Catholic Group Decries Commencement Honors for Pro-Abortion Speakers

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Group Decries Commencement Honors for Pro-Abortion Speakers Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 20, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A Catholic watchdog group that monitors the activities of Catholic colleges is concerned that a handful of universities are giving commencement awards and honors to people who support abortion. The group has pointed out for the last several years, which Catholic institutes of higher education are running afoul of the Church’s pro-life teachings.

This year, the Cardinal Newman Society is protesting Marymount University, which will bestow an honorary degree on General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State. Powell will also deliver the commencement address on the May 14 graduation.

Powell has come under fire in the past from pro-life advocates for his position in favor of abortion — even disagreeing with President Bush who decided to stop taxpayer funding of groups that promote or perform abortions in other countries.

Meanwhile, Trocaire College is on the CNS protest list because it will let Byran Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, deliver the commencement address there on May 21. He will also receive an honorary degree.

According to the New York State Right to Life Committee, as a New York state senator, Brown voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, against a bill to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn babies form violence, and supported using taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.

Last year, Brown was the only lawmaker from western New York to vote in favor of selling the morning after pill over the counter. The Plan B drug can sometimes cause an abortion.

CNS President Patrick Reilly says Catholic colleges that feature pro-abortion speakers and award them honors are "scandalizing students and others" by honoring people who publicly oppose Church teaching on what it considers the most important political issues.

Reilly also points to the 2004 document the nation’s Catholic bishops approved encouraging Catholic universities to not give a platform to pro-abortion politicians.

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

TAKE ACTION: CNS urges you to write to the colleges involved in promoting pro-abortion politicians. Contact:

Marymount University
Dr. James Bundschuh, President
2807 N. Glebe RD., Arlington, VA 22207
[email protected]


Trocaire College
Dr. Paul Hurley, Jr., President
360 Choate Ave., Buffalo, NY 14220
[email protected]

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