Category Archives: Abortion

Providence College Political Science Department Hosting Pro-Abortion Senator for Lecture

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Providence College’s political science department says that it’s “proud” to host pro-abortion Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for a lecture. The college’s campus calendar shows the lecture as taking place on Friday, February 15, though a note on the calendar also lists the date of Friday, February 22. Senator Whitehouse is scheduled to give a lecture between 6-8 p.m. in the Smith Center Concert Hall, with a reception prior to the lecture.

“I am pro-choice,” Whitehouse said during the 2006 Rhode Island Senate debate. “I firmly believe that family planning decisions should be private, and that there’s no role for government intrusion in those decisions. Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land by almost any legal standard.”

It’s not the senator’s first visit to the Catholic college. On October 8, 2008, the senator was on campus to speak about his experiences as a freshman senator, the economy, the environment, and the significance of the youth vote in the  election.

Whitehouse has a solid pro-abortion voting record. He has frequently voted against legislation supported by National Right to Life, and has repeatedly earned a 0% rating from National Right to Life.

He has voted against cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, voted against a budget bill that would have cut funding for contraception, voted against overturning the pro-life “Mexico City Policy,” voted against banning funding of organizations that support coercive abortion programs, and voted in favor of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed Whitehouse. NARAL gave Whitehouse a 100-percent score in its 2011 Congressional Record on Choice.

U.S. Bishops to Administration: HHS Proposal Falls Short

While the U.S. Bishops acknowledge that the Administration’s proposed Health and Human Services’ rule demonstrates some movement, they officially said that the “accommodation” falls short of addressing their concerns, a statement released today said.

“Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in the statement. “Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all. At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

Cardinal Dolan listed three key areas of concern: the narrow understanding of a religious ministry; compelling church ministries to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching; and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. These are the same concerns articulated by the USCCB Administrative Committee in its March 2012 statement, United for Religious Freedom.

Cardinal Dolan said the new proposal seemed to address one part of the church’s concern over the definition of a church ministry but stressed that “the Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries.”

“It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities,” said Cardinal Dolan. “HHS offers what it calls an ‘accommodation’ rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”

Cardinal Dolan also highlighted problems with the proposed “accommodation.”

“It appears that the government would require all employees in our ‘accommodated’ ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy,” he said.

He also noted that “because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies. Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities.”

Cardinal Dolan also said the proposal refuses to acknowledge conscience rights of business owners who operate their businesses according to their faith and moral values.

“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

Pro-Abortion Television Host Speaks at Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is highlighting Black History Month with a keynote address by pro-abortion journalist and MSNBC TV host Touré Neblett this evening, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Carlo Auditorium of Tegeler Hall. Neblett will speak on “How Racism Functions Today and Ways to Deal with it to Get Success.”

“Without question, one of Saint Louis University’s greatest strengths is our diversity,” said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. “Here at SLU, people of diverse beliefs, diverse backgrounds and diverse faiths come together to learn, to live and to lead.”

On January 25, 2013, Neblett, described on the MSNBC program The Cycle, how he and his girlfriend had an abortion, saying that the “choice saved my life.” He further went on to thank God for abortion.

“I cannot imagine arguing against a woman’s right to control her own body, and thus her life,” said Neblett.

Prior to the election, Neblett tweeted: “Girls, get your abortions NOW in case the Republicans win.”

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Neblett hosts Fuse’s Hiphop Shop and On the Record. He is the author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to be Black Now, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Non-Fiction. He is a regular contributor to MSNBC’s the Dylan Ratigan Show, the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and NewsNation with Tamron Hall.

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life Holds Largest Gathering

Connie Marshner, chairman of the Cardinal Newman Society, reports that with 695 registrants, the 14th annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life held its largest conference to date. The conference took place on Jan. 26, the day after the Washington, D.C. March for Life. The gathering, which was held at Georgetown University, is the nation’s largest student-run pro-life conference.

