After some Catholic college campuses hosted campaign events and appearances by pro-abortion political candidates recently, a coalition of Catholic organizations has released a statement urging all Catholic institutions to refuse to host politicians who oppose Church teaching on serious moral issues.
On February 13, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio hosted a rally for Senator Hillary Clinton over the objections of Archbishop Jose Gomez. St. Norbert College in Wisconsin hosted a similar rally. St. Peter’s College in New Jersey hosted a large rally for Barack Obama on January 9, as did Loras College in Iowa in March. Both candidates favor legalized abortion.
The statement calling for a boycott of politicians in conflict with the Church was organized by the Cardinal Newman Society, a group dedicated to the renewal and strengthening of Catholic identity in higher education. Signatories included the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Catholics United for the Faith, the Catholic Medical Association and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.
Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly summarized the need for the statement, saying, “Like any Catholic institution, a Catholic college or university has a distinct and unique responsibility to provide an environment that supports and upholds Catholic values.”
While praising Catholic institutions’ promotion of peace, charity, justice, individual rights and the common good, the statement criticizes some schools for excessively compromising with moral relativism and secularism.
“Too often, however, some Catholic institutions pursue a misguided engagement with public policy and politics that compromises and even undermines their Catholic mission,” the statement said. “Catholic institutions should engage the culture from a faithfully Catholic perspective, not a position of neutrality. Political engagement does not require partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates. But it also does not require secularization, by which Catholic institutions accept moral relativism and simply mirror secular culture.”
The statement exhorted Catholic colleges and universities to fidelity to Catholic teaching and respect for human life.
“We call on Catholic institutions to join us in finding opportunities—appropriate to the nature and mission of each institution—to engage in political and public policy dialogue by publicly proclaiming Catholic teaching, especially on issues related to human life and marriage,” the statement said.