Recently, a supporter alerted us to some disturbing information concerning the Diocese of Stockholm and the local arm of Caritas Internationalis in Sweden. After researching the complaint and contacting the parties involved, we can confirm that both the Diocese of Stockholm and Caritas Sweden are openly partnering with and funding pro-abortion and pro-contraception organizations.
The Swedish Mission Council (SMC) is an “umbrella organization for churches and development organizations” that works to “promote sustainable development and justice on all levels.” Unfortunately, SMC actively promotes abortion and contraception. According to SMC:
Promoting respect for sexual rights and health are key elements of effective work towards gender equality. Increased knowledge about reproductive health, sexuality and sexual rights, access to health care, access to legal abortion and contraception are examples of areas that are important for SMC to work with. [emphasis added]
Membership in the SMC requires that organizations embrace SMC’s “core values” and support its mission. Furthermore, all members must pay a membership fee. (The image below is taken from the drop-down menu for “membership” on this page.).
SMC lists Caritas Sweden as a member on the same page.
The Lepanto institute contacted both the Diocese of Stockholm and Caritas Sweden regarding membership in SMC and we received the following response from Henrik Alberius, OP, President of Caritas Sweden:
Thank you for your mail concerning SMR. [Note: SMC is also referred to as SMR] You are right that this organisation has a view that we of the Catholic diocese of Stockholm do not share. And it is, in fact, the diocese and not Caritas Sweden, who is member of SMR.
Now if you check the homepage of the diocese of Stockholm, you will see that we have taken a stand against what you are underlining.
The Diocese of Stockholm’s website does have some basic information concerning Church teaching on abortion. However, Church moral teaching forbids participation in the promotion of or funding the propagation of abortion. Furthermore, Catholics are required to live by the very same faith they profess, which means that simply paying lip-service to Church teaching while acting contrary to that teaching is the very height of hypocrisy.
Even more concerning is that while Fr. Henrik Alberius (we later discovered that he is a Dominican priest) claims that Caritas Sweden is not a member of SMR, additional research revealed that Fr. Alberius is, in fact, a board member of SMC.
The Lepanto Institute again contacted both the Diocese of Stockholm and Fr. Alberius about his board membership, asking the following questions:
As I am continuing to work on this article, I double checked and saw that SMR has you listed as a board member of this organization as of 2017. Is this information correct?
Are you acting on behalf of Caritas Sweden in this position, or as a representative of the diocese?
What justification is there for serving on the board of an abortion promoting organization? Have you taken any active steps to end their promotion of abortion or are you relying on the Diocesan website information.
Your urgent attention to this is requested.
After 4 days, Fr. Alberius never responded.
The lack of response was concerning, so Lepanto continued to examine Caritas Sweden’s partnerships and discovered that it is also a member of another pro-abortion, pro-contraception organization called the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).
Also, according to PICUM’s 2016 Annual Report, George Joseph of Caritas Sweden served on its Executive Committee.
PICUM is not shy about its support for abortion and contraception and published a major report in 2016 calling for the reform of legislation and policies that deny or limit access to abortion and contraception for migrants. Also, PICUM held a roundtable on sexual and reproductive health with International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network and other pro-abortion organizations.
The stonewalling and dodging we received from the Diocese of Stockholm and Caritas Sweden appears to be par for the course. The concerned supporter who contacted the Lepanto Institute about this situation told us, “The concerns of lay people here in Sweden are routinely ignored. The reply you got from someone called Henrik Alberius is an example of the sort of silly slippery games played by those in power in the Catholic Church in Sweden.”
Catholics in Sweden should contact Cardinal Arborelius and Caritas Sweden to demand the immediate withdrawal of all funding, participation and support from both Swedish Mission Council and Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants.
Contact info for the Diocese of Stockholm:
Götgatan 68, 118 26 Stockholm
Box 4114, 102 62 Stockholm
Phone: +468 – 462 66 00
Phone hours: 09.30 – 12.00
Opening hours: 09.00-12.00, 13.00-16.00
Contact info for Caritas Sweden:
Address: John Paul II’s Pastoral Centre, Brunnsgränd 4, 111 30 Stockholm, Sweden
Postal Address: Caritas Sverige, Box 2150, 103 14, Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: +46 8 50557674 Fax: +46 8 225620