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This Catholic school ‘does not have a position on abortion.’ How is it Catholic?

School officials completely refuse to say

A Catholic college in Ontario, Canada is refusing to defend its Catholic character after a campus political controversy led the school to claim that it takes no position on the matter of abortion.

On Jan. 9, the office of campus ministry at King’s University College screened the film “Unplanned,” which depicts the story of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson’s journey to pro-life activism. The screening led to 43 professors sending a letter to the principal insisting that the director of campus ministry apologize for the showing of the pro-life film on campus.

The faculty members claimed the film was “polemical.” They were also upset over the campus ministry director’s stating to media that the college “support[s] life as a Catholic institution from conception until natural death.” The faculty called that position “hostile to women” and argued that the college itself does not take any official stance on abortion.

In a response to the community, the college’s principal, David Malloy, defended the decision to screen the film while affirming the faculty’s claims about the school’s position on abortion. “The presentation of the film and the belief of life beginning at conception is the stance of Campus Ministry and not of King’s as a whole…King’s does not have a position on abortion,” Malloy wrote.

School officials won’t talk

The College Fix reached out to school leadership to determine how exactly the college is constituted as “Catholic” if it refuses to pronounce on abortion, and whether or not the school takes an official position on any Catholic issue at all.

Malloy did not respond to requests for comment via email; nor did Sauro Camiletti, who serves as the school’s vice-principal and academic dean.

Campus spokeswoman Jane Antoniak did not respond to several emails from The Fix. She finally answered her office phone but said she had a meeting to go to and had no time to answer any questions. When pressed, she said that the controversy “happened a few weeks ago so I’m not sure what exact questions you’re asking at this point.” She was referred back to the emailed list of questions regarding the school’s Catholic character.

“I’m not the person to answer them unless you can update me on more recent questions” she concluded. She directed The Fix to Malloy’s previous statement, stating: “That’s pretty much all we have to say at this time.”

In his letter, Malloy wrote that the screening of the film was “an attempt to address the polarizing issue of abortion. Showing this film is consistent with King’s mission to be a place where controversial topics can be presented and discussed.”

In the college description on their website, King’s explains that “As a Catholic university, King’s emphasizes the value of each individual.” A recent survey of academic biologists found that an overwhelming majority believe that an individual’s life begins at the moment of conception.

The Catholic Church, meanwhile, explicitly forbids abortion, ordering that the commission of one results in immediate excommunication.

MORE: Dozens of faculty at Catholic college upset over screening of pro-life film

MORE: Following major petition, Catholic school cuts Planned Parenthood from resource page

IMAGE: King’s University College at Western University Canada / YouTube.com

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About the Author
Brianna Kraemer is a junior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs studying communication, political science and Spanish. While studying in Spain, she was a student blogger for the AIFS study abroad program. Her work has also been published in The Scribe, the student newspaper at UCCS. She participates in Turning Point USA on her campus and hopes to pursue a career in politics and journalism.

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