I. It is often the case that prolonged silence indicates the presence of something ominous. The existence of this thing is unseen. Still, you know it's out there... somewhere... waiting. Perhaps you recall that classic Star Trek episode "That Which Survives", where the beautiful female alien Losira, played by Lee Meriwether, materializes out of nowhere, approaches one of the landing party and invitingly says: "I am for you". She then touches the body, inflicts great pain, causing death. Just as quickly she then dematerializes into nothingness.
II. Okay, so let's hop in the DeLorean, check the flux capacitor and set the time machine to March 2009, exactly two years ago to the month of this post. It was then when LifeSite News first reported that Development and Peace was funding pro-abortion advocacy "partners" in Mexico and (eventually) throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, regions contradictorily phrased as the "Global South" (NGO sprechen for the uninitiated). Now the spectacle of machinations undertaken by D+P and their confreres at the CCCB two years hence reveals quite an elaborate system of resistance. Public denials, ambiguously worded reports, media lackey access, legal eagle stonewalling, a defiant membership enraptured by Joanie Mitchell ditties, status quo bishops with monorchistic courage, and the usual inertial qualities that characterize any post-V2 episcoaucracy. It also helps, very much helps, that nearly all Canadian Catholics in the pews, unaware of the scandal, contribute considerably to the collection basket when Share Life time comes around during Lent. Those hypnotizing sounds of Marty Haugen are rather conducive to making everyone think happy thoughts. "Gather Us In", gather the money, and so forth.
III. After public exposure, and under the continual pressures of LSN articles and blog postings (at SoCon or Bust) with incontrovertible evidences of D+P pro-abortion facilitation (plus confirmation from others, including the Peruvian bishops and the National Catholic Register), The Star Chamber had to do something. Well, not really. It is important to remember that we are here dealing with what B16 calls "professional Catholics", well entrenched, obstinate and they will scream bloody murder even if just an iota of whatever petty fiefdom is scrutinized. This provincial pettiness commenced almost immediately after the LSN breaking article. Given that Lent is now underway, meaning that during the Share Life campaign the D+P Vulture will do its annual fly in and financial feasting, let's summarize the now two-year-running scandal.
IV. In April 2009 Bishops Martin Currie and Franois Lapierre, with entourage in tow, headed south of the Rio Grande, reportedly to check out what was going on. The conclusion of their inquiry, bizarrely entitled "Reflections and Hopes" (maybe they're fans of Proust), stated that LSN's findings "are not founded on the facts". Just to stick the knife in a little deeper, the boys ascribed LSN's reporting as "a counter-witness to that Gospel spirit... [bringing] scandal and division". But what "facts" were afforded? A one page report. Perchance they have never seen this page or this video. Two things to bear in mind at this juncture. Firstly, with +Currie and +Lapierre we're talking Class-A players here. These guys know the game and can slither out of manifest apostasy faster than you can say Gustavo Gutierrez. Secondly, D+P Executive Director Michael Casey "assisted" with the inquiry, seeing "to travel arrangements and other organizing". You'll get as much disagreement in worldview between two Star Chamber insiders and D+P's head honcho as Marx and Engels arguing about whether Just For Men is an appropriate hair colouring for beards. Insignificant. Effectively, it was an inquiry conducted by the Judge and Defendant, minus the Plaintiff. Not much "social justice" there methinks.
V. Matters heated up as the summer approached. Enter the Catholic MSM, Stage Left. It was time to get out the bleach. In June 2009 the ever manoeuvring Fr. Rosica, CEO at Salt+Light TV, got two of his "yes" men on the case. They were acting as mouthpieces for then CCCB President Archbishop James Weisgerber, affectionately known at this blog as "Sparkles". The controversy was gaining wide attention, even going transatlantic, thus alarm bells were going off in Rome. Accordingly, producer David Naglieri compensated by getting in an article at the internationally important ZENIT news agency: "Probe Clears Canadian Agency of Funding Abortion". Blot 1. Kris Dmytrenko had this delightful title for a post at the Salt+Light TV blog: "Development and Peace investigation results: 'No evidence'". Blot 2. Then came the television interview with Sparkles in July 2009. He appeared on Witness, Fr. Rosica's flagship program whereof he asks interviewees of like mind ostensibly hard-hitting questions so as to fool viewers into thinking they're getting the real facts on Catholic affairs in Canada. Here we see both Sparkles and Fr. Rosica in top form: seemingly irenic, but still shooing away the scandal like an annoying fly (see video here, with D+P issue starting at around 12 minutes in). Blot 3. Sparkles also made his rounds at CNS (a news outlet not exactly faithful to the Magisterium, as we all know) and with the Catholic Register, whereat he proclaimed: "These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone - I think first of all they're not part of the church". Blot 4. Damage control complete. Segue - "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control... we have assumed control".
