Statement by the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Report and Recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry

Monday, June 29 2009

The Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, during its meeting of 17-18 June 2009, received the report of the Committee of Inquiry and accepted its seven recommendations. I wish to point out several of these and to confirm that work is already underway on their implementation.

First, the Committee of Inquiry has determined that the projects funded by Development and Peace did not promote abortion, and that the five Mexican organizations do not support abortion. Consequently, the Committee of Inquiry has found that the allegations by against Development and Peace are unfounded.

Secondly, the Committee of Inquiry recommends that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops continue to support Development and Peace. At the same time, given the seriousness of the questions raised, the Bishops of Canada will have a full discussion on Development and Peace at their October 2009 Plenary Assembly.

In addition, deeply concerned about the series of public allegations, accusations and denunciations that were the reason for the Committee of Inquiry to be established this past March, the Committee and the Permanent Council are appealing to to be in dialogue with Catholic groups and with the Bishops of Canada.

The Committee of Inquiry also noted the need for Development and Peace to make clearer and better known its principles and criteria that it uses when deciding on proposals for project funding. The Permanent Council has in turn requested, and Development and Peace already agreed, that mechanisms be put into place so these clarifications can be implemented after first being reviewed by the Plenary Assembly.

As decided by the Permanent Council, the recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry are being published with this statement, together with an outline of the fact finding by the Committee of Inquiry.

This is an important moment in the life of the Church in Canada. On behalf of my brother Bishops, I urge all Catholics, in the words of Saint Paul, not to “bite and devour one another”, but “to restore one another in a spirit of gentleness”, and so “to
work for the good of all, and especially of the family of faith” (Galatians, 5.15; 6.1, 10).

It is also a critical moment in the life of the world. As a result of the terrible difficulties with the world economy, poverty is worsening. The mission and work of Development and Peace are more important than ever before. As the Committee of Inquiry has noted, “there is a continuum and integrity to all human life issues” and “an urgency to all that threatens the dignity and sacredness of human life, including violence, hunger, poverty and oppression”.





+V. James Weisgerber
Archbishop of Winnipeg
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops