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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Friday, June 03, 2005  

Fr Monk Malloy, CSC

In a commencement speech at Stonehill College in May, outgoing Notre Dame president Rev. Edward "Monk" Malloy, CSC, spoke on moral courage:

Fr. Malloy cited the example of the hotel manger in the movie Hotel Rwanda. An ordinary person, the manager became a “reluctant hero,” during the mass killings in Rwanda when he exercised enormous moral courage in the face of mass slaughter and used his abilities to saves lives.

Fr. Malloy reminded students that society needs more people like that manager who are not afraid to stand up and declare “this is unacceptable” when they encounter wrong.

The college president many regard as the voice of Catholic higher education in the United States now has an opportunity to demonstrate that actions speak louder than words.

Fr. Malloy this month is to be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Western Ontario.

So is Canada's pioneering abortionist, Henry Morgentaler, described by the school as a "Humanist leader" who is to be honored for championing a "Woman's Right to Choose."

The university's controversial decision to honor an abortionist has led to an online protest campaign and blog.

The honorary degree to Morgentaler has been defended by the University of Western Ontario's president and by faculty leaders, but the chairman of the school's board of governors says the award will inflict a "permanent scar" on the institution.

Fr. Malloy has said he nonetheless plans to accept his honorary degree on the grounds it is being awarded at a separate ceremony by Catholic colleges affiliated with the university. The university, though, does not note this distinction in touting Fr. Malloy among its honorary degree recipients.

As of last year Fr Malloy had received a dozen honorary degrees from various colleges. This spring he adds honorary doctorates from Stonehill and from his own Notre Dame, as well as the University of Portland's highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal.

Does Fr. Malloy need yet another laurel, from the University of Western Ontario, under the circumstances in which it would be presented?

That university is making a statement about its moral and cultural values in honoring a man specifically for performing thousands of abortions and for campaigning for hundreds of thousands more -- indeed, a man who himself escaped the Holocaust only to campaign for the devaluation of human life.

Might this not be a prime opportunity for Notre Dame's outgoing president to model the very course he urged of Stonehill graduates -- to stand up, on encountering wrong, and say "this is unacceptable"?

* * *

The Catholic bishop of London, Ontario, has written a strong letter of protest to the university president over the degree to Morgentaler.

* * *

At the NDNation board, commenter PPio04 submits this post re Fr. Malloy, "Missing Part of the Story":

Gerry Killan, the principal of UWO's Catholic-affiliated King's College, told me this week the board of King's passed a motion in support of the bishop's letter. "That's our position too," Killan said, "and we're sticking to it. We object to the granting of this degree to Dr. Morgentaler because of our principles about the paramountcy of the sanctity of life and we have stated such, both publicly and privately to . . . Davenport."

In talking with alumni of King's, or parents of students who've been sickened by the university's decision to honour Morgentaler, Killan points out that there will be 10 convocation ceremonies at UWO this spring. At the ceremony for King's, Huron and Brescia colleges, the recipient of an honourary degree is going to be Father Edward Malloy, president of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

When the news broke about Morgentaler, Killan says he called Malloy. "I certainly alerted him and told him this was happening and that I hoped it wouldn't affect his decision to come. I told him, 'There are 10 convocations, we've got our own, and you're the one we want more than ever now. You're here to represent our tradition.' And he said, 'I'll be there as scheduled.'

* * *

RP comments re Fr Malloy:

Maybe he's going to use the platform to speak out against abortion or in support of his views...I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt...

RP may be on to something. We shall see.

* * *

From the viewbooks:

King's University College: King's is a Catholic, co-educational, liberal arts university college, affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. A King's student is registered at U.W.O. and receives U.W.O. credits. Our students may take any course not offered at King's at Western, Brescia or Huron. All degrees are granted from The University of Western Ontario.

Brescia University College: Located on beautiful grounds next to The University of Western Ontario with which it is affiliated…As Canada's only university-level women's college, Brescia focuses on the needs of women learners…A Catholic college in the Ursuline tradition, we prepare our graduates to respond with wisdom, justice and compassion to a changing world.

The question: Is it possible for these Catholic colleges to maintain their tradition while affiliated with the secular University of Western Ontario that grants their students' degrees? When the university treads on these college's founding principles, what does it say of the university's regard for these colleges? Why would these colleges wish to remain affiliated with a university that holds such little respect for their religious views?


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