(LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic university in the United States recently announced its plans to have the former president of Colombia, who has a history of supporting anti-Catholic practices such as abortion and the LGBT agenda, to give the 2023 commencement address.
The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana announced last week that Juan Manuel Santos, who was the president of Colombia from 2010 to 2018, will be speaking at the institution’s graduation ceremony on May 21 and receive an honorary degree.
A February 27 press release from the university highlights that Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 in response to his “pivotal role in ending the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, Colombia’s 52-year civil war between the government and, most notably, the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia (FARC).”
Santos has also served as a “distinguished policy fellow” in Notre Dame’s School of Global Affairs. University president Rev. John Jenkins applauded the plans for Santos to give the address, saying the former president “honored us with his presence on campus last fall” and “we look forward to welcoming him back.”
However, the release from the Notre Dame president’s office failed to mention Santos’ history of support for abortion and the LGBT agenda. In 2016, LifeSiteNews reported that he backed down on plans to push “transgender” education policies on Colombian schools after huge protests of his proposal. The controversial plan was titled “Non-Hegemonic Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities in Schools” and was never officially approved for use in public schools.
Last February, Colombia legalized abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. While current pro-life leaders lamented the decision, Santos expressed his support and indicated that he would favor further access to abortion in the future. During a speech at Harvard University that took place shortly after Colombia enabled women to murder their developing babies, Santos said, “I agree with what the Constitutional Court did in Colombia, expanding the weeks where abortion is allowed. I think it was a correct move, and I support it.”
“If you ask me,” he added. “I think they did the right thing.”
LifeSiteNews has contacted Notre Dame’s office of the president for comment on how a figure who openly promotes anti-Catholic practices is being brought in as a role model at a Catholic university but did not immediately receive a response.
The traditionally Catholic institution has drawn skepticism from alumni and faithful Catholics in recent years for its consistent promotion of ideologies and individuals who actively promote anti-Catholic values. Previously, the university cancelled funding for a pro-life benefit scheduled for November 2022 that it has backed for the past decade. Instead, the administration permitted a pro-abortion event to take place the same night.
In 2016, Notre Dame gifted self-proclaimed Catholic yet unapologetically pro-abortion Joe Biden the Laetare Medal, which is “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.” The decision was met with significant backlash from the public. University alumni accused president Jenkins of “hypocrisy and scandal” when he attended the 2018 national March for Life while providing insurance coverage for students and staff that included abortifacient contraceptives.
In 2021, newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden turned down an invitation to give the university’s commencement address. The administration avoided another major controversy thanks to the president’s scheduling conflict.
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