It’s hard to not sound over-the-top in describing how much of an outrage it is that the speaker at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy diploma ceremony on May 18 will be none other than Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The fact that the nominally Catholic architect of the HHS Mandate — which has been publicly denounced by every single bishop who leads a diocese in the U.S. — is being granted this honor by America’s oldest Catholic university is hard to believe.
Yet at the same time, given the history of the choice of commencement speakers at some other reputable Catholic universities in recent years, it isn’t hard to believe at all.
A “Direct Challenge” to the U.S. Bishops
Clearly, as the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) observes, Georgetown’s invitation to Sebelius “can only be interpreted as a direct challenge to America’s Catholic bishops.”
Although this page on Georgetown’s website on Friday listed Sebelius as one of several speakers who will take part in “Commencement 2012,” a university spokesman is now claiming that she is not, in fact, a commencement speaker:
“Secretary Sebelius is not speaking at Georgetown’s commencement. She is speaking at Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s annual student and faculty awards event,” Georgetown spokesman Rachel Pugh said in an email to The Cardinal Newman Society.
“Georgetown has 28 ceremonies to honor the achievements of our graduates and our faculty. We have 10 official commencement ceremonies to award degrees for the different schools within the university, and 18 other awards ceremonies to honor student and faculty achievements. We do not have one main commencement speaker. The GPPI ceremony is one event during commencement weekend, but it is not a commencement ceremony (degrees are not conferred),” the email continued.
Call it a “commencement,” call it a “diploma ceremony,” call it whatever you want.
This pathetic attempt at hairsplitting does nothing to change the fact that Georgetown University is honoring Kathleen Sebelius by inviting her to speak to the graduates of its Public Policy Institute.
And that’s outrageous.
Sign the Petition
CNS has a petition urging Georgetown President John DeGioia to withdraw Kathleen Sebelius’ invitation immediately.
You can sign it here.