WASHINGTON, May 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Archdiocese of Washington has weighed in on Georgetown University’s invitation of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a commencement speaker in clear terms, saying that the school has unmoored itself from Catholic identity and chosen a stance against the country’s Catholic bishops.

Secretary Sebelius is the primary figure behind the HHS mandate forcing religious groups to provide free sterilizations, abortifacient drugs, and other forms of birth control to employees under the new health care law. She is also known for her extreme pro-abortion record, most notably her close ties with late-term abortionist George Tiller during her time as governor of Kansas. She is listed as a commencement speaker at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute.

“With all of the people struggling so hard to preserve freedom of religion, and with all that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has said in defense of this important value, Georgetown’s choice of the architect of the radical challenge of such freedom for special recognition can only be seen as a statement of where the university stands – certainly not with the Catholic bishops,” states an unsigned editorial in the Archdiocesan newspaper. Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese’s official blog notes that the newspaper is “a recognized voice of the Archdiocese” and the editorial would have been reviewed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s senior staff.

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The authors note that, just like other ivy league schools, Georgetown has “historically religious roots;” and, also like them, “Over time ... Georgetown has undergone a secularization, due in no small part to the fact that much of its leadership and faculty find their inspiration in sources other than the Gospel and Catholic teaching.”

“One can only wonder how the selection of Secretary Sebelius for such a prominent role as a featured speaker can be reconciled with the stated Catholic mission and identity of Georgetown University. Secretary Sebelius’ vision on what constitutes faith-based institutions presents the most direct challenge to religious freedom in recent history,” states the editorial. “Given her position, it is disappointing that she would be the person that Georgetown University would choose to honor.”

When confronted with the scandal earlier this month, Georgetown defended the invitation: although it erased mention of Sebelius as a “commencement speaker” on its website, the arrangement stayed the same.

The editorial called the university’s response to the commencement speaker decision “disappointing, but not surprising.”

“When the vision guiding university choices does not clearly reflect the light of the Gospel and authentic Catholic teaching, there are, of course, disappointing results,” it said.