Madagascar prelate retracts earlier negative comments about Catholic Relief Services

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On July 25, the Population Research Institute (PRI), a pro-life organization founded by Father Paul Marx and led by Steven Mosher, alleged that CRS, the US bishops’ international relief and development agency, “is using funding from American Catholics to distribute contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices in concert with some of the world’s biggest population control/family planning organizations.”

After Catholic Relief Services responded that “this allegation is simply false,” PRI stated on July 31 that its charges “reflect the views of the bishops and clergy of Madagascar” and offered quotes from several priests, as well as the bishops of the nation’s two largest cities.

According to PRI, Archbishop Tsarahazana said:

Even in my own diocese! Without my knowledge … they [CRS] were working on an artificial contraception project here … And, then, the Catholic people around here heard about it and said: “What’s that all about? That’s supposed to be ‘Catholic’??” So, there you have it: They [CRS] were following the instructions of USAID [the US Agency for International Development] …

I’m not sure why, and I don’t want to exaggerate, but maybe 70% of its staff, or even more – is not Catholic; they’re not Catholic … I do understand that about CRS’s commitments to the US Government … but, the question that remains is: Why are there so few Catholics on CRS’s staff … that I don’t understand so well …

Just this year CRS held a very big meeting here in town – a “capacity-building” meeting or something, at a hotel here – and I heard about it only accidentally, when I was up in the [town] of Diego, and somebody told me about the meeting to be held [in my own town]. I was embarrassed; I didn’t know anything about it.

On August 2, the USCCB issued the following statement:

Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana, of the Archdiocese of Toamasina and the president of the episcopal conference of Madagascar, expresses strong support for Catholic Relief Services and confirms that Catholic Relief Services does not provide or facilitate access to contraceptive or abortifacient drugs or devices in his archdiocese.

Link

Catholic Relief Services “stonewalling” in the wake of allegations that it’s allied with pro-abortion, pro-contraception groups.

CRS’s statement is similar to an an email sent to this agency in late December in response to questioning about FRAYBA and CEREAL, and leaves several questions unanswered.

Although the organization also claimed in December that its partnership with FRAYBA had ended in 2011, CRS spokesman John Rivera refused to explain why the organization was still listed as a partner on its Mexico partner’s page.  He also would not state whether CRS continued to have some relationship with FRAYBA, or if it has a relationship with other pro-abortion groups, such as the All Rights for Everyone Human Rights Network (TDT), of which FRAYBA is a member.

However, following publication of LifeSiteNews.com’s recent exposé on the two groups on February 20, CRS removed the donor page listing both FRAYBA and CEREAL.  A copy of the original page can be found here.

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