Last month liberal Catholics were upset over House Republican budget chief Paul Ryan using a Georgetown University platform to defend his hard-line fiscal plan as a natural outgrowth of his Catholic faith. Dozens of Georgetown faculty and administrators wrote a letter welcoming Ryan but blasting his understanding of Catholic teaching and asking him to explain his views during his talk at the university’s Public Policy Institute.
Now it is the conservatives’ turn: The flagship Jesuit university has announced that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic who has angered conservatives and bishops for overseeing the Obama administration’s contraception insurance mandate and other controversial policies, will address the policy institute’s graduating class at commencement on May 18.
“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 â€¦ against the Catholic bishops and others who oppose the HHS mandate as a violation of religious freedom and the rights of conscience,” fumed Robert P. George, a legal scholar at Princeton University and a conservative Catholic with close ties to Republican causes.
The conservative Cardinal Newman Society, which monitors Catholic schools for any actions it deems a danger to the faith, called the Sebelius invitation “scandalous and outrageous.” It set up a website and petition to push Georgetown President John DeGioia to rescind the invitation.
“Georgetown insults all Americans by this honor,” wrote the society’s president, Patrick J. Reilly. “The selection is especially insulting to faithful Catholics and their bishops, who are engaged in the fight for religious liberty and against abortion.” Other conservative Catholics have echoed Reilly and George on online outrage.
A reversal seems unlikely, however. [More]