Madagascar archbishop confirms no contraceptives in CRS programs

Madagascar archbishop confirms no contraceptives in CRS programs

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — A Madagascar archbishop confirmed in talks with leading U.S. church leaders that Catholic Relief Services is not providing or facilitating access to contraceptives and abortifacients in its health care programs in his archdiocese.

The Population Research Institute had alleged in a series of reports in July that some CRS workers were engaged in family planning programs and the widespread distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients in the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. But Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, president of the bishops' conference of Madagascar, expressed “strong support” for CRS and told U.S. church leaders that although “there had been some confusion in his archdiocese that was quickly resolved” in the past, CRS is “acting in accord with Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion,” according to a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The archbishop spoke by phone Aug. 2 with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, USCCB president, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., chairman of the board of directors of CRS.

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