Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 21, 2002
UNICEF coins slotted for approved projects
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"We don't get involved in contraception or abortion issues at all."
- Lisa Green
But the Vatican did not call for a total break with UNICEF, saying that bishops and Catholic institutions should review their participation in UNICEF programs "on a case by-case-case basis."
The Canadian Catholic Bishops decided to continue supporting UNICEF after the organization agreed with the bishops' request that Catholic monies be earmarked for special purposes within UNICEF, like waterfront projects or other development projects, said CCCB spokesperson Deacon William Kokesch.
The Edmonton Catholic School Division immediately reversed its decision and instructed its schools to continue raising funds for UNICEF if they so wished. Some 60 schools joined the UNICEF Halloween collection and continue to do so to this day. Money raised by Catholic students on Halloween 1997 and later years went to a water project in Mali.
Father Stephen Wojcichowsky, who coordinates the Halloween collection for Edmonton Catholic Schools, is satisfied the money raised by Catholic Schools has gone to the projects earmarked by the Canadian bishops. And he said the bishops choose projects that are important to a large number of people but have little chance of getting international funding, like the water project in Mali. "I think it is their way of saying this is how we live out our preferential option for the poor," he said.
Campaign Life Coalition and Alberta Prolife, however, say they don't trust UNICEF and are urging people to direct their donations locally where they know where the money is going. And they are recommending that on Halloween night, parents quietly drop a note in the bags of those trick-or-treaters collecting for UNICEF explaining they can no longer donate to UNICEF because the organization supports abortion programs in the Third World.
"We are encouraging people not to support UNICEF at all across the board simply because it is almost impossible to be able to track dollar for dollar to be absolutely certain that it does not go to pro-abortion organizations," said Patti Nixon, executive director of Alberta Prolife.
"They give us assurances that they do not support any organization that promotes abortion and yet they do. So they don't have a history of being upfront. They mislead people on their website so you have no reason to think they are not going to mislead people elsewhere as well."
Lisa Green, director of UNICEF-Alberta's Halloween collection, said this year again the UN charity received support from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Green said UNICEF doesn't believe that abortion is a method of family planning and, accordingly, "we don't get involved in contraception or abortion issues at all."
Over 250 Edmonton schools raised $83,000 last year. Catholic schools raised almost $9,500 of that total.
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