An All-Purpose Commencement Address for Pro-Choice Speakers at Catholic Colleges

By John Zmirak Published on May 6, 2017

It’s commencement season. This is the time of year when students march forth toward their futures. When their young faces are full of hope. When Catholics look at our legacy of faith-based colleges. Then (mostly) we wince and look away. We are unequally yoked to millions of Mainline liberal Protestants with Italian and Irish surnames — some of them serving as bishops and cardinals. So we grin and bear it. We close our eyes, and think of Poland.

You could have gotten an interchangeable education on in-state tuition at Leviathan State University. Then you wouldn’t owe $40,000.

It’s worst for those taking part in commencements at secularized Catholic™ schools. Parents, students, you have my sympathy. But not much of it. Why did you pick that school in the first place? You could have gotten an interchangeable education on in-state tuition at Leviathan State University. Then you wouldn’t owe $40,000. But I digress….

The Mission of Catholic Education

Curious what the mission of Catholic education is? You can find it in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. It’s an eloquent, balanced, thoughtful document. St. John Paul II issued it back in 1990. It draws on the church’s 1000-year heritage of running universities. (The church itself invented them, back in the High Middle Ages.) It gives due weight to the life of the mind. To the duties of research. To the dignity of reason. But it emphasizes such colleges’ primary purpose: preaching the Gospel.

This document lays out binding rules for genuine Catholic colleges. It demands that theology teachers swear loyalty to doctrine and moral teachings.

How many of the 300-plus Catholic-branded colleges in America follow it? Maybe a dozen. Call them the faithful remnant. The most prominent is Catholic University, where hopeful things are happening.

Most of the rest of our colleges just follow… their bliss. Or the secular lemmings who are rushing off the cliff into ignorance and post-Christian bigotry. Congratulations, students and parents!

The Scandal of Pro-Choice Speakers

Nothing rubs our papist faces in the post-Christian poop quite like commencement season. That’s when:

  • The poorly formed students of Catholic™ universities and colleges, and
  • The administrators who shrugged as they turned out that way
  • Invite secular celebrities with anti-Catholic track records to
  • Collect honorary degrees and tell graduates how they can faithfully serve Mammon.

Catholic educational watchdog group the Cardinal Newman Society catalogued this year’s rogues’ gallery. Here are the highlights:

University of San Francisco

This Jesuit-run university will honor… the district attorney who’s trying to put pro-life journalist David Daleiden in prison. For exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby-parts trafficking. “Xavier Becerra, California’s pro-abortion attorney general, will deliver the School of Law commencement address at the University of San Francisco on May 20.”

“During his tenure as U.S. Congressman for the 30th District of California, Becerra earned a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL….”

Boston College

“Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, a Catholic who dissents on same-sex marriage, will speak at the commencement ceremony…. [A]lthough he has repeatedly proclaimed himself to be pro-life, Sen. Casey visited a Planned Parenthood in March and has voted against defunding the abortion provider.”

I am honored to be here. I never imagined back when I was working in the trenches to [legalize abortion / limit religious freedom / destroy marriage/ imprison Catholic journalists] that I would be here today addressing you. Go [mascots]!

College of Mount Saint Vincent

“Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, will receive an honorary doctorate and give the commencement address…. Vullo has worked to force insurance companies to provide free coverage for contraceptives and ‘medically necessary’ abortions….Vullo’s legal work has included fighting parental notification for minors seeking abortions.”

DePaul University

The law school of America’s largest Catholic™ university will honor attorney Paulette Brown. She used to run the American Bar Association. Brown pushed through “a rule tightening prohibitions against attorney ‘discrimination’ on the basis of ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation,’ which poses a serious threat to the religious freedom of Christian attorneys.”

How many of the 300-plus Catholic-branded colleges in America obey the Vatican? Maybe a dozen.

Loyola University Chicago

This school will honor “Mary Frances Berry, former chairwoman of the Commission on Civil Rights…. Berry has publicly advocated (see also here and here) the legalization of same-sex marriage.”

Regis University and the University of Notre Dame

Here’s a twofer. Two major Catholic universities will honor “Father Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries.” Fr. Boyle has “repudiated the Church’s teaching on gay marriage … and has ridiculed the Church’s bar to ordination of women.”

Villanova University

This school will honorMichael Bloomberg, three-term mayor of New York City…. Bloomberg is strongly pro-abortion and has been critical of pro-life Democrats, saying, ‘Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right, and we can never take it for granted…. On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.'”

Xavier University of Louisiana

“Xavier University of Louisiana will honor a public advocate of abortion, U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.”

An All Purpose Commencement Address

These speakers are busy. They have careers. They are busy promoting their own visions of social justice. So I’d like to save them some time. I’ve composed a cogent, brief, all-purpose address for them. They can adapt it as needed. But here’s the basic text:

Congratulations, graduates and parents of [Catholic™ university or college]. This is a proud day indeed for each one of you. I am honored to be here. I never imagined back when I was working in the trenches to [legalize abortion / limit religious freedom / destroy marriage/ imprison Catholic journalists] that I would be here today addressing you. Go [mascots]!

