Archbishop Collins on Development & Peace

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In a carefully worded statement, Archbishop Collins of Toronto has pledged his support for Canada’s Development & Peace organization while challenging it to continue it’s renewal and growth. This comes after slanderous accusations that D&P was funding agencies in Mexico that provided abortions. An inquiry by the Canadian Bishops found that this was not accurate. However there was a call for greater cooperation between D&P and the local churches where they fund projects so that there is no conflict.

The Archdiocese of Toronto will continue to send funds to D&P (over a million dollars) as long as these are spent on projects that have the support of the local bishop. One would hope that every Canadian bishop would not have to micro-manage the work of D&P but in this case there is some wisdom in the Archbishop’s decision. The work of D&P must not only support Catholic teaching, but it must avoid even the impression of any scandal.

Having D&P work with the local bishops reflects the Archbishop’s sound ecclesiology. We should not be ecclesiastical colonialists who just parachute funds and projects into a country or region without collaborating with the local church. However, my brief internship in the late 80s at the Religious Task Force on Central America in Washington, DC taught me that sometimes there is a disconnect between the local church, the faithul and their bishop. On more than one occasion I had dealings with or knowledge of bishops who were aligned with military dictatorships or oppressive oligarchies.  Will this requirement of D&P to work only with “approved” agencies take away some of it’s prophetic and cutting edge role?

Well, as one of my classmates and current Assistant General of our Order said: “When you are on the cutting edge, you risk getting cut!”

I pray and hope that the Archdiocese of Toronto’s renewed support for D&P as well as the call for renewal will continue it’s legacy of amazing witness of the Canadian Catholics to people around the world.


  1. There you go again Friar Rick. refering to the accusations as slanderous. I’ve only heard the opinion from the head of the CCCB. I haven’t seen evidence to back up or qualify the statement. I’m told I’m a bad Catholic if I question this opinion. Meanwhile on the other hand we have much to support the “slanderous accustaions”. I would include a letter from the Peruvian Bishops. I think that what Collins is doing is sound, playing it safe. He is being very tactful. This is a pragmatic way for the bishop to remain united with the bishops of Canada without saying he disagrees with them.
    If there is evidence available to support the clearing of D&P please send it my way I would love to see it.

  2. Hi Friar,

    I think that Mobius has a valid point. The case against D&P consisted of facts. The letter from the Bishops in Peru is pretty damaging to the D&P defense. I would think that facts are what we should base a case on. I hope that is what the CCB made the decision on. But as yet I have not seen anything. An opinion is not as strong as a fact.

  3. Then why not release them? It was a lack of transparency that caused the problem in the first place. This does not help create an enviroment of trust and puts the bishops above the people. They should explain themselves.

  4. Dear Friar Rick,

    After reading about the ‘contraversy’ regarding Development and Peace, I have to agree with the Archbishop on this one. It is prudent and will help the church in Canada regain a good standing in the eyes of the Peruvian Bishops and other Latin American ones too. Scandal is a terrible thing, and to simply pass the buck is not acceptable. It would be more prudent if each archdiocese in Canada had more autonomy to decide where its hard-earned funds are spent. The CCCB I believe simply gives too much credit or takes the word of D & P for granted. A little due-diligence will go a long way to prevent this from spiraling out of control. Thank you Bishop Collins, and keep up the good work. I would have to agree with the other writers in this discussion.


  5. Why thank you for the link Friar Rick. After reading the report, it is my opinion that the Bishops used a fine blade to split hairs. They found that D&P was not “directly” involved in promopting abortion or activities contrary to Catholic teaching. They also found that D&P was “imprudent “(poor judgement) in signing a petition.

  6. Friar Rick,
    I have seen with my own eyes the pro-abortion statements and positions of the Mexican and African recipients of D&P funds. I urge you to look for yourself and stop this charade. The question is really this: who are we going to believe? The CCCB or our own lyin’ eyes?

    After this unfortunate fiasco, our family will never again trust the teaching authority of the CCCB. From now on, EVERY CCCB statement and teaching from which concerns life will be fact checked against the Vatican and the Catechism.

    Friar Rick, you forget that the CCCB didn’t even address why our money was used for abortion and anti-life efforts of the African groups. It WAS used. There is no question of that. We were just told that Lifesite was challenging the “authority” of Abp Weisgerber and his D&P buddies. We were treated to some quite slanderous statements against Lifesite and implored to just pray and pay. Pilate asked “What is Truth?” What IS TRUTH, Friar? Look for yourself at the groups in question. You’re on the wrong side.

  7. I appreciate the serious nature of this situation. However, although the CCCB does not have “authority” of its own, when you say you will not trust the teaching authority of the bishops… it sounds like you have excommunicated yourself from the Roman Catholic Church.
    If you have “proof” and “facts” that the bishops could not find themselves or if you are accusing our bishops of deceiving you should give the bishops these facts. Please give us a “link” to these facts.

