Posts Tagged “Kathleen Sebelius”
Update (12:27 a.m.) In response to a request for comment, University spokesperson Stacy Kerr recommended using the quote from President John J. DeGioia‘s letter: “We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas.”
As if Georgetown’s relationship with Catholics couldn’t get any worse, Georgetown alum and Academy Award winning writer William Peter Blatty (COL ’50) threatens to file a canon lawsuit on Georgetown for its allegedly deteriorating Catholic identity. Blatty spoke to several media outlets stating that the University’s decision to host Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was the “last straw” in a series of building up tensions Georgetown has with several Catholic groups around the nation.
In an online petition, Blatty asks signatories to cease any donations to Georgetown. He claims that for the past decade the University has continually defied and broken Catholic canon law. “Georgetown is being dishonest. Together, we need to end that!,” Blatty writes on the petition. Canon law is a Catholic legal system with courts, lawyers, and judges, which does not have any binding power. Blatty claims that Georgetown has strayed too far from Catholic values for 21 years and his new organization may decide to submit a canon lawsuit asking the Church to revoke Georgetown’s “right to call itself Catholic.”
Blatty’s recently-founded organization is called The Father King Society: to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic, and Better. In the website, there is a list of Georgetown’s “scandals” against Catholic teachings. Among these scandals in the list include performances of “the vile play The Vagina Monologues” as well as the University’s hosting of speakers such as Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama. The organization alleges that all these speakers, who are either openly pro-choice or support abortion rights, prove Georgetown’s noncompliance with Catholic values.
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This morning, an informal gathering of about 10-15 pro-life protesters set up shop on Georgetown’s campus. Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, spoke to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute earlier today. According to the Washington Post, an anti-abortion protester interrupted her speech and shouted “You’re a murderer!” and was escorted out. Attendants at the event said the graduates booed the individual out of the hall.
Albert Stecklein III, one of the protesters on Georgetown’s campus today, said that the demonstration was organized informally. He urged that Georgetown’s decision was not a reflection of free speech and open dialogue. “To say that, ‘well you have to support diverse opinions,’ well anyone who supports slavery would not have the same reception,” he said.
Photos and reporting by Lucia He
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In a statement dated May 14, 2012, President John J. DeGioia sent a message to the Georgetown community regarding the recent attacks from Catholic groups across the nation on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘s scheduled lecture at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s awards ceremony this Friday.
Yesterday, the petition created last week by the Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative watchdog group, was sent to President DeGioia with 26,000 signatures. Additionally, last week, the Cardinal of Washington D.C., Donald Wuerl, wrote an editorial expressing disapproval of Georgetown’s decision to host Sebelius. “Secretary Sebelius’ vision on what constitutes faith-based institutions presents the most direct challenge to religious freedom in recent history,” Wuerl wrote in the editorial. He stated that Georgetown’s decision was “disappointing, but not surprising.”
In the statement, DeGioia explained and justified Sebelius’s presence on campus for the Tropaia awards ceremony, asserting that “the Secretary’s presence on our campus should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views. As a Catholic and Jesuit University, Georgetown disassociates itself from any positions that are in conflict with traditional church teachings.”
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As the University recently announced, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be speaking at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute Tropaia awards ceremony next Friday. Although the awards event is not technically a “commencement” ceremony (since degrees will not be conferred), Sebelius was listed with the other commencement speakers in the University press-release. Sebelius is a staunch pro-choice advocate and championed reproductive rights issues in her term as governor of Kansas and, later, as HHS Secretary.
Prominent Catholics and conservative Catholic groups immediately criticized the University for its choice in Sebelius for graduation speaker. The Cardinal Newman Society has called the move a “direct challenge” to America’s Catholic bishops, and has created a website with a petition calling for Georgetown to revoke its invitation to the former governor. The petition has reportedly gathered 12,500 signatures.
One of the harshest challenges came from Princeton University’s Robert George, a man the New York Times called the United States’s “most influential conservative Christian thinker.” This past Sunday, on the Catholic Mirror of Justice blog, he wrote:
The left-liberals who run the show at Georgetown have found a way to signal to the world that the nation’s oldest Catholic, and most famous Jesuit, university stands with the Obama administration in its war (to use, if I recall correctly, Kathleen Sebelius’s own word) against the Catholic bishops and others who oppose the HHS mandate as a violation of religious freedom and the rights of conscience (you know, the enemies of women’s “reproductive health”). By honoring Secretary Sebelius, they can help to undermine the bishops’ credibility and blunt the force of their witness as leaders of the Catholic church.
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