Saturday, May 9, 2009

More Catholic University Upheaval

It’s not just ND. Xavier University is following suit in honoring Donna Brazile, self-identified Catholic, who is also an abortion rights supporter.

Archbishop Hughes is heading down the same road as Bishop D’Arcy by not showing up.

“It is with regret that I make the decision not to participate in the Commencement Exercises this year at Xavier University in light of the university’s decision to invite Ms. Donna Brazile to be the Commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree. Ms. Brazile has a public record in support of keeping abortion legal.”

In particular, Archbishop Hughes cited her support for President Barack Obama’s reversal of the Mexico City Policy. Brazile has said the policy, which allows federal funds for organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas, would “save lives.” The archbishop also charged that Brazile has “relativized the importance of the fundamental life issues” on national television by suggesting that there are more important things to discuss. “She has supported and worked for the election of candidates who support contraceptive practices and abortion on the basis that this stance is pro-woman,” he added.

“The Catholic Church stands in support of all of those who want to serve and plead for the poor and vulnerable in our midst,” Archbishop Hughes explained. “This, however, must include those who are most vulnerable in their mother’s wombs. Moreover, contraceptive practice actually leads men to be less responsible toward women and abortion both harms the mother and kills the child.”

Pretty thorough repudiation by +Hughes. This whole thing bothers me, though. I understand that you have to be careful in these sorts of situations. However, it seems to me that the bishops who are taking stands on this had best be coming up with some kind of concerted strategy to deal with this kind of stuff down the road.

Too many people these days don’t care about what their bishop says anyway. Boycotting the commencement exercises is probably the best response we can hope for right now, but in the future, I’ve got a bad feeling that people are just going to shrug their shoulders and check their Rolodex to see if Peter Singer is available for a graduation talk.

The only real way to deal with this problem is canonical penalty. We might be too far gone for even that to work, but it’s the only arrow left in the quiver. To the extent that it's currently limited, the bishops need to ask for the proper revisions to canon law to make it possible.

By the way, if you’re wondering what Xavier’s response was in all this:

“Xavier understands the reasons for his absence at our 2009 Commencement Exercise. From the founding of Xavier by St. Katharine Drexel eighty-four years ago, our institution has promoted respect for the dignity, well-being and the protection of life for all persons,” the statement said. “Xavier’s legacy and mission remain in its commitment to ‘create a more just and humane society,’” the statement continued.

Translation: We know why you aren’t going to be there. We just don’t care. Oh, but we still believe in protecting life and all that other stuff.

No comments: