Catholic Congressmen who support abortion – educated in Catholic schools

From CNS (check out their spiffy feed on my side bar) comes this, which can serve as an answer to why Bp. Vasa of Santa Rosa is keeping an eye on his Catholic schools:

Majority of Congressional Members Educated at Catholic Universities are Pro-Abortion Rights

A majority of members of Congress who were educated at Catholic colleges and law schools are pro-abortion. That’s the finding of a new report from The Cardinal Newman Society.

In all, 52 of 92 (56 percent) elected officials in the last Congress and current Congress that attended Catholic colleges, according to their congressional websites, have voted for pro-abortion rights and/or related funding.

In the 112th session of the House of Representatives there were 65 congressmen and women who attended Catholic colleges or law schools. Out of those, 35 support abortion rights. Out of the 12 Catholic-educated congressmen in the incoming freshman class for the 113th session of the House, six of them are pro-abortion rights. In the Senate, 11 of the 15 Senators who earned degrees from Catholic institutions have previously voted for abortion rights or related bills.

Nearly every Congressman and Senator in the report has a zero percent rating by the National Right to Life Committee and a 100 percent rating by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).

The following is the list of elected officials who were educated at Catholic institutions and have voted in favor of abortion rights:


Read the list there.

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  1. Choirmaster says:

    I was educated in Catholic schools from Kindergarten through Bachelor of Science. This does not come as a surprise to me. I wonder if my Alma Mater could boast of pro-life support from 44% of her faculty.

  2. Scott W. says:

    multi autem sunt vocati pauci vero electi

  3. Liz says:

    That’s pretty sad.

  4. Clinton says:

    Our decadent society badly needs well-formed Catholic leadership. That is one of the reasons,
    of course, that our entire system of Catholic higher education was built up. Imagine what our
    nation would look like if our Catholic leaders had been properly formed…. If we’re going to
    go to the trouble and expense of having Catholic higher education, shouldn’t we get something
    from it besides graduates indistinguishable from those of state schools?

    The results of this CNS study reinforce my own experience– of all the graduates of Catholic
    colleges I know, only a handful practice their Faith. Indeed, most look on the Church with a
    smirking, familiar contempt. What does it take before we pull the plug on the whole failed
    experiment, or even admit that we have a problem here?

  5. Patti Day says:

    No surprise, only further sad evidence.

  6. Bob B. says:

    Perhaps the term, “Partially Educated” might work better. An Exit Exam in middle school, high school and college in Catholicism is needed – just think people like Pelosi, Sanchez, and all the rest might still be in school!

  7. boxerpaws1952 says:

    just 2 quick comments; if they are going to be considered Catholic schools they should at least have Catholic teachings. If not-then lose the name Catholic. 2. given all the information that is out there re Church teaching on abortion is a poor Catholic education a reason.How could people not possibly know what the Church teaches? Maybe i’m naive.3. petitioned Notre Dame NOT to have Pres Obama as a key note speaker. Many of us signed it. It did no good. The whole affair was shameful.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    liz, i wouldn’t say “pretty sad”, i’d say appalling. good grief. 0/100? Deus adjuvet nos.

  9. mlmc says:

    sad fruit of the Cuomo’s and Kennedy’s scandalous political careers. The Church needs stronger action to counter the miseducation of the laity and the poor catechesis of the last 50 years. Looking back at the poor CCD program my children had, it is a wonder they know anything about our faith. Too much bad sociology topped with lefty economics, too little apologetics and theology. I “sunday home schooled” them for a while – but I naively thought the local parish program would do a good job & perhaps give them a broader perspective than I did. They actually preferred when I did it & I wish I had continued.

  10. mamajen says:

    Not at all surprising to me. We have a lot of very weak Catholic schools. Not only that, but often parents will send their kids to Catholic schools expecting the school to do all the work. Without ongoing guidance and catechesis from the parents, even a well-educated person can go off the rails later in life.

  11. BalmerCatholic says:

    Guaranteed if Bob Casey, Sr. were alive, Jr. would be disowned. Granted, not really the biggest fan of those old policies of his, but being shut out of the DNC in 1992 made Sr. a HUGE Pro-Life advocate. The PA delegation in that convention was the driving force behind the “I’m a Pro-Life Democrat, I want my party back!” campaign, led by Sr.

    My mother actually grew up with Casey’s former Lieutenant Governor, Mark Singel. Was Pro-Life along with Casey for their 1986 and 1990 runs, but when he threw his hat into the ring to fill Senator John Heinz’s seat after that tragic air collision, he switched over to the Democrat platform in an instant. Sr. practically disowned him, not throwing any support behind him in that primary, or the 1994 Gubernatorial primary.

