Thursday, October 18, 2007

for the record: Holy Cross president clarifies stance, squelches rumors of decertification as a Catholic college

TO: Alumni and friends of Holy Cross
FR: Michael C. McFarland, S.J., President
RE: Upcoming conference

A great deal of misinformation and misrepresentation is circulating about the upcoming meeting of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy in rented facilities in the Hogan Campus Center at the College of the Holy Cross.

Many alumni have received e-mail or other correspondence from Raymond B. Ruddy '65, which is an unauthorized use of the College's alumni online community. It is disheartening that the College is being portrayed in this way; we are doing our best to make it clear what our position is and where we stand.

I'm writing to provide you with assurances and facts.

Holy Cross regrets any confusion that in renting space, the College is supporting Planned Parenthood, NARAL or other agencies that promote practices contrary to Church teaching. Our rental contract is with the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, an umbrella organization of about 50 groups, some of them Catholic. Our contract and dealings are do not involve Planned Parenthood or NARAL.

Holy Cross fully affirms and promotes Catholic teaching on abortion and the sanctity of all human life. The College is adamantly and clearly opposed to abortion, and has not wavered in this regard since issuing a statement in 1991 when students petitioned the College to organize a pro-choice student organization. See

Last week, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, asked the College to disassociate itself from the conference and the groups involved; and to revoke our contract with the Alliance. To cancel at this point would break a legal contract and would make it impossible for the Alliance to hold a conference that we believe deals with a worthwhile subject. Teenage parents and teenagers at risk of becoming pregnant are among the most vulnerable people in our country today.

As president of a Catholic college in the Diocese of Worcester, I wholly respect the duty of Bishop McManus to uphold the teachings of the Church—most especially the sanctity of life and opposition to abortion. However, it is the College's position that providing rented meeting space to a conference of professionals from a variety of Massachusetts organizations discussing the safety and care of at-risk teenagers does not represent a disregard of Catholic teaching.

Please also be aware that no Holy Cross administrators, faculty members or students are involved in developing conference content, nor will they attend the conference. This is a meeting of adult professionals who work for the health and well-being of Massachusetts teenagers and children.

I invite you to visit the section of our Web site where there is more detailed information, including the statement I issued last week.

With gratitude for your prayers and support,

Michael C. McFarland, S.J.
College of the Holy Cross
October 18, 2007

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