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Monday, June 7, 2010

Sr. Carol Keehan Speaks to Gonzaga Graduates!

Go here to see the protest against Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. for inviting Sr. Carol Keehan to be their commencement speaker. Sr. Keehan is complicit in passing the pro-abortion Obama health care monstrosity for which she was rewarded with a presidential pen. (Is it valued at thirty pieces of silver?)  In endorsing the bill, she acted against the bishops and several have publicly repudiated her behavior. That hasn't kept a number of clueless Gonzaga students from attacking the messengers outside their graduation who stood up for the truth. Their attitude reminds me of the graduates at Notre Dame who attacked those who dared to defend the faith against the school's incredible lack of judgment in honoring the most pro-abortion politician in American history.

Well the Jesuits at Gonzaga are a match for Notre Dame's Fr. Jenkins it appears. Pray in reparation for the damage they are inflicting on Holy Mother Church. Jesus said, say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Gonzaga is sending mixed messages that teach young people, not to be soldiers of Christ, but to be politically correct compromisers of the truth. Shame on Gonzaga! They say "yes" to life at the March for Life in January and "no" to life at graduation in June. What a sorry example for their students!


  1. These protesters ruined a day that was the culmination of four years of my life. There is a time and a place for everything and MY graduation was certainly not that. And the bill does not support abortion, it has a clause which directly states that the government funding of abortion is illegal. This is how the bill was passed. You Win!!! but your too stupid to even realize it. Good Day.

  2. Sorry, boys, but you haven't done your homework.

    The bill allows "direct funding of abortion without restriction" according to an article in the New American.

    It references National Right to Life (NRL) whose lawyers studied the bill and found numerous provisions permitting abortion. NRL sent a memo to all the members of Congress elaborating on just one provision in the bill that will be used to kill babies.

    Here's a portion of the NRL analysis:

    "The provision in question was added to H.R. 3590 near the end of the Senate’s amendment process, as part of a 383-page Manager’s Amendment unveiled by Senator Reid on December 19. Senator Reid immediately filed a cloture petition on the Manager’s Amendment, preventing consideration of any revisions to it, and severely limiting opportunities for analysis and debate. The Manager’s Amendment was adopted on December 22, and H.R. 3590 passed the Senate on December 24.

    "Buried deep in the Manager’s Amendment was new language making a direct appropriation of funds for Community Health Centers (CHCs) (which are also called Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs), totaling $7 billion ($7,000,000,000) over five years.... Because this is a direct appropriation in the health care bill itself, these funds will not flow through the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. Therefore, these funds would not be covered by the Hyde Amendment."

    In other words, the bill allows abortion.

    Do the homework instead of just calling people "ignorant" for telling the truth. Read the analysis at

  3. I don't know if you have heard this, but last year I spent AN ENTIRE QUARTER, one-fourth of my school year, learning about why abortion is wrong.

    I learned that abortion is intrinsically wrong in all circumstances because it is the intentional taking of an innocent human life. I learned that 93% of abortions in the US are requested for social reasons, 3% are requested for eugenic abortions, 1% are requested for rape an incest, less than 1% are requested for the life of the mother, and 3% are requested for the health of the mother.

    I learned the arguments for why conception, implantation, brain waves, quickening, viability, and birth are the start of life, and WHY ALL OF THEM ARE WRONG EXCEPT FOR CONCEPTION. I learned that there are more Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the US than abortion clinics.

    I learned about suction aspiration (vacuum curettage), dilation and curettage, RU 486, dilation and evacuation, salt poisoning, prostaglandis, and partial-birth abortions. And yes, they all disgust me. I am pro-life, not pro-choice.

    So maybe, HOPEFULLY, now you understand that Gonzaga is pro-life.

    Also, maybe you haven't done your homework, Mary Ann. Have YOU YOURSELF read the Bill? I read THE ACTUAL SECTIONS OF THE BILL ITSELF REGARDING ABORTION, and in Section 1303 it clearly states that federal funding of abortion is not allowed. You only heard that it was through AN ARTICLE on a biased website. Pathetic.

    Why don't you stop getting your information from biased websites and READ THE DAMN BILL and then get back to me. A student who read the actual sections of the Bill itself and not a damned article.

  4. I've read sections of the bill, Anonymous - maybe even as many as you have. I downloaded a link to the complete bill on my blog during the debate.

