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Students petition SMC in wake of demonstration

and | Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday afternoon, Saint Mary’s vice president for student affairs Karen Johnson sent an email to students in response to events last week “that called into question the faithfulness to the Saint Mary’s College mission as a Catholic, women’s, residential, undergraduate college in the liberal arts tradition.”

IMG_0021Stephanie Szymas

Last Thursday, the Feminists United club at the College hosted a display of 1,852 flags, each of which represented 10 services offered by Planned Parenthood not related to abortion.

The next day, Saint Mary’s senior Mary Robin created a petition on the website change.org titled “No More Celebration of Planned Parenthood at Saint Mary’s College.” As of midnight Thursday night, the petition had 595 signatures.

Robin said the goal of the petition is to encourage the administration to reaffirm the College’s identity as a pro-women, Catholic institution, dedicated to educating the truth about the sanctity of life and Planned Parenthood.

“This petition is simply asking the administration to stick to the mission and guidelines it is supposed to honor in the first place,” she said in an email. “This petition is asking Saint Mary’s to reaffirm its loyalty to the Catholic faith and clearly declare its dedication to the pro-life, pro-women movement that Planned Parenthood so obviously works against.”

All of the information on the petition’s webpage was obtained from students in the Feminists United club, students who witnessed the display or social media posts, including the post by Planned Parenthood Action celebrating the display, according to Robin.

She said the petition has received support from Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, as well as alumnae and families of students.

“The comments on the petition page have varied from joyous gratitude to everyone signing for this reaffirmation of Saint Mary’s Catholic identity, to sheer sadness and disappointment in this public display of support for an abortion business, all the way to downright frustration — families promising to withdraw financial and public support for Saint Mary’s until a positive, pro-life statement is made by the school,” Robin said.

In yesterday’s email, Johnson said in the email the College consistently upholds its Catholic mission.

“As a Catholic college, we strive to foster a culture in which faith and reason are cultivated,” she said.  “The liberal arts tradition calls us to investigate, study and ponder the very difficult circumstances facing society. We do so through the lenses of both faith and reason.”

Johnson said education can occur outside the classroom in the form of College-hosted lectures, department- or club-sponsored panel discussions and distribution of facts and information through mediums such as posters or handouts.

In the email, Johnson shared the following three guidelines, which she said are consistently followed by Saint Mary’s:

  • “Education at Saint Mary’s includes examining and critically evaluating controversial issues from many perspectives. Saint Mary’s supports a long and revered tradition of open dialogue and free access to information.”
  • “At a Catholic institution, activities that advocate and support Catholic teachings are appropriate and welcome.”
  • “It is inappropriate for Saint Mary’s College student clubs and organizations to advocate for or support organizations, agencies or groups that act contrary to Church teachings or to sponsor events that advocate positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Concerning the third guideline, Johnson said students’ ability to host events goes hand-in-hand with a responsibility to uphold Saint Mary’s mission.

The co-curricular environment provides an opportunity for advocacy and support. Some student clubs and organizations exist to effect change. Student organizations are granted certain privileges such as the sponsoring of events; those privileges are accompanied by responsibilities. Because Saint Mary’s College is a Catholic college, among those responsibilities is consistency with Catholic teachings. Sponsorship of a speaker, in and of itself, does not constitute advocacy or support of ideas expressed by the speaker,” Johnson said.

Saint Mary’s student body president senior Kaitlyn Baker said in an email to the College’s students yesterday that she initially sought her position in order to allow all voices to be heard.

“I also believe that there are two sides to every story, and in most cases, even more than two sides,” Baker said. “It is important for us as young women to be well-educated and then given the freedom to think critically about what we have learned, form our own opinions and stand up for what we believe is right.”

Along with standing up for beliefs, it is also important to listen to, learn from and respect each other, Baker said.

“We all know that there is more than one way to be a Belle,” Baker said. “And since this year’s core value is community, it is important that we unite as a community to recognize, learn from, and respect the unique gifts, talents and opinions that every Belle brings to the table.”

