Phi Beta Cons

Say It Ain’t So…Joe?

Another Catholic-identity issue pops up, this time at Fairfield:

Fairfield University Speech by Senate Candidate Violates Academic, Catholic Missions 
MANASSAS, VA (September 15, 2006) – “By hosting Senator Joe Lieberman for what amounts to a campaign speech just eight weeks prior to the November election, Fairfield University has risked compromising its academic purpose, Catholic mission and political neutrality,” said Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) President Patrick Reilly.
  Today the Jesuit Catholic university hosted Lieberman, the U.S. Senator from Connecticut who is fighting to hold onto his seat by running as an independent candidate, for what Lieberman’s campaign said was “a major policy announcement concerning national security”—with clear implications for his reelection bid.
CNS has long urged Catholic educators to refrain from hosting active political candidates of any political party for lectures or events, because inevitably such activities lead to questions about a Catholic institution’s political neutrality. Moreover, the institution’s academic mission is subjected to a candidate’s political motivations for earning the respect and votes of students, faculty and the Catholic community.
 CNS, a national nonpartisan organization to renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, has also vocally opposed speaking events and honors for prominent opponents of Catholic teaching on serious moral issues.  These have included Republicans, Democrats and independents.
“Most troubling is the fact that Senator Lieberman’s position on abortion is completely contrary to Catholic principles—principles which official Fairfield University events should reflect and defend,” said Reilly.
The Senator has this to say on the issue of life on his campaign website: “I have always been a strong defender of a woman’s right to choose and am proud of the endorsements of NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. Though I was very encouraged by the Federal Drug Administration’s recent approval of Plan B contraception, I know that Roe v. Wade continues to come under assault by those seeking to undermine a woman’s right to choose. Rest assured that I will continue to fight to defend this constitutionally-protected right.” (Source:
“Giving a public platform to such a strong and proud supporter of abortion is a complete affront to Fairfield’s Catholic identity,” noted Reilly.
The Cardinal Newman Society is a nonpartisan national organization with no political involvement and takes no position on candidates for public office. Its concern with political events on Catholic campuses is part of its mission to renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education without regard for the outcome of any election.###


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