Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 15, 2008
Peru bishop says CCODP supporting abortions
CCODP partners 'very committed with abortion movement,' he says
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
LIMA, PERU - Is the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) funding abortions in Peru?
Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren, president of the Episcopal Commission on Family, Childhood and Life of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, seems to think so.
In a May 28 letter to Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Eguren charges that the CCCB, through CCODP, is funding activities of pro-abortion groups in Peru.
However, while two Canadian bishops sit on the board of directors of CCODP, the two groups have an arms-length relationship.
"I'm personally concerned about any funding from Catholics of Canada to pro-abortion groups in Peru," Eguren says in a May 28 letter.
Eguren, archbishop of Piura, Peru, says professional experts from his commission conducted an investigation and found out that three organizations receiving funding from CCODP are "very committed with the abortion movement here in Peru."
These organizations are the National Community Radio Coordinating Agency (CNR), the Peruvian Economic Solidarity Network (GRESP) and the Federation of Women Organized in Popular Kitchens (FEMOCCPALC).
"As you will see, each group either explicitly endorses abortion and/or contraception, either by name or by its various euphemisms like 'sexual and reproductive rights' or some derivation thereof," Eguren says in the letter.
"In that sense, we would respectfully like to formally request that the funding for the pro-abortion groups in Peru by the Canadian Catholic Organization and Peace be halted."
The WCR confirmed the authenticity of Eguren's letter June 10 through Carlos Polo, a lay member of the Childhood and Life Commission of the Peruvian Bishops Conference.
Weisgerber was in a meeting June 10 and could not be reached for comment.
Michael Casey, executive director of CCODP, said he had been made aware of Eguren's letter but refused comment until the CCCB and the CCODP officially receive Eguren's letter.
"We would prefer to wait until we actually receive the letter," he said, pointing out that as of June 10 the Canadian bishops had not received the letter either.
Casey confirmed, though, that the three organizations mentioned by Eguren have indeed been partners of CCODP for a number of years.
"We were just made aware of this letter and so program people that are involved with our Peru program will be doing follow up on this," Casey said from his Montreal office.
"We just need more information. All we have is just the news that this letter was written to the (Canadian) bishops' conference but it hasn't been received yet and so we are not in a position to comment on it."
Added Casey: "Once this evolves, if the (Canadian) conference does in fact receive the letter, they will contact us to find out what's going on and then we will be in a better position to comment."
Eguren is the only Peruvian bishop who signed the letter, which bears the stamp of the Peruvian Bishops Conference.
Out of 40 bishops in Peru, six or seven are members of the Episcopal Commission on Family, Childhood and Life, noted Polo, a lay member of the commission.
Even though the letter is dated May 28, it was dispatched June 9, he said. Lifesitenews.com published the letter June 10.
In an interview in Spanish from Lima, Polo said one of the three groups mentioned in Eguren's letter, the National Radio Coordinating Agency, has been doing a radio contest on how to exercise abortion rights in Peru. It encourages Peruvian women to tell their abortion stories.
"I imagine these groups are deceiving those responsible to disburse the funds of the Canadian Church (namely the CCODP),"he said.
"And we believe it is our obligation as Catholics to inform our brothers in Canada so that they are not deceived (anymore)."
Polo said the Episcopal Commission on Family, Childhood and Life is certain the Canadian bishops have no idea of what's going on.
"But now that they have been informed, logically they are going to put a stop to this."
Canada's bishops recently sent a delegation of two bishops and the CCCB's general secretary to Mexico to investigate allegations that CCODP partners there have been supportive of abortion.
The delegation's report will eventually be made public, but first it will go to the bishops' conference's permanent council. Then the results of the inquiry will be passed along to Canada's bishops before general release.