Robin said the purpose of the petition was not to degrade Saint Mary’s, but rather to an attempt to improve it.

“ … I believe the level of response speaks to how highly we all esteem and love our school,” she said. “We have such high expectations of this beautiful school and are so proud of its heritage. … It is a painful sight to see its most important identity compromised in such an unmistakable way.

“We want our school to be as bold and courageous as the students it educates,” Robin said. “We expect our school to be so especially when its Catholic integrity is challenged on such a critical issue. The Sisters who founded Saint Mary’s would want no less of us and neither will our daughters who may want to come to our alma mater.”

 

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About Alex Winegar

A junior at Saint Mary's, Alex is a Communicative Sciences and Disorders major. She serves as the Saint Mary's co-associate news editor. Alex enjoys traveling, food and spending time in "The Mitten."

Contact Alex

About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

Contact Kathryn
  • Annette Magjuka

    Planned Parenthood provides many health services for women. Obviously, the church is against abortion, But they are not against check-ups, STD tests, etc, right? Censorship is not OK on a college campus.

    • Jennifer

      The truth is that those other services are available at many many other places that do not support abortion services. There is no reason that PP needs to exist except for someone to obtain an abortion. As a Catholic institution, the college has every right (and responsibility) to NOT support companies that are pro-abortion.

      • Annette Magjuka

        Jennifer, there are not “many other places” for women to get health services. This is a myth. Planned Parenthood has been providing services for young women and poor women for years. They provide legal and safe services. If a woman does not believe in abortion, she does not have to get one. If she does not want birth control, she does not have to get it. And it is important to remember that there are many progressive Catholics at ND and SMC who value providing safe care for women in poverty. Planned Parenthood has a positive track record in this area.

        • Urstpsoshtup

          It’s not a myth. There are other places for healthcare. Even healthcare for the impoverished. Stop kidding yourself.

          There is no such thing as “progressive Catholic”
          Either your Catholic or your not.

          • MJ

            “Either you submit to the religious whims of men in a faraway land who want to control your life, or you don’t.”

            There, fixed it for ya.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            There was nothing to fix.
            But, thank you for the story.

          • MJ

            I couldn’t resist, sorry – a bit tongue in cheek. Perhaps because I cannot subscribe to a Catholic ideology which requires me to follow without question everything that comes out of Rome. Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong – and wouldn’t want to put words in your mouth – but that’s exactly what I read when I see something like “There is no such thing as ‘progressive Catholic'”. Blind obedience without using one’s conscience. I would define myself as a progressive Catholic too, because my Catholic faith leads me to what most people would call progressive values regarding service and care for my fellow man.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            I appreciate your humility and apology, it is admirable. Humility and kindness are virtues that can take you a long way in life, to be sure.

            You always have a choice to be a Catholic or a non-Catholic. Rome can’t force you to believe anything. Actually no one can force you to believe anything.
            That’s the beauty of free will.
            The Catholic Church would love everyone to question what comes from Rome. They encourage knowledge. Why would someone follow a teaching that they don’t understand? Maybe out of trust or laziness, I presume. But to continue in laziness and dependance at a later stage in life would be absent minded.
            Love isn’t love if it’s demanded. That’s why love is a gift. No one can fully accept and love someone or some teaching without fully understanding ‘the why’s’.
            You either agree with a belief or not.
            That’s why there are Protestants. They “protest” the beliefs of the Catholic Church. If someone knowingly rejects the teachings of the church they are not Catholic. They are what they believe and practice. Which is as it should be.

          • Jennifer

            Thank you so much, Urstpsoshtup! Gosh, I haven’t heard the “blindly following the pope” argument in a loooong time, MJ. Catholics are supposed to challenge and question, just like Urstpsoshtup said! For example: The Pope just had a huge synod on the family two weeks ago where leaders from around the world came to the Vatican to question and debate where the Church stands with regard to marriage, family, relationships, etc. Heated debates with a huge spectrum of different ideas. “Truth” is simply Truth, no matter what changes in the world around us.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Preach it, Jenny!

