Catholic development agency Caritas and the Governmental Department AusAid launched a joint exhibition called ‘Blueprint for a Better World’ in Adelaide at the start of October. The exhibition, aimed especially at Primary and Secondary students, is a colourful apologia for the United Nations’ much vaunted ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs). Goal number five, ‘Improve Maternal Health’, has concerned pro-lifers internationally because of its stated reference to achieving ‘universal access to full reproductive health’ by 2015. In ‘UN-speak’ that means wall-to-wall contraception and abortion.

Bob McMullan, by virtue of his position Parliamentary Secretary for Development Assistance, was at this joint launch with Caritas to have his photo taken with lots of kids in front of lots of colourful posters. He enthusiastically opined that “this travelling exhibition highlights the tangible options for how individuals and communities can take action in reducing the number of the world’s most vulnerable and poor.” When Bob McMullan speaks of ‘reducing the number of the world’s most vulnerable and poor’ we have a reason to be gravely worried about the methods he would employ to achieve such a reduction (a hint: it is not by reducing poverty but, rather, by reducing people). Caritas should be gravely worried also.

Who is Bob McMullan? McMullan has been in the Australian Parliament since 1988 when he became a Senator for the ACT. He replaced Susan Ryan, whom he admired greatly for her role as Australia’s first ‘feminist parliamentarian’. He credited her with initiating the social engineering Sex Discrimination Act in his maiden speech, as if to prove his own feminist bona fides. McMullan had been active in Canberra politics before entering the Senate and he was the National Secretary of the ALP in 1984 when it adopted its infamous ‘conscience clause’ on abortion.

Since 1988 Bob McMullan has vociferously supported abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and cloning as both a Senator and then in the House of Representatives (he has addressed the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and public pro-abortion rallies). McMullan has been a long-standing member of the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, whose non-descript title hides a radical agenda of ‘population control’, with all its concomitant anti-life positions like the mass proliferation of condoms, legalisation of abortion in religiously observant third-world countries and sterilisation programs.

When in 2007 Kevin Rudd appointed McMullan Parl. Sec. for Development and his friend Duncan Kerr MP as the Parl. Sec. for Pacific Island Affairs there was a clear message being sent by the new Labor Government as to what its overseas assistance priorities would be. Both men, responsible for dolling out Australia’s aid money, were well-known to be committed population controllers. In March 2008 McMullan addressed the Sustainable Population Australia conference and drew laughs from the assortment of feminists, abortionists and Catholic-bashers in the audience when speaking of his association with family planners: “[A] week or two ago in the Parliament building [I was] launching a program with the Australian Reproductive Alliance and Marie Stopes International about family planning support for women in post-emergency situations. Even though I thought it was a modest speech that didn’t touch upon any of the controversial issues, I have since been inundated with emails from right to lifers, who are understandably suspicious of me but not changing my mind.”

Speaking at this very same conference was the laicised dissenter-in-Chief Paul Collins who during question time chuckled when the observation was made that ‘the Catholic Church copped a bucketing at this conference’. Former South Australian Democrat politician and cranky crackpot Sandra Myrtho Kanck, now President of the SPA, repeated her claim at the conference that “the Pope is the most evil man in the world.” Paul Collins (and Bob McMullan for that matter) offered no protest to this hateful woman’s anti-papal sentiments.

In 2009 the great controversy in Australian aid policy was whether tax dollars should be sent overseas to directly fund abortion. Until early this year there was a 12 year standing ban on such tax derived funding. In January Michelle Grattan of The Age said “Mr McMullan has been a constant agitator on the issue behind the scenes.” His agitation was rewarded by PM Rudd in March when the ban was overturned by the Foreign Ministry, freeing up ‘aid money’ to pay directly for abortion. Marie Stopes International praised the reversal in policy on the Australian Sex Party website and heartily “commended Mr Bob McMullan… for his tireless commitment to the health of women”.

In 2008-09 Rudd and McMullan’s AusAid gave $6.2 million to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation. In his Sir John Crawford Memorial Lecture address last month McMullan praised the work of the nefarious Rockefeller Foundation (a group committed to one world government and significant population reduction) and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (famous for providing Africans with self-aborting suction tools).