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré, an associate professor of law at George Mason University spoke on authentic sexuality and encouraged participants to embrace the culture of life. She contrasted the individualism of the sexual revolution with a pro-life ethic rooted in “the whole social-justice tradition based on living out our communal being.”

The conference was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus’ Georgetown University Council 6375, Georgetown University Right to Life and Georgetown University Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

In addition, at least 20 different pro-life organizations were on-hand to educate participants on ways they can be engaged in the life issues. Participating organizations included, among others: the Knights of Columbus, Crossroads, World Youth Alliance, the Catholic Medical Association, Feminists for Life, Defend Life, Generation Life, and the Institute for Psychological Studies.

Al Gore to Speak at Dominican University

Former Vice President Al Gore, an abortion rights and homosexual “marriage” advocate will speak at Dominican University on February 13 as part of the University’s 2013 Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) Spring Leadership Lecture Series.

Gore, chairman of The Climate Reality Project, the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, and co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize is a radical and outspoken abortion right supporter. In fact, in his run for President of the United States in 1999 Gore reportedly said, “I will always, always defend a woman’s right to choose. Every time Congress has tried to play politics with that fundamental personal right — imposing gag rules, and attaching anti-choice language to any bill they can think of — we have stood up to them and stopped them. If they try it again, we’ll stop them again. And if they try it after the year 2000, with your help, I’ll stop them. That hard-won right will be safe with me as your President.”

In 2008, Gore endorsed homosexual “marriage,” saying, “Shouldn’t we be promoting faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner regardless of sexual orientation?”

The speaker series is sponsored by the Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies as part of its Leadership Lecture Series. Past lecturers include Nancy Pelosi, MSNBC host Chris Matthews, and Caroline Kennedy.

More Than Half a Million March for Life

While official figures haven’t yet been released, organizers estimate that between 500,000 and 600,000 people participated in the Jan. 25 March for Life in Washington, D.C., and more than 50,000 participated in the Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 26. Participation by elementary, high school, and college students was high, particularly from Catholic schools. Students from the University of Notre Dame led the March for Life. Students from Thomas Aquinas College had leadership roles in the Walk for Life West Coast.

University of Notre Dame students were invited to carry the lead banner at the March for Life. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cassens of the St. Blogustine blog) http://stblogustine.blogspot.com/2013/01/40th-annual-march-for-life-pictures-and.html

University of Notre Dame students were invited to carry the lead banner at the March for Life. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cassens of the St. Blogustine blog) http://stblogustine.blogspot.com/2013/01/40th-annual-march-for-life-pictures-and.html

Jan Fox from Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, PA – a school recognized as a Catholic Honor Roll school – accompanied 37 students to the March. She said she has participated in nearly every March since attending one as an eighth grade student in 1998.

“As a committed Catholic, we should always be optimistic,” Fox told the Washington Post, expressing her hope that abortion will be banned again. “Things can change.”

Mount St. Mary’s University brought more than 280 people on five buses. That number included at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Students and seminarians from Mount St. Mary's aboard the bus on their way to the March for Life.

Students and seminarians from Mount St. Mary’s University aboard the bus on their way to the March for Life.

Students from the Mount participated in a Vigil for Life evening retreat before boarding the buses to participate in the March for Life.

“The Vigil preps you for what you are about to face the following morning,” said junior Carolyn Shields. “You’re surrounded with your generation…You start the morning with Mass in the Basilica and you bus off to speak for those that couldn’t. One third of my generation is missing.”

More than half of the student body from the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, NH traveled 10 hours to take part in the March. It’s one of many ways that Magdalen students support the culture of life. Students have participated in HHS mandate protests, and senior Ava Voisseum, president of Spes Vitae – the college’s pro-life club – addressed the entire Magdalen community on the culture of life.

Students from The College of Saint Mary Magdalen participate in the March for Life.

Students from The College of Saint Mary Magdalen participate in the March for Life.

