Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is money all that matters to the CCCB regarding Development and Peace?

John Pacheco at SoCon or Bust just wrote another insightful article on the Development and Peace (D&P) scandal.  Click here to read it.

Media reports following the Plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) had some coverage of the D&P affair, although we really don't know what happened because all the important discussions were held behind closed doors.

Among the public comments that we know of, Bishop Richard Grecco (Charlottetown) presented a report that whitewashed D&P of any wrongdoing. That part isn't surprising.  What shocked me was the report's assessment of the toll that this scandal has taken:

"Among the individual and regular monthly donors to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, we have had 34 individuals (of our 6,110 donors) cancel their monthly contributions as a direct result of the controversy, representing 0.5% of our donor database." (Source)

The reason that donations were so little affected is partly due to the fact that most pro-life Catholics stopped donating to D&P years ago because of other scandals.  

But there is a more fundamental issue here.  Is that how Catholic bishops should assess a controversy, by its financial cost?  

What about the sufferings of thousands of faithful Catholics that have become disillusioned and disenfranchised with the lack of pro-life convictions of so many bishops? Many Catholics looked up the evidence on D&P and saw it with their own eyes.  When bishops subsequently told them "there is no evidence," that was a supremely destructive act that could compromise the faith of many. It was an extreme act of betrayal and abuse of the confidence and reverence that the faithful are to have towards the episcopacy. Yes, the faithful are required to be reverent towards the clergy.  But the clergy cannot use that as a cloak to shield themselves from wrongdoing. 

What about the plight of pro-life groups in developing countries that are crossing swords with pro-abortion advocates being funded by D&P?  Pro-lifers in those countries don't have the money to rival with the big bucks of pro-abortion advocates being funded by donors in rich countries like Canada.

What about the reputation of the Vatican, which was smeared by Archbishop Weisgerber who falsely claimed that the Holy See was funding UNICEF?  He tried to use the example of the Vatican in an attempt to justify D&P's actions.  Instead, he damaged the legacy of John Paul II, who made the principled decision to cut funding to UNICEF.

Do the bishops have nothing to say about these matters?  Is the money more important? 

Where are the pro-life bishops?  We heard the strong witness of Archbishops Prendergast and Collins during the Plenary, but what about the others?  

Let me tell you something.  Pro-life Catholics are feeling pretty lonely and abandoned these days.  It's the laity that's on the front lines going toe-to-toe with the culture of death in this country.  As Scripture says:  “We are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter" (Psalm 44:22).  Now it appears that most bishops have forsaken us.

Have we been sold for 30 pieces of silver?  Or, should I say, 0.5% of the donor base?