This spring’s commencement honorees at 12 Catholic colleges include pro-abortion politicians, a dissenting priest, and advocates for same-sex marriage, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients at more than 200 Catholic colleges in the United States.
“It’s important to note that these colleges are going in the opposite direction of Catholic education generally, as Catholic identity continues to improve nationwide,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Still, these colleges seem intent on perpetuating the public scandals that we have seen on Catholic campuses for many years. It’s an affront to faithful Catholics when a Catholic college honors politicians like Maria Vullo and Xavier Becerra, who just this year took strident actions to defend and promote abortion.”
In 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a document requiring Catholic institutions to withhold honors and platforms from public opponents of Church teaching. “Catholics in Political Life” stipulates:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. [emphasis in original]
By holding up those who publicly oppose Catholic teaching as role models for students, administrators at these Catholic colleges violate the mission of Catholic education.
The Cardinal Newman Society has identified concerns about commencement honorees, including commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, at the following Catholic colleges: