February 1, 2019 — Twenty religious communities, including the Jesuits of Canada, sent a letter to the Executive Director of Development and Peace, Serge Langlois, expressing their astonishment at this crisis, while reiterating their confidence in the organization, which is greatly appreciated for its ongoing commitment to the most disadvantaged.
For several months, Development and Peace has been paralyzed by a crisis following the publication of a preliminary report suggesting that the Catholic international cooperation organization has been funding partners who do not fully comply with the Church’s "social and moral" teaching. These allegations prompted some Bishops in Ontario and Western Canada to withhold Share Lent funds. Thus, deprived of its main source of funding, Development and Peace is facing a serious governance crisis, as the organization does not know if it will be able to support solidarity projects for marginalized populations in the southern hemisphere.
Last September, the funds withheld were finally given over to the organization, which nevertheless undertook to suspend funding to 52 partner organizations deemed suspect by the Canadian Bishops’ Conference." We are shocked by the impasse of the past few months that has blocked crucial payments to many partners," the letter reads. "This impasse indicates a lack of trust in the partner selection process. Some of us have already participated on program review committees and are aware of the complexity and depth of the analysis that leads to decision-making. Development and Peace has trusted its allies on all continents to add their experienced voices. The process is therefore multidimensional."
And the communities reiterated the importance of relying on Development and Peace’s expertise and selection process to choose the organizations to support, stressing the need for Development and Peace to maintain its independence."As members of religious communities, we rely on the proven expertise of staff and the collaboration of members to support organizations and networks that are transforming our world. When this support is blocked, it is the poorest of the poor who suffer – as always."
You can read the letter to Development and Peace here.