Why honor general at St. Ambrose graduation?


Where are the “pro-life” voices? Why will St. Ambrose University honor a general, at this year’s graduation, who has participated in an unjust war soon after honoring a “choice” politician two years ago?

The Iraq invasion (2003 to the present) has been condemned several times by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the pope (see www.usccb.org and link to “Vatican Statements”).

As a Catholic educational institution, St. Ambrose has a charge to present all sides to current issues as part of its mission, in part, to develop thorough ethical understanding for choices made in the present age.  A better forum for individuals with controversial positions would be a classroom or public presentation with reaction from various voices, rather than awarding “honors” without discussion.

For example, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad spoke at St. Ambrose in the late 1990s presenting why Iowa should reinstate the death penalty — a position condemned by the Catholic bishops and the last five popes. Though the “question and answer” session following was cut rather short, this is the forum more appropriate for heated issues on a Catholic university campus.


Where are the pro-life voices and choices in both educational and award-bestowing forums? Where are those who speak for life and against unjust wars, death penalties, degrading treatment of immigrants — as well as abortion — along with a host of other “life” issues?

St. Ambrose seemed far more “pro-life” in awarding honors to former Polish President Lech Walesa — who effected democratic and Christian change using nonviolent means — than some of the university’s more recent choices. Can we expect other choices in the future from the board, president and cabinet of St. Ambrose about whom it “honors” as opposed to whom it invites to open discussion and questioning?  As our bishops exhort, we expect pro-life voices to be more thoroughly and widely pro-life.

Father Brian Miclot, Ph.D.,

Professor of Philosophy

St. Ambrose University, Davenport

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