HLI Statement on the Lepanto Institute’s Latest CRS Report

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia — October 17, 2016. Media contact: Stephen Phelan | sphelan@hli.org

A report published today by the Lepanto Institute shows “that in a federally-funded program conducted between 2006 and 2010, CatholicRelief Services received and facilitated the delivery of 2.25 million units of contraception in the Democratic Republic of Congo. … The documents further reveal that because of the efforts of Catholic Relief Services and its partners, the use of modern birth control methods skyrocketed among a people who had almost no knowledge of such things before the program commenced.”

Today Human Life International issued the following statement:

“Having reviewed the Lepanto Institute’s report showing that Catholic Relief Services stored and distributed 2.25 million units of contraception in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we find the report both credible and alarming. According to government documents, the USAID-funded project in question was clearly about contraception when CRS won the bid to implement it, CRS repeatedly reported handling and storing the various methods of contraception (some of which can cause early abortions), and CRS further reported how contraceptive use increased in its region of responsibility during the project.

“The Church has long taught the truth about the evil presented by contraception, showing how it attacks life and undermines the family and women’s health; yet the Church’s largest international aid agency is directly participating in this contraceptive-based attack on the poor and marginalized in a country that is already suffering immensely from conflict and poverty. CRS’ past denials of participating in just these kinds of ‘aid’ and ‘development’ projects are again called into question with these latest revelations.

“We hope the bishops will seek an independent investigation, as they have not been told the truth by CRS about the full range of their activities. We hope further that CRS will not again be allowed to simply attack the messenger and continue business as usual. It is regrettable that this report, due to refusals of private meetings, had to be issued publicly, causing great scandal.

“The bishops have been deceived. They, and the faithful who have supported CRS, deserve to be told the truth about the full range of CRS’ activities so that donors can make informed decisions. Given the size of CRS, it is difficult to discern where exactly the dishonesty originates, so we do not want to accuse anyone reporting to the bishops of lying. Yet it is clear that the organization’s integrity is nonexistent when it is telling its government funders one thing and it is telling the bishops and its faithful supporters another. We renew our offer to discuss with any bishops our firsthand knowledge of how these ‘development’ projects really work in the developing world, and why they are proof positive of what Pope Francis and his predecessors have rightly condemned as an ‘ideological colonization’ that hurts rather than helps the poor.”

The Lepanto Institute’s report can be found at http://www.lepantoinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CRS-AXxess-Report_Final.pdf.

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Human Life International: Pro-Life Missionaries to the World. HLI’s mission is to defend the God-given right to life and dignity of all human persons from conception until natural death. HLI is a Catholic apostolate seeking to respond to our calling as followers of Jesus Christ by building a Culture of Life and of Love around the world through education, outreach, advocacy, and service.

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