Catholic Boston College Asked to Cancel Pro-Abortion Event

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2011   |   1:45PM   |   Boston, MA

Boston College is coming under criticism from a Catholic educational watchdog group for an event it is planning honoring a pro-abortion Catholic priest.

On March 7, the Boston College Law School is scheduled to hold an event honoring the late, virulently pro-abortion priest Father Robert Drinan. The Cardinal Newman Society has written to the president of Boston College, Father William Leahy, urging him to cancel the event and to develop speaker policies which will prevent such scandals in the future.

CNS president Patrick Reilly said in his letter:

It is reported that on March 7, the Law School will host a panel discussion featuring Father Raymond Schroth, S.J.—who has publicly supported pro-abortion rights politicians—to promote his new book on Father Drinan.  The event will also feature U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, whose opposition to Catholic moral teaching in his personal life and in public policy is well known.  He is a strident defender of legal abortion.

As you know, Father Drinan was notorious for his service as a congressman from Massachusetts.  He voted against several measures to ban federal funding of abortions and, in 1996, his articles in the National Catholic Reporter and the New York Times supported President Bill Clinton’s veto of a common-sense ban on the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion.  Throughout his long career as a prominent priest, Father Drinan was scandalously reliable for his consistent and public support of abortion laws, in direct contradiction to clear Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life.

Whatever Father Drinan’s contributions to Boston College over the years, and despite his perhaps laudable efforts on other human rights issues, his record on abortion should disqualify him from any honors by a Catholic institution.  To celebrate his legacy is a public dishonor to the souls of the millions slaughtered in the name of “choice.”  It would also seem to be a flagrant violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 ban on honors for those who are publicly opposed to Church teachings.

Father Leahy, on behalf of the members of The Cardinal Newman Society—including not a small number of BC alumni—and so many of the faithful working every day to end the scourge of abortion, I prayerfully urge you to cancel this event immediately and to develop policies for Boston College that ensure that future honors conform to both the bishops’ sensible 2004 honors policy and Ex corde Ecclesiae.

This isn’t the first time Boston College has come under fire for promoting abortion.

Last October, Boston College Law School was criticized for linking to a Planned Parenthood abortion business on its web site under “pro bono organizations.” The Catholic institution listed the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts on its web site.

Boston College Law School classified Planned Parenthood as a “public interest organization,” which upset TFP Student Action director John Ritchie.

“Here you will find lists of organizations that sponsor law-related pro bono activities in Massachusetts. We encourage you to contact those organizations whose work aligns with your own personal mission of service, and to make the time available to contribute to their work in a meaningful way,” the BC web site said.

Ritchie said Boston College should follow the example of several other Catholic universities that took down listings after public opposition.

“Why is Boston College encouraging its law students to get involved with the largest abortion provider in America?” Ritchie asked. “Activity that deliberately claims innocent life and promotes the culture of death should be off limits at Boston College and every Catholic university.”

ACTION: Contact Boston College Law School, Prof. George D. Brown, Interim Dean, Stuart House M307, (617) 552-4340, [email protected]

Contact Fr. William P. Leahy, S.J., president, Botolph House, 18 Old Colony Road, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, 617-552-3250, [email protected]

Update 2/18/11: It has come to the attention of The Cardinal Newman Society that, in 1997, Fr. Drinan withdrew his statements supporting Clinton’s veto of partial-birth abortion.  The Boston Globe reported on May 17, 1997, that Fr. Drinan said, “I withdraw those statements  and any statement that could be understood to cast doubt on the church’s firm condemnation of abortion – a doctrine I totally support.” Drinan did not, to CNS’s knowledge, recant or apologize for his many years of legislative support for legal abortion.