Catholic Commencements and Pro-Abortion Politicians | James V.
Schall, S.J. | June 1, 2007 (orig. June 4, 2005)
Editor's Note: This essay by Fr. Schall was originally published on IgnatiusInsight.com on June 4, 2005, with the title, "Catholic Commencements: A Time for Truth to Be Honored." Since it is that time of year again and because various pro-abortion Catholic politicians have been in the news on a regular basis (including Rudy Giuliani, whose views are discussed by Fr. Schall), this essay is being republished.
The tradition of commencement speakers at colleges and universities is an age-old and laudable one. It is a mutual relationship. The school awards someone with an honorary degree because of an outstanding intellectual, social, religious, artistic, or political accomplishment.
Who is chosen to be honored makes a statement about what the school upholds. In turn, the invited speaker, in agreeing to accept, honors the school by his presence on the occasion of another class of graduating students. He is there partly to speak to them of the world he knows and upholds, partly to alert and encourage them about the importance of what they have accomplished in completing their university education and where it leads.