At Some Catholic Universities, Education is Costly and Human Life is Cheap

(photo: By Know1one1, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Former president Bill Clinton will address the graduating class at Loyola Marymount University next month. The president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, Cecile Richards, will give a speech at Georgetown University this week. The University of Notre Dame welcomed former Texas state senator Wendy Davis to campus recently, and the school will bestow a prestigious honor, the Laetare Medal, on Vice President Joe Biden in May. These schools share three things in common: they are all Catholic universities, they are all providing a platform for speakers who are in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on the value of human life, and they are all extraordinarily expensive, with tuition well over $40,000 excluding room and board and other fees. 

Families sending their kids to these supposedly Catholic schools are on the losing end of this investment. 

Georgetown University was asked about their invitation to Ms. Richards and said that their campus allows a “free exchange of ideas.”

It was a lame answer considering that no exchange will even take place as they invited just Ms. Richards and no one to counter her presentation.  

College campuses are indeed supposed to be beacons of free exchange of ideas and debates. Students are encouraged to delve into various areas of study and emerge on graduation day ready to contribute to society and make a positive difference in the world, equipped with all their newfound knowledge and experience. 

Yet the Catholic university experience is supposed to be different. Students that attend these (expensive) schools of higher education choose the Catholic experience, one that is meant to develop a theological foundation of Catholic doctrine, one that intensifies the study of philosophy and theology and history of the Catholic Church. The student that graduates from a Catholic university is supposed to be well-developed to not only promote the faith, but defend the faith. 

When so-called Catholic schools invite speakers that are opposed to Catholic doctrine to campus or give them prestigious awards, it sends a clear endorsement to students. Think of it another way, would these Catholic campuses invite or give an award to a dictator who had ordered the execution of hundreds of thousands of his or her countrymen? 

No. Even if that dictator had done some really great things in eradicating poverty in his or her nation, an invitation still would not be sent. Why? Because the “good” this dictator had done would not outweigh the evilness of his actions.

It’s because we don’t see the 3,000 abortions that take place every single day that those who advocate and commit abortions are still being invited to speak and be honored at Catholic universities.  

This is a huge disappointment.

Are there not enough well-known pro-life leaders or academics that can speak to Catholic students in a way that encourages their faith and helps them to speak intelligently and compassionately about abortion and truly helping women in crisis? 

Perhaps the greater worry is that these Catholic schools are so desperate for approval from the secular world that they have deemed it appropriate – and necessary – to sell out their Catholic identities for acceptance from a world that Jesus Christ Himself proclaimed “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own” (Jn 15:18-19). 

Catholic universities, because many are choosing to “belong to the world,” are graduating students that don’t have the first clue about why the Church teaches that abortion is a grave evil. They have no idea about the vast theological and philosophical reasons behind the Catholic doctrine on life.

But I would bet my savings account that they could probably talk about how Planned Parenthood only commits a “small” number of abortions or that it’s not a huge deal if a politician is Catholic but not pro-life. This is a tragedy, and it’s happening at Catholic universities all across the country. 

So what’s the point of the financial investment of parents and donors to these Catholic colleges? A student should just go to a less expensive state school or a secular, private school. 

Students can get the other side of an issue anywhere, by talking to their friends or doing a Google search. There is no reason why one of the most well-known Catholic schools in the nation has to invite the president of Planned Parenthood, an organization that was caught in undercover videos discussing the harvesting and sale of the body parts of aborted babies, to speak in a friendly environment to the next generation of leaders of this nation. 

The Georgetown Students for Life group on campus is bringing former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson to speak to the students the same day as Ms. Richards. They are doing what the school should have done in the first place. 

Catholic schools need to stand for something and proudly set themselves apart from their secular counterparts just as we teach our Catholic young people to do. Our nation needs leaders that can articulate a compassionate respect all life, even the most innocent among us, and that should be their call.

And since Georgetown is all about the “free exchange of ideas,” it’s only fair that they should show a short first-trimester abortion video before Ms. Richards speaks this week. Let those in the audience see what happens during a real abortion, listen to her presentation, then make up their own minds. That will be truly be a free exchange of ideas.