7 April 2014

Note to D&P: when you hit rock bottom...

Don't pull out a pick axe and keep going.

A few years ago we had the Development and Peace scandal, which some at D&P claimed was false, some admitted it happened, but has now been cleaned up. The scandal was that D&P, the foreign aid arm of the Canadian council of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) gave aid to many excellent foreign causes, but also to a few groups in Central and South America that in addition to other works of charity supported supported and promoted abortion rights, and possibly even provided abortions. We knew this, because bishops from Central America contacted the Canadian bishops and asked them to stop giving money to those groups, and offered them lists of several other charitable organizations that could do the same good works without also the bad.

Many of us were furious. Thanks to that group, we had supported a grave, intrinsic and objective evil. Some told us our reaction was overblown, and the bishops, who should have been overseeing this and making sure that this never happened in the first place, assured us that this would never happen again.

For my part, I had completely lost faith in D&P, and resolved to never again give them a cent. But some of my conscience weighted upon me. We are not supposed to refuse to give aid to those who need it, Jesus tells us. By refusing to give them money now, after they have sworn to have cleaned up, was that not what I was doing?

Then came this weekend at Mass. Reps from D&P spoke to us, and asked for our aid. They wanted us to give money, natc, but also to sign cards protesting the actions of some companies whose practises run contrary to the dictates of Social Justice. They also wanted us to purchase fair trade coffee and chocolate, and read a page or two outlining some of D&P's goals in Central and South America.

For fair trade, I am afraid I am far too cynical. How does one know that these products were made fairly? Whose word do we take for it- the people who took our money and lied a few years back? And what is fair? Is it really an improvement when sweat shops use air conditioners?

And then there was the sheet they wanted us to read. I wish I had kept it and could post it, instead of tossing it into the trash in disgust.

Among the stated goals of D&P was increased protection of "Mother Earth". Yeah. Gaia. While I believe in protecting Creation and caring for it, Mother Earth is a loaded term, and the only Catholics I know who use it are either deceived or deceiving. Then there was another point: To support and encourage traditional self government. That almost always is in reference to aboriginal populations.

It comes up every now and then in Canada. One of the last times the idea was raised, I was surprised to see that one of the groups that opposed it were women from certain tribes, mainly out west. For some reason, many white Liberals have curious ideas about the natives: They were free, egalitarian, peaceful, earth loving, etc etc. The first mistake in this way of thinking is that they are treating the Aboriginals as if they were a homogeneous group.  Each tribe was different with different customs and different ways of ordering their affairs.  Some tribes almost fit the liberal description of them.. Almost. Others, not so much. The women from, say, the Iroquois, were all for self government: In traditional Iroquois society the women are quite powerful. However, in some other tribes, a man's wife was a possession, of less value than his horse. Other groups fall somewhere in between. It was not shocking, therefore, that some women of a few tribes did not particularly want to go that far back into the way things were before.

So support of traditional self government in Central and South America depends upon whom you are speaking. Does D&P realize that for some groups this would mean the right to enslave other tribes, put them to work building pyramids to the sun, and then have priest kings cut out their hearts on said pyramids so the sun will rise tomorrow? Or does D&P think all traditional native cultures were nice, misunderstood people?

One way or another, do it with someone else's money. For all the good you do, you poison it with this foolishness.

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