For the second time this commencement season, a pro-abortion rights commencement speaker had their invitation rescinded at the request of the local bishop.
On Friday, State Representative Democrat Bob Hagan’s reported pro-abortion rights stand led the Youngstown campus of Mercy College of Ohio to rescind its invitation for him to speak at the school’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday at the public urging of Bishop George Murry, S.J..
Bishop Murry released a statement regarding his decision.
“It recently came to my attention, without any proper review by my office, that the Mercy School of Nursing, a Catholic institution, invited Representative Robert Hagan to be its commencement speaker at the Cathedral of St. Columba.
“While I respect and appreciate many of the social justice positions taken by Representative Hagan, it remains a fact that he also has consistently voted for pro-abortion legislation, policies and funding. Abortion extinguishes an unborn human life. It is an intrinsically evil action which the Catholic Church has condemned for centuries.
As Catholics, we must in good conscience oppose Representative Hagan’s position in support of abortion. Therefore, I asked the Mercy School of Nursing, a Catholic sponsored institution, to rescind their invitation to Representative Hagan to speak at the Nursing School graduation.
“I am most willing to meet with Representative Hagan to discuss his position and concerns, while, at the same time, speaking with him about the Church’s long standing teaching about the sacredness of human life in all its dimensions.”
According to news reports, Hagan posted a response to the bishop’s position on his Facebook page, declaring his commitment to social justice:
“I have fought for social justice my entire life and today, I am one disappointed Catholic. After being invited to give the commencement speech at Mercy Nursing School here in Youngstown, I got a call telling me that the Bishop has overruled their invite and they have rescinded the invitation because of some of the political positions I have taken. I am saddened that the work that I have done to feed the poor, clothe the naked, help cure the sick, and to bring an end to the death penalty has fallen on deaf ears.”
He later tweeted a less confrontational comment, “Let’s be clear, the bishop is just doing his job.”
Earlier this month, Anna Maria College in Massachusetts, at the request of Bishop Robert McManus, rescinded an invitation to Victoria Kennedy, widow of former Sen. Ted Kennedy, to give the school’s commencement address because of her support of abortion rights and gay marriage.