Buffalo Deacon Slanders Lepanto Institute for Exposing the Truth About CRS

You know you’re over the target when you’re taking this kind of flak.

After a year-long investigation, Lepanto Institute recently published its findings exposing the fact that Catholic Release Services (CRS) has been promoting birth control and abortion.  CRS is a charity established and supported by the the U.S. Bishops.  At least one Bishop has now called for a formal investigation based upon Lepanto’s findings.  However, not everyone is happy about shining the light of day on CRS’s activities.

Deacon Don Weigel, CRS’s Director in the diocese of Buffalo, recently sent the following email to clergy in the diocese.

Each Lent there is a person who calls himself “The Lepanto Institute” who makes accusations against Catholic Relief Services. His goal appears to be to disrupt the major fundraising campaign of CRS called Rice Bowl, and to encourage people to contribute to his site instead. Unfortunately, irresponsible sites like LifeSite News and EWTN/Catholic Radio publish these accusations without regard to their validity, and a great number of the Pro-Life crowd believe what they read and hear without question and accuse CRS of promoting abortion and contraception.

Because of that, you might hear someone in the parish – or outside the parish – mention these accusations. Please direct them to me and let me know how many people have asked you about this. We are trying to gauge the spread of these falsehoods. By way of information, CRS is an official arm of the US Bishops and there are a number of Bishops on the Board, and each time the accusations are made, the Board looks into them and regularly dismisses them as having no basis in truth. Bishop Malone (who spent a number of years on the CRS Board) would rant about how much time the Board had to waste in defending what he called “this nonsense”.

If you get a question, I would appreciate it if you would refer them to me (Deacon Don Weigel) and just say that your understanding is that these accusations are made every year, and each year they are proven to be false.

Thanks for your help in this.


Deacon Don Weigel
Buffalo Diocesan Director – Catholic Relief Services
(716) 864-9525

It borders on absurdity that Weigel would reference the disgraced Bishop Malone in defense of CRS when he was recently forced to step-down due to his part in covering-up for clergy sex abuse.

Here is Deacon Weigel’s bio from the Catholic Relief services website:

Deacon Don Weigel received his master’s degree in theology and was ordained a deacon in 2010. He is currently assigned to the Parish Outreach and Public Policy Department of Catholic Charities. He is also assigned to Immaculate Conception parish in East Aurora, New York. He currently writes a monthly “Justice Perspective” column in the diocesan newspaper, the Western New York Catholic. Deacon Weigel also serves as an instructor in the continuing education program at Christ the King Seminary, coordinates adult faith formation at his parish and is active in prison ministry at Collins Correctional Facility.

Lepanto’s report includes dozens of exhibits backing-up substantiating its claims.  Deacon Weigel, on the other hand, simply slanders Lepanto Institute and offers no proof that if findings are flawed.

TAKE ACTION: Contact Deacon Weigel by calling him at 716-864-9525 or emailing him at deacondon@gmail.com and ask him to provide proof that Lepanto Institute’s findings are “falsehoods” and “nonsense.”