Pope Benedict Tells Catholic College Leaders to Uphold Pro-Life Values
by Steven Ertelt
April 17, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As pro-life advocates expected and hoped for, Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of Catholic colleges and universities that they need to uphold Catholic values. The speech is considered a great help for pro-life advocates concerned about college hosting pro-abortion speakers and candidates.
The Pope said academic freedom on college campuses has "great value" but that it does not justify abrogating Catholic teaching about the value of human life in the face of abortion and concerns on bioethics issues like euthanasia and stem cell research.
The pontiff said Catholic teaching should shape the direction of Catholic colleges and that teachers and university officials have a "profound responsibility to lead the young to truth."
"I wish to reaffirm the great value of academic freedom," Benedict told hundreds of Catholic university representatives at the Catholic University of America speech.
"Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the church would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission," he said.
Though he didn’t mention abortion issues or pro-abortion speakers specifically, attendees couldn’t mistake the implications of his comments.
"Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice," Benedict said. "Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual."
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 "rebuke" from Pope Benedict is welcome.
Some of the recent concerns about pro-abortion speakers at Catholic Colleges include:
* Pennsylvania-based Mercyhurst College agreed to host a rally for pro-abortion candidate Hillary Clinton.
* King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania hosted a rally for Hillary Clinton.
* 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.