May 28, 2012

The Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement May 15 strongly criticizing Georgetown University for selecting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a featured speaker at an awards ceremony during its commencement week ceremonies.

Sebelius spoke at Georgetown's Public Policy Institute awards ceremony May 18.

The nation's Catholic bishops have repeatedly criticized the HHS contraceptive mandate, saying it threatens the religious freedom of Catholic institutions such as universities, hospitals and social service agencies.

The mandate would force them to provide employees with health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures.

The statement from the Washington Archdiocese noted that because of the "dramatic impact this mandate will have on Georgetown and all Catholic institutions, it is understandable that Catholics across the country would find shocking the choice of Secretary Sebelius, the architect of the mandate, to receive such special recognition at a Catholic university.

It is also understandable that Catholics would view this as a challenge to the bishops."