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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