          • Annette Magjuka

            I am a progressive Catholic, and there are many others.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Funny, I haven’t seen any Churches that have a sign, ‘Progressive Catholics’. I have only seen Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic. Maybe you’ve never heard of other churches like Protestant, non-denomination or community churches? Maybe you belong there.
            If you agree with abortion than you are whatever religion that believes in that. But come to think of it, I don’t really know of any institutionalized religion that follows that teaching. Christian religions follow the teachings of the Bible. The Biblical teaching states that you should not murder. At this moment I don’t know of any religion that promotes or agrees with infant killing. So maybe you don’t have a religion.
            You are just a want to be Catholic. You aren’t Catholic and there is no such thing as progressive Catholic. So stop trying to spin the definition of Catholicism.

          • Annette Magjuka

            I am a 59 year old lifelong Catholic. Urstpsoshtup, you have no right or authority to tell me I don’t belong in the Catholic church or to question my devotion to my religion. You are guessing at my beliefs. I am telling you that I am a progressive Catholic.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            I have every right to.

          • Annette Magjuka

            Are you my bishop?

          • Urstpsoshtup

            I am your sister through Christ that is deeply concerned about the grave state of your eternal soul.

          • Annette Magjuka

            With all respect, worry about your own soul. God bless you.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            With all due respect, I am obligated to fraternally correct you.
            According to God we are our brothers keepers.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Does your bishop stand by planned parenthood?

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Next time that you go to confession tell the priest that you are a dissenting Catholic that supports abortion and that you have been fraternally corrected.

            I have every right and obligation as a Catholic to fraternally correct you per the Cathecism of the Catholic Church.
            Look it up.

          • Annette Magjuka

            I do not support abortion. This is the end of our conversation.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Could have fooled me. You should be more transparent.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            If you really don’t support them, make a public statement denouncing them and all their works.
            A protest with the non dissenting Catholics would be a good start.

          • Annette Magjuka

            I support many of the services Planned Parenthood provides. Those who do not believe in abortion, as I do not, should most certainly not get an abortion.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            “I support many of the services Planned Parenthood provides.” You can not do this with a clear conscience.
            When you support them, you condone their actions. Therefore you are guilty of sin.

          • Annette Magjuka

            You have no right to talk about my conscience. I am concerned that you think it is your role to correct and scold others. You have your own conscience and soul to worry about.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            I only have an obligation and right within the Holy Catholic Church to correct my fellow dissenting Catholics per the Cathecism of the Catholic Church. I am fulfilling my obligation. Stop affiliating yourself with the Mother Church and I will stop correcting you. My conscience is now clear, until your next persistent stand and blatant support of an abortion mill AKA Planned Parenthood.

          • LoyalCatholic

            You are a fraud. Another “pseudo-Catholic” feminist masquerading as a Catholic.

            I will make sure that any parish you belong to (assuming you do) is not contaminated by your feminist/abortionist/sodomite behavior and beliefs by having you in the choir, eucharistic minister, etc.

        • Emily

          This is a website that has a listing of all Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States. http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ There are also rural public health centers, hospital health systems and county health departments that are not listed. (Taken from https://www.facebook.com/notes/abby-johnson-prowoman-prochild-prolife/frequently-asked-questions/778690595474349 )

        • LoyalCatholic

          Planned Parenthood is Joseph Mengele in female drag.

    • Urstpsoshtup

      Censorship is okay on private campuses.

      • João Pedro Santos

        ND and SMC are universities, they aren’t Fox News.

        • Urstpsoshtup

          We already established that.
          Whats your point?

          • João Pedro Santos

            Plot twist: hate speech isn’t free speech. Universities are supposed to be safe spaces. Unless you would agree if a university invited someone who defended nazism to talk. And I find so funny when right-wing extremists claim that they are oppressed in public universities because they can’t expose they backwards views but then they oppose when someone wants to talk about medicine in a university just because it is a self-proclaimed Catholic university. And it’s because of people like you that Catholic institutions have such a bad reputation.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Hate speech isn’t free speech- exactly!!!

