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Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2013 / 01:08 am (CNA).- Following criticism of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops have reaffirmed their support for the agency, applauding its “very strong training program” and “careful” vetting process for partnerships with other groups.
“Through CRS, the Catholic Church in the United States helps the poorest of the poor around the world in response to the call of the Gospel, based on the teachings of the Church and following the example of our Holy Father. Its service around the world makes us all proud,” the administrative committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference said Sept. 11.
The relief agency works in 91 countries and has nearly 5,000 staff, many of whom are local workers who are not Catholic.
The U.S. bishops noted that the agency trains all staff about Catholic teaching. In 2012 Catholic Relief Services implemented an agency-wide tutorial, “Protecting Life,” which informs staff about Catholic teaching on “the sanctity of life, contraception and abortion.” The training explains agency requirements that staff “uphold this teaching in their work,” the bishops said.
They also observed that the relief agency employs a vetting process to ensure that it does not violate Church teaching when cooperating with other groups or governments. Such partnerships are undertaken in order to accomplish joint goals, such as helping to provide food and clean water, disaster aid, education, anti-malaria campaigns and other poverty assistance initiatives.
“As CRS’ work necessitates collaboration with a broad network of partners in complex environments with a regularly changing focus, this system is constantly reviewed and updated,” the bishops said. “The agency welcomes questions and concerns offered in a spirit of Christian charity. If any weaknesses or problems are found assessment and action are undertaken to correct the problem.”
The U.S. bishops have said that Catholic Relief Services “fully and faithfully adheres to Church teaching” and those concerned about criticisms of the agency should seek clarification before believing them.
The bishops lamented recent allegations that the agency does not adhere to Church teaching, saying there have been “thorough investigations into the concerns.”
The statement comes after the Virginia-based Population Research Institute claimed that the relief agency was cooperating in a contraceptive distribution program in Madagascar, in violation of Catholic teaching.
The institute on July 26 charged that Catholic Relief Services was acting “in concert with some of the world’s biggest population control / family planning organizations” and said it distributed contraceptives and drugs that (Read More)