As McMullan had earlier indicated, writing him letters on the issue was a waste of time and puts ‘paid to’ the idea that constituent lobbying of politicians who have been placed deliberately in a specific position by an anti-life government will ever achieve anything. ‘These kinds of demons can only be cast out of the parliament with prayer and fasting’, not letter writing.

The question remains: how is it that Catholic aid group Caritas and the aforementioned Bob McMullan of PGPD fame could come to be in the same room to launch a mutual initiative ‘Blueprint for a Better World’? Surely their visions for a better world are actually worlds apart?

An authoritative policy document published by Catholic Health Australia, used by Church agencies as a guide, explains how the pro-life agency Caritas is able to justify working with groups like the United Nations and people like Bob McMullan. This Code of Ethical Standards (at 8.3) introduces the notion of cooperation with parties committing wrongdoings like this: “The Church has a long-standing tradition of ethical reflection on the conditions under which cooperation with others is legitimate. Although different theologians have articulated this tradition in slightly different ways, their formulations have the common aim of explaining why, on some occasions at least, it may be permissible to cooperate with those whom one believes to be acting wrongly.”

The Code of Ethical Standards then gives a dissertation on the difference between material and formal cooperation with evil and enumerates the questions Catholic providers must ask themselves when deciding whether to cooperate with a certain initiative. Does cooperating desensetise the relevant Catholic agency to a wrongdoing? Does the cooperation compromise one’s ability to witness to certain values or principles? In short, is the cooperation scandalous?

By constantly promoting the United Nations development goals, in concert with people like Bob McMullan, it appears this cooperative relationship of Caritas’ may fall foul of the Code of Ethical Standards. On the issue of desensitisation or trivialisation ‘Blueprint for a Better World’ has as one of its educational displays a ‘Stations of the Forest’ presentation which visually mimics Our Lord’s passion for the sake of alarming children about climate change and deforestation. Stations include, ‘The Forest is condemned to death’ (1st station); ‘The tree meets its mother, Earth (4th station)’; ‘The forest is taken down to the sea for export’ (13th station); ‘The burial of the forest is the burial of the people’ (14th station). This is truly scandalous.

In allowing the population controllers like McMullan to launch Caritas events the same effect is generated as when pro-abortion politicians cut the ribbon at a parish fete, except the stakes are much higher. The Church’s opposition to the culture of death is what led Sandra Kanck, President of Sustainable Population Australia, to call the Holy Father ‘the most evil man in the world’. McMullan and AusAid are in the condom proliferating and abortion promoting population control game up to their necks which should prevent agencies like Caritas from ever communicating with them, except in denunciation of their anti-human agenda.

This is a a question of witness. Do Catholic aid agencies exist to buttress the secular development groups or should they instead aim to be a distinct alternative? By promoting the Millennium Development Goals the distinction between the pro-life Caritas and the pro-abortion UN is blurred.

The core issue is this: Bob McMullan and the United Nations’ top agencies see Millennium Develop Goal number five as a call to spread contraception and abortion around the world. Surely, in light of this, Caritas should shy away from promoting the MDGs and issuing attractive invitations for launches to government representatives who have spent their entire career championing the culture of death. I don’t believe Caritas should ever promote United Nations MDGs simply because it is far too proximate to the anti-life agenda when it does so.

Defenders of the cooperative model may answer that the United Nations (and AusAid) do meritorious work to alleviate poverty, fight disease and promote peace around the world and it is on these particular initiatives that Caritas should cooperate. However, it is appropriate to remember here the words of Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate. The encyclical is relevant to the question of whether these purely secular humanitarian works, which on the surface appear charitable, may in fact, be a trap that lulls the cooperator into turning a blind eye to obviously harmful untruths:

Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way.”

What Bob McMullan, the United Nations and AusAid call ‘charity’ is, more often than not, a well-marketed but misleading sentimental casing that hides a darkened interior of nefarious design. Caritas should stay well away from Bolshevik Bob’s ‘blueprint for a better (less populated) world’.

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