The Roman Catholic Bishops of Alberta have announced that they will release previously withheld donation funds to Development and Peace, and that they will forward proceeds of collections in 2019. The news comes in a joint letter from the four bishops, dated December 10, 2018. In the Archdiocese of Edmonton, this means that Development and Peace will once again receive a share of the funds collected through the Together We Serve appeal.

The decision follows a commitment by Development and Peace not to fund any of 52 partner organizations that are currently are review by joint committees of D&P and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This commitment was shared with D&P members in a November 16th letter from Serge Langlois, the organization's executive director. 

We invite you to share the Bishops' message. (It is also available in PDF format in English and in French)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you will recall, the Bishops of Alberta made a decision to withhold from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) funds collected this year in our diocesan appeals, including Share Lent, Together We Serve, and Together in Action. This was triggered by indications of non-compliance with Catholic moral teaching on the part of a significant number of CCODP partner agencies.

In response to this determination by many of Canada's Bishops, CCODP reiterated its full adherence, as a Catholic organization, to the Church’s social and moral doctrine, especially as regards the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. It undertook further to complete a review of the problematic partnerships and report their findings to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

Preliminary results were delivered to the Bishops during their recent plenary meeting, and CCCB officials are currently assessing them. At the same time, CCODP has promised not to forward any of the funds collected in our 2018 parish collections to problematic partners and has, in addition, imposed a temporary moratorium on any funding of them in the future until all concerns are addressed to the satisfaction of the Bishops.

In a letter dated November 27th last, the Executive Director of CCODP informed the Bishops of Alberta of the steps being taken to address the specific issue of the partners identified as problematic. In addition, he advised that they are revising partner selection criteria, adjusting their Partnership Policy and taking measures to improve communications with both the Bishops and all CCODP members. All of this is unfolding in collaboration with officials of the CCCB.

On the basis of the information provided and CCODP's guarantee that the funds collected in 2018 will not be forwarded to partners under review, the Bishops of Alberta have decided to release those same funds to CCODP by the end of this year. We have requested that they give a full accounting to us of the way in which these 2018 funds are eventually distributed.

In addition, because they have placed a temporary funding moratorium on these same partners and have undertaken to review and revise their selection criteria and partnership policy, the Bishops of Alberta will allow the 2019 collection to take place in their Dioceses during the Lenten season. We continue to expect, of course, that the funds raised in 2019 will be forwarded only to partners whose commitment to Catholic social and moral doctrine is firm. Here, too, we have asked for a full accounting in confirmation of such distribution of the funds.

Throughout this difficult process, we have been encouraged and edified by our interactions with the local staff, volunteers and members of CCODP. These men and women are deeply committed to the poor of the Global South and to effective communion with their Bishops as
they engage in acts of charity, social justice and advocacy. Their efforts are a reminder to all of us of the need to support the good work carried out by CCODP.

Yours sincerely in our Lord,
Catholic Bishops of Alberta

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton

Most Reverend William T. McGrattan
Bishop of Calgary

Most Reverend Paul Terrio
Bishop of St. Paul

Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas CSsR
Archbishop Grouard-McLennan