You have passed through four or five years of careful formation in the liberal arts, in the proud tradition of the [dying religious order that founded the college]. It has shaped you, as it shaped generations of [mascots] before you.

You absorbed the deep-seated traditions of social justice that infused [college name’s] proud Catholic tradition. Those who went before you include [four or five names of ex-Catholic alumni who became Democratic congressmen or senators]. I have faith that you will live up to their legacy. That you will make a difference. That the world will be a more [equal/just/tolerant — just pick one, it doesn’t matter] place for your having passed through it.

You go forth today not only to serve yourselves, but to serve a higher mission. It’s the mission that drove the members of [dying religious order that was founded by ascetic saints for intensely theological reasons].

They wanted to transform the world. To build the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, through human means. To humanize society, technology, the economy, even the Gospel.

And to extinguish [intolerance/inequality/oppression, whatever] and build a new world. Together. As a community. As a generation of caring, sharing, concerned adults, whatever our race or gender[s], economic or migrant status, ability or disability. Whatever our gifts and talents. They all come from the same God, who loves us all equally, in Her wisdom, exactly as we are. We are all her precious children.

But today, just for today, we are all also [mascots].

That should do.

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  • Timothy Horton

    Yes, it’s just terrible so many educated and intelligent leaders stand up for the right of women to choose what happens to their own bodies over the pearl-clutching Fundies who demand they get to force their religious will on women. Just terrible.

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      So, does this lack of objectivity come naturally ? Was there some some self serving religious zealot that traumatized you when just a child ? Perhaps your a hireling trolling this site for fiscal considerations. What is it that causes you to discount the One who knows your future better than you know your past, like a stained undergarment at a church rummage sale ? Though perhaps your just building up your credentials for next years commencement’s at the aforementioned institutions of questionable higher learning … ?!

      • Timothy Horton

        Though perhaps your just building up your credentials

        That’s you’re.

        The quote from Pastor Ray Mummert concerning the religious right summed it up wonderfully:

        “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture”

        • Howard Rosenbaum

          Yeah, I was correcting that monumental lack of intelligence, education & culture as you were replying.

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! Of course you were. 🙂

          • GPS Daddy

            Have you noticed the pattern that Timothy uses? He rarely engages someone’s argument. He picks a phrase out and then exploits that and, at times, will twist what someone means by it.

            He then uses insults to try and make people angry. I think you might be onto something with the paid suggestion. He seems to have LOTS of time to spend here. And his purpose here seems to be to attempt to demoralize, confuse, and to stop others from commenting.

          • Timothy Horton

            I try talking science with you but you’re too scientifically ignorant to carry on a discussion. All you do is throw out sound bites (and whine) so you get the response your puerile efforts deserve.

          • ImaginaryDomain

            Which is why I suggested several weeks ago to block and ignore him. Look at how far off topic this guy pulls everyone!

          • GPS Daddy

            I engage him to sharpen myself. Nothing like a critic to drive out faulty arguments. But also to learn to stand on good arguments and not be dissuaded from them. What Timothy does not realize is that his persistence is helping to train me to turn others to the light. He may never respond but I can learn to adjust my own efforts that will have fruit in the future with others.

      • Patmos

        How dare you ask Timothy Horton to self reflect! Don’t you know a random chance mutation need not engage in such silliness?!

    • Jennifer Hartline

      Timothy Horton, tell me… the girl in the womb, where is her choice over what happens to her body? That tired old “my body, my choice” argument is horsepucky. It’s not the woman’s body being destroyed in an abortion. It’s the body and life of another human being who is given no choice. No consideration at all. No recognition of humanity at all. So spare me the women’s rights nonsense.
      The child in the womb is a human person who has every right to live, just as you and I do.

      • Timothy Horton

        There isn’t a girl in a womb or a child in a womb. There is a fetus in the womb with the potential to grow into a child but that is not the same thing.

        Answer me this – in our society today a hospitalized person on life support is declared legally dead when there is zero brain activity. It’s not based on breathing, or heart beating. No brain function = legally dead.

        In a human fetus brain activity doesn’t start until the 3rd trimester, around the 26th-27th week. Before that, nothing. Flat line. Why should we have two different standards, one for people and one for a non-sentient fetus?

        • Jennifer Hartline

          You also have the potential to grow. In fact, you’ve been growing in size and intellectual ability since you were born. Are you more human now than when you were five years old? Were you more human at age 5 than the day you were born? Humanity does not depend on size, ability, intelligence, physical development, etc. I’ve given birth four times, Timothy. At no time in any of my pregnancies was I ever carrying a seahorse, or a cucumber, or a cat. Always a new human being. Always a child.

          Your brain wave data is totally false. It’s also irrelevant. The person in the hospital with no brain activity is still a human being. The child in the womb is still a human being.

          • Timothy Horton

            Your brain wave data is totally false.

            It’s completely true. You can look it up online easily enough.

            The person in the hospital with no brain activity is still a human being.

            A dead human being with no legal standings.

