Catholic Saint Francis University Stops Pro-Abortion Speaker

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 26, 2011   |   4:29PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

Saint Francis University, a Catholic college in Pennsylvania, has canceled the campus visit by pro-abortion activist writer Ellen Goodman after complaints by the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic educational watchdog.

According to the Saint Francis University website, Goodman was scheduled to deliver the “25th Furlong Lecture” in October. After complaints, the web site was taken down and the college eventually posted a notice saying the event was canceled.

CNS contacted the University and received the following comment:  “Saint Francis University has decided to postpone the Furlong Lecture series scheduled for October 12 and cancel the appearance of Ms. Ellen Goodman. After careful consideration, the University felt Ms. Goodman’s body of work has reflected statements that are not in close enough alignment with some Catholic teachings and with the values and mission of the University as required for an event of this stature on the Saint Francis campus.”

In response, CNS said, “Saint Francis University should be commended for protecting its Catholic identity.”

While St. Francis is receiving kudos from CNS, the pro-life group is upset that Saint Joseph College in Connecticut is publicizing the fact that its president, Dr. Pamela Trotman Reid, will be honored by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWELF) alongside the President of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

The Family Institute of Connecticut first noted the planned honor, saying, “The event’s financial sponsors include St. Joseph College, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, CT AFL-CIO, Goodwin College, and the law firms of Day Pitney LLP, McCarter & English LLP, and Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly PC.”

FIC, a pro-life group, added:  “CTWEALF is a Hartford based non-profit with a long history of promoting abortion on demand in the name of “women’s rights”. CTWEALF was a plaintiff in early lawsuits, challenging bans on Medicaid funding of abortions. Their radical anti-family activism has continued to this day. CTWEALF played a leading role in advocating for passage of the Bathroom Bill by the Connecticut General Assembly. The CT Equality Coalition seemed little more than a front organization; Sally Tamarkin, the lead organizer for CT Equality was employed by CTWEALF, working out of CTWEALF’s offices in Hartford.”

In an October 9 article, the Hartford Courant reports that Pamela Trotman Reid, president of St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn., “sees in [Sen. Barack] Obama a kindred spirit” and is concerned about future Supreme Court decisions affecting “the right of women to make choices about their own health.”

The Cardinal Newman Society called on Saint Joseph College’s President Reid to clarify statements she made alluding to abortion.

“It is a serious scandal when a Catholic college president appears to publicly dissent on the non-negotiable issue of abortion,” CNS president Patrick Reilly said. “The Catholic Church expects educators to be role models, upholding Catholic teaching and values.”

“Out of concern for the Catholic identity of St. Joseph College and the potential that your statements will mislead Catholics and others toward support for a ‘pro-choice’ position, we urge you to publicly clarify your support for Church teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion and your opposition to legalized abortion,” Reilly wrote.

The Family Institute of Connecticut reported that Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford also sought clarification from Reid.

Archbishop Mansell reported the results of his correspondence in his November 2008 Catholic Transcript column,On October 9th, the Hartford Courant reported on an interview with Dr. Pamela Trotman Reid, President of Saint Joseph College. The quotes attributed to Dr. Reid suggested some ambiguity in her support for the Church teaching on abortion. I wrote to Dr. Reid that day, asking for clarification. Correspondence and conversations followed. I am pleased to report that in her most recent letter to me Dr. Reid stated: ‘I am committed to upholding the Catholic teaching and values that are the foundation of a Mercy college.’”