Pro-Life Group Highlights Pro-Abortion Speakers at Catholic Colleges

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Highlights Pro-Abortion Speakers at Catholic Colleges Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 26, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A Catholic watchdog group that monitors colleges and universities is concerned that Catholic institutions are allowing speakers on campus who back abortion. Such actions violate church teaching and policy set forth by the nation’s Catholic bishops.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, says his group is upset that Marymount Manhattan College plans to honor pro-abortion Senator Hillary Clinton with an honorary degree next month. She is also scheduled to deliver the commencement address.

"We are blowing the whistle on any Catholic college that blatantly disrespects the bishops by defying their clear command and teaching," Reilly said.

"After decades of scandal at secularizing colleges, last June the bishops drew a line in the sand," Reilly explained. "No college that deliberately crosses that line deserves the label ‘Catholic’ or the support of the faithful—most especially monetary support."

In fact, a document approved by the nation’s Catholic bishops last summer that calls on Catholic colleges and universities not to give a platform to elected officials who back abortion.

"Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," the bishops said. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

The statement, called "Catholics in Political Life," was adopted by a vote of 183-6 last summer.

Canisius College came under fire in January for inviting Clinton to give a policy speech. The Buffalo Regional Right to Life Committee and pro-life students at Canisius protested the speech.

The Cardinal Newman Society has noted other problematic commencement speakers at Catholic colleges, including:

* White House journalist Helen Thomas who will speak at Pennsylvania’s Cabrini College. Thomas has long supported abortion and embryonic stem cell research and has written opinion columns bashing President Bush’s pro-life foreign policies.

* Former New York Times reporter Peter Steinfels and former Commonweal editor Margaret O’Brien Steinfels will appear at Le Moyne College in New York. Both have been outspoken against Catholic church teachings on life issues, CNS said.

* Theologian Sr. Margaret Farley will speak at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She has strongly dissented from the Catholic church’s position on embryonic stem cell research.

* Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will give the address at Seattle University. Locke is pro-abortion and opposed legislation to ban partial-birth abortions or allow parents to know when their daughters were considering one.

There are 223 Catholic colleges and universities and most have bans in place prohibiting abortion advocates from speaking at official college events or functions.

Other Catholic educational institutions came under fire last year for inviting pro-abortion speakers including Seton Hall University, The University of St. Mary, in Kansas, Georgetown University.

This is the seventh year the Cardinal Newman Society has highlighted pro-abortion commencement speakers and each year about 20 Catholic colleges are on the list

Related web sites:
Catholic Bishop’s statement on withholding communion and pro-abortion speakers –
Cardinal Newman Society –