Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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Commencement

Commencement
Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges
4/28/2016
At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).

Lavender graduations and similar ceremonies for seniors have been announced at the College of St. Rose, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Loyola Marymount University, St. Mary’s College of California, Santa Clara University, Seattle University and the University of San Francisco.

Although intended as a compassionate gesture to students, the ceremonies reinforce harmful ideologies about sexuality and gender that contradict Catholic teaching and have been deplored by Pope Francis. They potentially lead students into sinful activity and undermine a Catholic college’s claim to teach the truths of the Catholic faith.


Special Report: Catholic Commencement Scandals Dishonor Class of 2016
4/26/2016
Research conducted by The Cardinal Newman Society reveals that at least 10 Catholic colleges will be honoring individuals at their 2016 commencement ceremonies who have publicly opposed Church teaching in their statements and actions.

By honoring those who disregard Catholic teaching, and holding them up as role models for students, administrators at these Catholic colleges send a dangerous message to students, betray the religious mission of their institutions and disregard the guidance of the U.S. bishops.

“Families who choose a Catholic education deserve much better than this,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “By passing over the opportunity to present good role models for students — people who embrace not only a call to leadership but God’s call to virtue and faith — a Catholic college falsely honors those who oppose moral truths and dishonors its graduating students.”


Special Report: Church Leaders Honored by Faithful Catholic Colleges
4/26/2016
Even while at least 10 Catholic colleges have made scandalous choices for commencement speakers and honorees this year (see our separate roundup), colleges recognized in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College by The Cardinal Newman Society will instead highlight their strong commitment to Catholic education by honoring top leaders in the Church and strong role models for their students.

“If Catholic families want to know which Catholic colleges stand with the Church and which do not, a college’s choice of commencement speaker and other honorees is often a public signal of its priorities and concern for its students’ formation,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “We’re proud of the faithful colleges that are such a necessary contradiction to our wayward institutions, and we’re grateful to our Church leaders for demonstrating their support of faithful Catholic education by their presence on commencement day.”


LMU Jesuit Community Rector Endorses Honor of Pro-Abortion Clinton
4/21/2016
The rector of the Jesuit community at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, Calif., thinks LMU is justified in honoring the life of former President Bill Clinton as long as it’s clear that the University is ignoring all of the immoral and evil actions committed in the past, and present, by Clinton when bestowing that honor.

The student-run Los Angeles Loyolan recently reported that Father Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., rector of the LMU Jesuit community, responded to protests and criticisms of LMU’s honoring of Clinton by expressing his full support of the decision.

“In conferring this honor LMU does not endorse all of Mr. Clinton’s past or current policies nor condone all his actions,” Fr. Deck stated. “Rather, the University recognizes the extraordinary service he has given to civil society and his lifetime connection to Catholic and Jesuit higher education as a Georgetown University alumnus.”


Newman Society: Loyola Marymount Betrays Catholic Mission in Clinton Commencement Scandal
4/15/2016
Loyola Marymount University’s choice to honor disgraced, pro-abortion former President Bill Clinton as its spring 2016 commencement speaker on May 7 is a new low in the University’s repeated betrayal of its Catholic mission. The scandal deserves the outrage of faithful Catholics everywhere, most especially those families who rely on LMU to provide the Catholic education that the University holds itself out as providing.

Former President Clinton is an extremely poor choice for honor and presents a very bad moral example to LMU’s students. LMU President Dr. Timothy Snyder touted Clinton in the commencement speaker announcement as “one of the great statesmen of our time.” “His commitment to improving the lives of other people, during and beyond his career in U.S. politics, embodies the ethos of becoming women and men with and for others. President Clinton will inspire our graduates as they seek to lead lives of meaning, purpose, and global impact,” Snyder continued. But President Clinton’s record is one of scandal, immorality and support for the destruction of innocent human life. And his Clinton Foundation continues to partner with and fund some of the largest organizations around the world dedicated to snuffing out babies in the womb — such as Planned Parenthood.


Former Franciscan Univ. President Honored for ‘Courageous Witness to the Faith’
4/13/2016
Father Terence Henry, TOR, former president of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and a member of the Board of Directors of The Cardinal Newman Society, will be honored for his service to Franciscan and his “courageous witness to the faith” during the University’s commencement ceremonies this May.

