As the Cardinal Newman Society reported February 23, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington has announced that pro-abortion rights and pro-same-sex marriage Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu is scheduled to deliver the 2012 commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from university president Thayne McCulloh–exactly the same honors bestowed on President Obama by Notre Dame in 2009.
A group of alumni is now sponsoring a petition requesting that Gonzaga President McCulloh withdraw the invitation. You can sign the petition by going to tinyurl.com/GonzagaScandal
The petition says that “Gonzaga has chosen prestige over principles and popularity over morality” with their selection of commencement speaker and urges the president of the university to cancel the invitation “before further damage is done to Gonzaga’s reputation as a Catholic University.”
The U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate titled “Catholics in Political Life” clearly states: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Granting Archbishop Tutu an honorary degree and allowing him to speak at commencement would be in direct defiance of the bishops’ mandate.
The honor signals Gonzaga’s support for Archbishop Tutu’s positions that are antithetical to the Catholic Church’s teachings on issues such as the family, traditional marriage, and expansion of abortion “rights.” This brings scandal to the faithful at a time when the Church is under attack from state and national leaders for her defense of conscience protections and the traditional definition of marriage.
Although Archbishop Tutu performed wonderful work in South Africa, his positions on pre-born life, sexuality, and his disrespect for the Jewish people (see Alan Dershowitz 2010 article titled Bishop Tutu Is No Saint When It Comes to Jews), should disqualify him from receiving any honors at any institution worthy of calling itself Catholic.
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