Christendom College sent its entire student body – some 400 students, faculty, and staff to the March. Students were excited to be a part of the annual demonstration.

“The March is so invigorating because it is a chance to renew our commitment to life with each other and with God,” said senior Stephen Wood. “And there is no better way of living out this commitment than by walking in a spirit of prayer and penitence through the streets of our nation’s capital.”

The College has historically cancelled classes for the day of the March so that the entire school can attend. The student body began the day with morning Mass at Christendom’s Christ the King chapel, then boarded the buses for the drive to Washington. Along the way, students prayed a Rosary for the intentions of the pro-life movement and for an end to abortion.

“Whether it’s your first time to the March or your tenth, it never gets old,” said sophomore Emily Bot, who has attended the March many times. “Being surrounded by thousands of other pro-lifers is an amazing feeling—knowing that we are not alone in the fight—it’s a great experience!”

Students returned from the March with a renewed purpose to continue in the pro-life work that they are active in year-round. Some of these pro-life activities include Students for Life, a club that focuses on supporting the pro-life cause through activism, and Shield of Roses, a student group that prays every Saturday morning in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in D.C. Students also volunteer their time and talent at the crisis pregnancy center in Front Royal.

In San Francisco, the day after Washington, D.C.’s March for Life, more than 50,000 people participated in the ninth annual Walk for Life West Coast rally.

Among them was Thomas Aquinas College senior Michael Masteller. He wrote about his participation in the Walk for Life at Zenit. He remarked about a protestor’s sign that struck him.

“There was one protestor’s banner that stuck out from all the rest.  On it was written: ‘This walk hates women!’  Naturally, my first response was to think: ‘That’s a lie! Clearly we treat women better than you do.’  Just then, though, the words of Fr. Illo and Archbishop Cordileone appeared in my mind.  I knew that even though we might not commit abortions, we are not totally innocent of dishonoring women—we too are guilty and stand in need of conversion.  Even if we might not be guilty of committing this sin of abortion, how many of us have neglected to defend women from being dishonored?  For myself, I knew that I could be doing a better job at this, for it is usually through a lack of loving on my part that others are not brought to see the Truth.”

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano delivered a special message to the Walk for Life participants from Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope’s message also went out via Twitter.

“I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life,” said the Pope’s tweet.

“His Holiness is grateful to all those who take part in this outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right to life and to the moral imperative of upholding the inviolable dignity of each member of our human family, especially the smallest and the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters,” Archbishop Vigano told those gathered.

“You are a powerful witness that God’s truth cannot be silenced,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who blessed participants to begin the event. “Yes, we are here to stay because life is good and life is holy.”

Vita Institute Extends Application Deadline

The Vita Institute – a scholarship funded opportunity for participants to learn about the fundamentals of human life issues at the highest academic level – has extended its application deadline until March 1, 2013.

Held on the University of Notre Dame campus, Vita participants receive instruction by and engagement with premier faculty, discussion with fellow Vita Institute participants, and introduction to community outreach programs. Instruction is provided on life issues from the perspectives of biology, philosophy, theology, law, psychology, and the social sciences. The annual Institute is being held June 9-21, 2013. The Institute is funded by the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life and Project Guadalupe.

Applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and applications are welcome from those of any age or level of professional development who are passionately committed to the protection of human life, particularly in its earliest stages. A distinctly Catholic educational program, the Vita Institute welcomes participants of all faith traditions.

Applicants are competing for a limited number of seats. The inaugural 2011 Institute had 28 participants. The 2011 Vita Institute faculty included Charles Rice, David Solomon, Maureen Condic, William McGurn, Elizabeth Kirk, Charles Kenny, Fr. Kevin Flannery, and Fr. Michael Sherwin, among others. Jeanne Monahan, the new president of the March for Life, is a 2012 alumna of the Institute.

Those interested in submitting an application and the necessary letters of recommendation have until March 1, and can find the application here. As part of the Institute, participants are provided: a full tuition waiver, private lodging, specified meals, and curricular materials. Participants are responsible for travel to and from the Institute.

