By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ST. PAUL, MN, April 16, 2008 ( – Last week, reported that the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic university and private college in Minnesota, had cancelled the appearance of prominent Christian activist, writer and pro-life speaker Star Parker.

Yesterday afternoon, however, university officials announced that Parker will be speaking after all. She will appear on April 21 at 7:00 pm in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium. Parker, who is African-American, will be addressing the impact of abortion on minority communities.

A news bulletin told the university’s students that the school had “extended the invitation after the decision was made to use St. Thomas funds to pay her speaker’s fee and related expenses, thus giving university officials more involvement in managing the event.”

“Parker, a syndicated columnist, is active in the pro-life movement. Critics of St. Thomas’ original decision not to invite Parker said the decision diminished the university’s position on pro-life issues.”

“St.Thomas proudly functions within the Catholic intellectual tradition,” said Dr. Mark Dienhart, executive vice president. “We are now and always have been fully supportive of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. This issue has always been about what is the appropriate involvement of the university in scheduling speakers, not about any particular speaker or his or her message. We are glad we have reached this agreement with Ms. Parker.”

Alumna Katie Kieffer, who organized Parker’s original appearance, remains concerned about the university’s liberal leanings and the position taken by Jane Canney, the vice president for student affairs, who vetoed the original plan.

“Our Catholic university has hosted two decidedly liberal speakers in the past year, Al Franken and Debra Davis, an outspoken transgender woman,” Kieffer wrote in the St. Thomas Standard.

Last year St. Thomas University severed ties with the St. Paul Archdiocese which maintained the sitting archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis as the Vicar General and Priest President of the University.

The change alarmed many, who saw the consequence of this action as a move toward complete secularization of the university, already widely known as one of the US’ more liberal Catholic schools.

See previous coverage:

Catholic University of St. Thomas Rejects Black Pro-Life Speaker, Permits Transgender Speakers

Catholic St. Thomas University Votes to Sever Historic Ties with St. Paul Archdiocese