“Committed to life issues, Father Henry directed Franciscan University’s filing of a lawsuit in 2012 opposing the federal government’s mandate that would force provision of health insurance coverage counter to its religious principles,” the University stated in a press release. “In addition, he established the Franciscan University Institute of Bioethics, which provides a solid Catholic response to secular assaults on the dignity of human life, marriage, and other human life issues. While president, he joined students and alumni and attended every March for Life in Washington, D.C.”


Cardinal Burke Responds to Notre Dame’s Scandalous Honor of Biden
4/7/2016
Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and ecclesiastical advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society, rebuked the University of Notre Dame for the “great scandal” of awarding abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden the University’s “oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”

In an interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family’s Thomas McKenna, Cardinal Burke said that Biden’s positions regarding human life and marriage are contradictory “to the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” and are in “grievous violation of the moral law and therefore make him ineligible to receive such an award from a Catholic university.”

“I find it difficult to imagine that a Catholic university would assign its highest honor to any politician who favors abortion and who also advocates for the recognition of the sexual liaison of two people of the same sex as equal to marriage,” he said.


Notre Dame Faculty Call on University to Rescind Award to Biden
4/4/2016
The local bishopstudentsalumni and now a group of faculty have joined The Cardinal Newman Society in criticizing the University of Notre Dame administration for its scandalous decision to award abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden with “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”

“Notre Dame claims to award the Laetare Medal ‘annually to an American Catholic in recognition of outstanding service to Church and society.’ But our Faculty for Life Chapter agrees with Bishop Kevin Rhoades that the awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice-President Biden is a scandalous violation of the University’s moral responsibility (as the American bishops wrote in 2004) never to honor those who act in defiance of fundamental moral principles about the sanctity of life,” the Notre Dame chapter of University Faculty for Life stated in a resolution that passed unanimously on April 1.

The resolution stated that Biden has “conspicuously rejected Church teaching about life” for decades, citing positions taken by Biden during his political career.


Catholic Colleges Must Protect Religious Identity When Bestowing Honors
3/15/2016
When it comes to awarding honorary degrees or choosing commencement speakers, honors bestowed by Catholic colleges and universities that threaten Catholic identity by giving rise to scandal can and should be avoided, representatives of faithful Catholic colleges told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Last week, the University of Notre Dame received heavy criticism when it announced that it would award its 2016 Laetare Medal to pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden, who while publicly affirming his Catholic faith has failed to allow it to influence his policies and stances on human life issues. The honor, which is meant for those “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” has resurrected debate surrounding the University’s previous invitation and honorary doctorate awarded to President Obama at the University’s commencement in 2009.


Newman Society: Notre Dame Honor for Pro-Abortion Joe Biden Betrays the University’s Catholic Mission
3/7/2016
Seven years after the University of Notre Dame received worldwide criticism for its public honor to pro-abortion President Barack Obama — including more than 367,000 signatures to The Cardinal Newman Society’s online petition and public opposition by 83 American Catholic bishops — Notre Dame has once again chosen to betray the Church and its Catholic mission.

Notre Dame has announced that it will bestow its 2016 Laetare Medal, the “oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics,” on pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden. This time, however, the offense is even greater: a pro-abortion Catholic politician is being honored as one “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church [emphasis added] and enriched the heritage of humanity.”

... The Cardinal Newman Society emphatically condemns the awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden.


Catholic College to Honor Leader of Pro-Abortion Groups Amid Protest of Cardinal Dolan
5/15/2015
The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered that the Jesuit Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., will honor at Sunday’s commencement ceremony—alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York—human rights activist Lois Whitman, who works for a pro-abortion group and serves on the boards of two pro-abortion organizations.

But several hundred students and faculty are protesting the Cardinal, not Whitman—and the College president has praised the protest, which labels Cardinal Dolan “homophobic,” as a reason for “celebration.”

A petition at Change.org asks Le Moyne College to rescind its invitation to Cardinal Dolan to deliver Sunday’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree. The petition has reached 709 signatures and was organized by students, alumni and “some members of the faculty,” Le Moyne President Linda Le Mura told FOX News on Thursday.

