Thanks for your very timely reply, below, and for sharing mine with Fr. McFarland.
As for the last sentence of yours, concerning the university (using the term generically, and certainly including a Catholic college where faith and reason should meet and embrace) being a place where a respectful exchange of ideas and information may take place, I believe my acknowledgment that, "there no doubt would be circumstances where PP might legitimately be invited to participate in an event on The Hill in the interest of academic freedom and the pursuit of Truth in the university marketplace of ideas (e.g., a debate at which Catholic scholars presented and explained why the Church views PP's weltanschauung as inherently evil and destructive) . . ." had already accorded a tip of the hat to that important precept. But as I had also noted, the Oct. 24 conference quite clearly is not such a forum. A debate between representatives of, say, Problem Pregnancy of Worcester, Inc. (staffed 100% by volunteers and providing information and support to girls and women which allows them to have true choice, Visitation House, Inc., which provides free housing and parenting education for pregnant girls and women which enable them to help their children be born and thrive) with those of Planned Parenthood (which makes millions and millions of dollars each year by killing unborn millions), would be perfect for the free and respectful exchange of ideas while at the same time offering the College an opportunity to stand with the unborn, in a manner consistent with the Jesuits' charter.
You also note that, "Holy Cross believes that a state-wide meeting of educators, health professionals, counselors, and other professionals who are working to ensure the health and safety of at-risk teenagers does not constitute an attack on Catholic teaching." And naturally, you are quite correct in that statement. Per se such a conference, designed to address what is recognized as one of the most serious problems in our modern, U.S. society, is by no means an attack on Truth as the Roman Catholic Church discerns and proclaims it. But the statement quite misses the point, n'est pas?? The point being that abortion, the so-called morning after pill, which acts as an abortifacient, and artificial contraception are all means which Planned Parenthood very effectively promotes, participates in and propagandizes. As it will indubitably do in what I noticed after sending my email of Sunday are actually three (3) workshops, rather than one (1), one of which in addition to offering the "latest and greatest" information "on protection methods", also will offer lessons on how to avoid parental consent laws by resort to the courts - not, I suspect, something that parents of students at the Cross would place high on their list of hopes for their children's education.
A brief aside. I realize, as you say, that this is not a course offering and that so far as I know the event has not been publicized in such a way as to encourage students to attend. But it does afford PP an entry to the campus, and thus a contact point for students, and there can be little doubt that students are or will be aware of their presence on campus. And their speal is very seductive, appealing in a shallow way to 'freedom of choice' and 'women's rights and dignity', etc.. I recently attended a hearing of the Worcester planning board concerning a planned parking lot at PP's soon to be new location on Pleasant Street in Worcester. At least 50-60 supporters of PP attended, wearing their pink PP pins. The vast majority were young, well-dressed, women who demonstrated energetic, and no doubt idealistic, enthusiasm for Planned Parenthood.
And aye, as the Bard said, that's the rub. PP taps into youthful idealism and exploits it to the nth degree. These young women believe that Evil is Good. And Good, Evil. Is it not the job of a Catholic college to inform its students (and others) as to what is the Truth?? Both by word and example?? What Catholic Charities of Boston and Caritas Christi do begs the question of what is right and what is wrong for The College of the Holy Cross to do. I cannot speak to the former, as I have no direct connection with them; I do with the Cross, as a beloved alma mater. Hosting a conference such as that on October 24, with PP as a prominent presenter, inevitably has the effect of blurring the line between Good and Evil - a line which it is our job to highlight as clearly as possible.
Since Sunday further information has come to my attention concerning Teen Pregnancy Institute ("TPI"). It is listed under Pro-Choice clinics, groups and organizations on the NARAL Massachusetts site. See http://www.prochoicemass.org/about/resources.shtml. With PP and NARAL it signed a letter to HHS Secretary Leavitt objecting to use of the term "unborn child" on the HHS web site promoting parent child communication, www.4parents.gov. See, http://www.plannedparenthood.org/news-articles-press/politics-policy-issues/michael-leavitt-11091.htm.
These facts give rise to a reasonable inference that TPI is working hand-in-glove with the elements of our society which the late Holy Father, John-Paul II, described as charter members of the Culture of Death, which our present Holy Father Benedict XVI has continued to teach should be rejected as inimical to the intrinsic dignity and immeasurable worth of each and every, distinct, invaluable human being.
My purpose is not to take the Cross to task for a mistake in hosting the conference. I presume that applications are considered and some judgment made as to whether an organization and event pass minimal muster for presence on the Cross campus. But I also realize that in the press of business oft times all the facts are not known when such a decision is made, and particularly if TPI had noted that its membership or collaborations included Catholic or Catholic-affiliated organizations, that it would be likely to conclude that it so qualified. Moreover, I have made (and will inevitably will again make) more than my share of mistakes. But I sincerely, hope and urge that the Cross rescind its approval of the Oct. 24 conference for all of the reasons set forth above, and to that end ask that you once again, kindly, share this email with Fr. McFarland.
Thank you once again for your courtesy and assistance.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: Planned Parenthood and Oct. 24, 2007 Teen Pregnancy Institute at H.C.
Thank you for your email, which I've shared with Fr. McFarland. We respect your concerns.
I'm sure you're aware of this, but to clarify: This is not a Planned Parenthood "event" or conference. The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy www.massteenpregnancy.org (an association of providers of health, counseling, and other critical services to teens - including the Archdiocese of Boston and Caritas Christi health programs) is holding its annual meeting at the conference facility on campus. Holy Cross is not sponsoring and did not invite any of the presenters; nor are any faculty, administrators, or students involved in the programming of this organization.
Holy Cross believes that a state-wide meeting of educators, health professionals, counselors, and other professionals who are working to ensure the health and safety of at-risk teenagers does not constitute an attack on Catholic teaching. Further, a college campus must be a place where the respectful exchange of ideas and nformation takes place-an environment Holy Cross is committed to maintaining.
Thank you again for writing, and please know that I've forwarded your email to Fr. McFarland.