FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dear Members of the Catholic Women’s League,
Many of you have been made aware in recent days that a number of bishops in Canada are withholding funds collected for the ShareLent campaign of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). The Catholic Women’s League of Canada is also withholding member and council collections made to the 1% Program voluntary fund pending further information and advice from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
Why has the CWL taken this position?
Some months back, the League received concerns from members regarding the Fanm Deside project in Haiti. The leadership of this volunteer project chosen by the League upon recommendation of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) was recently reported to advocate for reproductive rights for women that would include abortion and sterilization.
The CWL is officially recognized by the CCCB as a national private lay association of the faithful and relies on the expertise and guidance of the CCCB in matters of faith and morals. Consequently, clarification was sought on the Fanm Deside project from both CCODP and the CCCB. CWL members wanted to be assured their donations would be directed to support projects that are consistent with Catholic moral values and teaching. Further, the League urged that a dialogue take place between CCODP and the CCCB, with a request that the outcome be shared with the CWL once an understanding was reached.
What will be the outcome?
Pending a favourable response from the CCCB, the League will release the 1% Program contributions to CCODP. The board of directors desires to support the CCODP, but only in conformity with the CCCB and in witness to the church’s teaching on faith and morals through Catholic social justice tradition.
Certainly, the CCODP provides amazing support to developing countries and members will continue to respond to the very real needs of those less fortunate in our world. But it would be inappropriate for the national organization to encourage members to support the voluntary fund for Fanm Deside at this time.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the deliberations of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and that a favourable outcome will allow The Catholic Women’s League of Canada to fully support the efforts of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in the near future.
Margaret Ann Jacobs