Boston College Law to honor infamous pro-abortion Fr. Robert Drinan SJ

I received this from the Cardinal Newman Society.

My emphases and comments:

Cardinal Newman Society Asks Boston College to
Cancel Event Celebrating Notorious Pro-Abortion Rights Priest

Manassas, Va. – On March 7, 2011, the Boston College Law School [BC is a Jesuit-run school] is scheduled to hold an event honoring the late, virulently pro-abortion rights priest, Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J[Can you be both surprised and not surprised at all?] The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has written to the president of Boston College, Father William Leahy, S.J., urging him to cancel the event and to develop speaker policies which will prevent such scandals in the future.  The text of the CNS letter, sent today by mail and e-mail, is below.

Dear Father Leahy:

According to a report dated February 17 in The Boston College Chronicle, an official publication of the College, “the life and work of Robert Drinan, S.J. …will be celebrated at a BC law event next month.”

It is reported that on March 7, the Law School will host a panel discussion featuring Father Raymond Schroth, S.J.—who has publicly supported pro-abortion rights politicians—to promote his new book on Father Drinan.  The event will also feature U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, whose opposition to Catholic moral teaching in his personal life and in public policy is well known.  He is a strident defender of legal abortion and has voted in opposition to clear Church teachings on the sanctity of traditional marriage.

As you know, Father Drinan was notorious for his service as a congressman from Massachusetts.  He voted against several measures to ban federal funding of abortions and, in 1996, his articles in the National Catholic Reporter and the New York Times supported President Bill Clinton’s veto of a common-sense ban on the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion.  Throughout his long career as a prominent priest, Father Drinan was scandalously reliable for his consistent and public support of abortion laws, in direct contradiction to clear Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life.

Whatever Father Drinan’s contributions to Boston College over the years, and despite his perhaps laudable efforts on other human rights issues, his record on abortion should disqualify him from any honors by a Catholic institution[Do I hear an “Amen!”?] To celebrate his legacy is a public dishonor to the souls of the millions slaughtered in the name of “choice.”  It would also seem to be a flagrant violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 ban on honors for those who are publicly opposed to Church teachings[Shades of the Notre Dame Debacle!]

Father Leahy, on behalf of the members of The Cardinal Newman Society—including not a small number of BC alumni—and so many of the faithful working every day to end the scourge of abortion, I prayerfully urge you to cancel this event immediately and to develop policies for Boston College that ensure that future honors conform to both the bishops’ sensible 2004 honors policy and Ex corde Ecclesiae.  Saint Ignatius of Loyola, ora pro nobis.


Patrick J. Reilly

For more on Fr. Drinan, read here and here.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. irishgirl says:

    What made me think that Father Drinan was still in the land of the living? I thought he died!
    Either way, Boston College should act like a Catholic college and rescind this ‘honor’!
    Go get ’em, Patrick Reilly!
    Please, St. Ignatius Loyola, give a Basque slap alongside the president’s head!

  2. irishgirl says:

    Duh-should read more thoroughly BEFORE posting:
    Father Drinan IS dead!

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Is it impossible for the USCCB to demand that a college or university drop the name Catholic? Is there no canonical means to enforce this, as we now have a situation of false advertising with many, if not most, of our so-called older Catholic institutions in America. Boston College leads the pack, but we know that Notre Dame, Marquette, Chicag0-Loyola and many others, even smaller, regional Catholic colleges, follow in persisting in anti-Catholic activities and teaching.

    Can nothing be done?

  4. Centristian says:

    “Can you be both surprised and not surprised at all?”

    No kidding. Pro-abortion priests. That, I think, is just about as sucky as things could conceivably get (pardon my vulgarity).

    That there should be so many as one such priest in all of the Church is astonishing enough, but that there should be more than one, with one of them coming to laud another at a Catholic institution at the invitation of another priest…holy Hell. It’s as if someone said, “lets think of the surest way to tempt the wrath of God” and then came up with this.

    I would be fascinated to read the response of the priest-president of Boston College to the Cardinal Newman Society’s letter. And as much as it would no doubt turn my stomach to hear the reasons given, I would be very interested in learning how and why a Catholic priest ever could bring himself to support pro-abortion rights.

    A Catholic priest, at the barest minimum, ought to be pro-life, for heaven’s sake.

  5. Ezra says:

    We have to realise that our time is like the time of Arianism, and so we have to be extremely careful lest we be poisoned ourselves without noticing it. We must not underestimate the power of those ideas which fill the intellectual atmosphere of the time, nor the danger of being infected by them when we are daily breathing this atmosphere.Nor should we underestimate the danger of getting used to the evils of the times, and then becoming insensitive to them. At first perhaps many people see the devastation of the vineyard, and react in the right way. But gutta cavat lapidem (dripping water slowly erodes the stone) – after a while one becomes accustomed to it.

