It was a grand day at Salve Regina University. Graduates processed in to bagpipes playing “Wearing of the Green,” the legendary and once forbidden anthem of Irish freedom fighters. About 600 graduates marched past, in flowing black gowns and traditional mortarboards with tassels blowing in the ocean breeze on the cliffs of Newport, R.I. Contrary to all weather reports, there was not a drop of rain and the dramatic clouds over the Atlantic parted to let the sun through, like shafts of light from Heaven.

It was such a joy to share this milestone with our only daughter that I almost turned a blind eye to the fact that a Catholic university had invited Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, a woman so radically pro-abortion that even most abortion supporters parted ways with her by the end of the first trimester. At 12 weeks gestation, babies have human faces, fully formed hands and feet and are practicing sucking and swallowing. Even if one were not Catholic, the humanity of the victims of this legal form of genocide is obvious to most people of good will. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official source of doctrine. It could not be more clear about the Catholic stance on the killing of defenseless babies. Part III, Section II, Chapter 2, Article 5, Line 2258 reads:

“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”

Though the current administration is diametrically in opposition with the Catholic Church about other social issues, such as gay marriage and the ethics of fetal research, the issue most likely to divide a room today, is abortion. While in theory, it should be an honor to have the second lady of the United States speak at one’s child’s college graduation, it clearly was not. Surprisingly, there were no protests, signs or outward displays of displeasure, if one ignores that only about a quarter of the crowd stood up when Biden’s most zealous fans attempted to give her luke-warm, election-season, literary-device-filled speech a standing ovation.

I am as guilty as every other parent. I read the information about Mrs. Biden, registered a vague sense of surprise and then went on to the nuts and bolts planning of our daughter’s big day. Flowers, lunch reservations, accommodations and gifts clouded out the moral issue that should probably have precluded any practicing Catholic from showing up without a sign in hand. But true to our conservative nature and compulsion for decorum, the silent majority remained silent. I do not think that the Muslims at Islamic American University would have done the same if their guest speaker had been the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu. And I do not think that an appearance by Mrs. David Duke of the KKK would have been met with polite acceptance at Howard University, or even Brandeis.

It struck me as we left graduation that after four years of a very expensive education, the one lesson we may have accidentally taught our daughter was the wrong one. We stayed focused on the positive during our celebratory lunch with grandparents. Serious topics were reserved for “a more appropriate time.” I just hope that our post-celebration words left a deeper mark than the ones we did not say, when they might have made a more powerful impression.