Former Terrorist’s Lecture at Catholic College Is ‘Affront to Human Dignity’ Says Catholic Education

Wed Jan 28, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

MORAGA, CA, January 28, 2009 ( – Former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers will lecture on morality and ethics tonight at Saint Mary’s College of California as part of a series intended to advance the college’s Lasallian Catholic values. 

Saint Mary’s College is located near San Francisco and is affiliated with the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Catholic order of priests founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle.  The college claims to embrace core Lasallian values including "faith in the presence of God" and "respect for all persons."
"Bill Ayers’ honored presence at a Catholic college should offend not only Catholics, but all men and women of good will," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.  "It is an affront to basic human dignity and a scandal that a Catholic college should provide a platform for a man who reportedly takes pride in terrorist acts against the United States."
The Cardinal Newman Society has not received a response to a letter faxed last Friday, January 23, to Brother Ronald Gallagher, F.S.C., president of Saint Mary’s College, urging him to halt the lecture.
Saint Mary’s College has invited Ayers to be a part of their "Against the Grain" lecture series in which "students are challenged to think in new ways and explore social justice issues as part of the College’s Lasallian heritage."  Students "step out of their comfort zones" and "explore new intellectual territory," the college claimed in a press release.
Ayers is currently a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He is a co-founder of the Weather Underground, which from 1968 to 1972 participated in several acts of domestic terrorism, including setting off bombs at the New York City Police Headquarters and the Pentagon.
In 2001 The New York Times reported Ayers to have said, "I don’t regret setting bombs ...  I feel we didn’t do enough."
The full title of Ayers’ scheduled talk is "Trudging Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom."
"The Catholic Church has clear teachings on authentic freedom, morality and ethics," Reilly said.  "Bill Ayers has no place lecturing at a sincerely Catholic college."
When Pope Benedict XVI addressed Catholic college presidents last April in Washington, D.C., he warned: "Only in faith can truth become incarnate and reason truly human, capable of directing the will along the path of freedom.  In this way our [educational] institutions make a vital contribution to the mission of the Church and truly serve society."

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