  8. Friar Rick,

    There could be seen to be slander in your comment about the news reports that generated this controversy. That is, you appear to be repeating the deceptive strategy of D&P by stating, “This comes after slanderous accusations that D&P was funding agencies in Mexico that provided abortions.”

    LifeSiteNews merely gave FACTS, usually right from the websites of the organizations themselves, and from interviews and FACTS about the organizations from other sources, that strongly indicated that these organizations advocated for abortion and/or contraception. These were not accusations – the facts spoke for themselves. As well, the issue has become far larger than the only five original Mexican groups investigated. Follow up news reports were published on many more and even more explicitly pro-abortion D&P partners in Mexico and several other nations.

    Also, and very important, none of the LifeSiteNews reports stated or implied that the groups “provided abortions”. When making such a claim about the news reports there is an obligation to provide evidence. Only one group, a Mexican one, admitted in an interview that it attempted to help a woman obtain an abortion. None of the groups were reported to be providing abortion.

    This whole matter has been made far worse than it needed to be by the absolute refusal of D&P and its supporters to admit that any of the reported evidence is valid. This is incomprehensible.

  9. Friar Rick,

    Why do you question the facts that are being offered. You are ready to accept the “opinions” of the CCCB. I have also seen some of this evidence. “Captured” screens of the websites beloning to the groups in question are pretty incriminating. These are available on Lifesite.
    To accuse Adrienne of excommunication is pretty strong language. That type of retoric is used to silence debate. She said she would fact check any statement with the Vatican & Catechism. That sounds like a prudent and decout Catholic to me.
    Long gone are the days when Catholics sit in the pew, praying paying and blindly obeying. In the past 40 years this was often done in questioning the church and its teaching in a “liberal” view of things. Now the pendelum is swinging the other way and we are questioning disent.

  10. I have checked the LifeSite response to the Bishops’ Reports. I have also examined the declarations of the other groups that may have supported women’s access to safe abortions if they chose to have an abortion. I find it difficult to keep track which groups are which. I can see that the reports from LifeSite, if accurate would be very problematic.
    I am left with a dilema. Do I believe the Catholic bishops of Canada or not? To me, there’s not much of an option. I’ll stick with the bishops.

  11. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.
    But Friar Rick, I think that we owe it to God to follow the truth. You have just surrendered. Even though I may not agree with you on everything you say I have at least respected your view points. I do expect more from you. You have evidence that you admit is problematic. Yet you toss it aside. Judging by the time of Steve’s post and yours you spent an hour going through Lifesite’s documents. That isn’t enough time to do this issue justice.

  12. Friar Rick: D&P financially funds pro-abortion groups in Africa. Lifesite introduced FACTS. Please visit the links and see the facts with your own eyes:

    Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, (WARDC) Nigeria

    The Association for Women Lawyers of Benin

    The Coalition Nationale des Femmes – Droits et Citoyenneté (CONAG – DCF) Guinea

    Forces en action pour le mieux-être de la mère et de l’enfant” (FAMME)

    I can also provide the links to the other abortion advocates our money has gone to but I’m over the word limit

  13. Tony I appreciate your challenge. I am quite confused. I have great faith in our bishops, from Collins, to Turcotte, Ouellette and Weisgerber and so many, many more. We are truly blessed to have balanced, thoughtful and caring bishops. It’s not the case everywhere. So when the head of the Canadian Bishops makes a statement I have to listen. Yes, some of the information on LifeSites seems to contradict that. I’m not a stupid person, but I also know my limits. I also know that it is easy to manipulate information. I will place my trust in the Bishops until more information comes out.

  14. Friar Rick,
    Why are you not placing your trust in your own archbishop, Thomas Collins who embraced Truth, even when it contradicted the reactionary and slanderous statements of D&P? “The bishops” means all the bishops, not this committee of Abp Weisgerber, Abp Currie, Msgr. Quintana and Msgr. Paquette. From what I can see, these guys never gave Lifesite’s allegations serious consideration. It was whitewash and damage control from day 1. They do not represent the CCCB nor the teaching Magisterium of the Church.

    You don’t need to wait until “more information comes out.” Lifesite has helpfully provided a comprehensive list of links proving our money went to pro-abortion groups. If you want, I can provide the links which will clear all confusion away.

  15. As a Catholic I should be able to follow my bishops. However this doesn’t pass the smell test. If you face a dilemma Friar step back and don’t get involved. Let the cards play out. Don’t call the bishops liars, just don’t say anything. But do err on the side of caution unborn lives are at stake.

