Vincent Rougeau, Professor at Notre Dame Law, will be the next dean of Boston College Law School. His areas of expertise include contract, real-estate, banking, and public international law. However, it is some of his work in Catholic Social Thought that makes his appointment more controversial.
In a 2009 America article, Rougeau writes about race and religion during the 2008 presidential election. He argues that, because many American bishops affirmed the importance of voting for a pro-life candidate, they were out of touch with people of color. He claims that “Obama’s simple presence in the Oval Office” will do more to reduce abortion than any law passed by a McCain administration.
It is not surprise, then, that he was chosen by then Senator Barack Obama to be on the candidate’s national Catholic advisory committee, as a member of his National Steering Committee.
Senator Obama’s campaign message on the topic of contraception and abortion was in no way compatible with Catholic social teaching.
Many remember when Obama told a crowd at a Pennsylvania campaign rally that “I am going to teach [my daughters] first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
His argument that electing the most pro-abortion president in history will be the best way to defend the unborn is laughable at best. As one of his first acts in office, Obama repealed the Mexico City Policy, allowing federal tax dollars to fund overseas abortions.
In Evangelium vitae, Pope John Paul II declared that “It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.”
Rougeau misses this point when he argues that other issues are just as important as abortion in determining who Catholics ought to vote for. Other issues may be important, but, as Pope John Paul II wrote, they must rest on the defense of human life, from conception to natural death.
It is therefore disappointing that BC Law has chosen Rougeau, a professor who has shown a blatant disrespect for the Catholic Church’s fight against legalized abortion in the United States, as its next dean.
It is our hope that, as dean, Rougeau will reconsider his opinions on the Church’s defense of human life and affirm the responsibility BC has, as a Jesuit Catholic institution, to promote and defend the teachings of the Church.