Tuesday, May 31, 2016

About  Contact  Join  Donate

Catholic Education Daily


Catholic Commencement Scandals

As commencement season rolls on, there appear to be fewer scandals than in past years with Catholic colleges giving places of honor or inviting speakers who oppose Catholic teaching. Still, The Cardinal Newman Society has identified a handful of speakers of concern. They include:

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law has chosen political activist Debbie Dingell as its Friday, May 10 commencement speaker. Dingell, wife of U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.) has publicly supported Planned Parenthood. In March 2011, Dingell spoke at a Planned Parenthood rally opposing proposed Congressional cuts for the organization’s services.

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions is honoring lesbian San Francisco director of San Francisco Department of Health Barbara Garcia as its Friday, May 17 commencement speaker. Garcia oversaw the implementation of taxpayer funding for sex-change operations.

Santa Clara University will honor former U.S. Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta as its commencement speaker on June 15. A graduate of Santa Clara, Panetta had a strong pro-abortion voting record while he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a co-sponsor of the federal Freedom of Choice Act, and as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, defended Clinton’s veto of a bill that would have banned partial birth abortion. Santa Clara University will be presenting both Panetta and his wife with honorary degrees.

Previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, Boston College is awarding an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who will deliver the College’s commencement address on May 20.

Kenny has supported “Protection of Maternal Health” legislation to loosen abortion restrictions in Ireland, legislation that Ireland’s bishops have condemned and described as “morally unacceptable.”

“It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person,” the Irish bishops wrote.

In addition, St. Mary’s College of California is featuring its 7th annual Lavender Grad Celebration in De La Salle Hall’s Hagerty Lounge on Thursday, May 16 for what it describes as the College’s LGBTQIA community.

"The American bishops have clearly opposed Catholic honors for pro-abortion politicians in their 2004 statement 'Catholics in Political Life' and their very public criticism of Notre Dame's honors to President Barack Obama in 2009," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. 

Cardinal Francis George explained to the National Catholic Register in 1999 that such speakers are inappropriate at any Catholic college.

“Commencement speakers with pro-choice views are totally inappropriate at any college or university that claims to be Catholic, or to function in the Catholic tradition,” said Cardinal George.

“Inviting someone as a commencement speaker is a clear sign of approval. Abortion is literally a life or death issue, so to honor someone who supports it risks compromising that institution's public witness to the Gospel.”

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.


Renewal Report


Latest Featured

Catholic Is Our Core


More News Categories




Join Us

Join thousands of Catholic families and individuals standing with The Cardinal Newman Society for faithful Catholic education. Members receive news roundups by email, about weekly.

Start your no-cost membership now!



Our work is possible only through the generosity of countless supporters who share our mission. We have promoted and defended faithful Catholic education for 20 years! Please support our successful work by making a donation today.


Stay Connected

Keep up with the latest developments by joining our social media networks:



Google Plus


Connect on Facebook


Links to News Sites


Links to Blog Sites

Catholic Identity Concerns|Faith in Education|From the Bishops and Vatican|Religious Freedom | Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement
Copyright 2016 by Cardinal Newman Society -- 9720 Capital Ct., Ste. 201, Manassas, VA 20110