VI. Jump ahead a few months to the October 2009 Plenary Assembly. PEI Bishop Richard Grecco, certainly whistling the party song, declared that D+P "came under a concerted Internet-based media attack by certain militant advocacy groups and individuals". Now with a pugnacious statement like that you want to throw up your hands in defeat, grab a pack of smokes, then head down to the local pub and get bombed. I mean, what clearer signal is required to demonstrate the enmity that the Canadian episcopacy has to those who are forthrightly pro-life? As reported, an ad hoc committee was formed in the autumn of 2009 to further investigate the evidences against D+P, supposedly to convene in February 2010. Fr. Alphonse de Valk, always on the ball, remarked laconically: "Perhaps it did. But if it did, nobody heard about it". Ya gotta love Fr. de Valk... So there you have it, The Star Chamber promising to address something so crucial, but merely for public appearance. There was no concerted follow through, no actual intent of amelioration. The boys have got all the time in the world and a bureaucracy as a bulwark. So they wait, until Share Life time comes around (whereupon they pounce), hoping that all things will evaporate with the passage of time. Not proactive, reactive, and the latter only when pushed and forced, reluctantly admitting corruption within, little by little, fighting like screaming banshees all the while. The rallying call: locus vitae delenda est.
VII. So this is why you have to commend the people at LifeSite News, including John Pacheco at SoCon or Bust. They are tireless in their fight to defend life. They have endured the ire and vilifications of both The Star Chamber and Development and Peace to the present day. In an interview earlier this month Fr. Rosica, in his other incarnation as smiley face go-to-guy for the secular media, accused LSN of "unthinking activism", leaving "a vast trail of collateral damage, character assassination and destruction of reputations". In another interview last February, plausibly in response to my article Who Goes There?, he refers to "some Catholics" as endorsing "Taliban Catholicism", a charming phrase recently made popular by his homeboy Johannes Allenus Ubiquitatis, and then in the very next sentence nonchalantly states "we... respectfully differ with those who do not share our views". Perhaps Rosica needs to restudy Aristotle's commentary on the Principle of Contradiction (that would be the author of Metaphysics ca. 330 BC, not to be confused a lately deceased Greek shipping magnate). And this incongruity (among many) relates directly to an open secret, or a dirty little secret, as this blogger prefers. Rosica and Sparkles make very sure to emphasize that lay people who run websites and blogs are unqualified to tackle whatever Church related subject or issue. That is an unknown in many cases. Anyhow, lay Catholic bloggers routinely defer to the Catechism, papal encyclicals, i.e. the Magisterium. Yet what ++Weisgerber and Fr. Rosica fail to mention is that the majority of priest bloggers and/or website commentators from the US and UK, well educated and knowledgeable, are supportive of LifeSite News. According to the Weisgerber-Rosica model, Fr. Frank Pavone should be deemed a member of the "Catholic Taliban". Why? He has a blog at the LSN website. So, you see, the CCCB and D+P are stuck in a rut - and they know it.
