Georgetown Finds An Exemplary Catholic — Would Mother Teresa Agree?

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Could you find a better Catholic to honor than Senator Dick Durbin?

Durbin sought legislation to force organizations to provide contraceptives among its health care benefits – even if such a mandate opposed an organization’s beliefs (like, maybe, nuns).

Durbin questioned a judicial candidate, concerned about the influence of faith in her life, and asked, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”

Durbin emphatically favors legal abortion, claiming that every Democrat must favor Roe v. Wade. And, recently, Durbin was one of the senators that blocked the bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks – the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act.

That last vote was the last straw for Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, where Durbin practices his version of Catholicism. Paprocki declared that Durbin should not receive Holy Communion.

On Wednesday night, February 28, Durbin went to the campus of Georgetown University, a Roman Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition.

Was Durbin being reprimanded? Converted?


Durbin was being honored.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia presented Durbin with the Timothy S. Healy S.J. Award for exemplary public service.

In the school’s press release about the award, it praised Durbin for “groundbreaking health care, immigration and gun-control legislation.”

Here’s some of Durbin’s vision for “health care”:  Durbin promotes abortion and mandated contraception, in opposition to the Catholic Church. Durbin is so pro-abortion, he was given a 100 percent rating by both NARAL and Planned Parenthood – not exactly Catholic-friendly groups – and a zero rating from the National Right to Life Committee.

From Bishop Paprocki:

“Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin. This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray he will repent and return to being pro-life.”

Hard to think of Durbin repenting when a Catholic institution is honoring him for “support of humanitarian causes.”

To be clear, there are Catholics who are not opposed to abortion. But the Catholic Church is. And when a Catholic takes a public stance advocating what the Church considers a grievous wrong – killing human life – that cannot be ignored by the Church.

But apparently it can be ignored by a Church-affiliated institution.

Georgetown senior Michael Khan, former president of the school’s Right to Life group, told LifeSiteNews: “Calling Senator Durbin, one of the most pro-abortion members of the United States Senate, a ‘humanitarian’ is an absolute disgrace.

“This is a smack in the face of our Catholic identity and values.”

Catholic identity is seemingly always under attack at Georgetown. Last fall, students filed a complaint against a student-run group known a Love Saxa, because the group espoused “hatred” and “intolerance.” Why? Love Saxa promotes the traditional view of marriage, between one man and one woman – or, in other words, what the Catholic Church teaches.

That there was actually a hearing for the complaint says a lot. The complaint was dismissed, by an 8-4 vote of a student board. But what if the complaint had been upheld and a group had lost its funding (albeit only $250) because it followed Catholic teaching – on a Catholic campus?

Would Georgetown administrators have allowed the group to be de-funded? Hard to tell from this official statement before the hearing, from university spokesman Rachel Pugh:

“We strongly support a climate that continues to provide students with new and deeper contexts for engaging with our Catholic tradition and identity.”

New and deeper? Is that what you mean when you honor a man that promotes abortion, wants Catholic groups to provide contraception, is against school choice, and is suspicious of a judge who might be an orthodox Catholic

I had my own concern with Georgetown years ago. It was a small matter about ignoring a Lenten fast, but I still found it odd. Catholic schools can be inclusive, but do they have to hide their Catholic beliefs in the process?

Abortion is no small matter. It is beyond a religious issue, but is still one that the Catholic Church plays a big part in opposing.

All Catholics, and Catholic schools, love to elevate St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a model of social justice. Just so, she also hated abortion:

“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other … Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor.”

I’m assuming St. Teresa’s name did not come up during the ceremony for Durbin.

In 2013, the Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes true, Catholic education, published a paper titled: “Catholic Identity Concerns at Georgetown University.” The paper quoted a Jesuit priest and Georgetown alumnus, Father Robert John Araujo:

“The evidence of the withering of the Catholic soul has grown during the passage of time. I cannot say if there is still time for Georgetown, and other schools pursuing the same path, to self-prune, but I pray for this. Being an optimist, I want to say there may well be a final opportunity, but the time is growing short, very short, for this to happen.”


Kevin Thomas is a writer and former teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.