Scandalous Commencement Honors Announced at Eight Catholic Colleges

Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges have announced scandalous speakers or honorees at their 2015 commencement ceremonies

by Church Militant  •   April 24, 2015



April 24, 2015, (Kimberly Scharfenberger)—At least eight Catholic colleges have announced scandalous speakers or honorees at their 2015 commencement ceremonies, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of college graduations.

Many colleges wait to release the names of their honorees and speakers, so it is too soon to know if this represents an improvement over last year’s report, which exposed at least 20 scandalous commencement ceremonies.

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. The document, 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.

The Cardinal Newman Society has identified the following Catholic colleges that are acting in direct contradiction to their Catholic mission of education:

College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College) in Chicopee, Mass., will host Congressman John Lewis of Georgia as the College’s 2015 commencement speaker on May 16. As previously reported by the Newman Society, the College chose Lewis for his “personal and political focus on civil rights,” despite a consistent pro-abortion voting record. He earned 100 percent ratings with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America in 2013 and 2014. Lewis voted against banning partial-birth abortions, barring minors from crossing state lines to procure abortions, and requiring minors to involve responsible adults before having an abortion. Lewis also co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would effectively prohibit medical professionals from recommending ultrasounds or other procedures to women considering abortion. Additionally, he voted in favor of increased federal funding for contraception and embryonic stem cell research.

Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y., will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters and host Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York and former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul as commencement speaker at the College’s 2015 commencement ceremony on May 16. Hochul has publicly declared her support of abortion and has gained the full endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. According to On The Issues, NARAL’s Executive Director described Hochul as “a powerful counterpoint to the opponents of women’s health care” and declared that Hochul would “stand up to those who would deny women access to critical health care services,” such as abortion. “I will fight alongside NARAL Pro-Choice New York to ensure women have access to safe and adequate health services, without any interference from the federal government,” Hochul reportedly responded, adding that she was “deeply grateful” for NARAL’s support. During her 2011 run for Congress, Roll Call reported that Hochul was endorsed by EMILY’s List, an organization that financially supports pro-abortion women politicians in elected positions. According to, Hochul received $68,445 from EMILY’s List during 2012. Additionally, she earned a 100 percent rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2012.

Loyola University New Orleans will honor former National Football League (NFL) commissioner Paul Tagliabue with an honorary degree at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 9. Tagliabue has publicly advocated for same-sex marriage and given thousands of dollars to the cause. In 2012, he and his wife donated $100,000 to a same-sex marriage campaign in Maryland. “[T]his is the time not to view this as an expense, but as a capital investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” said Tagliabue at the Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser, according to the Washington Blade. He made a $1 million gift to support the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University, which has been a significant challenge to the University’s Catholic identity.

via Scandalous Commencement Honors Announced at Eight Catholic Colleges.


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