Pro-Lifers Won’t Let Catholic Colleges Quietly Host Pro-Aborts At Commencements

Every spring it’s the same thing: Catholic colleges and Universities honoring pro-abortion spokesmen. But this year there is more of a fight going on than ever before to keep these pro-abortion figures from addressing the graduates.

Group Blows the Whistle on Catholic Collges

Nationally, efforts are being made by Patrick Reilly, on the warpath to keep pro-aborts and other anti-life speakers off Catholic platforms. At Loyola University Chicago he’s asking the administration of this Jesuit institution to disinvite Leroy Hood, a bio-tech researcher and advocate of embryonic stem cell research. He would also receive an honorary degree.

“It’s never too late for a Catholic institution to uphold its identity,” says Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newsman Society dedicated to the renewal of the country’s 220 Catholic colleges and universities.

In all, Reilly’s group has asked eighteen schools, including St. Xavier University in Chicago, to rescind their invitations to pro-abortion speakers such as Democrat Sen. Hillary Clinton, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, author Jacquelyn Mitchard, actress Cicely Tyson, journalist Cokie Roberts and Calif. Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer as well as others who defy Catholic doctrine.

Reilly says the political pro-aborts are struggling to get the Catholic vote and believe these appearances on Catholic campuses will help garner it.

In 2004 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement that Catholic institutions should not honor those who are in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. Yet, the 2005 list is only slightly shorter on pro-aborts that the 2004 list was.

“That’s like a thumb in the eye of the bishops,” Reilly said. All these honorees publicly support abortion, gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and women’s ordination. “We are blowing the whistle,” Reilly says. “No Catholic college or university that blatantly disrespects the church’s teachings deserves the label of Catholic.”

Fighting To Restore College’s Catholic Identity

While Reilly, whose society has 16,000 members and ten Bishops and Archbishops on its board, leads the national charge in opposing anti-life speakers on Catholic campuses, local groups of Catholic pro-lifers are carrying on their fights at home. In the past the Pro-life Action League has protested at St. Joe College in Indiana, Marquette in Milwaukee, Loyola in Chicago, De Paul in Chicago, and others.

In Baltimore pro-life activist Jack Ames of Defend Life has planned a demonstration at the Giuliani appearance, and was instrumental in getting Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, to write Loyola College announcing that there will be no representative of the Archdiocese taking part in any event honoring the pro-abortion former mayor.

“I am confident,” Keeler writes, “by now you understand many of the consequences that spring from an invitation having been extended to former Mayor Giuliani to receive an honorary degree at Loyola. May the Lord make of this event a teaching moment for many.”

Jack says he is also trying to get word to Giuliani that there is still time to cancel his talk and let Loyola College invite someone else who is an exemplar of Catholic belief but doubts that that will happen. At least five Catholic colleges have lost their Catholic identity and have joined with secular schools rather than conform to Catholic doctrine and discipline.

After years of trying to get Catholic institutions to be Catholic, we are happy to see the Cardinal Newman Society take on this task nationally, and will spend our time fighting abortion on the front lines, at the mills, on the streets and among the youth who attend these schools and work from within. The last time we were called on to protest at a Catholic University we said corrective measures should be demanded from within, led by students and teachers of that institution, not by outsiders.

But our hat is off to Jack Ames who will continue his twenty-plus year fight with Loyola College in Maryland. We are hoping that more conservative administrations will help clean up the mess in the Chicago Area, and that local conservative campus groups will carry on the fight for their own Alma Maters.

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