This year’s Commencement speakers will include South African Bishop Kevin Dowling. His Excellency will also give the homily at the Commencement Mass. There are over 300 Bishops in the United States, including three right here in San Francisco. Apparently, none of them sufficed so USF had to go all the way to South Africa to fill the slot. But why? What are Bishop Dowling’s special qualifications? What is he best known for?
Well, from the Catholics For Choice website:
“Bishop Dowling, in an interview about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in South Africa said, 'Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in a marriage is beyond the realm of possibility here. The issue is to protect life. That must be our fundamental goal.' Drawing attention to the especially difficult plight of women in the traditionally male-dominated societies of his diocese he continued, 'My passion is for the women. I'm in that corner.' About the African people, he says, 'They must use condoms,' maintaining his stance despite the Vatican’s continued opposition to such a policy”. Emphasis added.
Dare we say that Bishop Dowling is being honored because of this position, not in spite of it?
Back in 2006, Diogenes had this to say about Bishop Dowling:
"Have you seen any US media coverage of the Bishop of Klerksdorp recently? Or the Bishop of Umtata? Neither have I. Those South African dioceses are actually larger than Rustenberg, but their bishops haven't been getting much press in the US, nor invitations to speak in comfortable suburbs. Only Bishop Dowling-- who, incidentally, is the only South African bishop you can count on to criticize Church teaching. What a funny coincidence!"
USF will also honor San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. It is not hyperbole, it is a simple statement of fact to say that any sitting San Francisco District Attorney cannot possibly meet the minimum criteria for a speaker at a Catholic University set forth by the USCCB in “Catholics in Political Life.”
From the Bay Area Reporter:
"On Tuesday, (October 21, 2008) black leaders gathered in Oakland to denounce Prop 8. Those who spoke included San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, (Reverend Amos) Brown, and openly gay Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore."
Here's the District Attorney at the event.
Photo courtesy Rick Gerharter, Bay Area Reporter.
Also from the Bay Area Reporter: on Thursday October 8, 2008, the District Attorney joined Mayor Gavin Newson at a “No on Proposition 8” press conference. At the conference Harris characterized Proposition 8 as an expression of “prejudice” and “hate.”
Here's Ms. Harris at that event:
Of course this is nothing new at USF. From Commencements past:
2004: USF honors Leo T. McCarthy at the May, 2004 commencement. In his long political career, McCarthy was an unwavering advocate for the Culture of Death. From "LifeSiteNews":
"During Senate candidacy campaigns in 1988 and 1992, McCarthy pledged to write the Roe v. Wade ruling into federal law, supported federal funding for abortions and contraceptives and advocated for the distribution of the abortion pill RU-486."
2005: USF honors Episcoplian Bishop William Swing at the December, 2005 commencement. According to one of his priests, the openly “married” homosexual Reverend John Kirkely:
"Bishop Swing has ordained more gay and lesbian clergy than probably any bishop in the history of Christendom..."
2007: At the 2007 Commencement, USF honors pro-abortion, pro-partial birth abortion, pro-same sex marriage, and pro-embryonic stem cell research Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Here's Speaker Pelosi at the event with University President Fr. Stephen Privett, SJ (photo courtesy Associated Press):