by Steven Ertelt
January 14, 2008
Jersey City, NJ (LifeNews.com) — A Catholic College in New Jersey is coming under fire from a pro-life group for allowing pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to hold a rally there last week. On Wednesday, St. Peter’s College, a Jesuit Catholic institution, allowed Obama to address a large crowd there.
Media estimates indicated Obama greeted more than 4,500 people at the rally, but Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society, said the college was irresponsible for giving a pro-abortion politician a forum there.
“It’s irresponsible for a Catholic college and its leadership to host a political rally for an aggressively pro-abortion candidate,” he told LifeNews.com in a statement Monday.
“Such events curry public attention at the expense of public morality. In so doing, they demonstrate reckless disregard for the most vulnerable human lives and contribute to the general decline of Catholic higher education," Reilly explained.
Not only did St. Peter’s College allow the Obama campaign to stage the event on its campus, but its president, Dr. Eugene Cornacchia, endorsed the event beforehand.
He said the school welcomed Obama “as we would welcome any presidential candidate who wishes to discuss and debate the ideas and events that are shaping our history.”
Reilly told LifeNews.com that the college went further — by working in conjunction with the Obama campaign to sign up attendees. According to the Obama campaign web site, 1,074 people registered for the event as a result of the St. Peter’s College link.
The Cardinal Newman Society points to the U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate that Catholic institutions should refuse speaking platforms and honors for abortion advocates as a main reason for objecting to the Obama event.
Obama supports Roe v. Wade, partial-birth abortion and making taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life — all stances contrary to Catholic teaching.
Reilly says he hopes other Catholic colleges will go in a different direction from St. Peter’s.
“As the 2008 political campaigns intensify, the Cardinal Newman Society calls on all Catholic colleges and universities to remain true to their Catholic identity and principles and reject any manipulation by politicians who work against these principles,” he said.
“A college or university is dedicated to seeking and teaching truth, and a Catholic university embraces the truths of the Catholic faith," he added.
This isn’t the first occasion on which St. Peter’s College has come under fire for giving pro-abortion politicians a platform to speak.
The school honored Judge Reginald Stanton of the New Jersey Superior Court as its commencement speaker in 2003. During his judicial career, Stanton publicly advocated abortion and assisted suicide by starvation.
Reilly also said he was disappointed that the choir of Saint Dominic Academy performed during the Obama event and wearing their distinctive school uniforms. Saint Dominic Academy is a girls’ Catholic high school in Jersey City.
Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society – https://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org