Update: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia responded after we went to press. See below for full statement.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The president of the upcoming papal event in Philadelphia backed political candidates who support homosexual “marriage” and abortion, including a former Planned Parenthood director, a new report says.
World Meeting of Families President Robert Ciaruffoli gave thousands of dollars to several pro-abortion and pro-homosexual candidates over the last 16 years, according to the Lepanto Institute, one that founded a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood facility and opposed restriction of interstate transportation of minors for abortion.
While Ciaruffoli did contribute to a number of candidates who uphold life and marriage, the report says, his record of support for those promoting abortion and homosexuality is extensive and concerning, given his leadership role with the next month’s international gathering celebrating the Catholic understanding of the family.
“Regardless of the pro-life candidates he has supported,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews, “it’s hard to imagine any justification for funding political candidates so opposed to the protection of preborn children and so firmly entrenched in their support for the moral abomination of homosexuality.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will host the World Meeting of Families, which will have a family congress September 22-25 and a visit from Pope Francis September 26-27. The international triennial event was established in 1992 by the late Pope Saint John Paul II to strengthen the sacred bonds of the family.
LifeSiteNews contacted the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for comment on the report of Ciaruffoli’s support of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual “marriage” candidates, and did not hear back by press time.
Hichborn said the contributions made by Ciaruffoli, CEO and CPA for accounting and advisory firm Baker Tilly, are greatly concerning and place him at odds with being in leadership for the World Meeting of Families.
Most disquieting among the contributions was a 2008 donation of $1,000 to Allyson Schwartz, founder of the Elizabeth Women’s Center, a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood facility, and its executive director until 1988.
“I'm very proud of running that health center,” Schwartz said during her 2000 bid to unseat Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, according to the Post Gazette. “And it provided a full range of women's health services. And I am pro-choice and most Pennsylvanians — as most Americans — don't want politicians in Washington making this decision.”
Planned Parenthood remains under fire at the national level for its harvesting fetal tissue and body parts for sale.
In addition to Schwartz having a voting record that is 100% in support of abortion, contraception and same-sex “marriage,” the Lepanto report says, in 2005 she voted against prohibiting interstate transportation of minors to have abortions and in favor of expanding embryonic stem cell research.
Later in 2006, Schwartz voted against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and voted to guarantee provision of abortifacient “emergency contraception” to rape victims in hospitals. Then in 2011 she voted in opposition to banning federal health coverage for abortion, and two years later in 2013 she pursued a ban on pro-life measures limiting abortion.
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The other candidates who support abortion and homosexual “marriage” to whom Ciaruffoli donated include $1,000 to Chaka Fattah in 2004; $1,000 to Robert Brady in 2006; and $1000 to Robert Andrews in 2008.
He also donated $2,000 to Vice President Joe Biden, the report says.
Biden’s voting record includes a 2000 vote against upholding the abortion ban on military bases, a 2004 vote opposing criminal penalty for harming a preborn child during commission of a crime, and 2006 votes against parental notification for minors seeking out-of-state abortions, and against a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
Hichborn said Ciaruffoli’s record of financial backing for these political candidates who support homosexuality and abortion in violation of Church principles creates a conflict for the Catholic family event, and called for him to step down.
“In the interest of maintaining the integrity of the World Meeting of Families,” Hichborn stated, “the Lepanto Institute is calling on Ciaruffoli to resign from this position.”
Full statement by Archdiocese of Philadelphia Director of Communications Kenneth Gavin:
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.