YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, April 30, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)  – A bishop in Ohio has become the latest to insist universities not host speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion.

Bishop George Murry instructed Mercy College School of Nursing in Youngstown to disinvite State Representative Bob Hagan, a Democrat who supports abortion-on-demand, from delivering its commencement address.

The politician was to speak to students inside St. Columba Cathedral.

The invitation came “without any proper review by my office,” wrote Bishop Murry in a statement released on Friday: “While I respect and appreciate many of the social justice positions taken by Representative Hagan, it remains a fact that he also has consistently voted for pro-abortion legislation, policies, and funding.”

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Disobedience on abortion disqualified Hagan and others who hold the same positions, he said. “Abortion extinguishes an unborn human life,” Bishop Murry wrote. “It is an intrinsically evil action which the Catholic Church has condemned for centuries. As Catholics, we must in good conscience oppose Representative Hagan’s position in support of abortion.”

Hagan responded on his FaceBook page:

I have fought for social justice my entire life and today, I am one disappointed Catholic. After being invited to give the commencement speech at Mercy Nursing School here in Youngstown, I got a call telling me that the Bishop has overruled their invite and they have rescinded the invitation because of some of the political positions I have taken. I am saddened that the work that I have done to feed the poor, clothe the naked, help cure the sick, and to bring an end to the death penalty has fallen on deaf ears.

Bishop Murry said he would be happy to meet with Hagan, “speaking with him about the Church’s long-standing teaching about the sacredness of human life in all its dimensions.”

Hagan later posted a message on both his FaceBook and Twitter pages stating, “Lets be clear, the Bishop is just doing his job.”

He is one of an increasing number of bishops doing their job to safeguard the identity of Catholic institutions.
 
In March, Bishop Robert McManus asked Anna Maria College of Massachusetts to rescind an invitation to Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the second wife of the late Ted Kennedy, to speak at its commencement. Kennedy, who like her late husband is a supporter of abortion, was to receive an honorary degree from the college.

Two national organizations, Catholic Democrats and Faithful America, delivered 20,000 petitions in a bid to pressure the bishop to change his mind. Bishop McManus replied his decision was based on the church documents “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” and “Catholics in Political Life” and is “in the best interest of all parties and most importantly the students which will be graduating.”

The Cardinal Newman Society, a campus watchdog organization, discovered “at least 11 scandalous speakers and honorees at Catholic colleges” in a recent special report. Some of these include:

  • Bellarmine University presenting an honorary law degree to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, a supporter of abortion and same-sex “marriage”;
  • Boston Law College inviting Victoria Reggie Kennedy;
  • Gonzaga University honoring Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a supporter of abortion and the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals;
  • Saint Joseph College honoring Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy, a supporter of the HHS mandate and same-sex “marriage”;
  • John Carroll University inviting Dr. Charles M. Geschke, a supporter of same-sex “marriage” and female ordination;
  • Loyola Marymount University’s Law School asking Judge Mary Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee to the Ninth Court of Appeals and a supporter of Roe v. Wade, to speak at commencement;
  • Loyola University in New Orleans honors Newsweek writer Jon Meacham, who called the overturning of California’s Proposition 8 “A Victory for Liberty”;
  • Mount St. Mary’s College hosting columnist Sandy Banks of the Los Angeles Times, whose column has supported same-sex “marriage”;

The number is lower than in previous years. The society says the faithful should “celebrate the fact that the large majority of Catholic colleges appear to have chosen non-controversial speakers or honorees whose public actions don’t run counter to Catholic teaching.”

“Nevertheless, in a year when the Catholic Church is fighting for religious liberty against government overreach, it’s especially important that colleges refrain from undercutting the clear moral stance of the bishops.”