REPORT CARD: Good News/Bad News at Georgetown; Thomas Aquinas College Beats HHS Mandate; Vatican Official Bolsters Catholic Education

Georgetown pro-life event not evidence of conversion

The first officially sanctioned “Respect Life” forum at Georgetown University, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and University President John DiGioia, is an important step forward, but it is still inconsistent with much of what goes on at the nation’s oldest Catholic university.

The National Catholic Register reports the contrast between the Oct. 2 event and the many violations of Catholic identity described in The Cardinal Newman Society’s 124-page report on Georgetown released earlier this year. It documents how Georgetown has repeatedly hosted abortion advocates—including Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius—and hired them to its faculty.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, told the Register that while the event was “refreshing,” it was “hard to square that with the enormous damage that Georgetown University has done to the Church and to the pro-life cause for many decades by honoring, partnering, and even hiring abortion advocates, and giving free rein to the ‘H*yas for Choice’ group on campus.”

“This event might be an olive branch,” he added, “but it’s not evidence of a conversion.”

Pro-life student leaders at Georgetown said the event showed stronger support for the pro-life movement than they realized existed. Some speculated that the event could be the first of many. We can only pray.

The Hoya’s ‘sex issue’ is as bad as you’d expect

Georgetown University’s student newspaper, The Hoya, recently published its “sex issue,” which “explores topics related to sex and sexuality on college campuses.”

The issue features pieces such as “Contraception 101: Better Safe than Sorry,” and “Debunking College Sex Myths,” which informs students where to procure contraception on campus. The article “Toeing the Line: Free Speech and Sex on Campus” begins with this precious bon mot:

“When professor Derek Goldman was directing ‘In The Next Room, or the vibrator play’ last spring, he was acutely aware that, to some on campus, the production would appear salacious at first blush. The play deals frankly with female sexuality, exploring how the invention of the vibrator permitted women to experience sexual satisfaction in the otherwise stifling Victorian era.”

“But Goldman, who serves as the founding director of The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, said the nudity and adult content of the play, far from being gratuitous, did not preclude it from rendering the human experience in an honest, sophisticated way.”

Another piece titled “Students May Not Be Hooked on Hookup Culture,” however, did voice student concerns about the hookup culture on campus.

“The hookup culture transforms people into objects, because a human being becomes a means toward an end,” the piece said, quoting a student involved in Love Saxa, a Georgetown student initiative to promote and celebrate authentically loving relationships. “We strip out the humanity of fellow Georgetown students, seeing them only for their sexuality. Because of this, the hookup culture damages all students, not just those who engage in it.”

Thomas Aquinas College wins permanent protection from HHS mandate

Thomas Aquinas College celebrated the end of its four-year legal effort when the Trump administration agreed to a settlement, permanently exempting the Newman Guide college from the HHS contraception mandate.

“This is an extraordinary outcome for Thomas Aquinas College and for the cause of religious freedom,” said Thomas Aquinas College President Michael McLean “It is a relief to know that the College can continue its 46-year mission of offering excellent Catholic liberal education without facing the threat of crippling financial penalties resulting from our commitment to the full teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Board chairman Scott Turicchi said, “Thomas Aquinas College would not compromise its Catholic identity and instead took a stand for religious liberty.”

Justice Thomas named Christendom College commencement speaker

Christendom College has announced that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will speak at the Newman Guide college’s 39th commencement ceremonies in May.

Thomas is the second African American Supreme Court justice. He has been a reliable originalist and a conservative voice on the court. In its announcement, Christendom noted that Thomas authored the majority opinion in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, an important religious liberty case decided in 2001.

Fordham honors pro-abort Supreme Court Justice

Fordham University recently honored Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose ruling on Planned Parenthood v. Casey cemented abortion as a constitutional right, with the Fordham-Stein Prize, according to the university’s website.

The Jesuit university presents the annual award to those whose work embodies “the highest standards of the legal profession,” according to the report. Ruth Bader Ginsburg received the award in 2001. Fordham University President Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., called Justice Kennedy “one of the greats.”

At the award ceremony, law school Dean Matthew Diller gushed over Kennedy’s “thoughtful, nuanced jurisprudence” and his embrace of “the values of our Constitution and its promise of liberty and justice for all.”

Indeed… except for the unborn, of course.

Vandals destroy Cemetery of Innocents at Jesuit university

Vandals at St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, destroyed and stole crosses from a Cemetery of Innocents display commemorating lives lost to abortion and other tragedies, according to LifeNews.com.

“Once again, pro-life free speech has been squelched on a university campus,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “The Students for Life group at St. Louis University was bringing a message of truth, love, and compassion to their campus. The intolerant people who ruined a display about the value of life should feel ashamed.”

Hawkins encouraged the university to “quickly find the perpetrators and replace the crosses.”

Brielle Heraty, a member of SLU Students for Life, said the club “wholeheartedly forgives” those who destroyed the display, but vows to continue being a voice “for the most vulnerable among us regardless of age, appearance, ability, or background.”

Pro-life posters destroyed at LMU… cue the crickets

Vandals destroyed a number of pro-life posters around the Loyola Marymount University campus, according to Renew LMU, an organization committed to enhancing the Jesuit institution’s Catholic identity.

The Padre Pio Society, a campus student group, placed posters around the California campus earlier this month, which were similar in imagery and style to immigration-themed posters by other student groups. The posters essentially drew an equivalence between immigration and abortion by saying, “Don’t abort my fellow humans #NoHumanBeingIsIllegal #AbortionIsAnImmigrationIssue.”

A Woman and Gender studies major at the university reportedly wrote on Facebook, “Yeah we’ve been scrambling to take [the posters] down.” One professor criticized the lack of consequences for the students who took down Padre Pio’s posters.

This is not the first time that pro-life posters were destroyed at LMU. Last year, similar posters met the same fate.

Also last year, a university employee who removed LGBT signs was accused of a “hate crime” and investigated for bias. Now, pro-life signs are removed with little or no action.

Governor Jerry Brown vetoes anti-Catholic bill

Good news on the religious liberty front rarely comes out of California, but last week Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have prohibited employers from terminating workers who use birth control, abort a child, or make reproductive health decisions they disagree with, according to California Catholic Daily.

The law would have had a calamitous effect on Catholic schools’ ability to hire and fire for mission.

California’s bishops strongly opposed Assembly Bill 569, which was introduced after San Diego Christian College allegedly fired a teacher in 2012 for getting pregnant out of wedlock.

Vatican official: Catholic schools must be free to be Catholic

Catholic schools must have the freedom to be Catholic, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education told Chile’s Sixth National Congress on Catholic Education.

Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi said Catholic education must respond to “the current challenges of society” in a fully Catholic way, according to the Catholic News Agency.

“It would be unjust to ask, in the name of tolerance, for Catholic schools to take a neutral approach in what they teach, and to not to be able to foster a religious way of life, while still respecting people’s freedom, since the students have decided to go to an institution they already know is Catholic,” he said. “The Catholic school has both the right and duty to not only teach in consistency with its own values, but also to have an inner dynamic of proclaiming and living the Christian life.”

He added that “such an educational program becomes for believers in Christ an opportunity for growth and the integration of faith and reason, and also for living out the life of the Church.”

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