Are Canadian Catholics Unwittingly Funding Abortion in Latin America?

Steven Mosher
by PRI Staff
PRI Weekly Briefing
16 June 2009
Vol. 12 / No. 17
Reproduced with Permission

In May, representatives from Canadian Catholic Organization of Development & Peace (D&P), a charitable organization funded by the Canadian Bishops' Conference, visited Mexico. Their purpose? To tour some of the Latin American organizations that D&P assists with money it received from the Canadian Catholic faithful.

The trouble is all of these organizations support abortion. In a May 28 letter, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren, President of the Family, Childhood and Life Commission of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, requested that the Canadian bishops cease funding pro-abortion groups in Peru via the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development & Peace (D&P).

In a letter addressed to the Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Eguren expressed fraternal concern about the Canadian Bishops' "investigation," announced some weeks ago.

"We have been following up the efforts of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops," he said, "in order to clarify some troubling information concerning the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development & Peace (CCODP)'s funding activities of pro-abortion groups in Latin America."

Carlos Polo, a Member of the Family Commission of the Peruvian Bishops Conference and also the Latin American Director of the Population Research Institute, was one of the staff of professionals called upon by this Commission to research the topic.

"As soon as the investigation of possible financing of pro-abortion NGOs with Canadian Catholic money was announced," said Polo, "we began our own in-depth investigation. We did so because these issues are not only of concern to the Church in Canada but to the Universal Church."

"The result of our investigation leaves no doubt that the generous donations of Canadian Catholics go to organizations that explicitly fight against what the Church teaches. In Peru, the organizations funded by CCODP oppose church teaching on the life issues. Their leaders are often our adversaries in debates and public discussions on issues such as abortion, sterilization and contraception."

Archbishop Eguren's letter expicitly mentions three problematic organizations:

  1. CNR - Coordinadora Nacional de Radio (National Community Radio Coordinating Agency)
  2. GRESP - Groupe Rseau d'conomie solidaire au Prou (The Peruvian Economic Solidarity Network) Grupo Red de economa solidaria en el Per.
  3. FEMOCCPALC (Federacin de las mujeres organizadas en centrales de cocinas populares).

"Each group either explicitly endorses abortion, and/or contraception, either by name or by its various euphemisms like ‘sexual and reproductive rights' or some derivation thereof," says the letter. "In that sense, we respectfully would like to formally request that the funding for the pro-abortion groups in Peru by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace be halted."

The Peruvian Bishops conference concluded their letter by offering to help the Canadian Bishops find "worthy Catholic organizations involved in authentic development projects in Peru, as our nation could benefit greatly from the generosity of Canadian Catholics."

The President of the Canadian Bishop's Conference has not yet responded to Archbishop Eguren's letter. At the same time, some people claiming to represent the Candaian bishops have been calling the Peruvian Bishops' Conference to complain about it. These callers claim that the letter was not sent through the proper channels, that the Peruvian Archbishop responsible for the Life issues cannot so communicate with the President of the Canadian Bishops Conference.

In other words, instead of dealing with the substance of a legitimate complaint, some who claim to represent the Canadian Bishops Conference are instead engaging in legalistic quibbling and bureaucratic maneuvering.

Archbishop Eguren has rightly called certain abuses to the attention of the Candian episcopate. It is now their responsibility, not that of low level staffers who may only be covering up their past errors, to address these serious questions.

As Carlos Polo remarks, "The abortion and birth control industries are doing grievous damage to Christian values and the Christian family in Latin America. There isn't a single Episcopal Conference in Latin America that is not suffering repeated attacks from secular forces for defending life and family. It would be a tragedy if Catholic organizations from Canada or anywhere else in the developed world joined in this attack on their own Church's teachings and their fellow believers."