When the media have bothered to cover the controversy over the Obama Administration’s edict forcing Catholic institutions to provide free birth control, sterilization and abortificants, it has focused on young Catholics who dissent from the Church position.
In doing so, they are missing a much less predictable schism. For years, Catholic universities have gone along with prevalent academic fads whether they were in the best interests of the Mother Church or not. Now, prominent officials and spokesmen from Catholic institutions of higher learning are becoming increasingly militant in objecting to the new regulations.
The left-wing blogosphere lit up with glee when 30 Catholic professors signed onto an open letter critical of former U. S. Senator Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich for comments they allegedly made about welfare programs. By way of contrast, few media outlets have made note of the open letter denouncing the Obama Administration’s attack on the Mother Church that was signed by 300 Catholic scholars.
Only three of the 300 are from Boston College, and one of them is emeritus, while five BC profs signed onto the Gingrich/Santorum salvo. The trio who signed the former declaration of conscience includes:
- Law School professor Scott FitzGibbon;
- Richard Keeley, Associate Dean for Undergraduates; and
- Richard Cobb-Stevens, emeritus, philosophy prof.
Nevertheless, a spokesman for BC made clear in a recent interview exactly what stand the school would take. “Jack Dunn, Director of News and Public Affairs at Boston College, has previously told The Observer, ‘The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all Massachusetts medical insurance plans (including student plans) to offer prescription drug and outpatient service coverages to include contraceptive drug consultations and prescriptions,’” Allison Gallagher reported in The Observer at Boston College. “Obama’s new plan does nothing to change or alleviate this problem,” Gallagher notes.
“As with the federal regulations being discussed, the ‘church or church-controlled institution’ exception is very narrowly drawn and does not include an institution such as Boston College,” Dunn went on to explain.
“Many feel that Obama’s latest compromise is simply an accounting trick – translating the cost of the contraception without removing the controversial religious aspect of continuing to mandate the contraception,” Gallagher wrote. “The White House has made it clear that further changes to the proposed act, or any sort of withdrawal of the proposal, would not be forthcoming.”
“In keeping with Boston College’s Jesuit mission, Jack Dunn has told The Observer that BC Health Services does not provide birth control pills for contraception.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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