Since 1967, the Catholic bishops of Canada have entrusted the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace (CCODP) with the mandate of working in developing countries to support projects that reflect the social justice mission of the Catholic Church. We also rely on CCODP, as the Canadian member of the Vatican's humanitarian relief network, Caritas Internationalis, to channel emergency funds when disaster strikes. In the Archdiocese of Toronto, many donors and volunteers faithfully contribute to this important work. I am grateful for their continued support of our brothers and sisters in need.
In 2009, due to concerns about problematic partners in numerous countries, I announced that the Archdiocese of Toronto would require CCODP to provide greater scrutiny of its projects with overseas partners to ensure that they are consistent with Catholic teaching.
CCODP is a significant recipient of funds collected as part of our annual ShareLife appeal. We consider our relationship with our donors to be that of a sacred trust. It was therefore also communicated to CCODP that funding from the Archdiocese of Toronto would require letters of endorsement from a local Catholic bishop or bishops' conference to ensure that projects and partners were appropriately vetted at the local level and certified to be in harmony with our faith. This process has continued for almost a decade. Our donors' funds have not been disbursed until these assurances were provided.
A recent review of CCODP partners, conducted by representatives of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has produced alarming concerns about dozens of overseas organizations. We anticipate a more detailed report on the situation in the coming months. In the interim, we will be withholding our 2018 allocation to CCODP until more information is provided to the CCCB. As CCODP is the development arm established by the Catholic bishops, it is critical to ensure that it allocates no funds to projects or groups that operate contrary to the moral and social teachings of the church.
Cardinal Thomas Collins
Archbishop of Toronto
April 11, 2018