Blog Post

Catholic Institutions Must Say No to Pro-Abortion Politics

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer (Feb. 28, 2008) A rash of recent stump speeches by pro-abortion politicians on Catholic premises has promoted a coalition of 18 Catholic organizations to demand that these institutions “get their priorities straight.” “We call on Catholic institutions to join us in refusing to honor or provide a public forum for any political leader or candidate who acts ‘in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,’” reads the public statement released February 26 by The Cardinal Newman Society, a group that works to renew the Catholic identity of colleges and universities, and the leader of the coalition. “This includes any politician who undermines a ‘culture of life’ by advocating public policies to permit or support abortion, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research or any other threat to innocent human life,” the statement reads. “It also includes politicians who would threaten the institution of marriage.” The move was prompted by a series of campaign events by pro-abortion presidential candidates on Catholic colleges, such as the February 13 Hillary Clinton rally at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, which took place over the objections of Archbishop Jose Gomez. Four days later, St. Norbert College in Wisconsin did the same. Obama rallies have also been held at St. Peter’s College in New Jersey and Loras College in Iowa last March. “Catholic institutions need to get their priorities straight,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, in an article appearing on He recounted a phone call he received from the distraught mother of two students at an unnamed Catholic college who called to complain about the school’s plans to host Hillary Clinton. “We didn’t invite Hillary Clinton,” school officials told her. “She asked to come, so we had no choice but to say ‘yes’ to hosting the campaign rally.” Reilly admits, “The college official’s lack of sensitivity to scandal was nothing new to my ears, so I confess that I was a bit under-whelmed. These Catholic campus political events featuring pro-abortion politicians have been a problem for years.” Reilly’s coalition includes the leaders of prominent Catholic institutions such as the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Catholic Medical Association, Catholics United for the Faith, Human Life International, Fidelis, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) Morley Publishing/, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).  The group’s statement affirms what the U.S. bishops have already taught, that “not all issues are equal” in politics: “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.” Catholics are called upon to participate fully in political life, but must be guided by a Christian conscience in order to fulfill their vocation of infusing the temporal order with Christian values. “Too often, however, some Catholic institutions pursue a misguided engagement with public policy and politics that compromises and even undermines their Catholic mission,” the statement says.  “Catholic institutions should engage the culture form a faithfully Catholic perspective, not a position of neutrality. Political engagement does not require partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates. But it also does not require secularization, by which Catholic institutions accept moral relativism and simple mirror secular culture.” The coalition is calling upon all Catholic institutions to refuse to honor or provide a public form for any political leader or candidate who acts “in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” This refusal should also include the giving of awards, honorary degrees, graduation and commencement addresses, or participation in lectures, debates, rallies and fundraisers on Catholic premises. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.     Understand the role of faith in politics. See “Faith and Politics: Voting the Catholic Conscience” with Ambassador Alan Keyes and Fr. Edmund Sylvia, available in our store at