The petition states that “the graduating class of 2015 and the graduates, along with staff and other students, do not approve of this choice.” It goes on to claim, without evidence, that Cardinal Dolan has made “homophobic comments and does not represent the ideals we have come to know Le Moyne to represent.”


Lavender Graduations, Ceremonies on Eight Catholic Campuses
5/15/2015

“Lavender graduations” and celebrations—commencement-related events intended exclusively for homosexual students and their “allies”—continued this year on Catholic campuses, despite confusing students about Catholic teaching and acceptance of homosexual behavior.

In April, Pope Francis addressed the problems with “gender theory” and urged acceptance of sexuality as male and female:As we all know, sexual difference is present in so many forms of life, in the long scale of the living. However, only in man and in woman does it bear in itself the image and likeness of God…Man and woman are [the] image and likeness of God!

This year, the Society found that at least eight Catholic colleges are hosting or have hosted lavender graduations and celebrations.


Georgetown Honors Abortion Advocates at Commencement Ceremonies
5/8/2015
Despite the U.S. bishops’ policy banning Catholic honors topeople who publicly oppose Catholic teaching, Georgetown University will honor two prominent advocates for legal abortion at its graduation ceremonies next week, The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will address the graduating class of the School of Foreign Service on May 16, and he will receive an honorary doctorate. He is a vocal advocate for universal access to abortion and contraception around the world.

Last May, Pope Francis met with Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. leaders to press for respect for human life, insisting that “life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death.” But in September, Ban Ki-moon publicly reiterated his support for “the importance of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” quoting a Filipino woman who said, “A woman should have the right to choose how many children she wants. It’s a basic human right.” The U.N. has consistently defined “reproductive health” to include abortion as well as contraceptives.


Commencement Speakers Can Exemplify Colleges’ Catholic Identity
5/6/2015
Every year, Catholic colleges are given a distinctive opportunity in commencement ceremonies to highlight their Catholic identities and missions by selecting commencement speakers who exemplify Christian ideals.

“Honoring faithful Catholic leaders at commencement is an excellent way to signal to graduates what matters most, namely, the importance of carrying the Catholic faith into lives of service to the Church, family and society at large,” said Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, which recognizes colleges for their strong Catholic values.

Commencement speakers and honorees who especially highlight a college’s Catholic identity include Church leaders and lay people who are successful in various careers while standing publicly in support of the Catholic faith. They stand in stark contrast to the scandalous commencement choices at eight Catholic colleges previously identified by The Cardinal Newman Society.


Scandalous Commencement Honors Announced at Eight Catholic Colleges
4/22/2015
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 that “[t]he Catholic community 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.


Prominent CEO Carolyn Woo Speaks Out for Faithful Catholic Education
4/1/2015
“When salt loses its flavor, what does it become?”

That’s the question that Dr. Carolyn Woo asks of Catholic colleges, echoing Christ’s warning to believers who allow their faith to become stale. Woo isn’t one of them. Recently, she has had all the zeal of an apostle for faithful Catholic education.

The accomplished educator and nonprofit leader took to the pages of America magazine a few weeks ago to urge the University of Notre Dame to retain its theology requirements for undergraduates, which may be threatened by proposals under consideration as part of the University’s 10-year curriculum review.

“To form leaders of faith, to be the places where the Church does her thinking, to fight against the caricature of God proposed by our secular culture, Catholic universities must offer more than ‘Theology Lite,’” Woo wrote. “In all the efforts to define learning goals for a Catholic university, how about ‘to know God’ as a starter?”


Small Number of Strong Catholic Colleges ‘Heartbreaking,’ Says Conservative Leader
3/31/2015
The fact that most Catholic colleges today still do not fully embrace their Catholic identity is “heartbreaking,” conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III observed in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College recommends just 20 U.S. colleges and another seven online and international programs that have a strong Catholic mission and adhere to Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican constitution on Catholic higher education.

“When you’ve got a nation of 60 million Catholics and less than two dozen true Catholic colleges and universities—I mean, the math doesn’t add up,” said Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center and a member of the Newman Society’s board of directors. “It just doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. So many are going in the wrong direction, but only a few are heading in the right direction.”