            The child in the womb is still a human being.

            A fetus, not a child, is a potential human being with no legal standings.

          • Jennifer Hartline

            Your data on the developing child’s brain is totally false. I have looked into it. You are wrong. It is also, still, irrelevant to humanity.

            So your criteria is legal standing? You determine humanity based on legal standing? Be careful. Someday, someone could very easily decide you are no longer human because they have decided not to afford you any legal standing.
            The only reason the child in the womb has no legal standing is because we have denied such standing. That has absolutely no effect on the child’s humanity. The fetus is a child. You can play your semantic games all you want, but the child in the womb is a human being with the inviolable right to life. Period.

          • Jim Walker

            This guy needs prayers,not debate.

          • RebelwithaCause

            Oxford English dictionary definition of fetus/foetus: An unborn or unhatched offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human more than eight weeks after conception.

            Oxford English dictionary definition of child: A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.

            A human in the womb who meets the definition of foetus also meets the definition of child, so it perfectly acceptable to describe the foetus as a child.

            It is irrational to deny that the foetus in not human as this contradicts the meaning of the word.

          • Philosophically, what you say is just crap. You know quite well that the offspring of a species is a member of that same species. Offspring of human beings are themselves human beings, and the only logical point in time when a human being starts to be is the moment of conception. “Legal standing” has nothing to do with the fundamental question when a new individual comes into being. In the Roman Empire even a born child had no legal standing and could be killed by its parents for whatever reason. I guess even you would not deny a three year old child to be part of the human species.

            If your line of thought is followed consistently, then no one is a human being except according to legal criteria, and these criteria are what lawmakers arbitrarily decide. So if there were a law that offspring from Jews are not human beings, this would be OK with you?

          • Patmos

            “You also have the potential to grow.”

            Once he overcomes his stubborn bitter arrogance of course.

        • Patmos

          “There is a fetus in the womb with the potential to grow into a child but that is not the same thing.”

          You actually fell for the “fetus” propaganda. No big surprise I guess.

          (Hint: They didn’t always call it a “fetus” and only changed it from “baby” to “fetus” to dehumanize it and make it more acceptable to suckers like you)

        • LgVt

          Wow. So many fallacies in such a short post.

          “There isn’t a … child in the womb. There is a fetus in the womb”: Failure to recognize that “fetus” is nothing more than a description of a stage of development–i.e., age. You could replace “child” with “infant,” “toddler,” “adolescent,” or “septuagenarian” and the above would be no less true.

          “There isn’t a girl in a womb … There is a fetus in the womb”: Failure to recognize that biological sex is determined by the prenatal human’s DNA, and is locked into place very early on. Roughly half of all fetuses are, in fact, girls.

          “[i]n our society today a hospitalized person on life support is declared legally dead when there is zero brain activity”: Failure to include a critical element–the legal definition of brain death is the irreversible cessation of such activity. Do I really need to explain why that does not apply prenatally?

          Congratulations, Mr. Horton. You flunk Biology 101 twice over, and your law professor would like to see you after class as well.

          • Timothy Horton

            Congratulations, Mr. Horton. You flunk Biology 101 twice over,

            You’re the moron who though two virgin gays having sex caused STDs to occur. You really shouldn’t embarrass yourself by talking about biology.

          • LgVt

            1. “You’re a moron” does not answer any of the three blunders I pointed out.

            2. Trying to cast me as an unreliable authority does very little when the people watching this thread don’t have to rely on me–when it comes to just what the term “fetus” means and the genetic implications of chromosomes, a high school textbook will give you the same answers I did.

            3. If you really want to bring up the gay STD argument again, you’re the genius who insisted on ignoring the fact that for certain acts (which I apparently cannot get into further detail on without tripping the Stream’s comment filter) condoms are needed by everyone, gay or straight, because those acts are inherently unsafe–and that for gay couples, those acts are the only options they have.

            Your response, which I allowed to end our conversation in that thread, was to ignore the health warnings that have been trumpeted far and wide the past few decades, and instead mockingly ask whether God did it.

            I realize that arguing in bad faith is your SOP, Mr. Horton. Even so, your performance here is pathetic.

          • Timothy Horton

            You’re a moron” does not answer any of the three blunders I pointed out.

            The only blunders made are by you. Like that stupid claim two virgin gays having sex causes STDs to occur. I see you’re going to double down on that bit of stupidity. You have hereby disqualified yourself from any scientific discussions on the topic.

  • Jennifer Hartline

    Bravo, John. I know there is no weeping in Heaven, but poor St. Ignatius certainly has the right.

  • ImaginaryDomain

    The CC(TM) has so lost it’s way.

  • RebelwithaCause

    Be grateful for what you have, because at least you do have some Catholic schools and university in the USA that still do provide a Catholic education. Here in Britain I don’t know of any. There are a lot of schools run by the Catholic Church and religious orders but they gave up teaching the Christian worldview decades ago and instead propagate the progressive materialist worldview with a nod to Christianity as some sort of feel good blanket that you can wrap around yourself when materialism is not making you happy.

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