Students for Life of America National Conference Expects 2,000 Attendees

The Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life isn’t the only pro-life conference taking place in the D.C. area in the days surrounding the March for Life. The Students for Life of America National Conference expects more than 2,000 pro-life student activists at their conference at the North Bethesda Marriott, which is also being held on Saturday, January 26. Registration for the conference, which is co-sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom, sold out in mid-November. Students from several Catholic colleges and universities are attending.

The SFLA National Conference is a one day event that provides education, training and opportunities to network with fellow students and national pro-life leaders. Speakers are addressing topics from bio-ethics to Theology of the Body. Father Frank Pavone is delivering the keynote and receiving the “Defender of Life Award.”

 

“With all the focus on Roe at 40 by a biased media, it is more important than ever that we get our message out,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Social media provides an alternative to ensure our voices are not silenced.”

To that end, SFLA has compiled an article that provides youth with resources for getting the pro-life message out using social media.

Those unable to attend the conference can still participate by watching the live webcast of the morning and evening general conference sessions at SFLALive.org. The speaker lineup is as follows:

Morning General Session

9:30am        Welcome
–  Rev. Pat Mahoney, Christian Defense Coalition

9:40am         “Courageous”
– Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life

10:00am         “Talking About those Other Issues”
-Jennifer Lahl, The Center for Bioethics and Culture
-Kevin Bagatta, Love Facts Speaker

10:20am         “Knowing Your Rights on Campus”
-Kevin Theriot, Alliance Defending Freedom

10:40am         “Learn How to Defend Your Beliefs”
– Scott Klusendorf, Life Training Institute

11:40am         “Courageously Facing Adversity”
-Star Parker

12:00pm         Announcements
– Rev. Pat Mahoney, Christian Defense Coalition

Evening General Session

6:15pm        Welcome
-Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life

6:20pm        National Students for Life of America Student Awards
-Brendan O’Morchoe, Students for Life

6:45pm     “Everyday Heroes of the Pro-Life Movement”
-Kristan Hawkins

7:00pm        Defender of Life Award Presentation

7:15pm        Defender of Life Keynote
-Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
7:45pm        Closing Announcements
-Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life

8:00pm – 8:30 pm
-Jason Jones, Movie to Movement
-Tyler & Catelynn, from MTV’s “16 and Pregnant”

-Music provided by: Revely

Georgetown Hosts 14th Annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life

The day after the March for Life, Saturday, January 26, Georgetown University’s Right to Life student group, along with with Knights of Columbus Georgetown University College Council, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, and University Faculty for Life  are sponsoring the 14th Annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life, the nation’s largest student-run pro-life conference. The students are bringing together several well-known leaders in the pro-life movement to speak.

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Among the speakers is Steven Mosher, president of the Front Royal, Va.-based Population Research Institute. Mosher will be speaking on “The Myth that Kills: Overpopulation as an Excuse for Genocide.”

“If people see their children as a burden on society and the environment, what motivation is there to keep them?” asks a PRI press release. “This myth has infiltrated all aspects of our lives and must be exposed and debunked in order for children to be seen as not only good, but beneficial to society.”

Last week, Mosher spoke at The Catholic University of America on “The Winter of Western Civilization.”

“Europe, the historic fountainhead of Christianity, is dying a slow death through depopulation,” says Mosher. “What does demography have to say about the future of Christianity?”

Other speakers at the conference will include Helen Alvaré, Lila Rose, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Tom Peters, and many more.

The conference is from 9:30am to 4:00pm. For more details visit the website here.

Pro-Life Catholic Colleges Put Faith in Action at March for Life

This week’s 40th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade ruling is marked by the participation tomorrow of several faithful Catholic colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C., March for Life. This year, attendance is expected to reach an all-time high. Total student participation by schools featured in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide will surpass 2,000.

