During the month of October, Catholics in the United States celebrate Respect Life Month. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez called it a time of prayer and action to “defend the dignity of every human person, from conception until natural death.”
A positive development on campus is that November has become Ignatian Heritage Month at LMU. Students had a chance to view the inspiring movie The Mission starring Robert De Niro, to learn how to practice the Ignatian Examen, and to see beautiful images on banners throughout campus celebrating the insights of St. Ignatius. Ignatian Heritage Month is a welcome element of renewal at LMU. Kudos to all the good people who made this happen.
Imagine if a person of color were appointed to be President of a university, and the former President of the university said of him, “He is an African American but also has great academic abilities in his subject. He also knows a lot outside his field of study.” Such a remark would be immediately and rightly condemned as negative stereotyping of African-Americans as intellectually inferior. Or imagine if a woman were appointed as president, and the President Emeritus said, “She is a woman, but also has great mathematical abilities. She also is good at science.” This remark suggests negative stereotyping of women as mathematically and scientifically inferior. Now, here is what LMU’s former President Fr. Robert Lawton SJ, said in the Loyolan about LMU’s new President Timothy Snyder, “He is a devout Catholic but also has great respect for other religious traditions. He also respects non-believers.” Fr. Lawton’s negative stereotyping of devout Catholics suggests that they are morally inferior, not extending respect to those of other religious traditions and non-believers. Bigotry against Catholics of a certain kind is common in the academy, but one hopes for better (magis) from a former president of LMU.
Roberto Dell’Oro, the Director of the Bioethics Institute at Loyola Marymount University, was recently quoted in the Orange County Catholic defending the use of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress in exposing Planned Parenthood’s grotesque trafficking in human body parts.
From the OC Catholic on August 10, 2015:
Dell‘Oro said that while it is always best to be above board in seeking the truth, there are instances when “a conscientious objection to morally unacceptable practices” can be justified.
“Throughout history, we have numerous examples of those who have lied or broken the law because they conscientiously objected to, and sought to expose, a deeper moral evil,” he said, citing those who hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II. “And I don’t see why this shouldn’t be the case here.”
In a related article in Catholic News Service dated July 31, 2015, Dell’Oro suggested Catholics acquaint themselves with “Donum Vitae” (“The Gift of Life”) and “Dignitas Personae” (“The Dignity of a Person”) issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Dell’Oro was selected as Director of the Bioethics Institute in 2013 after the university first considered two abortion advocates for the position. RenewLMU launched a petition drive that forced the university to drop the existing candidates. Shortly, thereafter, LMU hired Dell’Oro, a professor in LMU’s Theological Studies department. RenewLMU commends Dr. Dell’Oro for his vocal stance in defense of human life.
On March 27, 2015, Loyola Marymount University announced the hiring of its 16th President. Dr. Timothy Law Snyder, a lay Catholic, will replace David Burcham effective June 1st. Most recently, Dr. Snyder served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Loyola University in Maryland. More information about the presidential selection can be found on the LMU website.
RenewLMU congratulates Dr. Timothy Law Snyder on his new position. And we look forward to working with him to cultivate a vibrant Catholic identity at LMU.
We are hopeful that under Dr. Snyder’s leadership, LMU will effectively address the serious decline in the number of Catholic students and faculty. And we are optimistic that, as a Catholic, he will demonstrate a commitment to promoting the Catholic intellectual tradition in guiding students in their pursuit of truth and virtue.
The LMU Political Science Department is promoting a student internship opportunity with the non-profit organization Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), a pro-abortion organization. The internship opportunity is posted on the Political Science Department website. Led by long-time abortion advocate Eleanor Smeal, the FMF, on its own website states, “Abortion is a necessity for millions of women worldwide, for their health, for their well-being, for their dreams of a better tomorrow.”
According to the internship posting, student interns working in the Los Angeles office of FMF will have the opportunity to work on the National Clinic Access Project, “the nation’s largest and oldest clinic defense team.” There LMU students can “research and collect data on anti-abortion violence directed at health care workers and patients; monitor anti-abortion websites and literature.”
No student internship opportunities with non-profit organizations dedicated to the protection of the unborn child could be found on the LMU Political Science Department website.
The Political Science Department Chair, John Parrish, is serving on LMU’s Presidential Search Committee at the request of Kathleen Aikenhead, Chair of the LMU Board of Trustees, to assist in the selection of LMU’s next President.
The link to LMU’s student internship posting can be found at: http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/politicalscience/studentopportunities/internshipopportunities/governmentpolitical/feministmajorityfoundation/
We recognize that authentic renewal at LMU will only occur with the assistance of Almighty God. Please pray with us the nine day novena for the intercession of Saint John Paul II beginning October 14, 2014 and ending on his feast day, October 22, 2014. Saint John Paul II cared deeply about the Catholic character of Catholic universities. His vision was laid out in the papal encyclical Ex Corde Ecclesiae which guides the goals and objectives of RenewLMU.
Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the Church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading her along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus. Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again; help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth. May you bless families; bless each family! You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love: pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Pray for LMU. Pray for her students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, and regents, that they be specially blessed by God. Pray for the presidential search committee, that God guide and bless their efforts. Entreat God on LMU’s behalf to bring to LMU a president yearning to serve God and eager to lead the souls at LMU closer to Him.
Oh St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you next to Mary, send God’s blessing down upon us ! Amen.
On October 6, 2014, President David Burcham announced that he will be resigning as President of LMU effective May 31, 2015. The Board of Trustees Chairwoman, Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead, announced that a search committee is already being formed and that a national search will be conducted to fill the vacancy. President Burcham’s departure presents an opportunity for the LMU Board of Trustees to fill the position with a Catholic, as required by Ex Corde Ecclesiae, who is committed to restoring LMU’s Catholic character. RenewLMU is hopeful that the search committee will be comprised of individuals equally as committed to this worthy goal.
Recently, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), under the direction of Governor Jerry Brown, and in response to pressure from abortion advocacy groups, reinterpreted California law by directing commercial health insurers to cover abortion for any reason, including purely ‘elective’ abortion. The result of this directive is to require Catholic institutions like LMU to provide abortion coverage to their employees. This intrusive government action violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law protecting the religious freedom of LMU students, parents, faculty, and staff morally opposed to funding the destruction of innocent human life.
In response, noting that the DMHC directive was targeted at institutions like LMU, the California Catholic Conference (representing California’s Bishops) called the action “coercive and discriminatory,” and filed a federal complaint against the State of California in opposition to this government intrusion on religious liberties. RenewLMU commends the California Bishops for their unequivocal statement and their decisive action to protect the Catholic character of LMU.
When the LMU Board of Trustees considered whether or not to cover abortion in LMU’s employee health plans last Fall, Fr. Robert Caro, S.J., LMU’s Vice-President for Mission and Ministry, in a letter to the Loyolan, stated that the Jesuits affirm the moral teaching of the Church. Quoting Saint John Paul II, Fr. Caro said, “’the right to life is ‘the most basic and fundamental right and condition of other personal rights.’ ” Further, citing Pope Francis, Fr. Caro went on to call abortion a particularly “egregious evil,” saying that “exclusion of abortion from our medical benefits…is the position which LMU’s institutional commitment to Roman Catholicism urges us to respect.” [emphasis added]
RenewLMU calls on President Burcham and the LMU Board of Trustees to put into action the principles articulated by Fr. Caro and the Jesuit order, and explore alternatives at LMU’s disposal, including:
1. Joining in the federal complaint filed by the California Bishops; and
2. Establishing, or participating in, a morally sound self-insurance health plan not governed by the California Department of Managed Health Care.
It is our hope that LMU will take action in defense of innocent human life consistent with its institutional commitment to Roman Catholicism.
Please join RenewLMU in a Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola, beginning on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, and concluding on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, July 31, 2014.
Each day of the novena, please take a few moments to meditate on the life and works of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and to ask for his intercession for the renewal of Loyola Marymount University. We highly recommend the set of nine meditations on the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Fr. Mark Link, SJ, located here.
May our Heavenly Father continue to pour out His Graces on each of us.
Lord, support me with Your power and protection as I more fully commit myself to Your Gospel. I walk along this path together with my brothers and sisters around the world, purposefully making the world more just, more fraternal, and more Christian. I accept the role You have given me in Your Divine Plan, however big or small it may be.
Through the intercession of Our Lady and of St Ignatius of Loyola, and joining my prayers to the prayers of the others praying this Novena, I humbly ask for Your Grace to carry out Your work. I particularly pray for Loyola Marymount University. Give the students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni of LMU an ardent love for You, a deep and abiding trust in You, and a constant faithfulness in carrying out Your Holy Will. May we each remain forever obedient to our Pope, Your representative here on earth, and the Church Magisterium. We make this prayer together in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Dear Friend of RenewLMU,
Early in May, we asked LMU’s President Burcham to withdraw the invitation extended to Sue Dunlap, President of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, to speak at a TEDxLoyolaMarymountU conference on May 17, 2014. After receiving numerous calls and letters from concerned donors and alumni, how did President Burcham respond?
The administration treated the issue as a mere public relations problem. Dr. Shane Martin, Dean of the School of Education which sponsored the event, sent a letter to concerned donors and alumni saying he had no control over the program and did not invite the speaker. In fact, the stories that ran about this scandal in Lifenews, the Cardinal Newman Society, LiveAction News, and Lifesite News did not claim that Shane Martin invited the President of Planned Parenthood. Neither did RenewLMU make this claim.
