By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Cherie Blair, the vocal pro-abortion “Catholic” wife of Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, has been invited to speak on Dec. 12 at The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. While many see this invitation as an outrage, the University claims Blair, a barrister, will be speaking in an academic capacity only.
“By inviting Mrs. Blair, we, as a faculty of social sciences, are following the example of the Pope’s own social sciences institute, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, based in the Vatican itself,” said Sr. Helen Alford, OP, spokeswoman for the University.
Blair, who will be speaking at a conference on women’s rights, has publicly supported radical pro-abortion organizations such the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Family Planning Association (FPA) UK and Human Rights Watch. She recently endorsed the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), calling it “the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women.” The term “reproductive rights” is one commonly used to mean abortion on demand by the international population control movement.
Anthony Ozimic, political secretary of the Society for the Protection for Unborn Children (SPUC), told LifeSiteNews, “It is deplorable that an abortion-promoter like Mrs. Blair has been invited to speak, not just at a pontifical university in Rome, but at a conference on women and rights.
“What about the rights of the countless unborn girls killed because of the pro-abortion groups Mrs. Blair has endorsed? What about the countless millions of women suffering from post-abortion trauma?”
Ozimic continued, “Organisations associated with the Catholic Church (or indeed any group, religious or secular, opposed to abortion) should not invite Mrs. Blair to their events. I urge people to contact the Angelicum immediately to protest against Mrs. Blair’s invitation and demand it be withdrawn.”
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, head of the Rome office of Human Life International, said “It is quite surprising that a public figure, who calls herself a Catholic, who is on public record of being in favor of abortion, should be allowed to talk at a Catholic university.
“In this case, you have one of the best known of the Pontifical universities, but the same applies to every Catholic university.” Msgr. Barreiro also said that Catholics, especially English Catholics, should express their “concerns and perplexity” at this visit.
However, Sr. Alford points out that Cherie Blair has spoken at the Vatican before.
“Mrs. Blair was invited to make an address to the Vatican’s 2006 plenary assembly, which focused on children and young people,” she said. “Mrs Blair was invited to speak in an academic capacity and was received by the Pope on that basis. Obviously, in doing so, neither the Vatican as a whole, nor the Pope personally, was in any way endorsing a pro-abortion point of view, and neither are we.”
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