I’ll be the first to admit that my articles here on Freedom’s Discourse typically are a bit negative. Of late, I’ve been examining Vatican II and its “spirit” which makes me a bit angry and quite close to despair. Given my polemic disposition, I often focus on what is going wrong instead of what is going right (which might also have to do with the fact that more is going wrong than right, but I digress.)
That being said, I must give a standing ovation to Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S. J., who is the President of Seattle University. This past Thursday, I was alerted by Students For Life that a pro-abortion event was being held at Seattle University (a Jesuit Catholic school). This event was described by the host group, Nursing Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health, in the following manner:
Dr. Pentlicky from Planned Parenthood of Seattle will be giving a presentation and discussing her experience of being raised Catholic and how she came to be a full spectrum reproductive healthcare provider. She will also be holding a Q&A for any and all questions related to her work and reproductive healthcare in general.
Though this angered me, at this point I am pretty used to such things. (If I recall correctly, Gloria Steinem gave a speech at St. Norbert College in the not so distant past.) I was disappointed in the University and just a little upset…but then I saw the flier advertising the event and my heart dropped. They had crassly included a rosary on the flier…and replaced the Crucifix with an IUD. The insult to Our Lady and to our Lord’s Sacrifice was too great! Luckily, Students For Life had included an email address for the aforementioned Fr. Sundborg.
So, expecting my email to go straight into the trash bin, I wrote what Students For Life suggested; specifically, that he should either cancel the event or make a public statement to all students that the university does not agree with Dr. Pentlicky’s message, and to also allow Students For Life to bring in another event who can speak the true message about the Catholic view of women’s healthcare. I hit send and figured that was that.
So, imagine my surprise when I just received the following email from Seattle University Communications:
Thank you for your email. Fr. Sundborg appreciates hearing from you regarding the event. Upon learning about the event and the flyers associated with it on Thursday afternoon, Fr. Sundborg released the following statement:
Statement by Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., President of Seattle University
February 25, 2016
“The promotional materials associated with this event were outrageous and offensive to the Catholic character of our university. The way the event was promoted is not acceptable as it denigrates Catholicism and the materials should have never been approved. The event will not be taking place this evening and the students involved in the planning will be looking to include additional viewpoints and perspectives before seeking to reschedule it.
“Our understanding is that the students will be removing the flyers posted or otherwise placed around campus. Additional measures will be taken to prevent such materials from being distributed on campus in the future.”
Alleluia! I send emails quite often, I’ve spoken out against NDO’s and against abortion, but I can’t think of the last time that I’ve tangibly seen it make a difference! I want to applaud Fr. Sundborg for his response and encourage his peers in Catholic universities throughout the nation to pay close attention. I strongly recommend you contact him at email@example.com and thank him.
Also, I encourage you to get in touch with Lisa Atkins from Students for Life and join her mailing list so that you too can be kept up on the latest efforts of Pro-lifers on college campuses. She is the Northwest Regional Coordinator so her emails will be relevant to our general region. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m sure you can find out more directly on the Students For Life website.
If there is any lesson to be taken from this it is the fact that our voices can make a difference. We must remember this especially as we continue into the election season here in Montana and across the nation. Never be afraid to contact your political representatives, school officials, or even organizations like Land’s End.