Friday, December 5, 2008

Abortion & contraception advocate Cherie Blair to speak at Angelicum

The Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas, aka the Angelicum, is shocked, shocked to be deluged with protests from concerned Catholics who read that the Rome university invited Cherie Blair to speak at a Dec. 12 women's rights conference, LifeSiteNews reports:

"[A]t least some readers, upon contacting the Angelicum, have reported being told that the university can find no evidence of Mrs. Blair’s pro-abortion or other anti-life and anti-family positions."

Evidence? They want evidence? How about a photo of her giving out condoms to promote FPA, a U.K. abortion-advocacy organization?

The wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a longtime supporter of FPA, whose Web site's abortion fact sheet refers to abortion obliquely as a procedure by which "[t]he pregnancy is removed," resulting in the loss of "fetal tissue"—not an actual fetus, let alone a child.

LifeSiteNews' article has more details on Blair's support of abortion-rights organizations and public dissent from the Church on contraception; U.K. Catholic priest Father Tim Finigan has covered the issues in the past here and here.

To express concerns:

Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski
Congregation for Catholic Education
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Roma, Italia

Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas
Social Sciences Faculty
Largo Angelicum,
1 - 00184
Roma, Italia
Phone: +39-066702402
Fax +39-066702417

To contact conference organizers:

in English:
Sr. Helen Alford op,,
tel: 06 67 02 353,
fax 06 67 02 417

in Italiano: Dr. Girolamo Rossi,
335 695619

UPDATE: Father Philip Neri Powell O.P. published on his blog a response from Sister Helen Alford, dean of the Angelicum's social-sciences school, in which she cites the Pope's granting of an audience to Blair in 2006.

I left a comment in response: "Sister Alford's response is an evasion. The Pope congratulated Barack Obama with a phone call. Does that make the President-elect an appropriate speaker for a Catholic university? Of course not! Likewise, the Pope regularly meets with world leaders and their spouses, but that does not mean those leaders or their spouses deserve a platform to speak at a Catholic university, let alone a pontifical one."