WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic university is hosting the president of Planned Parenthood — and defending its decision to do so.
The Lecture Fund, a non-partisan student-run organization at D.C.'s Georgetown University, will host Cecile Richards, president of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, in what is being advertised as a closed-door event that according to the official announcement "will consist of remarks, followed by a question and answer period." The student-organized gathering, scheduled for a yet-to-be-determined date in April, is free of charge to those with a Georgetown University ID.
"This is the latest in a long history of scandal at Georgetown University," said Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society. "Disguised as an academic event, this is nothing more than a platform for abortion advocacy at a Catholic university and under the nose of the Catholic bishops, featuring a wicked woman who defends the sale of baby body parts and is responsible for the deaths of millions of aborted children."
In a statement released Thursday, the Georgetown Office of Communications defended the decision to host Richards, declaring the school is one that "deeply values [their] faith tradition and that encourages the free exchange of ideas." While the communications office argues the appearance by Richards is "not an endorsement by the university," it asserts that each of the various speakers hosted by the school "provide new and deeper contexts for our community to engage our Catholic tradition and identity."
The statement also declared the university is "proud of the opportunities" provided to Georgetown students "to deepen their understanding and commitment to their Catholic faith."
Planned Parenthood is considered the largest provider of abortions in the United States, with nearly 2.8 million performed in the 10 years Richards has acted as president. The organization is also well known for its advocacy of contraception and promotion of sexual promiscuity amongst teenagers.
Planned Parenthood was also at the center of a scandal last summer involving undercover reporters capturing various officials from the abortion giant admitting to harvesting aborted baby parts for a profit.
The move from Georgetown comes despite a 2004 document issued by the U.S. bishops forbidding Catholic institutions from celebrating "those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" with "awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." Additionally an apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II in 1990, defined the relationship between Catholic universities and the Church as demanding an "adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals."
"A Catholic university," the document continues, "carries out its research, teaching and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes." Additionally, any "official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity."
Richards is the most recent of controversial figures allowed to speak at the Jesuit university. In 2009 the college hosted Pres. Obama, sparking scandal because of the Democratic president's avid and outspoken support for abortion and birth control. Even more, at the request of the White House the university covered up the name of Jesus inscribed on a pediment in the school's Gaston Hall. The symbol "IHS" — a Christogram with the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus — was concealed by a piece of plywood, as the Obama administration had requested "a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape."
Among the more recent scandals to hit the Washington university within the past year include two law professors openly advocating for abortion and birth control in an article posted on the university website; an announcement that all campus restrooms will be "accompanied by both male and female gender icons"; the discovery that an adjunct professor of law at the university is the associate general counsel of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; the hosting of a "lavender graduation" (commencement-related events intended exclusively for homosexual students and their "allies") featuring an openly gay advocate for contraception; and permitting a reproductive rights activist organization to "train and mobilize" Georgetown students on how to advocate for abortion.