January 24, 2019
Dear Ms. Gregorian and Ms. Godovich,
My thanks to you and your classmates for your letter and petition expressing your disagreement with the decision to cancel classes for four hours on Friday, Jan. 18, so our students could participate in the March for Life. The decision to cancel classes for part of one day does not prevent this University or anyone associated with it from supporting other issues. To assert that Catholic University supports the rights of the unborn “to the exclusion of other issues” is to ignore the many initiatives we undertake on a wide range of issues. We cancelled classes on Martin Luther King Day so 800 of our students, including all 25 of our varsity teams, could dedicate a day to service projects here in Washington, D.C.
And the University has repeatedly expressed its support of the rights of immigrants. You might not be aware that last May, we invited Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles to be our commencement speaker. He talked about the importance of welcoming the immigrant. We gave honorary degrees to him and four other immigrants who have contributed in substantial ways to make America a better place. We recently launched a website that aggregates useful resources for immigrants and international students who need help to navigate immigration issues. I myself have written and spoken repeatedly in favor of immigration reform rooted in charity and hospitality. Each year the University sends students to Las Cruces and El Paso on an immersion border trip to introduce them to the many issues surrounding immigration. (My wife helped lead the trip last year.) Next month, a number of groups on campus are sponsoring a week-long focus on human trafficking and the struggles of those living in Central and South America.
I applaud your concern for the plight of immigrants. I encourage you to continue to work for their good by joining the many campus efforts we have already listed. I agree that the situation as it currently stands is tragic. At the same time, I don’t want you to lose sight of the fact that approximately 885,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2016. In 2014, some 38% of all pregnancies in Washington, D.C. ended in abortion. This is an issue different in kind
from all others. We cannot be so morally indifferent as to live in the midst of this tragedy and fail to acknowledge it. Taking four hours off to show our concern is the least we can do.