Tutu To Speak At Gonzaga Graduation Despite Alumni Petition

Apr 19, 2012

The president of Gonzaga University in Spokane is defending the choice of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the school’s commencement speaker next month. Some alumni say Tutu’s positions on social issues make him an inappropriate choice for the Catholic school.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Tutu has expressed support for abortion rights, contraception, same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Next month, he’s slated to receive an honorary law degree at Gonzaga’s graduation ceremony.

That struck some Gonzaga alumni, including Pat Kirby, as the wrong message for a Catholic school to send.

Pat Kirby: “We think he’d make an excellent speaker on campus at a symposium or a debate. But should we honor somebody who has advocated moral positions that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic church?”

The Spokane lawyer drafted an online petition has more than seven hundred signatures. Meanwhile, several counter-petitions supporting Tutu have garnered thousands of signatures.

Now, in a letter to Gonzaga students, university president Thayne McCulloh said the school was “privileged” to host the Nobel Laureate who worked to overturn apartheid in South Africa.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

“Protest Pro-Abortion Commencement Speaker” Petition

Gonzaga University President’s Message on Tutu