As in years past, the entire Christendom College student body, as well as faculty, staff members, and families will join the March.  Christendom expects that more than 400 people affiliated with the College will attend. Christendom cancels classes at its Front Royal, Va., campus for the day to allow students to participate.

The College has attended the March for Life annually since its founding 35 years ago. Christendom students have been invited to carry the lead banner and flags in 1984, 1998, 2009, and 2012.

Senior Chris Roberts said he finds it “refreshing” that the College cancels classes.

“It really highlights Christendom’s dedication to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life – even in a culture of death,” said Roberts. “We are able to reinvigorate ourselves for the fight.”

Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., is sending a record number of students to this year’s March. The College had to add a seventh bus so that interested students could take the 48-hour round-trip ride to attend. They’ll be attending with their President, Stephen D. Minnis, and the new Abbot of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Abbot James Albers, OSB. The College has been participating in the march for 28 years.

“I organized the trip my sophomore year; we usually went with Kansans for Life,” said Abbot Albers, who graduated from Benedictine College in 1994. “Back then, 15 to 20 students going was a good number.”

St. Benedict's Abbey Abbot James Albers, OSB, addresses Benedictine College students before their departure for the March for Life.

St. Benedict’s Abbey Abbot James Albers, OSB, addresses Benedictine College students before their departure for the March for Life.

This year, more than 350 will be attending.

“Benedictine College has the largest group attending from the greatest distance away,” said Minnis, who has attended the March since becoming president in 2004. “Now, about 20 percent of our student body is willing to take that long…trip…in support of life. I am constantly amazed and pleased by our students.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville also has seven busloads of students attending. Prior to the March, the students will be attending the Solemn Mass for Life at 7:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center. FUS catechetics professor, Robert Rice, is hosting the Youth Rally.

Shortly before midnight, January 24, seven buses pulled out of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, transporting hundreds of students to the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Shortly before midnight, January 24, seven buses pulled out of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, transporting hundreds of students to the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

As he has every year since becoming president in 2000, Father Terence Henry, T.O.R., will lead the Franciscan contingent, 800 strong, under the emerald Franciscan University banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… Before you were born, I dedicated you…” (Jer. 1:5).

“When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope,” adds Grace Daigler, a junior social work major and vice president of Franciscan University’s Students for Life.

Franciscan University of Steubenville students gather at the beginning of the 2012 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Franciscan University of Steubenville students gather at the beginning of the 2012 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Given its location, The Catholic University of America is involved in the March in a variety of ways. While classes are not cancelled, organizers expect approximately 500 CUA students to attend. In addition, the university will continue its custom of hosting teen marchers from out-of-town. More than 1,200 teens will camp out in the Ramond A. DuFour Athletic Center the evening before the March. Approximately 200 CUA students have volunteered to serve as hosts for the visitors. They help with hospitality, register visitors, serve meals, chaperone, and lay out sleeping bags.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life and vigil Mass begins at the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s Great Upper Church at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. The student volunteers also lead teams in the DuFour Center in the Rosary for Life. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Jan. 24, Catholic University is hosting all-night Eucharistic adoration, as well as opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

More than 17% of the student body at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., plan to attend. Approximately 150 students, administrators, and staff are taking three buses to participate in the March. Many others are driving or flying independently.

“I’m proud of our over 150 Ave Maria students, faculty and staff members who will travel over 1,000 miles… to participate in the March for Life,” said President Jim Towey. “Our students know how important it is for them to march as witnesses to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception through natural death.”

Last year’s trip nearly didn’t happen. The chartered bus cancelled the trip. With only hours to go before their departure, students raised $20,000 to hire an Orlando-based bus to take them to the 2012 March.

Mount St. Mary’s University is bringing more than 280 people on five buses. That number includes at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Mount St. Mary’s junior, Justin Wykowski said that attending the March gives him hope.