    But I think the analysis by legal experts in the pro-life movement is worth something although you apparently do not. (I wonder if you ever did a research paper.) And when you call National Right to Life "biased" you sound like the pro-abortion lobby. Would you trust their interpretation of the bill?

    A student who has read parts of the bill and says it doesn't allow abortion is less reliable than the legal experts from many places (including the bishops' staff) analysing what the bill actually says and what the legal language really means. Do you think your high school dipoloma qualifies you to tell us what all the ramifications of the bill are? I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration and I'm not claiming to have that expertise.

    Before I sign a contract I get legal advice. I hire a mechanic to fix my car and don't try to read a medical textbook and perform open heart surgery on family members. Getting the advice of experts is something any sensible individual does and, in case you didn't learn this at Gonzaga, it is part of the process of discernment.

    Those who depend on themselves for everything are like the illiterate bank robber who decided to defend himself in court. He had a fool for a lawyer

    And profanity doesn't add to your argument, it just shows a lack of imagination as well as a lack of fundamental good manners.

    The protesters at your graduation were not your enemies. Neither am I. They did not ruin your graduation. They gave you an interesting story to tell about it to your children.

    I hope you will think about what it really means to be a Catholic man. The Church needs defenders of the faith, not cheerleaders for political correctness. The people on the sidewalk were defending the faith. Sr. Keehan was tickling your ears. She and those who invited her were the ones who turned your four years of CATHOLIC education into a mockery at the end.

  5. As class of 1960 from Gonzaga myself I am disappointed that someone with such doubtful prolife credentials was invited to give a speech to the graduates.

    I am proud to be a Gonzaga graduate and frankly think I learned more there in many respects that I did later in college at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia also a Jesuit institution. Great high school. Sorry they used such poor judgment in selection of a graduation speaker.

  6. People are not perfect. I am not perfect. Mary Ann, you are not perfect, and neither is Sister Keehan. She is a perfectly fine speaker. She has spent her entire career serving the poor and less fortunate. Even if she is pro-choice, which we don't know, we should embrace her. Love your neighbor. Forgive your neighbor. Leave the judging to the Lord. Why do you feel like you are entitled to judge Sister and Gonzaga? You are misinformed about Gonzaga. Well-intentioned, yes. Misguided, yes. I respect your opinion regarding Sister Keehan as I hope you respect my opinion. I resepect the protestors' convictions, but they were beyond insensitive to the graduates who have worked hard, the parents who have been supportive, the teachers who have worked equally hard, all current students at Gonzaga, and all the alumni. But if you are condoning the out of line protest at an improper time and place, then I believe that you are wrong.

    You seem to believe that Gonzaga is a failure of a Catholic school. You are wrong. Gonzaga is one of the best high schools in the country academically. Look at college matriculation list; it is quite impressive. Gonzaga is so much of a success that Bush's nephews, the EPA director's sons, and many other distinguished people entrust their sons to Gonzaga. The governor of Maryland, attorney general of Virginia, a former presidential candidate, and many other people are alumni of Gonzaga. But the role of a Catholic school is far more than academics. Gonzaga sets itself apart from other schools because of its service and faith. During the year, countless students volunteer in the McKenna Center (we are the only high school in the country with a men's shelter on campus.), tutor under-priviliged kids at Holy Redememer school, ride on McKenna's Wagon during lunch periods distributing sandwiches to the poor, work in Campus Kitchen (we are also the only high school with this program), and participate in summer service projects in New Orleans, the Dominican Republic, Emmitsburg, MD, Guatemala, South Dakota, and New Jersey. Even more amazing about this service is that 90% is truly volunteer work. A small fraction is essentially forced because of a service hour requirement. Every class has a retreat in order to grow spiritually, and they are a huge success. The retreats offer yet another way to serve! Upper classmen volunteer as retreat leaders.

    If you still do not believe me that Gonzaga is an exemplary Catholic school, visit the website and click on the religion department under "Academics." Look around and you will be impressed. While you're learning about Gonzaga, check out the article about service in the Washington Post:

    Please, consider rethinking the way you speak about Gonzaga. We work hard to uphold our extremely respectable reputation, and when you assault our school, we do not respond well as you may have seen. Sister Keehan did nothing to damage our reputation as "the premier Catholic high school in Washington" according to the Wall Street Journal.

