The charity Progressio has been forced to close after its funding dried up.
Martin McEnery, chairman of the charity’s trustees, announced the news “with great sadness” in a letter to supporters.
He said that “the funding landscape has become increasingly competitive” and that the charity had been unable to replace a £2 million grant from the Department for International Development, which will come to an end in December.
Progressio was founded in 1940 as The Sword of the Spirit, with the support of Cardinal Arthur Hinsley.
In 1965, it was renamed the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR).
Later it was renamed again in reference to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s 1967 social encyclical, Populorum Progressio.
It is not an official Catholic agency, and for some time it has disagreed with Church teaching by supporting the distribution of condoms as part of combating HIV and Aids. It was closely associated with Liberation Theology movements in the 1970s
More recently, Progressio has described its approach as “people-powered development”. It sends experts to work with local groups “that authentically represent poor and marginalised people”. The group also campaigns for political change.
In July, Mr McEnery announced a consultation process to decide whether Progressio would be able to continue after the £2 million funding was withdrawn. He said that small and medium-sized charities were finding it increasingly difficult to raise funds, and said Progressio was seeking to find other sources of money. But in his latest statement, Mr McEnery said that, at a meeting on September 14, the trustees had decided “to begin proceedings to close Progressio”.
He added: “This decision has been taken with deep regret, on the basis that we have not been able to secure sufficient levels of income to ensure a viable future post-March 2017.”
He said the charity intended to continue work until March, after which its commitments will be handed over to other organisations.
Bishops to consider nationwide support service for the abused
The Bishops of England and Wales are being urged to create a nationwide support service for all victims of abuse.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission made the appeal in its annual report, released this week, which called on bishops to found a National Pastoral Support Service “for victims of abuse (whether or not church-related)”.
The commission will present the idea formally to the bishops’ conference and the conference of Religious later this year.
The commission first announced plans for the support service last year.
“The development of this service has progressed and a proposal has now been developed for setting up a Church-promoted avenue for providing or facilitating pastoral services for victims of abuse (whether or not church-related),” the annual report said.
The commission ran a pilot project in Hallam diocese and it now hopes to extend the service to “different parts of the country”.
Commenting on the report, commission chairman Chris Pearson said: “We are moving towards a much more consistent and sensitive approach in response to the victims and survivors of abuse.”
Pilgrims pray for end to abortion
Fifteen hundred Catholics have gathered in Walsingham for a procession of reparation for abortion.
The annual Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life was led this year by Bishop Alan Williams of Brentwood. At Mass, Bishop Williams spoke in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. He said that Our Lady had helped convert a civilisation – the Aztecs – which had once engaged in human sacrifice.
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