Cherie Blair, known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, is a barrister and popular speaker; she is also one of the most prominent of those public figures in Britain who claim to be faithful Catholics but who have a long track-record of actively promoting anti-life and anti-family causes, in opposition to Catholic teaching.
The website of the Angelicum conference says, 'As well as fighting for human rights in her professional career, Cherie Blair is an active campaigner on equality and human rights issues.' Blair has publicly supported such radical pro-abortion organisations as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Family Planning Association (FPA) UK and Human Rights Watch.
This year, in a statement, Cherie Blair endorsed the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), calling it 'the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women.' The term 'reproductive rights' is one commonly used to mean abortion on demand by the international population control movement.
Anthony Ozimic, political secretary of the Society for the Protection for Unborn Children (SPUC), said, 'It is deplorable that an abortion-promoter like Mrs. Blair has been invited to speak, not just at a pontifical university in Rome, but a conference on women and rights.
'What about the rights of the countless unborn girls killed because of the pro-abortion groups Mrs. Blair has endorsed? What about the countless millions of women suffering from post-abortion trauma?'
In 2003, while her husband was Prime Minister of Britain, Cherie Blair hosted a reception for International Planned Parenthood. The reception was intended to assist the organization with the 'Lust for Life' fundraiser, the proceeds of which would go towards IPPF's work providing contraceptives and abortion around the world.
Ozimic continued, 'Organisations associated with the Catholic Church (or indeed any group, religious or secular, opposed to abortion) should not invite Mrs. Blair to their events. I urge people to contact the Angelicum immediately to protest against Mrs Blair's invitation and demand it be withdrawn.'
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, head of the Rome office of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com, 'It is quite surprising that a public figure, who calls herself a Catholic, who is on public record of being in favour of abortion, should be allowed to talk at a Catholic university.
'In this case, you have one of the best known of the Pontifical universities, but the same applies to every Catholic university.' Msgr. Barreiro also said that Catholics, especially English Catholics, should express their 'concerns and perplexity' at this visit.
A development of the medieval Studium founded by St. Thomas Aquinas himself in the 13th century, the University of St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the major Roman pontifical universities and as such holds a place of prominence as a training centre for clergy from around the world. The 'Thomist' school of theology founded by St. Thomas is paramount in the Catholic Church and the Summa Theologica, the great work of the saint, is regarded by many as second only to the bible as a source of Catholic thought. The university is still staffed by members of the saint's order, the Order of Preachers, called the Dominicans.