addition to complaining that CRS was involved in distributing abortifacients and contraceptives, the clergy expressed dismay that the majority of CRS’ employees in the country are not Catholic and that it does its work apart from the local church.
“Maybe CRS’s participation in artificial-contraception-promotion programs is the reason that CRS mainly hires Protestants, who have no objection to family planning,” suggested Fr. Liva, SMM, Pastor at St. Thérèse Parish in Tamatave. “If CRS hired Catholics, some of those Catholics might object more strongly to CRS’s participation in that kind of thing.”
“I’m not sure why, and I don’t want to exaggerate, but maybe 70% of its staff, or even more – is not Catholic,” said Archbishop Tsarahazana. “They’re not Catholic… I do understand that about CRS’s commitments to the U.S. Government…but, the question that remains is: Why are there so few Catholics on CRS’s staff…that I don’t understand so well.”
Archbishop Odon Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, expressed concern over the Catholic agency’s apparently tight relationship with the U.S. government.
“One time, for ‘visibility’ purposes, they [CRS-Madagascar representatives] came in here [to my office] and asked me to put up this thing, this sign, with ‘USAID’ on it; to put it up behind my desk,” he said. “I threw them the hell out of my office: ‘Take your sign and your money out of here. I don’t need it. I’ve lived in my poverty; leave me in my poverty.’ ”
“The money that CRS gets: a large part of it goes towards administration, while they make us work like dogs,” he added. “And then they collect two-thirds…and they give us crumbs. They are the ones who need to explain: Why do they receive such big salaries?”
PRI reports that local clergy even refer to CRS as a “so-called ‘Catholic’” agency.
“You know, CRS works outside of the Church,” said Father Jean Joel, Director of Bureau de Coordination des Actions Sociales. “It has the name ‘Catholic’ Relief Services but [laughing] doesn’t work, really, with Catholics. Even the personnel of ‘C’RS are nearly all Protestant.”
“We [the Montfort Fathers] might have the same name [Catholic] but we’re not in the same family,” said Fr. Jean Jagu, Vicar at the Montfort Fathers’ church in Brickaville.