Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas aid and development agency, has explained — once again — that it upholds Catholic teaching as a pro-life organization “dedicated to preserving the sacredness and dignity of human life from conception to natural death.”
A post on the CRS Newswire examines the agency’s role in providing food, emergency relief and disaster assistance around the world, and defends its partnerships with other relief groups, including those that do not share the full realm of Catholic values, in an effort to better serve the world’s poor and marginalized. It explains that when working in coalitions with other organizations in a program that is does not align with church teaching, CRS does not participate.
“Our membership in these coalitions gives us a platform to present effective methods and procedures that demonstrate the efficacy of Catholic approaches to health and family planning,” the post says.
John Rivera, the agency’s director of communications, who wrote the post, told Catholic News Service the clarification has been on the CRS website for about a month and is refreshed regularly to keep it in the forefront for new readers.
The post makes clear that the statement was developed in response to a “coordinated series of attacks condemning aspects of our work, our partners, professional associations and even some of our employees” over the summer.
“We want to be clear that we are open to and welcome correction, presented to us by people and organizations who offer it in the spirit of Christian charity and with the intention of helping us to live the Gospel mission of serving he poorest of the poor around the world,” Rivera wrote.
The online statement acknowledges that CRS employs diverse staff members, not all of whom are Catholic. It also explains that all employees receive “instruction on Catholic teaching and its manifestation in our work” during orientation to the agency.
In the post’s final segment, Rivera outlines the process used in producing resources and materials for various audiences.