Arizona Catholic Diocese Prohibits Mass at Venue Hosting Abortion Event

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Catholic Diocese Prohibits Mass at Venue Hosting Abortion Event Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 9, 2005

Phoenix, AZ ( — A Phoenix, Arizona-area ranch that held a fundraising event for Planned Parenthood won’t get to have a mass associated with a Catholic event it’s holding. That’s after the Phoenix Catholic Diocese said it wouldn’t honor the facility’s support for the abortion business.

Corona Ranch has been hosting an annual Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration for 30 years. The next one is set for Monday, but there won’t be a priest there for an accompanying mass.

Normally 400 people attend the annual event, which typically features the very popular mass at the ranch’s shrine.

According to the Arizona Republican, the Diocese of Phoenix prohibited the mass after it learned that the ranch hosted an event for Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona’s 8th annual fundraiser. The moneymaking event funds the abortion business, which targets poor Hispanic residents.

Alex Corona, Corona Ranch’s general manager, told the Republica that renting the ranch’s space to Planned Parenthood fulfilled his family’s vision of helping non-profit groups and assisting the Latino community.

"I understand where the diocese is coming from, but I don’t think pulling the Mass was warranted," Corona said. "This was not a political or pro-choice event. This was an education event. How is that a bad thing?"

Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic outreach director for the National Right to Life Committee says it’s a "bad thing" because the only help Planned Parenthood offers poor Latinos is abortion.

"Mr. Corona has sadly bought into Planned Parenthood’s duplicitous message that they are somehow a charitable organization that ‘helps’ poor Latinos," he told "Aiding and abetting in the destruction of an unborn child has never helped the poor anywhere."

In an e-mail to The Arizona Republic, the Rev. David Sanfilippo, vicar general of the diocese, said blessing the event at the ranch would be "highly inappropriate" because of its support for the abortion business. That is especially the case because the Virgin of Guadalupe is the "patroness of the pro-life movement."

"Our Lady of Guadalupe, who centuries ago appeared pregnant with the son of God, is given true honor when her example in choosing life is followed," he wrote.

Planned Parenthood didn’t comment on the Catholic Church’s decision but told the Phoenix newspaper the ranch is the "perfect" site for its fundraisers.

Corona said he’s not sure if the ranch will host another Planned Parenthood event and noted that the Diocese left it open to perform mass at a future Catholic event there.

"That the managers of this ranch cannot see that holding a mass for Our Lady of Guadelupe in a place that has so recently been spiritually maligned by the world’s leading agent of abortion on demand is the most horrible of ironies," Rojas concluded.