a letter to the editor to mailbag@edmsun.com or reply directly to the columnist at mindy.jacobs@sunmedia.ca. Please keep in mind that they only publish letters that are 100 words or less.

I really wish people would stop condemning the Church based on what they believe her to be saying, not what she actually teaches. It’s frustrating. And, when dealing with abortion, we need to keep in mind that the real issue is what are the unborn. This columnist (and many others) don’t believe the unborn children to be human. They are very concerned about the health and welfare of the child who was raped, and I commend them for it, but what about the health and welfare of the children she was carrying? If they are all human, how can the unborn be any less worthy of life?

08 March 2009


Many apologies for not posting in the last few weeks. My only excuse (and I truly hate this excuse, but it is true in this case) is I've been busy.

My schooling will come to an end in less than a month (finals included!) so I've been busy trying to get everything done.

I've also been making preparations for my life post law school, and while incredibly exciting it also eats up a lot of time.

Finally, I've realized that I will be leaving this city and the many friends I've made over the last 6 years in just over a month, and I've been trying to spend all the free time I have with them.

Add all this together and it equals neglect of this blog, and for that I apologize.

There have been a ton of things going on in the world that I'd love to blog about, but rather than writing a post on all of them, I thought I'd list and link to them.

  • London's St Joseph's Hospital- A few months ago I blogged about the practice of early induction abortion at St. Joseph's Catholic hospital in London, ON. The National Post has written a story, basically denying everything the Lifesitenews article alleged. Despite that, the Bishop of the Diocese has asked the Vatican to weigh in on the practice and indicated he will do a thorough investigation and many not wait for the Vatican's response to make corrections if he finds something wrong. (We can only pray he does)

  • In the Baby Shanice story (the child born alive after a late term abortion and thrown out as medical waste) the abortion worker involved has been charged with "unlicensed practice of a health care profession resulting in serious bodily injury, a second degree felony, and with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, a third degree felony." (I pray she is found guilty)

  • I have no link to give you, but after speaking with a contact in the campus pro-life world, it appears that the 6 University of Calgary students charged with trespass because of their GAP display had their first appearance in court last week, and will plead next week. (Again, please keep them in your prayers)

  • In the euthanasia arena, a new (or at least new to me group) called the Final Exit Network has emerged. Their sole purpose is to aid people in committing suicide. I haven't kept up with the stories in this area, but the Secondhand Smoke and Disability Matters blog have extensive coverage on this emerging and incredibly dangerous threat to human life.

  • Since the birth of the octopulets to a single mom on welfare with 6 other children, there has been a lot of talk about regulating IVF. Unfortunately, not one seems to have made this absolutely simple (in my opinion) suggestion that rather than regulating, we should STOP the practice altogether so we can a) stop denying the dignity of human life and b) stop killing children.


  • And a new story out of Connecticut this week. Someone in the government there has decided that the state should impose changes on the structure of the Roman Catholic Church to take power away from the bishops. (This would in no way be related to the recent outspokenness of bishops on life issues would it? The government reps involved wouldn't be trying to muzzle the bishops would they? No, they wouldn't do that). See the proposed legislation here. All I can say is that the bishops are doing something right to have this much hatred spewed against them. Pray hard people.


There is a lot more going on, but there is a short list of things I would have blogged on if I had time. I think it's a reasonably balanced list of positive and negatives going on in the world. I will try to post more regularly than I have been (it would be hard to post less regularly) but I can't guarantee it will be daily like before. As life calms down, blogging will increase. Until then, God Bless and continue to pray and fast through the season of Lent.