  7. Thank you, Anonymous, for your post. It is courteous, unlike many that were left on the Restore D.C. Catholicism blog.

    Gonzaga is obviously doing a lot of good things. My daughter said the swim coach at her pool is from Gonzaga. She is so impressed with him that she hopes to send her oldest who is ten to Gonzaga in the future. That is one reason the protest was even more imperative from my personal point of view.

    Frankly, the fact that the school is teaching the pro-life message in the classroom (I am taking the students' word for that since I have no personal experience with Gonzaga.) makes Fr. Novotny's decision to have Sr. Keehan speak even more tragic. There is a serious disconnect between talking the talk and walking the walk. And actions speak louder than words.

    Your point that no one is perfect is, of course, true but completely irrelevant to the issue which is:
    Should speakers who advance ideas in opposition to the faith be honored and featured on Catholic platforms? The answer is a resounding NO! It doesn't matter how fine a speaker Sr. Keehan is. Many people who advance evil ideas are charismatic speakers. Look at every tyrant of history. They are generally spellbinding. And, in fact, the better the speaker the more dangerous when they don't stand for the truth. It doesn't matter that she wasn't talking about abortion. It is well known that she was instrumental in promoting the pro-abortion bill.

    By inviting a speaker who literally thurmbed her nose at the bishops over the abortion provisions in the health care bill, Fr. Novotny made graduation an exercise in cafeteria Catholicism. Abortion is the fundamental issue of our day and Fr. Novotny threw it out the window. I'm baffled as to why, if Gonzaga is as pro-life as you portray it, he would do that. There were certainly plenty of other speakers he could have chosen.

    The commitment of students at Gonzaga to service is a wonderful thing. But only people who are allowed to be born need services. The first right is our birthright. Many of the people protesting, work directly with women in crisis pregnancies offering alternatives to abortion. Some are sidewalk counselors. They put their money where their mouth is.

    Sr. Keehan's participation in Gonzaga's graduation was a scandal. If you can't stop a scandal (and the people protesting tried to get the school to replace Sr. Keehan), the next best thing is to shine light on it. That's what they did and the video shows them doing it peacefully.

    Fr. Novotny is the one who owes an apology to students and their families for inviting an inappropriate speaker for commencement Gonzaga also owes the bishops an apology for effectively dissing their authority. I often object to the bishops' actions, but in this case they correctly defended Church teaching. Fr. Novotny and Sr. Keehan did not.

    With regard to your statement on judgment, we are called to make moral judgments about actions. What we may not judge is the state of a person's soul. What the protestors did here was protest the immoral action of holding up for honor someone who deliberately, and against the bishops' explicit instructions, was directly instrumental in helping pass legislation that will kill children. That is seriously sinful and a scandal. It had to be opposed.

    We are called to be soldiers of Christ. The most painful battles are the "civil wars" within the Church. They are also the most necessary to fight, because they cause more damage to the faith.

    Thank you for posting. And may God bless you as you continue your education.

  8. I also read many of the comments on Restore DC Catholicism, and while some comments on the pro-Gonzaga side(for lack of a better term) were articulate and respectful, some of them were rude and something I was not proud of.

    With regards to the necessity of the protest, I understand where you are coming from. The protest portion on the street outside of St. Aloysius Church was reasonable. A line was crossed when the protestors went into the church and rudely disrupted the ceremony.

    The students are correct in saying that Gonzaga teaches a pro-life message. Please check out the religion department on the Gonzaga website. The best example of this would be Mr. Hartnett's page for his Ethics class. There you can see the actual powerpoints that he used to teach his class, and there is one on abortion.

    Father Novotny is one of the most honorable members of Gonzaga's faculty, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that he is an ideal president. He represents the values of a Christian in all that he does. Inviting Sister Keehan does not reflect poorly on Father Novotny. We do not even know for sure that Sister Keehan is pro-choice; it is all speculation. Yes, she supported Obamacare, but she did so in good faith that President Obama would issue an executive order, take it for what it's worth. Father Novotny talks the talk and walks the walk; just because he invited someone who may or may not be pro-choice does not mean that he supports abortion, which he does not.

