by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
October 19, 2004
St. Paul, MN (LifeNews.com) — A Catholic women’s college in Minnesota is drawing criticism for allowing a group supporting Senator John Kerry’s bid for the presidency to use campus facilities for a fundraising event.
According to an announcement by the event’s organizers, Artists for Kerry will hold a rally at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at the College of St. Catherine on Thursday, October 21.
St. Catherine’s is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and is the largest Catholic college for women in the U.S. The event is meant "to inspire and mobilize Minnesotans to Get Out the Vote on November 2 and elect John Kerry President," according to the announcement.
According to the college’s website, an appearance by Kerry has not been confirmed, although he is scheduled to be in Minneapolis at the time of the event.
Pro-life groups are upset that the Catholic institution would lend its name to supporting Kerry’s candidacy — especially in light of the document approved this summer by the nation’s Catholic bishops calling on Catholic schools to do otherwise.
"The College of St. Catherine is willing to compromise its Catholic mission simply to host an event that has nothing to do with academics and everything to do with politics," Patrick J. Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society told LifeNews.com.
"This has the appearance of a Catholic college endorsing a candidate who has pledged to do evil, and it confuses observers about how serious the Church and the College are about protecting innocent human life by refusing to cooperate with those who would do harm," Reilly added.
Meanwhile, Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries said his group would have volunteers present to distribute literature explaining why Kerry should not be endorsed.
Gibson said he spoke with Dr. Patrick McCallig, the school’s director of communications, who had said there was little they could do as the group was renting the school’s facilities.
According to Gibson, McCallig said he welcomed protesters.
"A Catholic College has an obligation to ensure the facilities are used in conformity with the Church’s most basic and important issues," Gibson told LifeNews.com. "Officials [at the colleges] are not taking the horrifying nature of abortion seriously."
Leo LaLonde, president of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, also expressed concern over the college’s acceptance of the arrangement.
"It is sad irony that the college named for St. Catherine of Alexandria who was beheaded for refusing to renounce her faith, welcomes a man who has renounced his faith by voting repeatedly to continue the practice of abortion; an act that the Catholic Church holds to be a grave moral evil," said LaLonde. "Equally ironic, St. Catherine is the patron saint of lawyers."
In June, Catholic Bishops from all over the country gathered to discuss the issue of pro-abortion politicians within the Church.
While leaving the controversial issue of refusing communion to local bishops, the document the American bishops produced called for Catholic colleges and universities not to give a platform to elected officials who back abortion.
That means such institutions of higher learning cannot bestow honorary degrees on Catholic politicians who back abortion, nor can they be invited to give commencement addresses.
Other Catholic colleges have drawn criticism for allowing pro-abortion politicians to be honored.
Seton Hall University came under fire in April when it gave an award to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, who issued a ruling overturning New Jersey’s ban on partial-birth abortions.
The University of St. Mary, in Kansas, drew opposition when it invited pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to speak at an event honoring Abraham Lincoln. Archbishop James Keleher of the Diocese of Kansas City rebuked the school.
Action Alert: Call Dr. Patrick McCallig, Director of Communications at the College of St. Catherine: 651-690-6829