    Dietrich von Hildebrand, “The Devastated Vineyard”

    Priests who not only tolerate, but celebrate, those from among their ranks who have advocated a legal right to kill unborn children should be treated with the same respect that we would accord priests celebrating the ministries of Frs John Geoghan and Paul Shanley.

  6. ray from mn says:

    How many Catholics have gone to Hell because of the teachings of Boston College?

  7. GregH says:

    I worry that Father Drinan is in Hell…

  8. In addition to all the above, Drinan, when he finally complied with Church law and left Congress, hand-picked a successor that not only advanced his pro-abortion agenda but a pro-sodomy one as well; Barney Frank.

  9. James Joseph says:

    Not suprised considering…

    …that Boston College has a Lonergan (negative universe and positive universe) lecture series.

    …and the College of he Holy Cross president (a priest very well associated with Boston College) celebrates a Gay Right Rainbow Mass during the month of May.


  10. Bryan Boyle says:

    No surprise to me that Ray Schroth would be in that mix. Lived next door to him in the same ‘house’ at Fordham as he was the ‘resident Jesuit’ for (‘A’ House, Martyr’s Court), had him as a journalism prof, and in my festering college days, thought it was ‘neat’ that he had those 70s-era sit-crosslegged-around-his-coffee-table masses at 11pm with day-old bagels and Manachevitz wine.

    I learned. Like I tell folks, I’m Jesuit-educated, but still Catholic.

    I wonder how many souls have been lost by these antics. Venerable JP-II SHOULD have suppressed the order when Arrupe was the Father General. They’ve outlived their usefulness.

  11. Ezra says:

    It is interesting to re-read Clement XIV’s 1773 bull suppressing the Jesuits. Though few Catholic historians have seen fit to defend the measure, attributing it to Clement’s weakness of character and unwillingness to countenance defying the royal courts of Europe, some passages have an almost prophetic ring in light of what became of the Society in the 20th century:

    The Divine Providence having raised up our Society for the propagation of the Faith, and the gaining of souls, the said Society… would prevent the effect of these precious goods, and expose them to the most imminent dangers, if it concerned itself with temporal matters, and which relate to political affairs and the administration of government; in consequence whereof, it has been wisely ordained by our superiors and ancients, that, confining ourselves to combat for the glory of God, we should not concern ourselves with matters foreign to our profession…

    Our other predecessors, Urban VII, Clement IX, X, XI, and XII, and Alexander VII and VIII, Innocent X, XII, and XIII, and Benedict XIV, employed, without effect, all their efforts to the same purpose. In vain did they endeavour, by salutary constitutions, to restore peace to the Church; as well with respect to secular affairs, with which the Company ought not to have interfered, as with regard to the missions; which gave rise to great disputes and oppositions on the part of the Company with the ordinaries, with other religious orders, about the holy places, and communities of all sorts in Europe, Africa, and America, to the great loss of souls, and great scandal of the people; as likewise concerning the meaning and practice of certain idolatrous ceremonies, adopted in certain places, in contempt of those justly approved by the Catholic Church; and further, concerning the use and explanation of certain maxims, which the Holy See has with reason proscribed as scandalous, and manifestly contrary to good morals; and, lastly, concerning other matters of great importance and prime necessity, towards preserving the integrity and purity of the doctrines of the gospel; from which maxims have resulted very great inconveniences and great detriment both in our days and in past ages; such as the revolts and intestine troubles in some of the Catholic states persecutions against the Church, in some countries of Asia and Europe…

    Actuated by so many and important considerations, and, as we hope, aided by the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; compelled, besides, by the necessity of our ministry, which strictly obliges us to conciliate, maintain, and confirm the peace and tranquility of the Christian republic, and remove every obstacle which may tend to trouble it; having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant fruits, and those great advantages, with a view to which it was instituted, approved by so many of our predecessors, and endowed with so many and extensive privileges… we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fulness of our apostolical power, suppress and abolish the said Company: we deprive it of all activity whatever, of its houses, schools, colleges, hospitals, lands, and, in short, every other place whatsoever, in whatever kingdom or province they may be situated; we abrogate and annul its statutes, rules, customs, decrees, and constitutions, even though confirmed by oath, and approved by the Holy See or otherwise; in like manner we annul all and every its privileges, indults, general or particular, the tenor whereof is, and is taken to be, as fully and as amply expressed in the present Brief as if the same were inserted word for word, in whatever clauses, form, or decree, or under whatever sanction their privileges may have been conceived. We declare all, and all kind of authority, the General, the provincials, the visitors, and other superiors of the said Society to be for ever annulled and extinguished, of what nature soever the said authority may be, as well in things spiritual as temporal.

