by Steven Ertelt
March 13, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When he visits the United States next month, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to hold Catholic colleges accountable that have invited pro-abortion speakers to campus. The pontiff has requested an audience with more than 200 top officials from Catholic universities and he is expected to make it clear they need to follow Church teachings.
The Catholic college officials will gather at Catholic University of America where some say the Pope will remind them they shouldn’t be giving a platform to politicians and others who back abortions.
For pro-life advocates who have complained about the rash of recent pro-abortion speakers on campus — such as Hillary Clinton at St. Mary’s University and St. Peters College hosting Barack Obama — news of a possible rebuke from Pope Benedict is welcome.
Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a leading watchdog in monitoring Catholic colleges and the speakers they bring, told the Washington Post he’s excited about the prospects for a strong admonition from Benedict.
"This is something that’s been simmering for so long that it’s reached a boiling point," he said.
He added that several bishops and Vatican officials have indicated the speech will "raise a lot of eyebrows."
Rev. David M. O’Connell, Catholic University’s president, told the newspaper, "One thing the pope will emphasize is the importance for all [Catholic] schools to realize that they aren’t independent contractors, they are part of the church."
O’Connell said the Pope could address the need to hire Catholic staff for colleges and to reinstate teachings about absolute truth, such as the inviolability of the right to life.
Some of the recent concerns about pro-abortion speakers at Catholic Colleges include:
* University of St. Thomas (TX) President Robert Ivany had to cancel a scheduled speech by pro-abortion Latino leader Dolores Huerta.
* St. Mary’s University, also in Texas, came under fire from pro-life advocates for hosting a rally for pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
* St. Louis University officials came under fire for not disciplining basketball coach Rick Majerus after the pro-abortion comments he made at a rally for Clinton
* Trinity University in Washington, D.C. got heat from Reilly’s group for continuing to extol two of its pro-abortion alumnae, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
* St. Peters College, a Jesuit Catholic institution, allowed pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to hold a rally there.