Les FemmesMarymount University to honor pro-abortion Colin Powell

By Rev. John Doe

Pro-abortion former Secretary of State General Colin Powell is scheduled to be a featured speaker and receive an honorary degree at graduation ceremonies of Marymount University in May, according to the Arlington Catholic Herald of March 2.

The announcement from Marymount, based in Arlington and still referring to itself as a Catholic University, is both outrageous and ironic. Outrageous because it contradicts the presumed mission of the school; moreover, it runs against a hopeful recent trend which has seen some university presidents and even a few bishops speak out on this facet of the pro-life struggle: refusing to give a platform to abortion supporters regardless of what other topic they might plan to address. It is ironic, even laughable in a bitter sort of way, that Marymount cites Powell’s “dedication to youth” – “youth” in this context not taken to include the unborn, not including the frightened pregnant teenager, and not including “sexually active” young people for whom Powell encourages condom use.

While deplorable, Marymount’s action proposed here is not too surprising. In an apparent effort to corral “big name” speakers, even the pro-abortion Congressman James Moran, among others, has been featured in the past.

There are two questions here: 1) Would Marymount be acting pursuant to its mission, and pursuant to the urgings of Vatican II to impact and renew the culture, if it proceeds to “inspire the students,” as a spokeswoman puts it, by honoring a public figure who endorses the “abomin-able crime” (Gaudium et Spes 51) of abortion? The answer is clearly negative. 2) Will the bishop of Arlington, entrusted with the care of all Christ’s faithful in the diocese (who prides himself on his proactive style) act? The answer to that question remains to be heard.

There is recent precedent for the withdrawal of an announced commencement speaker: In 2005, Bishop Moynihan of Syracuse spoke up with respect to the plan of St. Elizabeth College of Nursing to feature pro-abortion Congressman Sherwood Boehlert. Boehlert did not appear. The ball is now in Bishop Paul Loverde’s court.

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