Joe Scheidler (left) preparing to receive his honorary degree from Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. (right) [Lexey Swall]
On Saturday, May 6, The Pro-Life Action League’s national director delivered the commencement address at Ave Maria University in Naples, FL. A Doctor of Law degree, Honoris Causa was conferred on Scheidler by the president of the university, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.
In his remarks to the graduating class Scheidler noted that his role at Catholic college graduations has often been as a protestor where a pro-abortion speaker is featured. He commended the college for its commitment to the true teachings of the Catholic Church.
Many of the families of Ave Maria’s students are pro-life activists themselves and warmly greeted Scheidler with recounts of various pickets and prayer vigils they had attended with him. Many of the members of the graduating class regularly go to abortion facilitites in Naples and Ft. Myers to pray and counsel.
In his address, Scheidler referred to Pope John Paul II’s exhortation to build a culture of life and challenged the graduates to bring their talent and training to a world sadly in need of their idealism. Scheidler also quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s Good Friday prayer in which the Pontiff warned that “we have lost our sense of sin.”
“Ave Maria’s graduates,” said Scheidler, “believe in the existence of evil and know what is necessary to defeat it.”
Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. also received an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony, as did John Donahue, a member of the AMU Board of Trustees. The invitation to deliver the commencement address was issued to Scheidler by Tom Monahan, former CEO of Domino’s Pizza and founder of Ave Maria University.