The following comes from an April 22 Cardinal Newman Society article by Kimberly Scharfenberger:
At least eight Catholic colleges have announced scandalous speakers or honorees at their 2015 commencement ceremonies, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of college graduations.
In 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a document requiring Catholic institutions to withhold honors and platforms from public opponents of Church teaching.
The Cardinal Newman Society has identified the following Catholic colleges that are acting in direct contradiction to their Catholic mission of education:
College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College) in Chicopee, Mass., will host Congressman John Lewis of Georgia as the College’s 2015 commencement speaker on May 16. As previously reported by the Newman Society, the College chose Lewis for his “personal and political focus on civil rights,” despite a consistent pro-abortion voting record.
Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y., will award an honorary doctorate and host Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York and former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul as commencement speaker at the College’s 2015 commencement ceremony on May 16. Hochul has publicly declared her support of abortion and has gained the full endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Loyola University New Orleans will honor former National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue with an honorary degree at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 9. Tagliabue has publicly advocated for same-sex marriage and given thousands of dollars to the cause.
Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., will award an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and host former Senator George Mitchell as commencement speaker on May 17, despite his legacy of pro-abortion support. Mitchell is infamously remembered as a sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have made abortion protection mandatory in state and federal laws.
Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Penn., will host Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as the undergraduate commencement speaker and present him with an honorary degree on May 16. Earlier this year, Nutter officiated a ceremony granting marriage rights at Philadelphia City Hall to a same-sex couple— Israeli diplomat Elad Strohmeyer and his partner. According to the Jewish Exponent, Strohmeyer called the mayor’s involvement a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and cited Nutter’s legacy of promoting “LGBT interests in Philadelphia.” In 2011, Nutter launched a campaign to provide free condoms to youth in Philadelphia. In May 2013, Nutter touted the fact that Philadelphia offers “safe” abortion services in the wake of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Saint Mary’s College of California will feature Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC show Hardball with Chris Matthews, at the College’s 2015 commencement ceremonies according to Inside Higher Ed. Matthews has publicly stated his support of abortion and his opposition to the Church’s teaching of life beginning at conception. As previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, Matthews once said about the Church’s stance on marriage, “If you’re really anti-gay, you become a Catholic now.”
Saint Peter’s University in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., has selected Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to serve as the commencement speaker for the University’s 2015 class and recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on May 18. The NAACP advocates for same-sex marriage, and although Brooks is also a minister in the African-American Episcopal Church, which has consistently voted against supporting same-sex marriage, Brooks has indicated that he would “defend” the NAACP’s position.
Xavier University of Louisiana will honor Mary Landrieu, Eric Holder, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson as commencement speakers, as well as award them with honorary degrees, on May 9. As previously reported by the Newman Society, the University’s commencement lineup has already come under fire from Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, who expressed that he was “disappointed” in the administration’s decision and warned that “some of those to be honored do not represent the values and teachings of the Catholic Church.”