By Kathleen Gilbert

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, April 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans has made public his letter to the Xavier University of Louisiana, announcing that he will boycott the university’s May 9 commencement exercises, in order to protest the selection of pro-abortion "Catholic" political activist Donna Brazile as the featured speaker and honoree. 

Archbishop Hughes is also opposing the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor the staunchly pro-abortion President Obama at commencement, a decision condemned by at least 46 U.S. bishops and over 333,000 petitioners.

"It is with regret that I make the decision not to participate in the Commencement Exercises this year at Xavier University in light of the university’s decision to invite Ms. Donna Brazile to be the Commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree," wrote Archbishop Hughes in the letter to Xavier University president Norman Francis Wednesday. 

Archbishop Hughes, like the majority of bishops who have decried the Notre Dame scandal, cited the 2004 directive by the U.S. Bishops Conference which states:  "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.  They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

While the archbishop acknowledged Brazile’s good work serving the poor and the African American community, he said that "her public statements on the abortion issue are not in keeping with Catholic moral teaching." 

In her work as a political activist, Brazile has consistently championed the cause of contraception and abortion.  The manager of former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential election campaign in 2000, Brazile supported President Obama’s repeal of the Mexico City Policy, which had prevented U.S. foreign aid from funding international abortion giants. 
 
"The Catholic Church stands in support of all of those who want to serve and plead for the poor and vulnerable in our midst," wrote Hughes.  "This, however, must include those who are most vulnerable in their mother’s wombs."
 
He notes that Xavier was founded by Saint Katherine Drexel and offers prayers that the university "will be faithful to that legacy in every way including respect and protection of all human life."

In an email to the Times-Picayune, Brazile said, "As a lifelong devoted Catholic, I am sorry the archbishop will boycott this celebration of the class of 2009.

"I will remain faithful to the Catholic Church and my Christian faith which keeps me grounded."

"Catholic universities have a serious responsibility to uphold the Catholic identity with which they are entrusted," said Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, in response to the archbishop’s decision.  "Catholics nationwide will be grateful to Archbishop Hughes for his defense of Xavier’s Catholic mission."


To contact Xavier University of Louisiana:

Norman C. Francis, President
Xavier University Of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
New Orleans , LA 70125
phone: (504) 486-7411 (ext. 7541 or 7539)
e-mail:  nfrancis@xula.edu

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Bishops Zubik, Loverde, LeVoir Make 46 Bishops Against ND Scandal
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042302.html

Strongly Pro-life New Orleans Archbishop Ministers to Hurricane Victims
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/sep/05090106.html

New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes on Anti-Life Politicians and Holy Communion
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/jan/040116a.html