Ken Himes Protests Honorary Degree for Rice

HNP Communications Around the Province

Kenneth Himes and another faculty member at Boston College have written a letter denouncing the decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at the school’s graduation and give her an honorary degree.

According to the Boston Globe, nearly 100 faculty members have signed the letter. The letter will be presented to the president and board of trustees.

Ken, chairman of the department of theology, and Jesuit Father David Hollenbach, who holds the Margaret O’Brien Flatley chair in the department, titled their letter ”Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree,” and sent it to the entire faculty, inviting members to sign on. The writers said they were distressed with the university’s decision to invite Rice to commencement May 22. Her selection was announced May 1.

”On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice’s approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College’s commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university’s work,” the letter said. It pointed out Pope John Paul II’s opposition to the war in Iraq.

The Globe article quotes student activist Reena Parikh, a senior English major, who found a contradiction in BC’s taking a Catholic teaching stance against abortion and gay rights, while at the same time inviting Rice to accept an honorary degree. ”Boston College has selectively chosen which Catholic teachings it’s going to privilege and which ideas of Catholic teaching it’s going to censor,” Parikh said in the article.