In a transparent effort to dampen negative publicity, the administration scrambled to change the program (over which they claimed to have no control) and added a pro-life speaker just 72 hours before the event. Just as the inclusion of someone from the NAACP would not justify or “balance” sponsoring the president of an organization engaged in racist activities, so too, the inclusion of a pro-life speaker does not justify sponsoring the president of an organization engaged in the unjust killing of prenatal human beings.
As you can see in this video, Ms. Dunlap praised the work done by Planned Parenthood. She also acknowledged the scandal created by her presentation and thanked LMU for being so gracious in welcoming Planned Parenthood.
Shockingly, she cited the words of Mahatma Ghandi (who opposed both contraception and abortion), “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Somehow, the CEO forgot that her organization does more than any other to destroy our nation’s weakest members. The TEDx monologue format compounded the scandal because this format does not allow raising questions or the academic exchange of ideas. TED talks simply exclude all debate and discussion. President Burcham (and Dean Martin) simply allowed the President of Planned Parenthood an unchallenged platform to transmit talking points to perhaps millions of people under the “TEDxLoyolaMarymountU” label.
LMU’s parents, students, alumni and donors deserve better than to have our university used as a pulpit by the abortion industry. The university needs to establish a clear policy to prevent this kind of scandal in the future. We invite you to post your feedback on this latest scandal on our website so that we can share your perspective with the LMU administration and others. We also invite you to increase awareness of the secularization of LMU by sharing this post with others.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
An Open Letter to President David Burcham
Dear President Burcham,
On May 17th 2014, Sue Dunlap, President of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, is scheduled to speak at Loyola Marymount University. LMU’s School of Education, led by Dean Shane Martin, is listed as the sponsor of this TEDxLoyolaMarymountU conference. Martin chaired the search committee that brought LMU a new Dean of Liberal Arts, Robbin Crabtree, an atheist who served Planned Parenthood and another pro-abortion organization for years.
In your most recent convocation address as President of LMU, you characterized abortion and coverage of abortion as “first and foremost primarily women’s issues.” In fact, abortion does not only involve a woman, but also involves the death of her son or her daughter prior to birth. LMU’s Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Father Robert Caro, S.J. reminded the University community earlier this academic year that abortion is properly characterized as an issue of justice and faith, and of our Jesuit and Marymount heritage.
Given LMU’s commitment to diversity, LMU would never give the leader of an organization responsible for promoting and performing racist actions the honor of a speaking platform at LMU, especially in the form of a Tedtalk video that may well be seen by thousands or even millions of people. Given LMU’s stated commitment to justice for the unborn and Roman Catholicism, no platform should be given to the leader of an organization responsible for committing countless acts of injustice against children in utero. Just as there should be no public and lasting link between LMU and an organization engaged in racist activities, so too there should be no public and lasting link between LMU and the largest provider of abortion in the United States. Already, even high school students are being encouraged to participate in what is described as an LMU hosted event.
We are asking you to immediately withdraw the invitation to the President of Planned Parenthood to speak at Loyola Marymount University.
To support this effort to preserve the Catholic identity of LMU,
please sign here and include your own comment.
On April 16, Wednesday of Holy Week, President David Burcham announced he had hired
Dr. Robbin Crabtree to serve as the next Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.
As RenewLMU and news sources reported earlier, Dr. Crabtree has worked for both Planned Parenthood and for a pro-choice political action committee. We also asked for your support in urging Pres. Burcham to instead “hire for mission”.
Moreover, it is now confirmed by LMU itself that the new appointment to this position is a professed atheist. Henceforward Dean Crabtree will make hiring decisions for the mission critical departments of Theological Studies, Philosophy, Bioethics, and Catholic Studies, among others.
The facts about this candidate were fully known by Loyola Marymount’s senior officials before employing Dr. Crabtree. However, because of the tremendous concern expressed by many alumni and others who value genuine Catholic education, these officials now have felt compelled to defend their actions. Our Response to LMU’s Attempt to Justify the Dean Appointment demonstrates how unsound their justifications are.
RenewLMU now invites you to publicly express your opinion about LMU’s choice for the new dean and its implications for the future of a Catholic LMU. We will forward your comments to the University President, Board of Trustees, Board of Regents, and Archbishop Gomez.
Click here to go to on Comments page. Look for the ‘Leave a Comment’ or ‘Leave a Reply’ box at the bottom. Be sure to mention if you are a LMU alum. Please be respectful.
Following are links to the several news stories about the controversy surrounding Loyola Marymount University’s candidates and final choice for the position of Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts as well as RenewLMU’s efforts to ensure the university instead ‘hire for mission’.