  16. It is my understanding that the Pope and Bishops are infallible in areas of faith and dogma. They need to be speaking in unison with the whole church. This issue is about a scandal involving church funds being used to assist groups that promote abortion and gay “marriage”. This is not an issue of dogma but more of a financial/moral issue. The bishop’s are not speaking on an infallible issue here. I don’t think Friar that you are duty bound to stick by this statement. I do admire your loyalty to the hierarchy on this particular issue yet I feel it may be misplaced.

  17. Adrienne is right that this was a PR battle from the beginning and the allegations were never really taken seriously. From what I gather the only reason this was looked into at all was in following the lead of Arch. Bshp Collins. If the evidence presented to the CCCB was misleading by intention or accident the CCCB would not be able to make a proper informed decision based on what they were presented with. Friar please have Adrienne post her links so that we may look more into the evidence. I would like to see if she has different material from what I have seen.

  18. I’m dismayed that you would trust the bishops even though as you say this isn’t quite right. This is challenging my faith. I know that the church is the beacon of truth in the world. I believe in the eucharist, and the pope. But what am I supposed to do now when the bishops speak out on topics. How can I trust them. They have damaged my trust. Surely they will still investigate this more. The evidence clearly is at odds with what they have decided. I agree with the other readers who have commented. This isn’t a matter of faith. The bishops have never taken the claims seriously and once they made the decision they basicly took the stance that if you didn’t accept their report you weren’t Catholic. So I must ask where does that leave me? Do I stay home from mass until I figure this out? Surely Weisburger must realize how harsh his tone is. Plese Friar tell me what should I do. But don’t tell me to blindly accept this report. I can’t in good consience.

  19. Adrienne posted those links two days ago and you hid them? Shame Friar. Why might I ask would you not display? There was evidence on your site which would shed furhter light on this scandal. Perhaps you have a reason I would like to know.

  20. My apologies Friar. I guess I may have jumped the gun and thought you were contributing to the cover up. Please forgive my hastiness.

  21. I’ve been away for a couple of days and just popped in to have a look. So Friar, it looks like you may have done a 180 on this issue. You started off using some pretty strong language against lifesite. Once you looked at the information your tone was more open. Is it fair to say that you leapt to defend D&P without looking into the opposing side?WOW!

  22. Dear Friar,

    It would be good for the Bishops to open up their investigation for those of us who are interested and concerned to be able to see that they have conducted an honest and fair review of the D&P situation. For them to simply tell us to accept their findings without offering the details is to take us for ignorant fools. Until I can see what the findings are based on instead of the vagaries provided in their report linked to above I will refuse to accept the findings.

  23. Now that didn’t sound like a put down to Lifesite? The people at Lifesite do fine work and deserve more respect than you have shown them throughout this ordeal or in the past.

  24. Hello Friar,

    At first you came out refering to the whole situations as
    “slanderous accusations that D&P was funding”. After many posts and links you conceeded “Something does not smell right”. I am unsure if your loyalty to the bishops in this matter is as much out of fidelity for the hierarchy as distain for Lifesite. There is no harm in having the humility to say you were rash and rushed to make a decision on this situtation. It is also good to acknowledge growth and development of one’s thoughts through reading. This step would show humility on your part which would in turn lead to a deepening respect for you. I feel that you are holding back on something.

  25. Friar, I am a 35 year old mexican businessman iving in Guadalajara. I know the lifesite correspondant for Latinamerica (he used to live here in Guadalajara) and let me tell you that he is very thoruogh and honest man totally commited to the teachings of the church and with the pro-life movement. I have seen the evidence first hand and I can vouch that they are 100% true. The organizations that D& P has been founding here in Mexico favour and lobby for the increase of availability of abortion and contraception in my country. Many of these organizations (some of them call themselves “catholic”) are most of the times oposing the efforts of the Mexican catholic church (ie our bishops) to prevent the spread of the “Death culture” into our country.

  26. You said: “I will side with our bishops.”

    That’s a major conundrum because the bishops of Canada are funding groups that promote abortion while the bishops of Peru are telling them to stop funding those groups.

    So your deference to bishops is to no avail in this case. You have bishops on opposing sides and they can’t both be correct because the Truth does not contradict itself.

    You’ll have to think for yourself and use the intellect that God gave you.

  27. Dr Friar,

    As was able to read the originals in Spanish prior to being taken down, a grant recipient, the “Network for All Rights for Everyone” site in uncertain terms supported abortion as a human right: “La Ley que permite la interrupción legal del embarazo hasta las doce semanas de gestación que
    establece medidas preventivas en materia de salud sexual y reproductiva, aprobada por la Asamblea
    Legislativa del Distrito Federal el 24 de abril del 2007, es una ley moderada e integral que ha contribuido
    significativamente al ejercicio de los derechos humanos de las mujeres, tanto en la ciudad de México
    como de algunos otros estados.” If interested I can email you the original. I surprised the CCCB document did not dealt with this clear example among several.

    Respectfully submitted.

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