    When I said that Sister Keehan is a "perfectly fine speaker," I was not referring to whether or not she is eloquent; instead, I was referring to the fact that she was a legitimate speaker. The fact that nobody is perfect is relevant to this issue. If we ruled out everyone who has ever made a mistake, then there would be no acceptable commencement speaker.

    The Gonzaga community understands that a pro-life stance means an unequivocal opposition to abortion, but it also means an equally unequivocal support for life at all stages.

    You yourself say that you "often object" to what the bishops do; in the same way, Sister Keehan disagreed. While I personally opposed the health care bill, Sister Keehan examined her conscience and saw that it has the potential to benefit and save millions of lives. Saving the lives of already living people can in no way justify the murder of unborn babies, but she used her God-given free will to support the bill, right or wrong in our opinion. We can do nothing but forgive her. What better way to demonstrate our forgiveness than to welcome her into our community?

    I do not doubt that the protestors are involved in their community and are doing great things. I wish there were more Catholics like that in this country. However, interrupting the graduation ceremony in the church is an insult to all people involved, and, honestly, isn't it just a little bit disrepectful to have outbursts in a church of all places? Also, do you condone the mocking of Cardinal McCarrick as he struggled up the steps? I hope that you found it to be extremely disrespectful, regardless of your personal opinion of the cardinal.

    The protestors, it seems, were generally peaceful. Were some of their comments disrespectful to the students and teachers? At some points, yes.

    Father Novotny said that inviting Sister Keehan was in no way a political statement, and I take him at his word. We are honored to have had such an accomplished guest speak at the senior's graduation.

    With respect to judgments, we are called to make our OWN moral judgments. What our neighbor decides is moral is between our neighbor and God. Should we try to calmly, rationally, and respectfully help them to come to the right conclusion? Absolutely, but it is not our job to decide whether a person's support of a piece of legislation is sinful or not.

  9. We are called to have an informed conscience and make moral judgments according to the doctrines of the Church. I can disagree with the bishops on matters of prudential judgment. However, when they defend the doctrine of the Church, all Catholics should stand with them including Fr. Novotny and Sr. Keehan.

    If Sr. Keehan thought an executive order could overrule a bill (It can't. It can also be easily rescinded.), she is ignorant about how government works. Since many legal experts for the pro-life groups and the bishops were pointing that out, she had to ignore them.

    It is fundamental in moral theology that you cannot choose evil in order to do good. The end can NEVER justify the means. Certainly Fr. Novotny and Sr. Keehan know that.

    The bill expands the murder of the innocent. No Catholic could legitimately support it no matter how much "good" they think the bill will accomplish. The fact that it also earmarks $75 million for contraceptive sex education is another immoral element.

    And, yes, it is objectively sinful to support legislation that advances the murder of the innocent. Whether the person who does it is invincibly ignorant and therefore not personally guilty of the sin is for God's determination. But, as Jesus pointed out in the parable of Dives and Lazarus, we have the ten commandments and the prophets (including the magisterium) and should listen to them.

    With respect to rudeness, yes, it is a fault. But when I measure rudeness against enabling the murder of the unborn, it's hard to get excited about it. And calling it violent is simply dishonest. (I was on a website yesterday that was over the top fulminating on the "violent" protestors at Gonzaga. It is typical of liberals to label anyone who strongly disagrees with them violent, another example of their dishonesty. I've been accused of it for disagreeing without even raising my voice.)

    As for Fr. Novotny saying inviting Sr. Keehan was not a political statement, that is either naive or silly. It is impossible to invite a person at the height of a publicly political controversy without it being seen as a statement of support. As I said earlier, the protestors were correct to oppose it.

    Thanks again for posting. The loyalty you show for your school is admirable, although in this case I think it is misplaced. It's an act of charity to admonish those we love when they do something wrong.

  10. Mary Ann, thank you for coming to our defense and for speaking the truth in a reasoned fashion. As a reminder, I point out that we most certainly did plead with Father Novotny to rescind this invitation, pointing out the fact that her actions of two months ago imperil not only unborn children but the elderly and infirm who WILL be at the mercy of the death panels that are embedded in the bill. Father Novotny treated our concerns in a most dismissive manner. He went so far as to point out that Sister received an award from the Holy Father; of course that occurred several years ago, but Father didn't point that out.