Cardinal Newman Society Catholic Alumni: Finalists for Loyola Marymount Dean Both Worked at Planned Parenthood
March 17, 2014
National Catholic Register Loyola Marymount Dean Search Lands Finalists With Planned Parenthood Links
March 24, 2014
Catholic News Agency / EWTN Jesuit school’s dean finalists faulted for Planned Parenthood ties
March 24, 2014
LifeSiteNews.com Both candidates for dean position at Jesuit-run university have ties to Planned Parenthood
March 26, 2014
Live Actions News Catholic university’s decision to name dean finalists who worked for abortion giant brings protest
March 27, 2014
The Tidings (Official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) Controversy marks LMU search for liberal arts dean
March 27, 2014
Cardinal Newman Society Loyola Marymount Univ. Hires Dean Despite Past Work with Pro-Abortion Organizations
April 23, 2014
LifeSiteNews Catholic college hires dean who served on Planned Parenthood advisory board
April 29, 2014
Catholic News Agency / EWTN Loyola Marymount community objects to dean’s links to abortion groups
May 1, 2014
Posted in The Tidings May 1, 2014
Posted by the National Catholic Register Loyola Marymount Criticized for Appointing Atheist as Dean May 2, 2014
Dear RenewLMU Supporter:
As you are aware, RenewLMU was formed to strengthen the Catholic identity of Loyola Marymount University. That effort encompasses the areas of admissions, speakers at events, governing policy, and most especially, the hiring of faculty and administration.
Not long ago, we had seen hopeful indications LMU would address how it made key employment decisions and put greater emphasis on dedication to Catholic intellectual tradition and identity. Recently the names of the two ‘finalist’ candidates to fill the position of Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts were announced by the Search Committee.
Amazingly, both of these candidates have performed work for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States, and one did not even disclose that fact to LMU. Also, one candidate joined in issuing a statement praising the overturning of the definition of marriage (Proposition 8) in California. Neither candidate’s résumé gives reason for confidence they would further “LMU’s mission and identity as a Catholic university”. You may see for yourself on the RenewLMU website how suitable these candidates are. http://renewlmu.com/lmu-looking-to-hire-dean-who-worked-for-planned-parenthood
Among the Bellarmine College’s thirteen academic departments are Theology, Philosophy, and Pastoral Studies. These are ‘mission critical’ disciplines, and should not be overseen by someone whose views are incongruous with the Catholic Faith. Further erosion of institutional Catholic consciousness can no longer be defended as necessary to “achieve diversity”, since divergence from foundational Catholic values has now become the norm.
President Burcham needs to reform the University’s search and screening process to ensure that the new dean demonstrates a strong record of furthering Catholic mission and identity. Only then can LMU meet the challenge that Pope Francis has posed for Catholic universities: to be an “uncompromising witness … to the Church’s moral teaching.”
If Loyola Marymount University is “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism”, and if the University “takes philosophical and theological disciplines seriously”, then it is time, starting now, to hire for mission.
Let’s tell President Burcham to make adherence to genuine Catholic principles the New Diversity at LMU!
The time is short to affect this critical decision. Please sign our letter to him here and forward this email to others who share your concern for the integrity of Catholic university education. http://renewlmu.com/letter-to-pres-burcham
Philip Zampiello, ’93, Chair
We are students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and supporters of LMU. Our Catholic faith is important to us. We formed this group to protect, foster, and preserve the Catholic identity of LMU.
According to a recent article by the Cardinal Newman Society, the University of Scranton’s president announced that the Jesuit university will no longer be providing abortion coverage to its employees. President Father Kevin Quinn, S.J. cited the Church’s “unequivocal” moral teaching on abortion as the reason for the decision. The article reports that the University of Scranton had previously provided abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother in compliance with state law for traditional health plans. Since the university is self-insured they are able to dictate the terms of their coverage.
LMU currently provides abortion coverage to its employees. Neither President Burcham nor the LMU Board of Trustees has publicly opposed California state regulations requiring employee health plans cover abortion. The university has given no indication it is researching a self-insurance option in order to abide by the Church’s teaching on abortion.
RenewLMU has previously noted on our website and in our direct communications with the university’s administration that LMU lacks a student pro-life organization, while secular institutions like USC and Stanford have robust student pro-life groups. We are delighted to report that the LMU Office of Campus Ministry is now promoting on its website “Seamless Garment: Pro-Life Programming.” Activities associated with this programming include student participation in the OneLife LA Walk on Saturday, January 17, 2015 in Los Angeles and attendance at the Requiem Mass for the Unborn at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral on Saturday, January 24, 2015.
We commend LMU Campus Ministry for its initiative in establishing programming that advocates for protection of the unborn as part of the Church’s teaching on social justice.