Newman Society Pledges to ‘Expose’ Colleges that Honor Marriage Opponents
3/12/2015
Corporations calling for the legal redefinition of marriage should be barred from receiving honors and awards at Catholic educational institutions, argued Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in a recent interview with Breitbart News.


Cardinal Newman Society Statement Opposing Honors and Platforms for Proponents of Legal Redefinition of Marriage
3/11/2015
On March 5, 2015, 379 corporations and business groups submitted an amicus brief, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare “marriage rights” for same-sex persons. Such a ruling conflicts directly with Catholic teaching and the position of the U.S. Catholic bishops.


Archbishop Criticizes Xavier Univ. (La.) for Choice of Commencement Honorees
3/5/2015
Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans recently expressed his disappointment in some of Xavier University of Louisiana’s honorary degree recipient selections for its 2015 commencement. Several of the University’s honoree choices support positions contrary to Catholic teaching.


St. Gregory’s Univ. Invites Former Catholic Charities President to Deliver Commencement
3/4/2015
Fr. Snyder's "extensive background in charitable work and leadership will serve as an inspiration to our graduates as they prepare to leave their own extraordinary marks throughout our community and the world," St. Gregory's President Dr. D. Gregory Main stated.


Catholic Elms College to Host Pro-Abortion Rights Congressman as Commencement Speaker
2/25/2015
The College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Mass., is set to host Congressman John Lewis of Georgia as the College’s 2015 commencement speaker, according to a news release, despite his voting record consistently in favor of legal abortion.


Notre Dame Trustees Elect Fr. Jenkins to Third Term as President despite Catholic Identity Concerns
2/5/2015
The University of Notre Dame recently announced that Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. has been elected by the Board of Trustees to serve a third five-year term as president of the University, despite the many instances of Catholic identity abuse that have occurred during his tenure.


Sen. Bob Casey Gives Graduation Speech for Notre Dame’s Catholic Education Program
7/14/2014
The Alliance for Catholic Education program hosted U.S. Senator Bob Casey to deliver the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony for master’s degree recipients this past weekend


Magdalen Grads Told at Commencement: We Need You to Be Saints
6/25/2014
“We need more bright, young minds to embrace the cross of self-giving —to choose the hard road of dying to self,” said Dan Burke, the executive director of EWTN’s National Catholic Register.


Dr. Jonathan Reyes to Thomas More College Grads: You Were Made to Share in Divinity
6/4/2014
Reyes, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, imparted three words—“Gift, Magnanimity, and Encounter”—to graduating students.


Trinity President Ironically Criticizes Commencement Season Controversies
6/3/2014
Patricia McGuire, who once accused those who protested President Obama’s commencement honor at Notre Dame of "religious vigilantism," is now calling for an end to the “bread-and-circuses spectacle” of celebrity commencement speakers.


Fr. Terence Henry: Christendom Grads Fight Culture of Death on ‘Front Lines’
5/28/2014
Fr. Henry was awarded the Pro Deo et Patria Medal at Christendom College’s commencement exercises for “outstanding service to God, the Church, and the country” and for living his “faith concretely in the public square.”


Seton Hall ‘Stood Firm’ after Faculty Resisted Pro-life Author’s Graduation Speech
5/28/2014
“As it happened, despite the preceding faculty machinations, the event itself went off beautifully and without incident,” Catholic author Mary Eberstadt told The Cardinal Newman Society.


Never Stop Studying Christ, Priest Tells Holy Apostles College Grads
5/27/2014
Fr. Mullady, who serves as an adjunct faculty member at Holy Apostles in Cromwell, Conn., told students to “strive for accuracy” in presenting the Faith to others.


Cardinal O’Brien Tells Thomas Aquinas College Grads: Witness to the Truth
5/23/2014
Cardinal O’Brien recently told graduating students of Thomas Aquinas College that they have been “formed for a mission: and that mission is nothing less than the rescue of the civilizational project of the West.”


George Weigel at University of Dallas: Take Up Task of Cultural Renewal
5/21/2014
“If the generation of which this Class of 2014 is a part is going to meet the challenge of giving America, and the West, a new birth of freedom, it will do so because it becomes a generation of saints...”


