Catholic colleges call for reassessment of “Catholics in Political Life” statement

At a recent meeting, the board of directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities announced that they would like to see a reexamination of the 2004 “Catholics in Political Life” statement.

The 2004 statement was released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and prohibits Catholic institutions from giving awards, honors or platforms to “those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” It is often cited by those who disapprove of Catholic schools hosting pro-choice politicians (most notably during the Obama/Notre Dame controversy, but also during the Joe Biden/Georgetown Law incident).

According to the Catholic News Service:

The ACCU’s board of directors would like to see the bishops update or prepare a successor policy to the 2004 statement regarding honors and platforms for speakers at Catholic institutions of higher education, said Richard A. Yanikoski, president of the group …

“Ultimately, that is the problem with the 2004 document. It was written in the moment of political heat,” during the 2004 U.S. presidential election, he said.

He maintained the 2004 statement is incomplete, has internal ambiguities, uses language that is not consistent with canon law, and that its application is subject to interpretation.

Although Georgetown is a member of the ACCU, it does not hold a seat on the board of directors.

Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino wrote in an email, “Georgetown does not have a position independent of the ACCU on this.”

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