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Archbishop Chaput chastises critics of organizing team for World Meeting of Families

August 27, 2015

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has denounced two activist Catholic groups that called attention to connections between officials of the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and politicians who support legal abortion.

The WMOF will be held in Philadelphia in September, with an appearance by Pope Francis as the highlight. In preparation for the event, the Philadelphia archdiocese assembled a team of organizers, including both full-time executives to arrange the events and community leaders to serve in advisory or honorary roles.

The Lepanto Institute and issued reports earlier this week, revealing that Robert Ciarrufoli, the head of the WMOF leadership team, has provided financial support to pro-abortion political candidates—including one candidate who had been director of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

In reply, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued this statement:

The Lepanto Institute has proven once again that it is not interested in presenting information in any useful way. Neither the World Meeting of Families—Philadelphia 2015 nor any of its leadership supports Planned Parenthood. Lepanto’s sole intention is to create division, confusion, and conflict within the Church. Actions of that nature run contrary to Christian tradition. Their reports are not to be taken seriously.

Following up on its original story, the Lepanto Institute then cited the political ties of several prominent community leaders who have taken honorary roles in the organizing committee for the WMOF. The archdiocese declined to respond to these criticisms. However, in an email message to journalist Matt Abbott, Archbishop Chaput wrote:

Both Lepanto and ChurchMilitant sow division wherever they tread. They do not seem to acknowledge the need to work with civic society and its representatives on a project like the World Meeting of Families. And we are not going to spend/waste time arguing with them. They are sincere, but also destructive. No one on our leadership team supports abortion or Planned Parenthood.


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  • Posted by: ILM - Aug. 29, 2015 1:59 AM ET USA

    I have been a fan of Archbishop Charles Chaput for many years and I am at loss for words to explain this response by the Arch Diocese of Philadelphia.

  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 28, 2015 11:35 PM ET USA

    In large dioceses there are many things going on that are completely beyond the direct control of the Archbishop. It happens in NY, Boston, LA, and Chicago. In those too-big-to-handle dioceses much of the Bishop's authority becomes delegated out of sheer necessity. This particular exchange of strong opinions has very good chance to be positively resolved, for the good of the Faith. Perhaps someone in the Archbishop's office needs to be sent looking for another job?

  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 28, 2015 5:11 PM ET USA

    What continues to fly under the radar is the language used by the archdiocese. The president of the Lepanto Institute is a graduate of Christendom College and a reputable Catholic layman. The archdiocese is making serious accusations against the organizations in question. "Sole intention"- really? The logical conclusion is apalling. "Sincere" has no place if working the evil alleged. Breath-taking.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Aug. 28, 2015 2:47 PM ET USA

    Well, what is it? The president and some civic members do or do not support PP and abortion? You can't have it both ways. I understand the desire to work with the community leaders and try to be united in this grand effort. However, you cannot know for a fact that they financially support or supported PP, etc...and then say that "no one on our leadership team supports Planned Parenthood or abortion." I guess while working for WMOF they are not actively supporting PP, et al. Hmmm....?

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Aug. 28, 2015 9:46 AM ET USA

    I too, get discouraged to see the Church "teaming" with organizations that support a secular agenda contrary to Church teaching. However, Archbishop Chaput is correct in this instance. It is necessary to team with local civic leaders. I have read much that Archbishop Chaput has written about citizenship and the role of Church and government in our lives. I trust his judgement.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Aug. 27, 2015 9:34 PM ET USA

    This sounds like a page out of the CCHD game book. Ignore the laity when they prove that you didn't performe due diligence. Then when they go public you claim they are untrustworthy and attacking the church. I am greatly disappointed in Archbishop Chaput.