Since Sebelius was announced earlier this month as one of the speakers for this weekâ€™s Georgetown graduation ceremonies, about 27,000 people have signed a petition, circulated by a conservative Catholic think tank, urging the university to withdraw the invitation. Sebelius was a key architect of the 2010 health-care law, and she authored the requirement that employers, including most religious ones, provide their employees with contraception coverage.
On Tuesday, the archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, criticized Georgetown President John J. DeGioia for remarks he issued a day earlier â€” apparently to address the controversy â€” saying DeGioia had mischaracterized the issue as being about birth control. As the regionâ€™s top Catholic official, Wuerl is responsible for making sure Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, follow church teachings.
DeGioia â€œdoes not address the real issue for concern â€” the selection of a featured speaker whose actions as a public official present the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history,â€ reads the statement from the archdiocese, which covers the District and suburban Maryland. [more]