  12. Mike Morrow says:

    Drinan’s abhorrent advocacy of infanticide (unsurprisingly) stirred *no* substantive negative response from his newchurch heirarchy. He was fully supported by Paul VI, the U.S. episcopate, the cardinal of Boston, and his Jesuit superiors. Let’s also not forget those wonderful people of his district.

    John Paul II ordered him out of office in 1980. His local superiors could have done that ten years earlier, but apparently they were cut from similar cloth. Barney Frank took his seat (so to speak).

  13. pfreddys says:

    The Cardinal Newman Society just went up even more in my estimation. I have to say I was relieved when Fr Drinan died as he made me very angry. Now here he is still getting me upset!!!!!

  14. QMJ says:

    “Can you be both surprised and not surprised at all?”

    I’m surprised that my answer to this question is “yes.”

  15. Centristian says:

    Mike Morrow says:
    18 February 2011 at 12:59 pm

    “Drinan’s abhorrent advocacy of infanticide (unsurprisingly) stirred *no* substantive negative response from his newchurch heirarchy. He was fully supported by Paul VI, the U.S. episcopate, the cardinal of Boston, and his Jesuit superiors. Let’s also not forget those wonderful people of his district.”

    Well, that’s simply appalling if true. Pope Paul supported him?

    Googling this man a bit I discovered one staunch opponent of his in the US hierarchy: John Cardinal O’Connor. Responding to Drinan’s views he said this:

    “I am deeply sorry, Father Drinan, but you’re wrong, dead wrong. You could have raised your formidable voice for life; you have raised it for death. Hardly the role of a lawyer. Surely not the role of a priest.”

  16. Childermass says:

    I’ve heard Peter Kreeft say this before:

    “When people ask me the question about how Catholic BC is, I like to say that it’s Catholic enough to feel like my home but at the same time pagan enough to feel like a mission field.”

  17. meunke says:

    How many times will they do things such as until fire burns BC to the ground like the altars of Baal in that story of Elias.

    And why is it always the Jesuits?

  18. Bos Mutissimus says:

    “[BC is a Jesuit-run school]…” Sort of. It’s actually a “school in the Jesuit tradition,” which is a popular marketing euphemism that capitalizes on the Jesuit Brand (to increase enrollment, tuition, & endowments) without the dreadful burden of teaching anything remotely Catholic. I, too, like Bryan, am a Jesuit alumnus who, due to the Grace of Almighty God, still remain Catholic. It pains me to see these folks not acting like Sons of Ignatius.


  19. green fiddler says:

    Supertradmum, my understanding is that it is the local bishop who has the authority to take away a college/university’s official Catholic status, when there is no adherence to Catholic doctrine and no apparent desire to change. I believe this proceeds from Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Colleges and Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Out of the Heart of the Church.”

    Sad to say, I’m familiar with two formerly Catholic colleges where this happened. At one of them, according to the report I read, campus ministry was providing escorts to Planned Parenthood and an obscene play was being staged annually. It seems that the repeated attempts of the local bishop to correct these situations were ignored.

    God bless Patrick Reilly and everyone at Cardinal Newman Society for their great work.

  20. Titus says:

    Law schools are often quite distinct little fiefdoms inside universities: the Newman Society ought to have written to the Dean. The practical ability and willingness of the university president to call the law school to the mat on something like this will be influenced by a wide variety of factors and should not be counted on. I say that even assuming that the president is a man of decency and good will, something I personally have no reason not to believe.

    Drinan’s abhorrent advocacy of infanticide (unsurprisingly) stirred *no* substantive negative response from his newchurch heirarchy.

    Well, that’s not entirely correct. Drinan was the primary impetus for the current Church-wide ban on the holding of elective office by clerics. The Holy See recognized Drinan as a problem, enacted a statute to address part of the problem, and effectively applied it to Drinan himself (he did eventually give up his seat). That may have been “not enough,” “half measures,” and the like, but it was a negative response. Combined with the Church’s well-known opposition to abortion, I think it even qualifies as “substantive.”

  21. Titus says:

    “[BC is a Jesuit-run school]…” Sort of. It’s actually a “school in the Jesuit tradition,”

    The catchy newspeak slogan reflects the fact that the university is not actually operated directly by the Jesuits: they turned the school over to a board of trustees, on which some Jesuits sit. (At least, I assume they did: everyone else did I can’t imagine BC having bucked that trend.) You see the same thing at ND: the signs say “founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross.” To understand why that was done, you somehow have to put yourself in the shoes and mindset of a cutting-edge 1970s academic. This is a task I have never accomplished.

