Aid agency rejects ‘contraception distribution’ claim

A leading Catholic aid agency has rejected an accusation that it has been involved with distributing contraceptives in Africa.

Following claims by a body named the Lepanto Institute that the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) had made contraceptives available during its field work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2006 and 2010, the CRS issued a statement to counter the allegation.

Pointing out that the Lepanto body made no contact with CRS to seek clarification before making the accusation via its website on October 17, the CRS said it “currently uses an elaborate ongoing review process for our programming, involving bishops on our board and top moral theologians, to ensure that we uphold Catholic teaching in all we do. If we ever do find a problem, we correct it immediately.”


Acknowledging that reports on the work undertaken in the DRC – known as Project Axxes – “do indeed seem to show CRS as receiving contraceptives”, the agency points to “unclear wording [by] another organisation that did not understand how important absolute clarity on this point is to CRS.”

The agency subsequently added to its statement: “Those who are concerned by these allegations can take further reassurance from the 12 bishops on our board, the [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] and Congolese Bishop’s Conference who all continue to stand by us.”