  12. Joseph says:

    And while I am at it, I find very uncharitable not to point out, they are about to comit a sacrilege.

  13. Christine says:

    On the positive side, there are some really faithful Catholic colleges and universities out there that could really use our support. Two of my kids are going to Ave Maria University and when the rest get old enough to go to college, we will pull out the Newman Guide to Catholic colleges and if, God willing, we have the money and they have the grades, they will pick a school from that list, and that list only.

  14. The liberal years post VII has come home to roost. Papa Benedetto is right, the Church of the future will be smaller but more faithful. Fr. Z is right -the current Pope is riding high on public opinion but that will come crashing down in a matter of months. The world truly wants to dictate to the Church was is relevant and what is not. Truth is of no real consequence. The Church of public opinion or as what Flip Wilson would say the church of what’s happenin now.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    It should be added there Gregory, that when Benedict XVI said that, he was Joseph Ratzinger and it was 1969, I believe. He wasn’t wishing people would leave. Rather, he was merely reading the signs of the times. It’s a terrible thing to wish people would leave the Church. We should be hoping and praying that instead of leaving they stay and accept the challenge of growing in their trust and faithfulness to loving the Lord Jesus.

  16. Clinton says:

    Christine, I agree that there are some truly faithful Catholic colleges out there– sadly,
    however, they could probably be counted on one hand. What does it say about the state
    of so-called ‘Catholic’ higher education that responsible parents like yourself must use
    the Newman Guide to sift the wheat from the disproportionately large pile of chaff?

  17. Gratias says:

    Communism/Progressivism is a terrible Faith.

  18. Hopefully, all of our bishops will keep a close eye on Catholic education. The bottom-up approach has lots to recommend it, and it will bear fruit many years up the road. “Getting them while they’re young” isn’t as exciting as excommunicating older people, but it works and has lasting effect. If we continue to clean out the seminaries and clean out the schools and colleges, maybe in another 25 years Catholicism might be strong again.

  19. BLB Oregon says:

    I do not know many Catholics who can truly claim to be ignorant on the Church’s stance on this subject. Some have been misled about whether the Church’s teachings are actually binding and others have rationalized or else swallowed some bald-faced lies about what it means to follow one’s conscience, but are there many who truly do not know what the Catholic Church teaches about abortion, especially among members of Congress? I cannot see how that is possible. No one in Congress, not the Catholics or the Jews or the atheists or anyone else, whether they were educated in a Catholic school or under a rock somewhere, can possibly be ignorant of the Church’s absolute and unbending opposition to abortion under all circumstances.

    After a poll following Pope Benedict’s resignation, the New York Times reported that “Nearly 8 in 10 Catholics polled said they would be more likely to follow their conscience on ‘difficult moral questions’ than to follow the pope’s teachings.”

    This is the part that astonished me, though:
    “Majorities said they wanted to see the next pope maintain the church’s opposition to abortion and the death penalty, even though they themselves were not opposed to them. Three-quarters of Catholics supported abortion under at least some circumstances, and three-fifths favored the death penalty.

    “I can understand how the Catholic Church stands against it,” said Geri Toni, 57, of abortion. “We are not supposed to kill. That is one of our Ten Commandments.”

    “But as a woman,” said Ms. Toni, who lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and attends Mass weekly, “I have to make sense of it, and I believe choice comes down to the individual.”


    It seems we have believers who have been split within themselves….”I want A taught by the Church, but as a woman I feel I have to support X.” and “The Ten Commandments are the Ten Commandments…except when.”

    “But the serpent said to the woman..”…As always and with all of us, that is the primary problem, isn’t it? May Heaven have mercy on us.

  20. Tim says:

    I wonder what the percentage is of Catholic congress members who did not attend Catholic universities.

  21. Gaetano says:

    There are several graduates of my Catholic college in the House and Senate.

    They have a perfect 4 for 4 pro-abortion voting and advocacy record.

  22. Cathy says:

    Who was Father Robert Drinan? What did he do? What did he teach? Where did he teach? Whose rise to speaker of the House did he offer the Mass for?

