Canada's Catholic Bishops say work is continuing on their joint review with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) concerning the organizations’s international partners.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a brief progress report on July 18, after confirming in April that preliminary research had suggested that some of the partner agencies funded by Development and Peace appeared to be in conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching. Those preliminary findings prompted several bishops, including Archbishop Richard Smith, to announce that they would withhold the proceeds of parish collections from Development and Peace until their concerns were addressed.

"In light of the CCCB’s preliminary findings earlier this year, namely the identification of certain partners whose statements and views appeared problematic from the perspective of Catholic ethical and social teachings, CCODP has proposed prioritizing the order in which those identified are subjected to further examination by taking into account the seriousness of the questions raised by the preliminary findings," the CCCB said.

"While discussions continue between the CCCB and CCODP, and further steps are taken to ascertain all the facts, including establishing contact with partners in the Global South, both the CCCB and CCODP remain committed to the importance and necessity of this review and its being completed over the coming months in a timely fashion with uncompromising regard for its thoroughness, integrity, and transparency."

In a letter to parishioners dated April 4, Archbishop Smith described the initial results of the review as alarming. “An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” he wrote.

“For this reason, the Archdiocese of Edmonton will withhold the D&P portion of the 2018 Together We Serve donations from Development and Peace. The funds will be withheld until such time as we receive clear assurance that funds received from present and future Together We Serve collections will be used only by agencies whose mission, values and practices cohere with the teachings of the Catholic Church and with the criteria of Caritas Internationalis, of which the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the Canadian representative.”

Read more about Archbishop Smith's decision in Grandin Media