            Standing by planned parenthood is hate speech. It’s hateful to kill fetuses. Fetuses are human beings. Killing human beings is hate. Decent human beings will always stand against it. Even if it’s considered backwards by some!
            This is why Catholics like me will always fight for the most vulnerable in society until death do us part!

        • Urstpsoshtup

          The vast majority of universities in the United States promote them- selves as institutions of free speech and thought, construing censorship as antipathetic to their search for knowledge. Their handbooks and poli- cies declare that students and faculty have the right of free speech,1 but surprisingly, most of those same colleges also have policies that explic- itly restrict speech. University handbooks commonly contain policies that prohibit offensive and uncivil speech, require administrative approval of flyers and publications, or cordon public speech to a small area of the campus.2 At public colleges, the First Amendment solves the conflict between a university’s policies promising free speech and its speech-restrictive policies by rendering the speech-restrictive policies unconstitutional.3 Private colleges, on the other hand, are not state actors, and thus, the First Amendment does not stop them from enacting speech-restrictive policies.4

  • Then riddle us this: Are vasectomies covered medical expenses under Saint Mary’s-Holy Cross College-Notre Dame medical plans? Birth control pills for *nod-nod, wink-wink* “medical conditions”?

    • Urstpsoshtup

      No, they aren’t.

      • João Pedro Santos

        However, under the Affordable Care Act they should be. By refusing to provide birth control, ND and SMC are violating the law.

        • Urstpsoshtup

          No they aren’t. It’s a Catholic institution.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Being a Catholic institution doesn’t give you the right to disobey the law. The law is secular.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            It’s called ‘Conscientious Objection’ .
            Some cases are still being debated in the higher courts.

            Hobby Lobby has already won. They are not required by law to provide birth control through insurance.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Denying healthcare is not “conscientious objection”, it’s a crime.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Calm down.
            No one said that they DENY healthcare.

            They don’t cover birth control. Which is a moral right and it’s appropriately called conscientious objection. And it wins in a court of law.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Plot twist: birth control is healthcare.
            And you clearly don’t understand the definition of freedom.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Plot twist: birth control is healthcare.
            And you clearly don’t understand the definition of freedom. Everybody has the right to decide what they want for THEMSELVES, not for others. If you want to profit from the work of people who don’t follow your dogmas, then give them healthcare.

          • Urstpsoshtup

            Exactly, if you don’t want to work there then don’t.

            You should decide for yourself.

            Their are people who are willing to work there who don’t want birth control.

            By the way, birth control is NOT health CARE. It’s a multilation and or distortion of a women’s reproductive and hormonal system.
            Do you know how many strokes have been associated with artificial hormones?
            Do you know how many IUDs have punctured women’s uteruses?
            How many Essure procedures have destroyed women’s lives?
            How many deprovera shots are directly related to depression?
            Etc…..

          • João Pedro Santos

            Do you have any sources confirming what you said? If you don’t, what you’re doing is lying. You’re no better than anti-vaxxers. And by the way, any kind of medical procedure is, by definition, mutilation (even if it’s life saving). Are you against saving lives because medical procedures are mutilation?

          • Urstpsoshtup
  • João Pedro Santos

    People petitioning to fight against quality and affordable healthcare. And that’s why so many people don’t like the Catholic Church.

    • Urstpsoshtup

      It’s not really about lay people’s approval. It’s about the whole issue which is abortion.
      You don’t see Christians fighting hospitals.

      • João Pedro Santos

        Oh, that’s right, every Christian supported the Affordable Care Act.

        • Urstpsoshtup

          You know as well as I that there are no absolutes when it comes to free will.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Then why are you trying to impose absolutes?

          • Urstpsoshtup

            What absolute?

          • João Pedro Santos

            Organized religion’s dogmas, for example.