  23. ndmom says:

    Not sure why this list comes as a surprise. Catholic universities, like Catholic parishes and K-12 schools, will reflect the Catholics who run, attend, and support them. Catholics, as a group, are fairly indistinguishable from the American population as a whole on just about every political, social, or moral issue. (In fact, they actually support homosexual marriage at a higher rate than does the general population). Students who enter Catholic universities were formed in Catholic homes and parishes that gave only lip service to studying and living the faith. We are reaping what has been sown over the past decades as doctrine was ignored in favor of “social justice” and “relevance.” The notion that a university, simply because it has some vestigal ties to the Catholic Church, will step in to properly form young adults whose formation was neglected until that point is absurd. But also absurd is the notion that parents who DID properly form their children in the faith have to fear for their souls if they do not attend one of the handful of tiny schools approved by the CNS.

  24. Clinton says:

    ndmom, I disagree. Not with your observation that children’s catechesis leaves much to be
    desired– it seems that too, too many kids enter college with only the sketchiest catechesis from
    their parochial school, CCD, and parents. And yes, it is absurd to think that a university with
    only a veneer of Catholic tradition will magically reverse years of neglected formation.

    My disagreement lies with your final statement, that if parents did their job right it matters
    little if their college is orthodox or merely vestigially Catholic. It stands to reason that a truly
    Catholic college might remedy prior deficiencies in formation– why have Catholic colleges
    at all, else? Certainly a teen attending an orthodox school, irrespective of his prior training in
    the Faith, stands a better chance of graduating with Faith intact than if he’d attended a school
    that only pays Her smirking lip-service.

  25. No surprise here. Saw it happening back in the 70s…so, I’m sure the rot at the core of small-c catholic Universities didn’t just pop up. Go back to the Land-O-Lakes declaration spearheaded by Notre Dame and Fordham wherein they so much as disclaimed any need to adhere to Catholic thought or teaching. My (RIP) spiritual director so much as told me my vocation to the priesthood was destroyed at my alma mater…and for that, he would never forgive them as my proxy (well, he was from Manhattan College…so, no love lost there for the cross-town rivals).

    We reap what we sow. For instance, Fordham trots out its “Jesuit” traditions, makes sure that the parents see all the priests in collar during student tours and parent’s weekend and highlight the University Church in all its publicity/marketing info. The reality is a LOT different, once those who pay the bills and think that their offspring are attending a rigorous Catholic university are off the reservation.

    It’s no surprise, with the secular humanistic theology that infests most catholic institutions of higher learning, that these percentages are what they are. I know I struggled with realigning my faith to that of the Church after a thorough indoctrination by the Company. Many are not so inclined, as witnessed by the fact that one of the most rabid current pro-death politicians (Andy Cuomo) is a product of Universitas Fordhamensis…and seems singularly able to publicly be a cheerleader for accommodation to the zeitgeist, as do those in the list.

    God help us. We reap what we sow.

  26. BLB Oregon says:

    “There are several graduates of my Catholic college in the House and Senate.
    They have a perfect 4 for 4 pro-abortion voting and advocacy record.”

    The devil knows Scriptures backwards and forwards, too. I do not mean to imply that these elected Catholics are the devil–Heaven forbid!!–but rather to point out that knowledge does not automatically imply fidelity. The fallen angels did not fall by lack of knowledge, but by hubris. With a malformed conscience, the devil has an awful advantage (so I am not saying that a Catholic education is at all unimportant), but even the well-formed conscience can still be assaulted and must love God and neighbor with heart and soul and mind and will, and by that fight to stand against temptation.

  27. BLB Oregon says:

    IOW, no matter what formation one has had, one must past through a deep valley of temptation even to get elected, and one is forced to live there in order to be a lawmaker. We ought to pray fervently for our elected officials. They surely need it.

  28. Magash says:

    There is much to say on this.
    First, this must be put at the feet of the bishops. It is their responsibility to call the universities on their failure to teach according to the Catholic Faith, and even more to maintain an environment where principles of the faith are upheld rather than both ignored and even ridiculed. They have not done this.
    Second, parents are responsible to not only ensure the proper formation of their children, they are also responsible to exercise due diligence in the selection of a Catholic college, (if they desire their children to attend a Catholic college.) Too many parents have not done that. They have either seen the “catholic” label on the university and expected that the school would teach according to Catholic moral principles or they have based their selection upon outdated information which in most cases predated VII.
    Thirdly, the real problem isn’t that people don’t know what the Church teaches. Of course these people and even most students at college even now know what the Church teaches. The problem is they don’t think that what the Church teaches is important. It isn’t just their knowledge that these schools have affected, it is their worldview. They have been convinced the the economy of salvation does not exist. That whether or not they choose ala cart Catholicism is unimportant to their real lives. That how successful, rich and happy they are on Earth is more important than their ultimate fate in the afterlife.

