By John Ritchie
Over the last few days, thousands of Catholic students and concerned parents have joined TFP Student Action's recent e-petition, asking the president of the Catholic Santa Clara University to reconsider hosting pro-abortion author Amy Tan.
Those who expressed respectful concern, however, received an unexpected reply from Fr. Michael Engh, S.J., president of the university.
Santa Clara University’s policy on guest speakers does not require that they be Catholic to speak on campus, nor that they adhere to all of the formally defined positions of the Church or its hierarchy. We are a university that welcomes people with a variety of thoughtful and honestly held perspectives and we encourage debate on issues with a moral perspective. Specifically, the President’s Speaker Series is a venue to engage with "speakers and ideas that shape our world.” Each of the speakers has expertise on a significant issue of the day. This kind of open and diverse dialog is a hallmark of higher education and one that we at Santa Clara University uphold.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.
Santa Clara University
Although the guest author, Amy Tan, openly promotes abortion in her writings, she has been invited to deliver a lecture and do a book signing at Santa Clara University on January 17. It is difficult to imagine how her presence will help foster a "moral perspective" -- the mission of every Catholic institution of higher learning.
If Ms. Tan's ideas are allowed to "shape our world," what type of culture would they favor? Certainly not a Catholic one. Nor do her opinions respect the most basic human right, the right to life. Besides, aren't book signings designed to generate book sales? It seems as though "diverse dialog" is ignoring the counsel of Our Divine Savior: "Let your speech be yea, yea: no, no..." (Matt. 5:37).
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