Indiana Governor’s Wife Upset at Catholic School’s Abortion Decision

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Governor’s Wife Upset at Catholic School’s Abortion Decision

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
June 4, 2004

Indianapolis, IN ( — Indiana’s First Lady is speaking out against a Catholic school’s decision to withdraw a speaking invitation to her husband because of his pro-abortion views.

Maggie Kernan says Governor Joe Kernan was personally hurt when South Bend’s St. Joseph High School canceled his appearance as graduation speaker.

Mrs. Kernan told the South Bend Tribune, "I think it could have been handled in a more dignified manner."

The invitation was withdrawn at the direction of Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. D’Arcy said he made the decision after being contacted by theology teachers at the school.

In a column published in the Tribune, D’Arcy said the teachers "expressed the conviction that this would be contradictory to the truths which they teach every day in class, and which they expect their students to embrace. I am in full agreement with these teachers."

In her interview with the Tribune, Mrs. Kernan responded, "That certainly is the bishop’s choice and right to do that…Joe has the responsibility to uphold the laws of the state, whatever his personal opinions might be." Mrs. Kernan is a graduate of St. Joseph High School.

But the incident was not the first time that Kernan has received an invitation to speak at a Catholic institution. In 1998, he was named as Notre Dame’s commencement speaker.

The Catholic Church has a firm pro-life stand, calling abortion the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

A number of Catholic schools and universities across the nation have been called to task for inviting pro-abortion speakers to campus.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a group which works to ensure that universities follow Catholic teaching, recently released a report saying, "When the embrace of a severely distorted notion of academic freedom causes Catholic institutions and their employees to violate fundamental Catholic teaching on the dignity of human life and sexuality, something’s terribly amiss."

Kernan, who attended the high school and the University of Notre Dame, says he is personally opposed to abortion but has adopted a policy of supporting the idea of keeping abortion legal. However, a spokeswoman for the Governor says he has never voted on the issue.

In another Indiana case, the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne told pro-abortion physician Dr. Nancy Snyderman that university officials no longer wanted her to give the college’s commencement address.

Snyderman "refers to abortion as the ‘deliberate removal of fetal tissue’ and lists various types of abortion methods as valid options," according to the college. The physician is also accused of promoting the abortion of one or more babies in cases involving multiple pregnancies.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –