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.
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.