Dear Eminences and Excellencies:
I write to you in the spirit of Canon 212, which obliges me to bring to your attention a grave matter regarding Catholic Relief Services. As shepherds of the Church in the United States, I implore you to hear these concerns and meticulously address the matter.
As you know, the Lepanto Institute published a report regarding Catholic Relief Services’ participation in a USAID-funded project called Project AXxes. From 2006-2010, CRS received federal funding to act as an implementing partner on the project. I am not writing to defend the report or its findings, but to address the admissions CRS made in response to it. In CRS’s response:
- CRS is asking Your Eminences and Excellencies, and all the faithful, to ignore four years’ worth of inventory and narrative reports that show CRS intimately involved in the distribution of millions of units of abortifacient contraception and condoms.
- CRS is asking that the written testimony of the head of IMA World Health suffices as refutation to the evidence. It should be noted that IMA’s current head wasn’t even working for IMA World Health while the project in question was being implemented.
- CRS put forth two identical letters, clearly written by CRS, from the Bishops’ Conferences of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the assertion that the Lepanto Institute’s report is wrong. These letters were obtained weeks before the Lepanto Institute report was even published.
More to the point, CRS’s response to the report makes two stark admissions, showing that it was in fact in proximate material cooperation with the distribution of contraception.
- CRS admitted that it was an implementing partner in a project that distributed abortifacient contraception to health centers and hospitals for which it was responsible.
- CRS admitted that it implemented a natural family planning program in a project that was using these programs as a way to introduce Congolese woman to abortifacient contraception.
Click the link here for a more complete response to CRS’s statement regarding the Lepanto Institute report.
At the heart of this problem is the fact that CRS is in violation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, On the Service of Charity in two respects. CRS violates the requirement that it not receive funding from institutions that “pursue ends contrary to the Church’s teaching,” and CRS receives funding for projects whose overall goals include initiatives at odds with Catholic teaching. The motu priorio says:
Art. 10. –
- 3. In particular, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that charitable agencies dependent upon him do not receive financial support from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to Church’s teaching. Similarly, lest scandal be given to the faithful, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that these charitable agencies do not accept contributions for initiatives whose ends, or the means used to pursue them, are not in conformity with the Church’s teaching.
Art. 11. – The diocesan Bishop is obliged, if necessary, to make known to the faithful the fact that the activity of a particular charitable agency is no longer being carried out in conformity with the Church’s teaching, and then to prohibit that agency from using the name “Catholic” and to take the necessary measures should personal responsibilities emerge.
Because CRS receives the vast majority of its finances from contraception distributing and promoting agencies like PEPFAR, USAID, the Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, the Clinton Foundation, and the Open Society, among many others, it is violating Pope Benedict’s decree that Catholic Charitable organizations are not to “receive financial support from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to Church’s teaching.”
Secondly, because CRS routinely engages in financial partnerships for initiatives, such as Project AXxes, which have the distribution of contraception as a means and an end of the success of the initiative itself, CRS is again in violation of Pope Benedict XVI’s decree.
On behalf of concerned Catholics throughout the world, we beg Your Eminences and Excellencies to bring CRS into full conformity with Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio on the Service of Charity, forbidding it to receive or provide funds to agencies that promote abortion, contraception or sterilization, and to forbid it from participating in projects where any of these grave moral evils play a part in any way. And if CRS is unable or unwilling to follow the directive of the Church, as instituted by the Vicar of Christ, then we ask you to enact Article 11.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
President, Lepanto Institute