by Michael Hichborn
On the 29th of May, the Lepanto Institute published a brief report indicating that an LGBT activist is the Exhibit and Sponsor Manager for the World Meeting of Families 2015. I wish to begin by expressing my sincere apology to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for not contacting them or Archbishop Chaput before publishing this article. My intent was not to criticize either the World Meeting of Families or the Archdiocese (which I never mentioned in the original article), but to express a sincere and deep concern over the conflict of interest regarding a single position in the management of the event itself. Out of both Justice and Charity, I owed Archbishop Chaput the courtesy of contact prior to publication, and I failed to do that.
Over the weekend, the Archdiocese contacted me and provided a statement regarding the concern expressed in my article, and I promised to publish this statement:
Statement from the World Meeting of Families—Philadelphia 2015 and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Regarding Determination of Exhibitor Eligibility
Recently, some confusion has arisen regarding who is responsible for determining eligibility for individuals and groups applying to become exhibitors at the World Meeting of Families Congress in September.
The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia review all exhibitor requests and are the only ones who approve or reject all exhibitor applications, and not any vendor. Every exhibitor application is reviewed by staff of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and if necessary, a theologian with the World Meeting of Families.
While there is a third party working on the logistics around exhibiting neither that company nor any of its individual employees is involved in the process of evaluating, approving, or denying exhibitor applications.
While I appreciate the clarification provided by the Archdiocese, the original concern expressed in the article, “A Wolf at the Gate” remains. Everything expressed in the above statement pertains to what happens AFTER the point of contact, Teresa Matozzo, receives an application. And while she may not have anything to do with applications after they are received, she nonetheless remains the initial point of contact. The crux of the problem is simply this: an individual who holds beliefs antithetical to the very nature of the event itself is the first person to see all applications as they come in. What guarantee does the Archdiocese have that it is receiving all of the applications in a timely matter, or even at all? Would the Archdiocese even know if an application or two never made it to their desks? As a point of clarity, I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED.
Suppose during the Cold War, the US Navy placed a card-carrying Communist as the secretary for the Admiral of the Navy, and all promotions recommendations were submitted to her to hand to the Admiral. While the secretary may not technically have any authority in the decision process, the Navy shouldn’t be surprised if a recommendation or two simply never made it to the Admiral’s desk, or were simply delayed until other promotions were accepted first, thereby leaving no room for the others which were delayed.
The bottom line is that an individual who is the point of contact for applications for exhibits and sponsors of the World Meeting of Families should be one who at least agrees with the Church’s teaching on families and human sexuality. The simple solution is to find another individual to take the contact point, preferably one faithful to the Magisterium or at least not living a life in direct opposition to it, and have that individual pass along applications.