“It’s arguably one of the most powerful ways to further the cause against abortion. Some people drive 40-plus hours just to march; I can do one,” said Wykowski. “It gives me hope. To look down from the top of Capitol Hill and see tens of thousands of people waving signs in the blistering cold is simply breathtaking. We are not alone in this fight. Not even close.”

Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is sending its largest contingent ever to Washington, D.C., for the March. The College allowed students to attend the March without counting it as an absence, and similarly, for faculty or staff without being forced to use a vacation day.

Students from Aquinas College in Nashville gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building during the 2012 March for Life.

Students from Aquinas College in Nashville gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building during the 2012 March for Life.

Aquinas students, faculty, and staff spent two afternoons earlier this week placing 3,000 crosses on the front lawn to memorialize the 3,000 children lost every day to abortion.

Approximately 30 students from DeSales University are attending in conjunction with the Catholic Newman Center at Lehigh University.

St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok., is sending 14 students along with Fr. Nicholas Ast, OSB, vice president for mission and identity and university chaplain.

Students from St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Ok. display their banner at the 2012 March for Life.

Students from St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok. display their banner at the 2012 March for Life.

“By participating in the March for Life, our students give a prophetic witness to the truth that all human life is sacred,” said Fr. Ast. “Indeed, the presence of so many young people at the march every year is a sign that a new generation has embraced the Gospel of Life.”

“Every year I make an effort to attend the March for Life, either in my hometown or in Washington D.C., as an exercise of my American right to peaceful protest and my duty as a citizen, and even just as a human being, to protect the rights and lives of others,” said Gabriela Weigel, a junior at St. Gregory’s University. “It is important for me to attend because action is what provokes change, and as a young person it is my place to be the new energy and vitality in the Pro-Life movement, and to display to our secular society a love for all its members, especially the unborn, elderly and disabled.”

Students from colleges far from Washington are participating in their own local demonstrations supporting life. One-third of the student body from Wyoming Catholic College braved that state’s winter weather to participate in the Wyoming March for Life in Cheyenne.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University helped plan and lead the inaugural Walk for Life San Diego on Jan. 19. Senior Timmerie Millington was a key organizer of the event. About 3,000 walkers participated.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University lead the San Diego Walk for Life held on Jan. 19. Photo credit: James R. Compton Jr.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University lead the San Diego Walk for Life held on Jan. 19. Photo credit: James R. Compton Jr.

Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, Ca., is sending two-thirds of the College’s student body to San Francisco for the Jan. 26 Walk for Life West Coast. The College has participated every year since the Walk first began in 2005. The more than 200 students, faculty, and staff attending make up one of the largest groups in the Walk.

Students will begin the 550-mile round-trip journey Friday after classes. Students are staying at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s Little Italy, where the Salesian fathers have offered them space to sleep in the parish’s two gymnasia. Students will participate in all-night Eucharistic adoration, culminating in a Holy Hour in honor of the Unborn Child Jesus from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Later that morning, the students will attend the Walk for Life Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. Following the Mass is the two-mile Walk, beginning in Justin Herman Plaza, through Fisherman’s Wharf, and concluding with a rally in Marina Green.

Numerous TAC students have been asked to take on leadership roles in the event, including directing walkers, assisting visiting dignitaries, and bolstering security along the route. A delegation of the College’s women have been given the honor of leading the marchers through the city, carrying an “Abortion Hurts Women” banner.

Benedictine College Sends Largest Group the Furthest Distance to March for Life

Seven full buses, carrying 381 people, rolled out from Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, for a 30-hour bus ride to the Washington, D.C. March for Life. The College has been participating in the March for 28 years.

Students at Benedictine College gather Jan. 23  to board the buses for the March for Life.

Students at Benedictine College gather Jan. 23 to board the buses for the March for Life.

Among those on the bus is St. Benedict’s Abbey’s new Abbot, Abbot James Albers, OSB. A graduate of Benedictine, Albers helped organize the trip to the March for Life in 1992 while he was a student.