NFL Star Philip Rivers Tells Catholic University Grads to Never Give Up
5/21/2014
Addressing members of the class of 2014 from the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Rivers said that, “No matter where one is on his or her faith journey, it is fitting to say Nunc Coepi.”


Register Radio Zeros in on Good and Bad in Catholic Commencements
5/20/2014
“It seems that we are regressing,” lamented Jeanette De Melo. “We have twenty, what I would say ‘poor choices’ this year, as opposed to only six last year.”  


Newman Society President: Graduation Scandals Insult to Pope St. John Paul II
5/16/2014
The National Catholic Register recently featured insights from Society President Patrick J. Reilly on the selection of commencement speakers and honorees by Catholic colleges and universities.


Thomas More College Hosts Dr. Jonathan Reyes of USCCB at Commencement
5/15/2014
Dr. Jonathan Reyes, who is the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, will speak at the College's graduation on May 17.


Ave Maria Students Getting Married Share Family Values, President Says
5/12/2014
Ave Maria University in Florida boasts a record number of students who are engaged to be married in its graduating class of 2014.


Walsh Univ. Honors Member of USCCB Justice and Peace Committee at Graduation
5/9/2014
Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, honored its commencement speaker Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Catholic University of America politics professor, at graduation ceremonies on May 4.


DeSales Univ. to Honor ‘Highest-Ranking Laywoman in Roman Curia’ at Graduation
5/9/2014
Flaminia Giovanelli, who studied at the Vatican’s School of Library Science and the Pontifical Gregorian University, is fluent in Italian, French, Spanish, and English.


Helen Alvaré to Deliver Commencement Address at Benedictine College
5/8/2014
Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., announced that it will host Vatican consultor and George Mason University law school professor Helen Alvaré as its commencement speaker.


SPECIAL REPORT: A Decade after Bishops’ Policy, Catholic Commencement Scandals Make Sudden Return
5/7/2014
The Cardinal Newman Society has identified at least 20 Catholic colleges and universities that are hosting scandalous speakers and honorees at commencement ceremonies in 2014.


Aquinas College (Tenn.) Confers First Graduate Degrees
5/6/2014
Aquinas College will host Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., of the Sisters of Life as its commencement speaker and Bishop David Choby of Nashville will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass.


Some Seton Hall Faculty Oppose Catholic Author Mary Eberstadt as Graduation Speaker
5/6/2014
Mary Eberstadt is a Catholic author who has written extensively about the culture of life, the damage of contraception, and the need for families to focus on raising children.


University of Dallas Students Request Pope Francis as 2015 Commencement Speaker
5/5/2014
The initiative started out as a joke, but turned more serious when the students found out that the Pope would be visiting the United States in the summer of 2015.


Loyola New Orleans to Honor Pro-Abortion Rights Political Analyst at Graduation
4/30/2014
Pro-abortion rights former presidential advisor and CNN political analyst David Gergen will be honored during the University's commencement ceremony next month.


Boston College to Honor Pro-Abortion Rights Secretary of State John Kerry at Graduation
4/25/2014
John Kerry, a Boston College Law School graduate and former senior US senator from Massachusetts, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the University’s 138th annual commencement exercises.


Bishop Rhoades to Deliver Mount St. Mary’s University Commencement Address
4/23/2014
Bishop Rhoades, who served as a professor and then rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary from 1995-2004, will address the University’s graduating class of 2014 on May 11.


Loyola University of Maryland to Honor Pro-Abortion Rights Mark Shriver
4/23/2014
The University’s website also touts Shriver being senior vice president of U.S. Programs at Save the Children, a pro-contraceptive charity reportedly associated with Planned Parenthood.


Birth Control Advocate to Be Honored at St. John’s University Graduation
4/22/2014
St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., recently announced that Hugh Evans, the CEO of Global Poverty Project and a strong proponent of birth control as a means of erasing poverty, will be honored with a doctor of laws degree.


Jesuit USF Set to Honor Cosponsor of Freedom of Choice Act
4/21/2014
University of San Francisco announced that it will give an honorary degree at commencement to Norman Mineta, a past U.S. transportation secretary, congressman, and cosponsor of FOCA.


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