VIII. Things were getting pretty nasty by March 2010. It came to light that Development and Peace sent a document to various parishes in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. Therein we find an absolute denial by D+P of supporting pro-abortion advocacy groups, including some lovely annotations:
...militant anti-abortion advocacy organization and several supporting blog sites on the internet... These groups are part of the far right wing fringe element of North American society and have themselves been associated with groups and individuals who have resorted to violence to publicize their cause and achieve their objective... This slanderous attack campaign was initiated by a militant anti-abortion lobbying group Campaign Life Coalition, a privately-owned and financed group with offices in Toronto and Ottawa. Using their Website LifeSiteNews.com, this group selectively targets and attacks individuals and groups who are not in conformity with their socially conservative political and moral ideology.(TH2 italics)It bespeaks much that a so-called Catholic organization would accuse LSN and bloggers, clearly orthodox in their Catholicity, as being "militant", "far right wing fringe", "associated with... violence". D+P did issue an apology, but that was only after LSN (Campaign Life Coalition) responded with a legal threat. Continuing with legalities, also in March 2010 LSN submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA, which provides funds to Development and Peace) so as to obtain the names of overseas D+P "partners" and how much money was allotted to each over the past five years. Again, it bespeaks much that D+P lawyered up and was able to block the FOI request, claiming - get this - "threats of kidnappings, assassinations or terrorist attacks if the information were to be made public". The machinations are just mesmerizing.
IX. The 2010 CCCB Plenary Session convened from October 25 to 29. You can read my analysis of it here. Of course, Salt+Light TV was present, dishing out the usual spin. In unadulterated bureaucratic brilliance, The Star Chamber spoke of "the evolution of the Ad Hoc Committee [of 2009] into a new Standing Committee" Another delay, reportedly for another year. Move along, nothing to see here, i.e. "Are you nuts? Do you actually think we're going to explicitly admit that D+P was funding pro-abortion advocacy groups?". Cannot do that, instead "the Committee will reflect on a specific structure and concrete plan for future action". You have to admit, these guys are dialectical geniuses. Finally, in November 2010 it was reported that, out of the 248 groups funded by D+P, "13... merited a closer look. Of these, two posed a problem". In a responding editorial, LSN made sure to delineate the many other groups involved. Note further that on October 23 (just prior to the 2010 Plenary Session), SoCon discovered that D+P still listed the Mexican pro-abortion group Centro de Investigaciones Economicas y Politicas de Accion Comunitaria (CiEPAC) as one of its "international partners" ($40,000 CAD) on its website. The page was scrubbed in January 2011 and Mexican Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel was none too happy of what was going on.
X. Overall, matters have been relatively quiet since the start of 2011, although this is not preventing D+P from doing its usual 10th-tier-level-of-importance cause célèbre thing. It recently got ++Weisgerber to sign a pledge against bottled water and, just the other day, held a "social justice workshop" so as to indoctrinate kids with such politically correct mantras as this: "the global fight against poverty... It's important that youth today find their voice to speak out against these global injustices, and it's crucial that we, as educators, provide an avenue for them to do so". "Crucial", indeed, as that "avenue" is paved with gift$ derived from the collection basket. It is also very good for D+P that the pro-sodomite priest Fr. Raymond Gravel is now suing LifeSite News for $500,000, which could put it out of business if he is successful. A diversion that could not have come at a more opportune time. Is that the ruffling of lavender I hear? My guess is that not a few in The Star Chamber are overjoyed at the affair. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, boys.
XI. On the positive side, relating to a more prominent "development agency", the Vatican recently blocked the current Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis from running for a second four-year term. That the Tabletistas and Kansas City crap sheet scribblers did cartwheels after hearing the news indicates that, correctly, Rome is busting a move. Hopefully, there will be some trickle-down effect. Nonetheless, Lent has just started and Canada's Share Life campaign is in full gear. Accordingly, it's that time of year again when Development and Peace produces a video for your enjoyment:
I'm Michael Casey, the Executive Director of Development and Peace. I want to speak to you briefly today to introduce our Share Lent 2001 campaign.[give us your money, where it goes you'll never know] Share Lent invites us this year to learn how the partners of Development and Peace in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are working to build a more just world. Share Lent gives us an opportunity to share the experience of these women and men [Politically Correct Inversion No. 1] who are actively promoting peace, defending the rights of the poorest or rebuilding their communities and their countries in the aftermath of natural disasters. These dedicated and tireless women and men, [Politically Correct Inversion No. 2] in some 300 projects we supported last year,[of which there were pro-abortion advocates] are working to improve the daily lives of their fellow citizens.[Hail, centurion!] They are building a world of justice.[What about spreading the Gospels?] To highlight the achievement of our partners in the countries where we're present, we've created several resources and tools for you to use during the lenten season.[i.e. calendars, "solidarity cards" and magazines, with special printings just for Toronto, wherein Archbishop Thomas Collins has a lead-in article. Thus it seems he's back on board, after restricting funds to D+P after the scandal initially broke] You'll find these resources on our website or from our local animators or local staff across the country. Development and Peace has more than 11000 members [website currently says 13000, amendment required] who will in the coming weeks be seeking your support [give us money] in solidarity with our sisters and brothers [Politically Correct Inversion No. 3] in the Global South. Thank you for your generosity and support. You, too, are helping to build a world of justice [...by boycotting bottled water usage.]Cardinal Ouellet, are you there? This writer monitors the VIS blog on a daily basis and I note that you regularly have audiences with the Holy Father. With the utmost respect, Your Eminence, please do something because... the vulture is a very patient bird.
