Professors at Catholic University Outraged over Screening of Pro-Life Movie ‘Unplanned’

Unplanned
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Dozens of professors at King’s University College in Ontario, Canada, are outraged over the screening of the pro-life film, Unplanned. The professors believe the screening of the pro-life film will hinder the Catholic school’s efforts to recruit “excellent” students. The school’s principal responded by stating that while professors “do not need to prescribe to the tenets of the Catholic Church,” the Campus Ministry is still allowed to share its belief that life begins at conception.

Over 40 King’s University College professors and faculty members are demanding that the Catholic college apologize for screening pro-life film Unplanned earlier this month, according to a report by LifeSiteNews.

Unplanned is a U.S. film about Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager who quit her job after watching an abortion on an ultrasound, and has since become a pro-life activist.

In a bizarre letter published on Wednesday, the professors insisted that “the public endorsement of an anti-abortion stance” at King’s University College “is of great concern” and “antithetical” to the Catholic school’s mission statement, as well as obstructing the college’s efforts “to recruit and maintain excellent students, staff, and faculty.”

Therefore, the professors are calling on the college’s Principal, David Malloy, to deliver a “formal apology” for allowing the Director of Campus Ministry to screen the so-called “polemical film.”

The professors also demanded that Malloy “assure faculty and the broader King’s community that the institution will uphold its mission of the respectful and critical dialogue of difficult subjects in a scholarly, just and ethical manner and that the Unplanned event did not meet the threshold of those elements within the Catholic intellectual tradition,” among other demands.

The letter went on to claim that pro-life film has provoked “furor and fear” among students, staff, and the broader community, adding that it has resulted in the school losing “the opportunity to engage a highly inflammatory issue in an informed, deliberative context.”

“The organization of the Unplanned event was inconsistent with the principles of the Catholic intellectual tradition,” affirm the professors in their letter to Malloy, adding that the pro-life film was produced “in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood and undermine women’s reproductive rights.”

The professors also expressed their dismay over the school’s Director of Campus Ministry telling media that the Catholic college “chose to show the movie Unplanned because it’s really consistent with our general ethic of life at King’s,” and that “we support life as a Catholic institution from conception until natural death.”

“In speaking to the media, the Director of Campus Ministry stated, ‘I hope it sends a message to women that we are concerned about unborn children.’ This position is hostile to women,” affirmed the professors in their letter.

The professors also referred to the Director of Campus Ministry’s comments as “blatantly misrepresent King’s mission statement and values, which do not include any reference to an ‘ethics of life.'”

Malloy responded to the letter by reminding professors that while students and staff at the Catholic school “do not need to prescribe to the tenets of the Catholic Church,” the Campus Ministry is allowed to share its belief that life begins at conception, as the ministry’s stance does not represent “King’s as a whole.”

Malloy went on to explain that the screening of Unplanned “was an attempt to address the polarizing issue of abortion,” adding that “showing this film is consistent with King’s mission to be a place where controversial topics can be presented and discussed.”

“King’s, like any other university, is where challenging political, social, and religious topics can be discussed in an environment that is respectful and safe,” he added. “Open dialogue and debate about uncomfortable truths is part of our mission. We are not advocating for any side of this debate but rather being a vehicle for the conversation.”

This is vital to our life as a Catholic university,” affirmed Malloy. “Through this series we create space for open discussion, debate and dialogue.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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