A pro-life organziation that serves as a watchdog for Catholic colleges and universities has published a list of Catholic educational institutions that are violating the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church by having pro-abortion commencement speakers.
“Research conducted by The Cardinal Newman Society reveals that at least 10 Catholic colleges will be honoring individuals at their 2016 commencement ceremonies who have publicly opposed Church teaching in their statements and actions,” the group says. “By honoring those who disregard Catholic teaching, and holding them up as role models for students, administrators at these Catholic colleges send a dangerous message to students, betray the religious mission of their institutions and disregard the guidance of the U.S. bishops.”
“Families who choose a Catholic education deserve much better than this,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “By passing over the opportunity to present good role models for students — people who embrace not only a call to leadership but God’s call to virtue and faith — a Catholic college falsely honors those who oppose moral truths and dishonors its graduating students.”
The nation’s Catholic bishops have made it very clear that Catholic colleges and universities should not give a platform to abortion advocates.
In 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released “Catholics in Political Life,” which requires Catholic institutions to withhold honors and platforms from public opponents of Church teaching — and a commencement address certainly is both a prominent platform and a coveted honor, especially when paired with an honorary degree. The document states in part:
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.
Here is a partial list of the offending universities CNS compiled:
Gonzaga University Law School (May 7) will honor Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson. Last July when a court of appeals upheld a Washington state law requiring pharmacies to provide emergency contraception regardless of religious objection, Ferguson applauded the decision. “This unanimous decision is a major victory for the people of Washington. Decisions regarding medical care — including reproductive rights —are appropriately between a patient and his or her medical professionals,” he said. In October, he filed an amicus brief in an effort to strike down a Texas state law that limited access to abortions. Ferguson was also endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest during his 2012 election campaign.
La Roche College, Pittsburgh, Penn. (May 7) will hostMark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, as commencement speaker. His organization promotes contraception and is reportedly linked with Planned Parenthood. As the Newman Society reported previously, Shriver was regarded as a pro-abortion rights politician when he was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland. During his brief stint in politics, Shriver garnered a 100 percent rating by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Calif. (May 7), plans to host former President Bill Clinton as the 2016 commencement speaker, a decision which has been criticized by The Cardinal Newman Society due to Clinton’s pro-abortion history.
Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, Calif. (May 21), will host superintendent of California’s public school system Tom Torlakson as a commencement speaker. He has received 100 percent ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights League .
Seattle University, Seattle, Wash. (June 12), will presentMark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, as commencement speaker. His organization promotes contraception and is reportedly linked with Planned Parenthood. As the Newman Society reported previously, Shriver was regarded as a pro-abortion rights politician when he was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.
University of Notre Dame in Indiana (May 15), will honor pro-abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden during its commencement ceremony with the Laetare Medal, the “oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”
To be sure, some Catholic institutions of higher learning are bringing pro-life commencement speakers to campus. The Cardinal Newman Society has compiled a list of some of the institutions getting it right:
These include: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York at Benedictine College; Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and philosopher Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand at Christendom College; Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M., Cap., of Boston at Ave Maria University and Franciscan University of Steubenville; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco at Thomas Aquinas College; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, D.D., of Louisville at DeSales University; Bishop Emeritus Victor Galeone of Saint Augustine, Fla., at Belmont Abbey College; author and pastor Father George Rutler at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts; and Sister Regina Marie Gorman, OCD, Vicar General of the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, at Wyoming Catholic College.