“I organized the trip my sophomore year; we usually went with Kansans for Life,” said Abbot Albers, who graduated from Benedictine College in 1994 with degrees in theology and mass communications.  “Back then, 15 to 20 students going was a good number.”

Nearly one in every five students at the college is participating in the trip.

“This is an important mission for us,” said Michael Green, this year’s March for Life Coordinator for Ravens Respect Life, a Benedictine student group.  “We don’t go just because it’s some fun trip with our friends. We go to show the leaders of our country what we stand for; that is, the dignity of all people from conception to natural death.”

Seven buses carrying 381 people depart from Benedictine College on their way to the March for Life.

Seven buses carrying 381 people depart from Benedictine College on their way to the March for Life.

Pro-Life Display at DePaul Vandalized

A pro-life display on the campus of DePaul University was destroyed yesterday on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

A university spokesperson told The Cardinal Newman Society that they’re investigating the incident.

The pro-life display made up of 500 blue and pink flags was erected, according to The Daily Caller, by the DePaul University chapter of  Young Americans for Freedom with the approval of the university’s administration, according to the group. The flags symbolized the millions of boys and girls who had been lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion 40 years ago.

At about 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening, club members reportedly returned to remove the display, but it turned out that someone had removed the flags and stuffed them into several trash bins.

Kristopher Del Campo, who chairs the DePaul YAF chapter, contacted public  safety officials, who are reportedly investigating the incident. “It is a sad thing to see that liberal minded students aren’t tolerable, and don’t respect the views of those who respect the lives of the unborn,” stated Del Campo in a release. “Especially on a campus of one of the nation’s largest Roman Catholic institutions, such as DePaul University.”

Kate Edwards of YAF told The Cardinal Newman Society that students are meeting with DePaul’s public safety officials this afternoon.

Fr. Jenkins to March for Life

Fr. John Jenkins C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, will march in the March for Life along with about 600 students and more than a hundred faculty, according to students with the University’s pro-life student group.

Fr. Jenkins has walked in the March for Life since the 2010 event. This year, however, is a little different as Notre Dame students were asked to lead the March for Life.

“In addition to the faculty and students attending the March, alumni and friends of ND will also be meeting us on the National Mall and joining our contingency,” Jen Gallic of ND Right to Life told The Cardinal Newman Society. “This is will be the highest attendance ever by the Notre Dame Community.”

During this past year, ND RTL has, according to Gallic, been focused on “the creation of a culture of life on campus.”

“We have also taken a very pro-woman, pro-life approach. We believe the dignity inherent in all human life deserves to be cherished and celebrated,” said Gallic. “As a member of the pro-life movement we cannot just oppose abortion, but also must strive to truly promote a culture of life through our actions.”

While there is much concern over the direction Notre Dame has taken, especially with the diminishing number of Catholic faculty as well as the scandalous honoring of President Barack Obama in 2009, there’s been little doubt about the pro-life efforts of many students.

Stephen Wandor of ND RTL told The Cardinal Newman Society that the student pro-life organization’s efforts go far beyond the March once a year. “We have weekly trips to pray at the local abortion clinic as well as a weekly adoration hour to pray for the protection of all human life,” he said.

Wandor also pointed to biweekly club meetings with on-campus pro-life experts, an annual “Respect Life Week,” sponsoring a baby shower for local mothers every semester along with the Women’s Care Center in South Bend, as well as partaking in outreach programs to seniors and those with special needs to help promote the dignity inherent in every life.

“I believe the honor of leading the March speaks to all the amazing pro-life work that occurs every day at Notre Dame,” said Wandor, who also pointed to the generous support of alumni and the great work of the Center for Ethics and Culture and the Fund to Protect Human Life.

“The March is important because it is where hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters gather and show the incredible amount of love and support that exists for those who cannot defend themselves,” he said. “It is very powerful to witness the passion and sheer size of the pro-life movement.  To be able to lead such a powerful witness is an incredible honor and very humbling for our club.  It is also a call to for us to continue to work toward that day when every life is valued and protected.”

