A controversial fundraiser for the nation’s largest abortion provider is going ahead as scheduled on the grounds of the largest Catholic university in Southern California, despite thousands of protests lodged by concerned Catholics and others.
Archbishop José H Gomez of Los Angeles said he was “deeply disappointed” by Loyola Marymount University’s decision to allow the Nov. 5 event, which is sponsored by a student group.
In a statement issued on Nov. 5, the Archbishop said that he had been in discussions with Loyola officials emphasizing that “respect for the sanctity and dignity of all human life is central to Catholic identity and must be a core commitment in Catholic higher education.”
The Archbishop’s statement came after more than a week of controversy, led by Loyola alumni, who garnered nearly 20,000 signatures in online petitions calling for the event to be cancelled.
Loyola Marymount officials expressed regret for “the concerns this situation has caused our community members and Catholic partners,” but decided on the afternoon of the fundraiser to allow it to continue.
In a statement issued Nov. 5, the university tried to distance itself from the event, which will raise money for Planned Parenthood, which received more than $618 million in taxpayer monies and performed more than 350,000 abortions last year.
“The event being held this evening by Women in Politics, an independent student organization, is neither sponsored nor endorsed by LMU,” the statement said. “The university does not support, nor does it fundraise, for Planned Parenthood.”
Critics decried the university’s decision and noted that nowhere in its statement did it express commitment to the Catholic Church’s teachings on human life. Instead, the university expressed commitment to “its Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount values.”
In a letter sent to LMU president Timothy Law Snyder Friday afternoon, the LMU alum who started the online petition questioned the logic of “explanations from university officials” that the decision to allow the event “shall not be construed as approval” of Planned Parenthood.
“We hope even now that you will make the right choice rather than the politically expedient choice,” wrote LMU alumna Samantha Stephenson, a mother of three and Catholic blogger who credits her time at the Jesuit university with leading to her conversion to Catholicism.
In his statement, issued after Loyola Marymount’s, Archbishop Gomez stressed that abortion is both a moral wrong and a social injustice.
“From the first century, the Catholic Church has taught that abortion is a moral evil that involves the killing of the unborn child,” he said. “In our day, abortion often victimizes women in poor and minority communities and is used to eliminate children with disabilities.”
The Archbishop’s full statement is below:
Statement on Fundraising Event on the Campus of Loyola Marymount University
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
I am deeply disappointed that this abortion fundraising event is going forward as scheduled, although I acknowledge the university’s statement that it does not support Planned Parenthood and its pledge to review its procedures for future events.
From the first century, the Catholic Church has taught that abortion is a moral evil that involves the killing of the unborn child. In our day, abortion often victimizes women in poor and minority communities and is used to eliminate children with disabilities.
As I expressed in my conversations with Loyola Marymount officials, respect for the sanctity and dignity of all human life is central to Catholic identity and must be a core commitment in Catholic higher education. I am hopeful that the conversation we have begun will continue.