MANASSAS, VA, April 29, 2005 ( – The Archdiocese of New York has determined that Marymount Manhattan College is no longer a Catholic institution. The college has been under protest by the Cardinal Newman Society for inviting pro-abortion Sen. Hillary Clinton to give its commencement address and receive an honorary degree on May 20.

This is the fourth time since the late Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, that a bishop has declared an historically Catholic college or university to be not Catholic. The three colleges previously declared no longer Catholic include Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Nazareth College and Saint John Fisher College, both in Rochester, New York.

“The decision to honor one of Congress’ most outspoken and strident advocates of abortion rights was just the latest episode in a long history of secularization at Marymount Manhattan College,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), a national organization dedicated to the renewal of Catholic identity at America’s 220—now 219—Catholic colleges and universities.

“There is tremendous value to clearly and formally identifying wayward Catholic institutions as no longer Catholic, as Cardinal Egan has done so courageously,” Reilly said. “We would have preferred that the College’s trustees and officials had embraced the College’s roots and respected those Catholics who founded, attended and funded this institution.”

In a letter to New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan dated April 14, CNS raised concerns about Marymount Manhattan College’s plans to honor Sen. Clinton and noted “that the enforcement of Ex Corde Ecclesiae may require the declaration that an institution is no longer Catholic, and we support such action if Marymount Manhattan College obstinately refuses to acknowledge your pastoral authority as bishop and to uphold the Church’s fundamental teachings.”

According to the Archdiocese of New York, Marymount Manhattan officials supported ending its affiliation with the Catholic Church. In 1961, the College legally separated from its parent institution, Marymount College of Tarrytown, and its founding women’s religious order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Signs of the College’s Catholic identity have disappeared over time, even though until yesterday it preserved its official status as Catholic, possibly to avoid alienating Catholic alumni and donors.


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