CNS Encourages Participation in Bishops’ Pro-Life Video Contest

The Cardinal Newman Society is encouraging Catholic high schools to promote the U.S. bishops’ youth video contest commemorating the tragic 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

“Public witness to our faith is one of the trademarks which identify us and our institutions as being Catholic,” said Bob Laird, programs director at The Cardinal Newman Society, citing the Letter of Saint James: “What good is it to profess faith without practicing it?” (James 2:14). Laird manages the Catholic High School Honor Roll and has encouraged participants to get their students involved in the bishops’ pro-life video contest.

The contest was mentioned in the announcement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that Catholics would share in nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage between January 19 and 27. Students’ 30- to 60-second videos should illustrate what it means to students to participate in this year’s anniversary events and why their participation has “special meaning for them during this Year of Faith.”

A youth video contest is open to middle and high school students, who are invited to submit a 30-60-second video that should be recorded while participating in activities surrounding the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Details of the contest are available at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/video-contest-for-high-school-age-pilgrims.cfm. Also, young adults are encouraged to use their Facebook profile pictures to support the sanctity of life. Details are available at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/upload/Pro-Life-Profiles-Flyer.pdf.

The Catholic High School Honor Roll was created by The Acton Institute in 2004 and assumed by The Cardinal Newman Society in 2012. The program promotes and recognizes strong academics and Catholic identity in high schools.

Notre Dame Professor Defends HHS Mandate

University of Notre Dame law and theology professor Cathleen Kaveny wrote in Commonweal Magazine that the Obama administration is not attacking religious liberty with its HHS mandate and any attempt by the bishops to say otherwise is a “canard.”

Kaveny takes the bishops to task for opposing the mandate and writes that the USCCB’s criticism “is rooted in a mistaken assumption about how our law operates” and that the mandate “makes sense in our pluralistic society.”

…the HHS regulations must balance the religious-liberty interests of all employers against the legitimate expectations of employees and the government’s public health goals. In organizations that have been completely exempted from the mandate—such as parishes and dioceses—employees are more likely to share, or at least accept, the moral views of their employers. Consequently, it will not seem unfair to deny access to treatments that are inconsistent with an employer’s religious views. Nor will it greatly affect the public health objectives of the law, assuming this class of beneficiaries is less likely to use contraception even if it were freely available.

But many Catholic institutions, such as hospitals and colleges, employ and serve non-Catholics. Initially, these institutions did not qualify for any exemption. But in response to criticism from the bishops and others, HHS created a second category of exemption, “to accommodate non-exempt, nonprofit religious organizations.”

Doesn’t this sort of accommodation make sense in our pluralistic society? HHS emphasizes that the different treatment accorded these religious organizations does not imply that the second group is less religious than the first. Instead, HHS recognizes that the employees in the second group likely have different needs and different values than those in the first group. The vast majority of Americans (including most Catholics) think the use of contraception can be a way of fulfilling their moral obligations, not betraying them.

The bishops rightly note that faith-based employers have a religious-liberty interest at stake in the mandate. They sometimes forget, however, that the employees of these institutions also have religious-liberty interests.

Kaveny writes that she finds the suggestion by The Catholic Health Association to broaden the total exemption category to include religiously sponsored hospitals and universities while providing contraceptives under another government program is “attractive” but she makes it clear that she rejects the “canard” that the mandate is a cynical attack on religious institutions.

This is hardly the first time that Kaveny has undercut the bishops on important issues. In October of last year in the weeks leading up to the election, Kaveny undercut the strongly stated positions of a number of bishops who warned Catholics against voting for gay “marriage” and abortion-rights supporting politicians.

Kaveny was quoted in the heterodox National Catholic Reporter at the time saying, “I don’t know if they can say this has to be the priority that you’re voting on … without any consideration of what the alternatives are and how likely electing someone is to actually make those things happen.”

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