Bishop Warns College to Cancel Pro-Abort Meeting or Lose Catholic Name

The bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, Bishop Robert J. McManus, has issued a frank condemnation of the decision by the local Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross to rent their facilities for a conference featuring NARAL and Planned Parenthood workshops.

Bishop McManus has issued a scathing statement confirming that he has requested that college President, Rev. Michael C. McFarland rescind the invitation based on the conference's fundamental differences with Catholic moral teaching.

As previously reported by, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy is scheduled to use the conference facilities at the Catholic college for their annual Teen Pregnancy Institute on October 24. The conference schedule includes workshops featuring a Planned Parenthood representative discussing "protection methods" and a similar NARAL update on initiatives to provide teen access to "low-cost, confidential health services and Emergency Contraception." Pro-abortion Governor Patrick Deval will be honored with a leadership award at the conference.

According to the local chancery, hundreds of complaints were received from Catholics around the country voicing outrage at Holy Cross's facilitation of a conference which so openly opposed the basic moral teachings of the Catholic Church on the sanctity of human life.

The bishop's statement maintained that the complaints were justified since, "The College of the Holy Cross should recognize that any association with these groups can create the situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e., an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. Certainly it is understandable how people of good will could interpret the college's allowing presentations to be made by such groups as truly scandalous."

"The moral teaching of the Catholic Church on respect for life at all stages of its development is manifestly clear. Life is a fundamental good that must be protected and respected from the moment of fertilization to natural death. This teaching is so basic and important that it provides the foundation upon which much of the Church's moral and social doctrine rests. It is beyond modification and compromise."

Holy Cross officials have replied that they will not rescind the invitation despite a host of complaints flooding their offices from alumni and others across the country. Officials explained that "Holy Cross in no way supports or endorses Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or other organizations that engage in or promote practices contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

However, the bishop's statement denied the possibility of this position saying, "I strongly contend that the confusion and upset to the Catholic faithful and others that flow from the perception that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross supports positions contrary to the fundamental moral teaching of the Church must be avoided."

"To deny Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice a forum in which to present their morally unacceptable positions is not an infringement of the exercise of academic freedom but a defensible attempt to make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross."

President McFarland explained his decision to continue to allow the conference to take place while also attempting to explain that Holy Cross "fully affirms and promotes" the sanctity of human life. He continued to justify his decision in opposition to the bishop's statement saying, "Beyond the contractual obligation, it is important to emphasize that the college believes a meeting of adult professionals pooling resources, engaging in a dialogue and exchanging information is a beneficial way of grappling with pressing issues related to the health and well-being of Massachusetts teenagers and children."

"As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to the open exchange of ideas. As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross is committed to its mission of engaging with the larger culture on even the most problematic and divisive of moral and spiritual issues."

As the leader of his flock, Bishop McManus issued a warning to the Catholic college saying, "As Bishop of Worcester, it is my pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves 'Catholic.' This is a duty that I do not take lightly since to be a Catholic institution means that such an institution conducts its mission and ministry in accord with Catholic Church teaching, especially in cases of faith and morals."

"It is my fervent wish that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross will unequivocally disassociate itself from the upcoming conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."

Read Bishop McManus's entire statement.

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  • Guest October 12, 2007, 2:34 am

    Thank you Bishop McManus.

    Perhaps the president of Holy Cross should study the history of universities, himself.  In a nutshell, they exist to explore truth and reveal God and our purpose in life so we may love Him and serve Him and be happy with him.  They don't exist to explore "ideas" that are known evils….except to condemn them and work against them.

    I pray Fr McFarland repents for the sake of his eternal soul and those for whom he is responsible. 

  • Guest October 12, 2007, 5:19 am

    I'm glad that the bishop is remaining firm on this.

  • Guest October 12, 2007, 9:10 am

    Holy Cross has repeatedly denied its Catholic identity. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. President has allowed "The V Monologues", pro-abort speakers on campus, etc. and now allows anti-life, anti-Catholic groups. He justifies his actions with "the open exchange of ideas". McFarland probably hasn't read  or has read and refuses to accept Pope John Paul II's "Ex Corde Ecclesiae". It is time for Bishop Robert J. McManus to act and take steps to remove the Cathoic identity from the school. McFarland and the Directors of the school continue to ignore their and the school's primary purpose.

    The Cardinal Newman Society has been the watchdog for our Bishops, our Bishops need to act, enough lip service.

    In Christ,


  • Guest October 12, 2007, 12:01 pm

    "As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to the open exchange of ideas. As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross is committed to its mission of engaging with the larger culture on even the most problematic and divisive of moral and spiritual issues."

    Engaging the larger culture is fine McFarland, just stop marrying it. You're no longer in the world, you're now part of it. You and the majority of Jesuits have blurred the distinction. I'm encouraged that Bishop McManus sees it clearly.

  • Guest October 12, 2007, 12:41 pm

    The Bishop is a very wise man. The school having to lose its "Catholic" designation is a sure blow to the secularists. Many Catholics will not even consider this college now. Thank you Bishop McManus. You're a fine Catholic man.

  • Guest October 12, 2007, 3:08 pm

    eileen breen

    Thank God for Bishop McManus.  It is sickening to see how secularized our Catholic colleges have become.  
    In addition, too many priests say little or nothing about pro life issues from the altar.  At my church our small committee has effectively been told we're obsolete and other more pressing issues need attention.  This has to do with the killings going on between youngsters in our city, obviously a very serious issue but the lack of respect for human life from the beginning needs to be addressed as well. 
  • Guest October 13, 2007, 6:10 am

    Perhaps a name-change of the institution is now also in order. Unholy Double-Cross might be more apropo. They could then place a marble statue of Judas at the front entrance of the campus with the inscription "Once a follower of Christ."

  • Guest October 13, 2007, 10:06 am

    Blessed Mother pray for US!

  • Guest October 13, 2007, 6:03 pm

    I believe if they were to be "excommunicated" they would repent and come back. There are way too many unaffiliated lib schools in the area to compete with.

  • Guest October 14, 2007, 6:18 pm

    "As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to the open exchange of ideas. As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross is committed to its mission of engaging with the larger culture on even the most problematic and divisive of moral and spiritual issues."


    And as Catholics, they should know an even more fundamental Truth.  There is right and there is wrong.  Too bad they made the wrong choice; and are now trying to hide behind words. 

  • Guest October 14, 2007, 7:25 pm

    If you want to know how "Catholic" colleges and universities have sold their inheritance for a bowl of pottage, just follow the money.

    Big universities demand big funding from big government. Jesus is an annoying impediment from the funding source.

    Lord, have mercy on us.