NOTES / REFERENCES
1. M.C. Hoffman, "Hundreds of Thousands in Canadian Lent Collection Money Funding Pro-Abortion Groups in Mexico", LifeSite News, March 12, 2009. LINK In one sense the scandal should have come as no surprise since Development and Peace was, as early as 2006, endorsing anti-natalist organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Sierra Club. See T. Vanderheyden, "Catholic Charity Development and Peace Lenten Calendar Links to Abortion Groups", LifeSite News, March 2, 2006. LINK
2. T. McFeely, "Canadian Catholics Fund Pro-Abortion Group", National Catholic Register, March 17, 2009. LINK
3. Report of the Committee of Inquiry of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops concerning Mexican Non-Governmental Organizations, June 18, 2009, pp. 2-3. LINK Factfinding by the Committee of Inquiry, June 29, 2009. LINK
4. D. Naglieri, "Probe Clears Canadian Agency of Funding Abortion", ZENIT, June 22, 2009. LINK K. Dmytrenko, "Development and Peace investigation results: 'No evidence', Salt + Light TV (blog), June 19, 2009. LINK Pay special attention to the com boxes wherein Dmytrenko subtlety accuses disagreeing commenters as uncivil.
5. Quoted in J.-H. Westen, "CCCB President on Websites Confronting D&P: 'they're not part of the church, they're not Catholic'", LifeSite News, June 25, 2009. LINK
6. Quoted in J-H. Westen, "Ottawa Archbishop Objects to "Business as Usual" with Development and Peace", LifeSite News, October 20, 2009. LINK
7. A. de Valk, "Development and Peace Controversy Remains Unresolved", Catholic Insight, December 2010, vol. XVIII, no. 11, p. 30.
8. G. Hamilton, "Two Solitudes", National Post, March 5, 2011. LINK
9. R. Casillag, "Let There Be (Salt) Light", Toronto Star, February 24, 2011. LINK
10. See "D&P Accuses LifeSitenews of Association with Groups that Use Violence; 'Far Right Wing Fringe'", LifeSite News, March 17, 2010 (author not indicated). LINK Read the Development and Peace document here.
11. See "Development & Peace Apologizes to Pro-Life Group after Legal Threat", LifeSite News, July 8, 2010 (author not indicated). LINK
12. See A. De Valk, op. cit.
13. K. Dmytrenko, "CCCB Plenary: Renewal of Development and Peace enters new stage", Salt+Light TV (blog), October 29, 2010. LINK
14. Quoted in "Canadian Bishops Plenary Addresses Development and Peace Question", LifeSite News, October 29, 2010 (author not indicated). LINK
15. D. Gyapong, "Catholics reassured about CCODP", The B.C. Catholic, November 15, 2010. LINK
16. See "Canadian Bishops Finally Admit Development and Peace Funded Problematic Groups", LifeSite News, November 16, 2010. LINK
17. M.C. Hoffman, "Mexican bishop condemns pro-abortion group listed as 'partner' by Development and Peace", LifeSite News, January 14, 2011. LINK
18. See M. LeMaître, "Weisgerber signs water pledge", Prairie Messenger, January 11, 2011. LINK and "Social justice workshop held for youth", Prairie Messenger, February 2011. LINK
19. Editors, "LifeSite News is being sued for $500,000 - this could shut us down!", LifeSite News, February 15, 2001. LINK
20. See R. Mickens, "Vatican blocks re-election of Caritas Internationalis chief", The Tablet, February 19, 2011. LINK and D. Coday, "Vatican nixes Caritas head", National Catholic Reporter, February 18, 2011. LINK