Conservatives want us to think that the flap over Condoleezza Rice’s upcoming Boston College gig — she’s slated to give the commencement speech on May 22 and receive an honorary doctorate — is another example of the Loony Left’s campus excesses.
Frankly, that’s a bunch of bullshit. If you’re a Catholic who takes your faith seriously and tends to agree with what the pope says, opposing Rice’s appearance is the right thing to do.
Let’s review, shall we? Rice played a key role in planning the Iraq war and selling it to the public; her honesty in the latter role was deeply suspect . Boston College, of course, is a Catholic school. And as the march to war progressed in 2003, the world’s pre-eminent Catholic at that time — Pope John Paul II — did his utmost to stop it.
In March 2003, Cardinal Pio Laghi, a special papal envoy, traveled to Washington bearing a private letter from the pope to President George W. Bush. The contents of the letter weren’t disclosed, but in a public statement afterward, Laghi stressed that the Iraq crisis should be resolved within the framework of the United Nations.
Laghi also warned that military action should be preceded by a recognition of “the grave consequences of such an armed conflict: the suffering of the people of Iraq and those involved in the military operation, a further instability in the region and a new gulf between Islam and Christianity.” “I want to emphasize,” he continued, “that there is great unity on this grave matter on the part of the Holy See, the Bishops in the United States, and the Church throughout the world.” A pre-emptive war, Laghi told reporters, would be “illegal and unjust .” Two weeks later, without the approval of the UN Security Council, US and British forces invaded Iraq.
BC’s president, the Reverend William Leahy, seems determined to proceed with Rice’s visit. It’s his prerogative to ignore the students, staff, and faculty — nearly 1500, as of May 8 — who’ve signed a “Say No to Condoleezza Rice at BC” petition. But if Leahy asked himself what John Paul II would have thought of honoring Rice now — with the Iraq war entering its fourth year, and the estimated number of total deaths pushing 40,000 (by conservative estimates) — he might reconsider. Opponents of Rice’s visit aren’t embarrassing Boston College. They’re making the school look good.