  29. ndmom says:

    “Certainly a teen attending an orthodox school, irrespective of his prior training in
    the Faith, stands a better chance of graduating with Faith intact than if he’d attended a school
    that only pays Her smirking lip-service.”

    First, a teen whose parents neglected his spiritual formation would be highly unlikely to attend one of those CNS-approved colleges. They are a niche product for a niche market of self-selected orthodox Catholics. Catholic U might be one exception, since it has long served many nominally Catholic or non-Catholic students, especially in its more vocational/professional programs such as architecture, music, or drama.

    Second, parents who have done their best in their roles as primary educators need to have a little more faith in their children and the Holy Spirit. If the concern is that a young adult may be in danger of losing his faith at a nominally Catholic university, what is going to happen to him when he leaves the university setting for the decidedly non-Catholic workplace or apartment complex or military barracks? I have had two children at ND, and both of them were quite capable of spotting heresy when they heard it. And pointing it out to others as well. And challenging the heretics. Be not afraid.

  30. BLB Oregon says:

    “They have been convinced the the economy of salvation does not exist. That whether or not they choose ala cart Catholicism is unimportant to their real lives. That how successful, rich and happy they are on Earth is more important than their ultimate fate in the afterlife.”

    I recently heard a young person say, “You only live once!” to which I replied, “That is very true, but don’t forget that it is forever.”

  31. Clinton says:

    ndmom, I’m not sure what information you have on the colleges on the CNS list. From
    what you’ve written, I think you’re under the impression that those colleges exist only in
    some sort of traditionalist ghetto, “a niche product for a niche market of self-selected
    orthodox Catholics”. Granted, some like Christendom College report about 99% of its
    students are Catholic, but others like Belmont Abbey and Benedictine have a student
    population of 80% Catholics, an even lower percentage than that reported by Notre Dame.
    St. Gregory’s student population is only 50% Catholic, and it’s on the CNS list. So no, those
    schools aren’t merely by and for ‘self-selected orthodox Catholics’.

    I’m delighted to hear that your own children turned out well after attending ND. I have no
    doubt that your own hard work and good example made all the difference. But you seem
    to be saying that if a parent does their job it doesn’t matter where they send their kids.
    If that’s so, then why do we bother to have Catholic colleges– good, bad or indifferent– at all?

    Sending one’s child to a Catholic college that takes its mission seriously will be a help if that
    kid’s previous formation was lacking. Taking that same child and sending her off to a school
    with only the barest veneer of Catholic tradition, cynically used by the administration and
    mocked by faculty– well, you’ll probably get another Pelosi. We’ve been churning out way
    too many Pelosies from our decadent Catholic schools– the solution to that problem does
    not include the proposition that the relative orthodoxy of Catholic schools is irrelevant.

  32. ndmom says:


    There are 22 schools on the CNS list. Only 9 of them serve more than 1000 students. Six of them have a student body of 100 or less, and four have student populations under 500. (One of the schools has 19 students. That is not a college. It is not even a high school.) At least half of the CNS list, therefore, are most definitely niche schools, and most of them do serve orthodox students. They don’t have the room or the academic offerings to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Catholic students applying to college each year. And they aren’t going to solve the problem of poor formation, which is the job of parents and parishes.

    Why do we bother to have Catholic colleges at all? Good question. Most of them have drifted away from their Catholic roots, just as many universities founded by various Protestant groups have become completely secular. They still exist because, for better or for worse, they are continuing to offer a product that parents and students are willing to buy. From what I can tell (and I have spent lots of time with orthodox parents of college-bound kids), parents regard college mostly as a secular educational product rather than the opportunity to complete their child’s Catholic formation.

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    You know, there’s a reason for this. It’s neither some kind of weird coincidence or horrible revolution. In order catechize someone, they have to have heard the kerygma and accepted it first as something worthy of their trust.

    If you just bombard the great majority of people with a lot of cultural things, even liturgical and devotional things without the kerygma in place in their religious life, you’re not going to get anything except imitation. If you bombard the great majority of people with a lot of moral rules, without the kerygma in place in their religious life, you’re not going to get anything but some type and degree of rebellion. It’s not so much that there’s “something wrong” with these people; they’re only behaving as people behave if they have not heard the Gospels in a coherent way and had a personal conversion experience to Jesus Christ.

    This is exactly what the New Evangelization is: the preaching of the Gospels in order to re-evangelize parts of the world and parts of the culture that didn’t *get* it the first time around. It used to be that people could become Christians by “osmosis.” That no longer works. The culture has changed.

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