Catholic Pro-Life Group: Pro-Abortion Commencement Scandals Up in 2009
by Steven Ertelt
May 28, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life organization that serves as a watchdog for Catholic colleges and universities says the number of commencement scandals involving pro-abortion graduation speakers and honorees rose in 2009.
The Cardinal Newman Society says 11 Catholic colleges joined the University of Notre Dame in violating the guidelines of the nation’s Catholic bishops.
The pro-life group says the figures mark a "troubling reversal" of the recent decrease of Catholic commencement scandals form the seven that took place in 2008, which itself was down from 24 in 2006.
It is a very sad development, to see so many Catholic colleges and universities joining Notre Dame in their disrespect for Catholic morality and for the U.S. bishops, CNS president Patrick Reilly told LifeNews.com.
The bishops policy against such honors and platforms is crystal clear and is only the bare minimum expected of Catholic institutions," he said.
The 2009 commencement scandals occurred despite the unprecedented public opposition of 83 U.S. bishops to the University of Notre Dames honor for pro-abortion President Barack Obama at commencement. None publicly supported Notre Dames action.
Most of the protesting bishops referenced the 2004 USCCB statement Catholics in Political Life as support for their opposition.
The statement reads: The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
The Cardinal Newman Society compiled the following list of Catholic colleges and universities whose commencement speakers have publicly opposed or acted against Catholic values on key moral issues:
* Christopher J. Elias, M.D., was the commencement speaker and honorary Doctor of Science degree recipient at Creighton University on May 16. Elias is the President and CEO of Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). PATH, a nonprofit organization to address health concerns around the world, promotes abortion.
* Willie L. Brown, Jr. was the commencement speaker and honorary Doctor of Laws degree recipient at Dominican University of California, where he is a board member, on May 15. Brown has served as Mayor of San Francisco and as Speaker of the California State Assembly, and he is an advocate of abortion.
* Michael Bloomberg, the pro-abortion Mayor of New York City, delivered remarks and received an honorary degree at Fordham Universitys commencement on May 16. Charles Schumer, a U.S. Senator from New York, also spoke at the Fordham University commencement exercises.
* Robert Casey, Jr., a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, was commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at both the College of the Holy Cross and Kings College commencement ceremonies (May 22 and 17 respectively). Casey, who claims to be pro-life, has come under fire for pro-abortion Senate votes.
* Donna Brazile, a political commentator and activist, was commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at Xavier University of Louisiana on May 9.
* Yvette Clarke, a U.S. Representative from New York, was the commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at St. Francis College on May 27. In 2007, Clarke voted for the expansion of federal funding to include more research of embryonic stem cell lines.
* Chris Matthews was commencement speaker and honorary Doctor of Communications degree recipient at Saint Josephs University on May 16.
* M. Elizabeth Fini was Stonehill Colleges commencement speaker. Fini currently serves as the Vice Dean for Research at the University of Southern Californias Keck School of Medicine. According to the Daily Trojan, Fini expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of utilizing embryonic stem cell lines for research at USC.
* A. J. Wilhelmi, an Illinois State Senator, was commencement speaker at the University of St. Francis on May 9. In 2007, Senator Wilhelmi voted for a bill that permitted Illinois state funding for research on embryonic stem cell lines.
* Most Reverend Kevin Dowling, Bishop of Rustenburg, South Africa, was an honorary degree recipient and undergraduate commencement speaker at the University of San Francisco on May 22. Bishop Dowling has publicly criticized abstinence-only programs.
Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society – https://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org
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