Media CenterCatholic News Agency/EWTN: Madagascar Archbishop Affirms Support for CRS

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Catholic News Agency/EWTN reports that an Archbishop from Madagascar gave CRS a strong endorsement and affirmed that the agency does not and has not distributed or facilitated the distribution of contraceptives or abortafacients in his diocese.
A Madagascar archbishop has distanced himself from controversial claims that Catholic Relief Services distributed contraceptive drugs and abortifacients in his country, affirming that the agency’s actions do not violate Catholic teaching. The U.S. bishops’ conference reported Aug. 2 that Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina voiced his “strong support” for the relief agency and confirmed that CRS does not provide or facilitate access to contraceptive or abortion-causing drugs in the region. The archbishop, who serves as president of the bishops’ conference of Madagascar, spoke by phone Friday with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, U.S. bishops’ conference president, and CRS chairman of the board Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson. According to the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop Tsarahazana said that there had been “some confusion in his archdiocese that was quickly resolved.” He said Catholic Relief Services acted according to Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion, which Catholic teaching recognizes as sinful. The Madagascar archbishop said he would consult with other bishops in his country to confirm that such activity is not taking place.
The article also contained some conciliatory comments from Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Insitute (PRI), which made the original allegations.
Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said he was “delighted” that Cardinal Dolan contacted Archbishop Tsarahazana and that they were “able to talk about the problems.” “We don’t have any quotes from the conversation, but we did learn that there was some confusion in the archdiocese. But the issue has now been resolved. So I’m delighted.” Mosher said he would like to know how the agency resolved the problem about the alleged assistance in providing drugs and procedures that violated Catholic teaching. He contended that the Population Research Institute was able to be “an honest broker and help to bring Cardinal Dolan together with the archbishop” to resolve the controversy. His conciliatory statements are a change in tone from the institute’s earlier report, co-authored by Mosher, which had contended that its investigation in Madagascar showed “a long-standing pattern of complicity and cooperation” in programs that violate Catholic teaching.
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John Rivera
August 3, 2013

John Rivera is CRS' former communications director. He was based Baltimore, Maryland.More