  22. Seraphic Spouse says:

    @John Joseph. I don’t get your point about Bernard Lonergan. I have taken many courses about the work of Bernard Lonergan, and lectured on Bernard Lonergan, and I don’t recall anything about positive and negative universes. I suggest you actually read his work and, better yet, take a class on it before using his name to tar someone or something un-catholic. There are many reasons to worry about BC; the Lonergan Center is not one of them.

  23. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Sorry, that’s @ JAMES Joseph.

  24. Joseph-Mary says:

    Will it never end?

    I suppose not until the Second Coming.

  25. FrCharles says:

    It makes me sad to read some of the comments about BC. I’m a student there, having been sent by my community. I’m not always sure what to do in my relationship to the place, but I pray for the courage to do whatever the Holy Spirit might have in mind for me. I thank you for joining your prayers to mine.

  26. jm says:

    Lonergan? LOL. The Emperors New Clothes. Another example of a widely mentioned theologian whose stuff is so opaque you’d have to be a ghost to grab hold of it. Which is of course why the Jesuits at BC would love him.

  27. Rich says:

    But, I thought Boston college was Catholic.

  28. DisturbedMary says:

    Are BC diplomas made of asbestos?

  29. Joanne says:

    My brother survived BC with his Catholicism intact, and the St. Mary’s Chapel @ BC is one of the loveliest places around, I think, to assist in the Mass, but – there’s a reason that lots of the remnant faithful say that BC stands for “barely Catholic.” A young person might choose BC for sort of general cultural reasons, ie, to be among one’s “tribe” of middle class Americans of Irish/Northern European descent, but I couldn’t really imagine anyone choosing BC out of a desire to practice or understand one’s faith more deeply. If anyone can make a case that I’m wrong about that, I’d like to hear it (really, I would), because my impression of the current state of “Catholic” colleges is depressing!

  30. Lynne says:

    “…it is the local bishop who has the authority to take away a college/university’s official Catholic status, when there is no adherence to Catholic doctrine and no apparent desire to change.”

    Ah, I’m sure Cardinal O’Malley will get right on this… Oh wait…

  31. tmitchell says:

    How unfortunate that yet another “Catholic” school has lost itself in the raging waters of modernity.

    Just an hour north of Boston College, in Merrimack, New Hampsire, there is a small, traditional, and best of all orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts school – The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. This small school is a wonderful example of Catholic education. Check it out at
    If BC stands for “Barely Catholic,” then TMC must stand for “Truly Madly Catholic!” I urge you all to check out the website, and please keep Thomas More College in your prayers!

    Disclamer: I am a sophomore at TMC. I was not asked to do this, and I’m sorry it came out sounding like a radio advertisement! Pax.

  32. Seraphic Spouse says:

    @jm. Philosophy is hard to read. Dogmatic theology is hard to read. To read Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, you have to do the work. Ditto Aquinas. And ditto Lonergan. Frankly, I find Lonergan much less of a snore than Rahner, but that may be because I am used to reading Lonergan and not used to reading Rahner. Don`t judge Lonergan by the kind of `Lonerganians` interested in further fuzzifying the language. There are some good introductions to Lonergan that make his ideas easier to grasp. Fr. Joseph Flanagan wrote one, and Hugo Meynell (if I spelt that right) wrote another.

    Whereas I would agree that a lot of French theory (like that of Jacques Lacan) comes down under Emperor`s New Clothes, you cannot say the same of Lonergan. Put down `Insight` and try something shorter. I suggest an essay out of `Collection` or `Second Collection`.

  33. Supertradmum says:

    Aidan Nichols has a somewhat introductory book on Lonergan. Lonergan belongs, partly, to that groups of theologians and philosophers who emphasize language, like Heidegger, and von Balthasar, because the ideas or ideals behind the language have changed. Lonergan is actually in the Thomist category and although I would rather read Thomas Aquinas directly, Lonergan kept Thomism in the arena of discussion, which was no small feat. One of my theology professors liked him, but on the whole, he was put aside at some Catholic universities who favored Rahner. Sadly, as most know,both Rahner and Lonergan disagreed openly with Humanae Vitae, putting themselves in the forefront of dissent, along with Schillebeeckx, Haring and others at the Toronto Conference the year before Humanae Vitae and writing articles against it after it was promulgated. Personally, I like Etienne Gilson better, who is not at all Kantian.

    As to Boston College, the era of dissent for that institution started a long time ago with many of the disagreements of Humanae Vitae. I have not read Malachi Martin’s book on the Jesuits, but I know he was very critical of the formation which started in the 1960s and quickly dissolved into disobedience on a large scale. I think the rot set in with de Chardin myself, who I read as a precocious 12 year old and had to get out of my system by good, solid Thomism after many years of flirting with the likes of Heidegger and von Balthasar.

Comments are closed.