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‘Intellectually unserious’: Bishop rebukes Notre Dame ‘abortion doula’ event

The bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend rebuked the University of Notre Dame for its recent “abortion doula” event.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades denounced Notre Dame for the March 20 event which promoted abortion and include Ash Williams, an “abortion doula.”

Writing in the diocesan newspaper Today’s Catholic, Bishop Rhoades wrote that the lecture series “appears to be an explicit act of dissent from Notre Dame’s admirable institutional commitment to promoting a culture of life that embraces and affirms the intrinsic equal dignity of the unborn, pregnant mothers, and families.”

Not surprisingly, inviting an abortion doula to provide an unrebutted case for abortion has prompted a great deal of concern and criticism around the country and in our diocese,” the bishop wrote. “I share these concerns and consider the decision to feature such a speaker on campus to be both intellectually unserious and unworthy of a great Catholic research university.”

He further denounced the event for being focused more on activism and less of a scholarly debate.

He wrote:

The University is dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake. As a Catholic university, one of its distinctive goals is to provide a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity. … Notre Dame’s character as a Catholic academic community presupposes that no genuine search for the truth in the human or the cosmic order is alien to the life of faith.

But Williams is not a scholar or even a prominent public intellectual. The Gender Studies Program and the Reilly Center (and the other units on campus supporting them) are simply providing Williams — a person who literally facilitates abortions — a platform for unanswered pro-abortion activism. Academic freedom is meant to create the space for free inquiry and intellectual exchange in service of pursuing and sharing the truth in charity. But this lecture is simply a conduit for activist propaganda that is not merely wrong, but squarely contrary to principles of basic human equality, justice, dignity, and nonviolence that the Catholic Church, Notre Dame, and many others (including non-Catholics) have affirmed for millennia.

“I admire Notre Dame’s extraordinary teaching, scholarship, and service advancing a culture of life,” the bishop wrote, before listing pro-life organizations at the campus. “But the Gender Studies Program and the Reilly Center’s decision to invite an abortion doula to provide an unanswered activist’s case that abortion is a tool of justice for the marginalized is a grave mistake in judgment that creates scandal.”

Read the essay.

IMAGE: Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend/Instagram

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