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Washington’s Catholic archbishop, Georgetown president spar over graduation invitation to Kathleen Sebelius

The already-boiling debate about Georgetown University’s decision to invite Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak during graduation hit the highest levels of Catholic Washington on Tuesday, with the region’s archbishop slamming the school’s president for the “shocking” invitation and saying the real issue was being distorted.

Since Sebelius was announced earlier this month as one of the speakers for this week’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 — apparently to address the controversy — saying DeGioia had mischaracterized the issue as being about birth control. As the region’s top Catholic official, Wuerl is responsible for making sure Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, follow church teachings.

DeGioia “does not address the real issue for concern — the selection of a featured speaker whose actions as a public official present the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history,” reads the statement from the archdiocese, which covers the District and suburban Maryland. [more]


Washington Post




  1. Michael says:

    By the way, federal money comes from our taxes. I sure pay my share. Also, it’s not about money. That tactic has been oversued and it’s really tiresome. YAWN!!!!!!!

  2. Michael says:

    Baloney! If non-catholic employees what coverage for contraception and abortion, don’t work for the Catholic Church. This freedom of conscience idea has led to the killing of 53 million babies in the US since 1973. Why not ask them about freedom of conscience.
    By the way, maybe the Church should pay taxes. This way we can start our own political party and run our own candidates and vigorously campaign for them. I don’t think that either the Democrats or Republicans want that to happen. I however, think it’s a great idea.

  3. terry paul says:

    The Cardinal’s silence is deafening. Speaker of the House John Boehner at Catholic University and Paul Ryan at Georgetown University. Neither of those “gentleman’ espouse the corporal works of mercy, let alone an understanding of Catholic social justice. The Bishops’ silence spoke volumes regarding his political vote.

  4. siena says:

    Where was Wuerl when Paul Ryan came to Georgetown?????

  5. francis Joseph says:

    It is a slap in the fact to the Catholic church to allow this “Catholic in name only,” Sebelius to speak at this ceremony. It is a sad day indeed for Catholism in America. The Arch Bishop has got my vote.

  6. margret hamilton says:

    Got it Tony. Maybe the Catholic Church should stop funding all its hospitals, all its elementary and highs schools, all its universities, all its homes that assist the homeless, the single mothers, the AIDS victims, the missionairies, et al. and put that all on the government and tax payers’ doors. After all, the Catholic Church provides no benefit to the nation, it only takes.

    • Carl says:

      Margaret, you might vbe surprised to learn that the federal government funds most of Catholic charities. The Church gives, yes, and it takes, for sure. And federal money comes with strings.

      • margret hamilton says:

        I know about federal govt funding catholic charities to a good degree. But did you take note of my list? Catholic Charities would be less than 1% of the charity, education, health services and beyond I brought up. But no one ever wants to talk about that. They only want to talk about tax exempt status.

  7. B.F says:

    If Georgetown University doesn’t want to act Catholic, fine. But then Cardinal Wuerl is well within his rights to take out all Catholic faculties off of the university property; including Masses being said and most especially take out the Holy Eucharist. It’s not just what Sebelius recently did to fly in the face of what Jesus taught us. But it is her constant and aggressive efforts to allow the murder of babies even as Governor of Kansas. Objectively speaking, her most grievous times are ahead of her when she is confronted by Jesus.

  8. Tony says:

    The issue is not at all about religious liberty. It’s about MONEY.
    You don’t want to do abortions or provide contraception, fine. Don’t take the money.
    No prob with religious liberty.

    • irishsmile says:

      It is entirely about religious liberty! The church cannot be made to participate in any health plan that tries to sneak in abortion!

      • Carl says:

        Irish….then the Church should stop taking federal money. Otherwise, shouldn’t it honor the consciences abd right of its non-Catholic employees?


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