By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2009 ( – A portion of the Association of Catholic Colleges and University's latest newsletter, which called for the withdrawal of the U.S. Bishops' document prohibiting pro-abortion politicians from being honored at Catholic schools, has now been deleted.

The paragraph, originally appearing in the Summer 2009 version of the newsletter “Update” and coinciding with the bishops' meeting in San Antonio, read:

“ACCU's directors informally concluded that it would be desirable for the USCCB to withdraw 'Catholics in Political Life' … A successor document, if any, should distinguish between 'honors' and 'platforms' and should acknowledge more clearly the differing roles of campus authorities and bishops. In addition, ACCU's directors suggested that juridical expressions of bishops' or universities' responsibilities should be kept to a minimum, lest they inhibit the 'mutual trust, close and consistent collaboration, and continuing dialogue' to which Ex corde Ecclesiae calls Church and university authorities.”

“Catholics in Political Life,” which was cited by many of the 80 active U.S. bishops who condemned the University of Notre Dame's honor of President Obama May 17, reads in part: “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.”

The Cardinal Newman Society reported on the controversial statement earlier this month, and the now-missing paragraph was also noted by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

The bishops at their recent national conference did not retract the document, but instead issued a statement of support for Notre Dame's Bishop John D'Arcy, who strongly objected to Obama's invitation and boycotted the commencement ceremony at which the President appeared.

“We can only hope that the disappearance of the paragraph means that it was untrue,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.  “Evading standards for Catholic higher education is not an appropriate response to the Notre Dame scandal.”

See related coverage:

Catholic College Leaders Lobby Bishops to Withdraw 2004 Policy Banning Pro-Abortion Speakers


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