Pro-Abortion John Kerry to Speak at Catholic University of America

By Hilary White

  WASHINGTON, September 10, 2007 ( - Catholic University of America (CUA) has approved having former presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry come to speak on environmentalism and the Iraq war this semester, despite initial opposition by the office of University Center, Student Programs and Events (UCSPE).

  The Tower, the campus paper of Catholic University, said the UCSPE had initially objected to Kerry’s appearance, saying there is an "unwritten" campus rule banning political candidates during an election year.

  Kerry, who still receives Communion regularly, has a 100 per cent pro-abortion voting record according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. During the 2004 presidential debates, Kerry claimed that he was "personally against abortion", but would not "take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn’t share that article of faith."

  CUA is the national university of the Catholic Church and the only institution of higher learning directly founded by the U.S. bishops. The university has a policy that says the school "is not required to provide a forum for advocates whose values are counter to those of the University or the Roman Catholic Church."

  The phrase "…is not required" is not quite what the US bishops decided at their meeting in Denver during the last presidential election campaigns in 2004. At that time, John Kerry was the centre of a storm of controversy for his militant abortion advocacy and insistence that this in no way affected his status as a Catholic.

  Kerry was notorious for baiting Catholic bishops, receiving Holy Communion in front of the cameras at every opportunity.

  The controversy spread with US Catholic bishops taking sides between those who defended the Canon Law requiring the refusal of communion to "notorious public" dissenters and those, like Washington’s Cardinal McCarrick, who shied away from taking a strong stand. For the first time, Catholic organisations that would traditionally have supported a Catholic Democrat candidate, urged Americans to re-elect their Protestant Republican president.

  Nonetheless, the bishops held a meeting to attempt to hammer out some unified response. The bishops produced a statement after their Denver meeting saying that Catholic institutions "must refuse" to give a venue to Catholic speakers who deny important Church teaching, such as that which defends the right to life.

  Mark Arnone, chairman of the College Democrats, who invited Kerry to speak at CUA, defended the decision saying Kerry "expresses remarkable dedication to the doctrine and principles of Catholic social teaching established in Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’".  Arnone cited Kerry advocacy "for affordable and accessible health care…minimum wage reform" and the environment. John Paul II and Pope Benedict have strongly emphasized that the life issues are of much higher priority than these other issues.

  Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society, a group dedicated to the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic universities, responded that the situation is "wrong on so many levels". The Tower quotes Reilly saying, "For a Catholic university that accepts Catholic moral teachings as truth to invite or to host an active political candidate who intends to uphold and possibly expand the incidents of abortion in the United States is entirely contrary to its Catholic morals."

  The 2004 controversy revealed, to a public glare unprecedented in US Catholic history, the deep rift in the US Church between those who hold fast to the Catholic teachings regarding life and family issues, and those of the so-called "progressive" school popular since the advent of the 1960’s sexual revolution. 

  To express concerns contact the CUA Chancellor:

  Archbishop of Washington:
  The Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, 301-853-4500

  Read related coverage:

  U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference Says Pro-Abortion Politicians Should be Shunned

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