Thursday, March 18, 2010

Development and Peace’s PR Failure

I’m still upset by yesterday’s revelations that Development and Peace is denying the allegations of impropriety, all the while smearing Campaign Life and LifeSiteNews.

If there’s a silver lining in all this, it’s that D&P’s response to the allegations is a public relations failure, and it will only come back to bite them in the butt.

In effect, D&P’s response to Lifesite’s allegations is there is no problem.

Do they refute the evidence?


Do they even accurately portray the charges?


How are people who are informed about the issue supposed to take D&P seriously?

When you read the document, you get the feeling that D&P’s perception of the situation is that the faithful in the pew are getting wind of some negative allegations, but are not too plugged in to the whole story. D&P treats its audience like they are basically ignorant of the whole controversy, and it banks on this ignorance to make vague counter-refutations that it expects its readers to take at their word. If they perceived that their readers were knowledgeable, they would try harder to get their story straight.

I think this perception is partially rooted in the fact that D&P operates out of Montreal. In Quebec, the pro-life movement is perceived and treated as something very fringe, even among the Church. I get the distinct impression that they have no idea how important the pro-life movement is in many parts of the Canadian Church. It’s like they operate in their own little world with little reference to the church outside their leftist bubble.

The icing on the cake is D&P’s admission that yes, it does fund groups that support the ending of legal protection for unborn human beings. In effect, it gave credence to Lifesite’s charges.

Seeing as it can’t change what it won’t acknowledge, D&P will continue to keep funding the same types of groups. Information will surface about money going to groups that oppose fetal rights, and it will again issue half-baked denials, get a lot of facts wrong, and look stupid in the process. The cycle will repeat until it realizes it's not working.

Meanwhile, if the bishops do not act—and I have a hunch that they won’t—the Vatican will certainly get word of this. I think that the Vatican needs to issue a new policy to the effect that church-operated charities cannot give money to groups that actively oppose fetal rights. I suspect that if we keep at this long enough, it eventually will, especially if the bishops in the South are grumbling about this money.

In other news, John Pacheco wrote the blogpost I'd wanted to write last night, in which he thoroughly fisks the D & P talking points.