VILLANOVA, PA, May 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Students at one of the nation's most prominent Catholic universities will hear from abortion supporter Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, as its commencement speaker on May 16.
This week, Villanova University announced that Biden will be the commencement speaker at the 2014 undergraduate commencement. In its release, Villanova cited Biden's work as an educator, supporter of military families and veterans, and breast cancer prevention, as well as her graduation from Villanova's English department with a Master's degree.
Biden's support for abortion was not mentioned, though the release did acknowledge that Biden works “to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention.”
Both Biden and her husband are Roman Catholic, but support contraceptive use and same-sex “marriage,” in addition to abortion.
In 2008, Biden joined current First Lady Michelle Obama in criticizing then-GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, whose wife, Cindy, had said that abortion was not a major issue for voters.
Biden said that supporting abortion was something “I think [is] very important, personally.” She then told ABC that “I am of that generation of women who fought for Roe v. Wade, and I can't imagine the Supreme Court overturning it. I think women have to remember that.”
Roe v. Wade is the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states. Overturning it would not make abortion illegal in America, but instead turn all such decisions to state legislators.
In 2012, just days before her husband won re-election, Biden told students at Colorado College that “we've fought so hard for Roe v. Wade, for access to contraception, and equal rights. We don't want our daughters and granddaughters to fight those battles we fought, so long ago.”
“We've come so far but we have to keep moving forward,” she said.
Earlier this year, Biden met with a number of homosexuals to hear their stories on benefits they are receiving from the Affordable Care Act.
Villanova website says that “the tradition of Catholic higher education has always placed a priority on the integration of the pursuit of intellectual excellence and the ethical conversions essential for the integration of knowledge and faith.” The university also says that “the sacredness of individual conscience must find a secure place in the discourse within a Catholic, Augustinian university.”
In its release announcing Biden's address, Villanova says that it prepares [students] to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia told LifeSiteNews that it “was not consulted on the decision to have Dr. Jill Biden as this year’s commencement speaker as Villanova is an independent institution.”
Spokesperson Ken Gavin also said that “the Church’s support for the dignity of the unborn child and opposition to the dishonesty of 'pro-choice' arguments has been made very clear.”
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Adam Wilson, the director of communications for The Cardinal Newman Society, said, “By honoring a vocal proponent of abortion rights, Villanova undermines its Catholic identity and harms the Church, which needs Catholic universities to stand for the sacred dignity of human life.”
Wilson compared Villanova to “the faithful Catholic colleges” highlighted in the Newman Guide, which he says are “honoring bishops and lay leaders who inspire students to be courageous Catholics in the public square.”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at Villanova in 2009.