Comment on cancellation of Share Lent speaker

Monday, April 04 2011

This past Friday, 1 April, the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa, in consultation with Mr. Michael Casey, National Director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, cancelled a visit by Father Luis Arriaga, S.J., Director of the Centre Prodh in Mexico City. Father Arriaga had been scheduled by CCODP as a Share Lent speaker. Earlier last week, Mr. Casey had already cancelled the engagements by Father Arriaga in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall. The Centre Prodh was one of the Mexican groups that had been at the source of a controversy two years ago involving Development and Peace.

The decisions to cancel the speaking engagements were made in view of allegations about the Centre Prodh and Father Arriaga, because of which it appears that “prayer protests” were being planned. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Ottawa and also Development and Peace have requested clarifications about Father Arriaga and Centre Prodh from the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

The CCCB General Secretary has worked closely with Archbishop Prendergast and Mr. Casey on this and continues to do so. In addition, the CCCB Standing Committee on CCODP will shortly discuss the questions which have been raised.

Development and Peace has been working closely over the past two years with the CCCB and what was formerly its Ad Hoc Committee on CCODP. The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is committed to respect for life, and is making every effort to ensure its programs are in full compliance with Church teachings. The recent questions and concerns that have been expressed underscore the need for the CCCB Standing Committee and the importance of Development and Peace continuing to work in full collaboration with it.