Patrick J. Reilly is president and founder of The Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes and defends faithful Catholic education. He also teaches at Aquinas Learning, a classical Catholic homeschool program led by his wife Rosario. They have five children.
Here are the members of Congress who signed last week’s pro-abortion letter and the Catholic schools and colleges they attended, if any.
When 60 Democratic members of the House of Representatives — all of them baptized Catholics — issued their ultimatum last week demanding access to the Eucharist despite their pro-abortion politics, it became apparent how little they know about the Catholic faith and Christ’s invitation to communion with him.
Which made me wonder: how many attended Catholic schools and colleges?
In the past, I have lamented the number of pro-abortion members of Congress who graduated from Catholic colleges, mostly Jesuit institutions. Often they are celebrated as successful alumni, despite their flagrant opposition to the Church’s reverence for the sanctity of all human life.
The bewildering fact is that nearly half of the 60 who signed last week’s letter received a Catholic education. Of those 29 representatives, at least 14 attended Catholic high schools and 22 attended Catholic colleges, 16 of them Jesuit institutions.
What does this say about Catholic education in recent decades? Perhaps these politicians received a good education and later turned away from the Faith — that certainly is possible. But given the abundance of evidence of the poor catechesis of Catholics, widespread dissent on abortion and contraception, and weak Catholic identity in many schools and colleges over the last five decades, the Church likely bears some responsibility for failing to properly form these men and women as saints instead of obstinate sinners.
On the other hand, the fact that 31 never had a Catholic high school or college education (I was unable to find much information about their elementary schools) also raises serious questions about the lack of adequate formation for most baptized Catholics. The consequences are clear: too many people claim to be Catholic but lack respect for the Eucharist and are unashamed of their support for abortion, same-sex marriage and other obvious moral evils. They should be ashamed — and so should we — for not doing everything possible to ensure a faithful Catholic education for every Catholic child.
We must do better. And if we do, the impact on society and the Church will be something wonderful to behold.
Aside from the politicians’ attendance at a Catholic school or college, there is one special circumstance that deserves to be exposed: Congressman Joaquin Castro has served as a visiting professor of law and member of the Mission and Identity Taskforce at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Below are the members of Congress who signed last week’s pro-abortion letter and the Catholic schools and colleges they attended, if any:
- Pete Aguilar
- Cindy Axne
- Nanette Barragan
- Brendan Boyle – Cardinal Dougherty H.S. (PA), University of Notre Dame (IN)
- Anthony Brown
- Cheri Bustos
- Matt Cartwright
- Joaquin Castro
- Gerry Connolly – Maryknoll College (IL)
- Lou Correa
- Jim Costa – San Joaquin Memorial H.S. (CA)
- Joe Courtney
- Henry Cuellar – Georgetown University (DC)
- Madeleine Dean – La Salle University (PA)
- Rosa DeLauro – Academy of Our Lady of Mercy (CT), Marymount College Tarrytown (NY)
- Mark DeSaulnier – College of the Holy Cross (MA)
- Debbie Dingell – Georgetown University (DC)
- Mike Doyle
- Veronica Escobar – Loretto Academy (TX)
- Anna Eshoo
- Adriano Espaillat – Bishop Dubois H.S. (NY)
- Teresa Leger Fernández
- Ruben Gallego
- Jesús “Chuy” García – St. Rita of Cascia H.S. (IL)
- Sylvia Garcia
- Jimmy Gomez
- Raúl M. Grijalva
- James R. Langevin – Bishop Hendricken H.S. (RI)
- John B. Larson
- Susie Lee
- Ted Lieu – Saint Ignatius H.S. (OH), Georgetown University Law Center (DC)
- Stephen Lynch – Boston College Law School (MA)
- Betty McCollum – College of St. Catherine (MN)
- James P. McGovern
- Joe Morelle
- Frank Mrvan
- Grace F. Napolitano
- Marie Newman – Marquette University (WI) (1.5 years)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Frank Pallone
- Jimmy Panetta – Santa Clara University School of Law (CA)
- Bill Pascrell, Jr. – St. John the Baptist H.S. (NJ), Fordham University (NY)
- Kathleen Rice – Catholic University of America (DC)
- Lucille Roybal-Allard – Ramona Convent Secondary School (CA)
- Linda Sánchez
- Mary Gay Scanlon
- Mikie Sherrill – Georgetown University Law Center (DC)
- Albio Sires – Saint Peter’s College (NJ)
- Jackie Speier – Mercy H.S. (CA)
- Greg Stanton – Marquette University (WI)
- Thomas R. Suozzi – Chaminade H.S. (NY), Boston College (MA), Fordham University School of Law (NY)
- Mike Thompson
- Paul Tonko
- Norma Torres
- Lori Trahan – Georgetown University (DC)
- Juan Vargas – University of San Diego (CA), Fordham University (NY), Jesuit Novitiate of Santa Barbara (CA)
- Filemon Vela – Saint Joseph Academy (TX), Georgetown University (DC)
- Nydia M. Velázquez
- Peter Welch – Cathedral H.S. (MA), College of the Holy Cross (MA)