Cancellation of D & P fall campaign materials is disheartening
The Editor: I am greatly disheartened by Archbishop Richard Smith’s and Msgr. Patrick Power’s decision to halt the distribution of Development and Peace’s Fall Campaign materials.
What is so “political” about a campaign to encourage a national conversation on and to get our government to form a Special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the impact of the drastic changes in direction of Canada’s Development Aid? Even the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has commented on how these changes are hurting the most vulnerable around the world.
I also wonder what are the items on the bishops’ political agenda that they are worried will be “compromised” by encouraging such a conversation and committee.
I thought, as Catholic Christians, we are to be about transforming our societies to ones with authentic cultures of life where life with dignity is valued from conception to natural death. To me, D & P is the best and only truly “pro-life” organization that works faithfully to do this within the church.
How can you be “pro-life” while promoting policies that contribute to a culture of death through social arrangements that generate poverty, materialism, consumerism (all of which increase abortion rates) and war — not to mention eco-cide? I don’t understand.
As for the concern about divisiveness . . . how does the archbishop interpret Matthew 10:35-39? —Y.A. Zarowny, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
CCCB process on D&P decision damages church’s influence
The Editor: The article “D&P fall campaign is put on hold” (PM, Sept. 26) calls for some clarification. It also raises serious questions.
It may appear that the campaign, developed by the staff of Development and Peace (D&P), came out of nowhere. That is not the case. In regional meeting after regional meeting this spring, faithful and active Catholic D&P members called for a campaign to critique and challenge the change in government foreign aid policy, a change clearly demonstrated through cuts not only to D&P but also KAIROS, the Mennonite Central Committee and others.
The campaign was not intended to pressure the government to reinstate funding for these organizations. Rather, it was to challenge not just the government, but all Canadians, to reflect on the moral values underlying the policy changes.
As such, it was indeed an educational enterprise.
That said, the decision by several bishops, then proclaimed as one of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), to block the campaign raises serious questions.
Given that the materials were not prepared until late in the summer, did the few bishops involved in the decision actually see the materials before they decided to block the campaign? Given that a liaison committee was established between D&P and the CCCB, why did that committee not function as it ought?
Given that it seems few bishops were aware of the contents, do we have a situation where significant decisions are made through a process of “first in gets their say and everyone else follows suit for fear of appearing divided”? Have the bishops just signalled to government that Catholic silence on foreign policy can be bought as a quid pro quo on other laudable matters such as immigration and abortion?
While this decision has done significant damage to D&P, and through it to D&P partners, has it effectively done more damage to the church in Canada than to D&P? Is the CCCB being replaced, de facto, by a Canadian Forum of Catholic Bishops? Finally, is there need for a prophetic voice for justice, not only within our country, but within our church as well? — Ray Temmerman, Winnipeg