Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff announced the establishment of the Robert F. Drinan, SJ, Chair in Human Rights at a formal ceremony Oct. 23; Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh gave the keynote address.
"Few have accomplished as much as Fr. Drinan, and fewer still have done so much to make the world a better place," Aleinikoff reportedly said. "This new Chair honors Fr. Drinan's lifelong commitment to public service and will allow us to bring distinguished human rights scholars and advocates to Georgetown Law.”
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, has called the naming of the new Chair “deeply disturbing” and “hypocritical.” The university has established a human rights chair “in the name of a heretical priest who has spent much of his lifetime advocating for the most heinous of human rights violations: abortion,” he said in a statement.
Fr. Drinan has been a strong supporter of abortion rights, during his time in public office and afterwards as well, stating that while he was personally opposed to abortion, its legality was a separate issue from its morality.
Fr. Drinan joined the Jesuit Order in 1942 and was ordained in 1953. He was admitted to the bar in 1956 and served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts for five terms (1971-1981). Fr. Drinan left his congressional seat in 1981, when Pope John Paul II declared that no priest should hold an elected political seat. Fr. Euteneuer said Drinan was, “ordered by Pope John Paul II to relinquish his seat in the U.S. Congress because of the unrepentant aid and comfort he consistently gave to the purveyors of the culture of death.” Since 1981, Drinan has been a professor at Georgetown Law.
He is one of the founders of the Lawyers’ Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control and the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry. He is also the vice-chair of the National Advisory Council of the ACLU and a member of the Helsinki Watch Committee.
However, many say the priest’s human rights work is all for not, due to his work against the fundamental right to life. Euteneuer cited Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Christifideles Laici, in which he says: “The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights—for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory, if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” (n.38).
Euteneuer said he prays that Georgetown will reflect upon John Paul’s words “and come to the obvious conclusion that they must rescind this award and fully embrace their Catholic heritage by defending the most vulnerable members of our society, the unborn.”
.- Georgetown University Law Center has named a human rights chair for a controversial priest who has been actively supportive of abortion during and after his time as a U.S. Congressman.