In a story I alluded to last week, the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield was set to induct State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate, Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis), into its Activities Hall of Fame, until the school was faced with the fact that Mr. Thissen has an impeccable legislative record on abortion, to the point of earning a rating of "zero" from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life heading into last fall's election.
The administration explained its decision in an e-mail to some of its financial supporters prior to the story appearing in the media:
As you may know, Paul Thissen, Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) class of 1985, was nominated for induction into the AHA Activities Hall of Fame this year. ...As an AHA alumnus, donor, and parent of two current and five future students, I am relieved by the school's action, but there is no cause for joy here.
[T]he nominating committee was not aware of Mr. Thissen’s voting record in the Minnesota Legislature regarding pro-abortion issues. As a result of Mr. Thissen's public position to actively suport [sic] pro-abortion issues, AHA has chosen not to include him among this year’s inductees to the AHA Activities Hall of Fame. We have done so, not because we do not appreciate his past achievements, but because we cannot endorse his legislative actions relating to abortion. Mr. Thissen’s legislative voting record is in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church, as explained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their Statement on Catholics in Political Life.
The Statement says of those in political office, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
Paul and I are old friends, going back to first grade. When he was earning all-conference honors as a receiver our senior year, I was the quarterback. For all his gifts, I was surprised and disappointed when he first ran for office to find him opposite science, natural law, and the teaching of the Church in which we grew up together.
Now that he offers the standard Cafeteria Catholic fare as his defense, I am having a hard time hearing anything other than a smarmy politician:
I had imagined that the high school I attended -- the institution that taught me the importance of social justice in Minnesota -- would have valued and been honored by that work. ...Well, there is always Reason for Hope #5: For God, all things are possible.
When I heard about this, I really was disappointed, not so much because of the award, but because the award was for something that had nothing to with my position on giving women the choice of what to do during a pregnancy.