Faculty Letter Criticizes Dropping Abortion from Catholic University's Insurance

A letter that is reportedly circulating among faculty of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) criticizes the administration’s recent decision to delete coverage for abortion procedures from its health insurance plan.

According to Matthew Archbold at the Cardinal Newman Society, the draft letter cites Pope John Paul II’s words “as a foundation for its argument that the University should cover abortions in its insurance plan:”

A culture of life requires the creation of a community that “assists each of its members to achieve wholeness as human persons,” a community that affirms and protects the dignity and autonomy of its members (John Paul II’s 1990 Ex corde Ecclesiae). The University community in its policies and processes therefore must ensure women’s integrity and autonomy and collaborate in the creation of an environment where women can “achieve wholeness as human persons.”

The letter asserts:

LMU can either be a great American Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, or it can be an institution that demands obedience to and conformity with Catholic doctrine; it cannot be both.

Faculty are asked to “add your signature to this letter” and contact Amy Woodhouse-Boulton, associate professor of history and member of the faculty senate for further information.

Archbold reports that when contacted by the Cardinal Newman Society, Woodhouse-Boulton admitted to authoring a letter with her colleagues but would not confirm her association with the particular letter that expressed displeasure with the removal of insurance coverage for abortion.

The letter requests that the LMU board of trustees “reconsider” its decision so that they might “honor our Catholic commitment to pluralism, freedom of conscience, the integrity of the individual and social justice.”

The authors of the letter argue that the administration’s decision is worrisome to many because it suggests a “lack of a consistent or well-articulated vision for the University and its Catholic mission:”

LMU’s handling of this issue seems to be a part of a broader pattern in which the University has tried, with varying degrees of success, to find a middle path between what it often perceives to be two competing visions of forces, pulling the University to be ‘more Catholic’ or ‘more secular.’ Instead of articulating a strong vision of the unique strengths of the University, we have tried to navigate these forces or, hypocritically, shown very different faces to different audiences.

Archbold further indicates that the letter goes on to criticize Catholic parishes for indoctrinating Catholics:

As a university, our Catholicity is made real in ways different from the parish. We have a mission to educate, not to indoctrinate; we have a mission to teach students how to think critically and how to engage in their own moral discernment, not to enforce doctrinal orthodoxy.


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