Bishop Rebukes Catholic College for Planned Parenthood Display

by Christine Niles  •  •  November 11, 2015   

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. ( - Bishop Kevin Rhoades has delivered a rebuke to a Catholic college for hosting a Planned Parenthood display. reported last week that St. Mary's College, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and which sits across the street from the University of Notre Dame, hosted a prominent Planned Parenthood display on campus grounds in late October.

According to the Notre Dame Observer, the display appeared as a response to an October 15 presentation at the college called the Planned Parenthood Project, which seeks to expose the abortion giant's deceptive practices. In protest, the college's Feminists United Student Group planted 1,852 flags in the ground of Library Green to visually represent the non-abortion-related services offered by Planned Parenthood. Each flag reportedly stands for 10 services offered by the abortion conglomerate unrelated to abortion or contraception.

Bishop Rhoades, head of the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, has now issued a rebuke to the school. "I was very saddened to learn that this show of support for an organization that is the largest abortion provider in our country occurred at a Catholic college in our diocese."

"The actions taken by the students and faculty in support of Planned Parenthood illustrate that even at a Catholic college, there are those who cling to the conviction that Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to the well-being of women."

He rejected the idea that academic freedom could ever justify such exhibits.

Catholic identity is not only about what we stand for; it is also about what we will not stand for. Just as we would be rightly scandalized to see a public display portraying a racist organization like the Klu Klux Klan in a positive light, so too, we expect Catholic colleges to refuse to lend any kind of respectability to organizations like Planned Parenthood that play such a significant role in the culture of death. Authentic freedom, academic or otherwise, is always linked to the service of truth and love. It is also ordered to the formation of the human person in truth and love, formation in which Catholic colleges and universities play a critical role.

On Planned Parenthood's true agenda, Bp. Rhoades said, "From its very beginning, Planned Parenthood came into existence as a means to promote the eugenicist vision of its founder, Margaret Sanger," well known for her writings advocating the elimination of "the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken ... ."

In Sanger's own words, "the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Bishop Rhoades also condemned contraception itself as no solution, but rather a contribution to the Culture of Death. "[C]ontraception attempts to sever the link between sex and procreation, which, if unsuccessful, can be definitively accomplished through an abortion." Quoting Pope St. John Paul II's encylical The Gospel of Life, he continued:

Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. ... [S]uch practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfillment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

Saint Mary's College was founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, originally sent to help the Congregation of Holy Cross as they founded a school for boys in South Bend, eventually becoming the University of Notre Dame. The Sisters established their own school for girls across the way from Notre Dame.

Although it started out as a solid Catholic school for girls, St. Mary's has over the years become a feminist stronghold, offering a Gender and Women's Studies curriculum that includes courses like "Introduction to LGBTQ Studies," "Gender and Environmental Justice" and "Feminist Theory."

Read the full text Bp. Rhoades' statement here.

To learn more about the link between birth control and abortion, watch our program Contraception Deception.


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