    Shouts (and comments on my blog) abounded that "you ruined my day". Not so. It was the presence of Sister Carol who ruined your day by her being placed in a position of honor, when two months ago she forfeited any right to such honor. We merely shined some light on the matter rather than let one and all be blind to the travesty occurring in their midst. I agree that it is Father Novotny and the other members of Gonzaga administration who owe one and all apologies.

  11. While I enjoy a civil dialogue, I think it is worth saying that regardless of charity and other very good things, both the sister and the Jesuits seem on the face of it to have violated their vows of obedience.

    There simply is no excuse for that. But I've come to expect it from what passes for religious these days.

    I certainly think that demonstrators should not disrupt the proceedings, at least if they want to be distinguishable from the out of control nutniks that throw pies at Ann Coulter and such.

  12. "No Catholic could legitimately support the bill." I agree, so why don't you protest on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks down the street from Gonzaga! Protest the actions of the Catholics who voted for the bill. Regardless of whether or not Sister Keehan supported the bill, she does not have a vote in Congress; say what you want to say about her providing "political cover", but in the end, her endorsement accounted for nothing. The Catholic Democratic congressmen and congresswomen could have prevented this bill from becoming law. Protest outside their offices, seeing as you were already in town. Hey what a minute! The Supreme Court is also in D.C.! Protest on the steps of that institution. Protest Justice Sotomayor, a pro-choice Catholic, who actually makes a difference in the nation's policy regarding how it treats the unborn. Protest Vice President Biden, a Catholic who is liberal on abortion, or House Speaker Pelosi. That would have accomplished much more, and in all honesty, if you protested those people, many in the Gonzaga community would have joined you. Instead, you protestors tarnished your cause that the Gonzaga community would have overwhelmingly supported with you, and you come across as childish, immature, and pathetic.

  13. Michael,
    Bad example harms us all. You suggest that because there was no direct control of political affairs that the action of supporting immorality has no consequences. That's about what I expect from a high-school student so if you're one of the Gonzaga students you still have a lot to learn.

    The school gave very bad example by inviting the sister to speak. I had no part in the protest, but on the whole the protesters were right and the school was wrong.

    Bad example especially from a school is very damaging.

  14. Michael,

    Pro-life activists, as the protesters are, have done everything you suggest and more: direct assistance at the abortion mills through sidewalk counseling, crisis pregnancy center work, helping workers in the abortion industry get out and find new jobs, offering shepherding homes to unwed moms, going to jail for participating in rescues, etc. We continue to do these things in addition to education and lobbying.

    But a serious problem that has undermined pro-life work is the betrayal within the Church. Catholic institutions (many Jesuit schools included) honor pro-abortion politicians and other who enable abortion. When there are no consequences for betrayal, why should anyone stop? As a mom of five I know if I rewarded the bad behavior of my children I got more of it. Rewarding those who enable abortion does the same thing. It emboldens others to thumb their noses at the Church expecting no consequences.

    If no one objects to the scandal of honoring Catholic pro-abortion politicians and others like Sr. Keehan, many think it is perfectly fine and in line with Church teaching. People pay more attention to what prominent Catholics (like Fr. Novotny and Sr. Keehan) DO than what Church documents SAY.

    That's why faithful Catholics had to oppose Notre Dame honoring Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy getting a near canonization at his funeral and, yes, Gonzaga honoring one of the primary lobbyists for the pro-abortion health care bill.

    Those who publicly betray the Church must be publicly confronted for their actions. If I had attended Gonzaga's graduation I would have knelt in reparation on the sidewalk with a sign and prayed the rosary for all those involved. Instead, I'm praying my rosary at home and offering Masses of reparation for both those who invited Sr. Keehan and for her as well.

    Jesus told Pilate that the one who betrayed him committed the greater sin. Politician Pilate was guilty, but Judas was worse. Those who betray the faith need to be prepared for the consequences.

    It is not "childish, immature, and pathetic" to defend the faith. It's being a soldier of Christ. What's "pathetic" is having to defend the faith against those who should stand firmly on the side of Christ like Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame and Fr. Novotny at Gonzaga.

  15. Clearly you do not have any class. Was protesting at a high school graduation really necessary? You are so selfish and liberal and should have been arrested for trespassing on gonzaga's property. Not to mention you ruined what would have been an otherwise, amazing and life changing day for these men of Eye Street. You should be ashamed!