TORONTO—Development and Peace is assuring donors a review of the practices of 52 partner agencies will end soon.

Meanwhile, two archbishops are going the extra mile to support the Catholic development agency.

“I encourage you also to donate to D&P on Solidarity Sunday, April 7, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, to help build a more just world,” Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast wrote in his regular Ottawa Sun column.

A joint review of the 52 partner agencies that involves Canadian Conference of Bishops (CCCB) staff and Development and Peace staff has been in process since early in 2018. The review is concentrated on whether the Development and Peace partners are promoting views opposed to Church teaching on gay rights, gender theory, abortion and contraception.

Archbishop Prendergast was to team up with neighbouring Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau the afternoon of April 6 to walk in solidarity with refugees around the world.

Along with other Caritas agencies, Development and Peace is highlighting the plight of refugees all year long with their “Share the Journey” campaign. The campaign has been both inspired and endorsed by Pope Francis, who has met with refugees and spoken about the Christian duty to welcome the stranger since his election in 2013.

On March 29, Development and Peace released an official update on the joint review of partners.

“No questions have been raised about any projects that CCODP is helping to fund,” said the release.

The review, which began with 183 Development and Peace partners, has concentrated on 52 partners since last spring, investigating whether those agencies have co-operated with other, third-party groups that may hold views or take positions at odds with Church teaching. The names of those agencies have not been released.

While the review continues, those 52 agencies will receive no donor money from Development and Peace, just as they did not receive money from the 2018 Share Lent campaign.

Since its founding in 1967, Development and Peace has prided itself on working exclusively through local partners. Rather than Canadian staff arriving in distant countries to tell people how to raise themselves out of poverty, the Canadian Caritas agency works with parishes, co-operatives and NGOs to respond to the needs and the priorities of local people.

While Development and Peace claims that “upcoming additional meetings will allow the review to come to a close as soon as possible,” they also say the recommendations of the joint CCCB and Development and Peace task force won’t be fully adopted until they are approved by the Development and Peace national council, the CCCB permanent council and then finally by all the bishops of Canada.

The next opportunity for the full conference of bishops to meet and vote on the issue would be their plenary meetings in September.

“The objective is to conclude this review with a strengthened process and mission, reinforced procedures and renewed partnership,” said Development and Peace.

“Just as D&P would not knowingly participate with entities that were racist or opposed to the right of labourers to unionize, so D&P expects its partners to affirm the dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb,” Archbishop Prendergast wrote in his March 31 column.

The Catholic Register