Catholic Colleges Invite Pro-Abortion Commencement Speakers, Criticized

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Colleges Invite Pro-Abortion Commencement Speakers, Criticized Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 10, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Several Catholic colleges and universities have invited pro-abortion commencement speakers and have been accused of violating guidelines set forth by the nation’s Catholic bishops. The Catholic Church policies call on universities not giving a platform to pro-abortion politicians.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a watchdog group that monitors the activities of Catholic colleges has compiled a list of this year’s offenders. The group says that every year there is a problem with a handful of schools deviating from the policy.

"Catholic colleges and universities will honor pro-abortion politicians and notorious dissident Catholics," CNS president Patrick Reilly said, in a statement provided to "These awards directly violate the U.S. bishops’ 1994 ban on such honors by Catholic institutions, and they offend faithful Catholics who expect fidelity in Catholic education."

This year’s protests target such leading institutions as Boston College, Loyola Marymount University, Trocaire College and Marygrove College.

Catholic colleges which have invited pro-abortion speakers include:

* Loyola Marymount University, which has invited Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In 2001 the Los Angeles Times reported that Villaraigosa was "strongly, strongly pro-choice."

* Boston College, which has invited pro-abortion Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

* Marymount University in Virginia will give pro-abortion former U.S. Secretary of State, Gen. Collin Powell an honorary degree and allow him to give the commencement address.

* Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, which plans to honor pro-abortion Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat, with an honorary degree. Dingell will also deliver the commencement address. He has consistently compiled a poor pro-life voting record over decades of votes.

* The University of Saint Francis in Illinois had its commencement on May 6 and gave an honorary degree to former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, who is pro-abortion. Marin also gave the address to graduates.

* Trocaire College in Buffalo, New York will give Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, an honorary degree and have him speak to graduates. Brown is a longtime abortion advocate and, in the state legislature, voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions, against an unborn victims bill, and supported using taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.

In 2004, the U.S. bishops responded to recurring commencement scandals with a clear command in their document "Catholics in Political Life."

"The 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."

Reilly said Catholic colleges and universities need to be held accountable for obeying the directive.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –