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Showing posts with label University of Notre Dame Scandal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University of Notre Dame Scandal. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Time to Address the Notre Dame Scandal

Obama with a useful idiot.
In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame gave an honorary law degree to the tyrannical thug who illegitimately occupies the White House, this blog, along with more than 80 bishops and hundreds of thousands of American Catholics, loudly protested the outrage.  Less than two years into the current administration, there was already ample evidence of Obama's contempt for the Church and all that it stands for.  No administration has ever embraced the culture of death with more enthusiasm.  In response to the irrational decision by Notre Dame to honor Obama, men and women poured into South Bend to protest the scandal.  More than 80 went to jail because they could not, in good conscience, be silent as a flagship of American Catholicism honored the helmsman of evil, who not only has contempt for our beliefs, but would trample religious liberty.

We thought at the time that University President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Richard C. Notebaert, were simply too proud to back down in the face of the national firestorm.  Surely now that what Obama is about has been fully revealed, now that raw evil has decided to use the power of the state to make Catholics not only violate their consciences, but to pay for the slaughter of innocent human life, those at Notre Dame, we assumed, must have recognized what practically all Catholics -- liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican -- have now acknowledged about the Obama regime.  

But that is not the case.  

This past week, after Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria gave a courageous and brilliant address affirming that "no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb,” 49 Notre Dame faculty members denounced Bishop Jenky and called for his resignation from the University's Board of Fellows.  The reaction points up serious apostasy at a university that calls itself Catholic.  Once in the thrall of the father of lies, good becomes evil and truth becomes deceit.

It has been said that Obamacare is responsible for one extraordinary medical miracle -- across America Catholic bishops have grown spines.  We attribute that remarkable fact not to Obamacare, but to the moral and intellectual clarity of Pope Benedict who has appointed many of them.  But whatever the source of new-found moral courage, the sleeping giant of American Catholicism has roused from its slumber.  American Catholics strongly support the leadership of Cardinal Dolan and faithful shepherds like Bishop Jenky.  It is time to use the clarity, courage and commensurate public support to restore to the light of truth heterodox cesspools like Notre Dame.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Charges Dropped Against Notre Dame Protestors

The NBC News affiliate in South Bend, Indiana reports today that after two years, "charges have been dropped against the 94 people arrested for trespassing on the University of Notre Dame's campus while protesting President Obama's May 2009 commencement speech.

The local prosecutor dropped charges after that once-proud university finally "decided not to continue pressing charges."

It has been a shameful, scandalous blot on Notre Dame's reputation that they would honor Barack Hussein Obama, and even more scandalous that they would persecute those standing up for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life.  The failure of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees to apologize to American Catholics and to replace its President, Father John Jenkins,  ends any doubt that the University of Notre Dame is Catholic in name only.  For those seeking authentic, quality, Catholic higher education, there are far, far better alternatives.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gifts to Notre Dame Plunged $120M During Year of Obama’s Appearance

The perpetrators of this outrage will pay an even greater price in eternity.

From Catholic World News

Contributions to the University of Notre Dame fell by over $120 million during the fiscal year in which President Barack Obama was awarded an honorary degree. Several dozen bishops criticized the university’s decision during the months preceding the May 17, 2009, commencement ceremony, and an alumni group called for the withholding of donations.

During the July 2008 - June 2009 fiscal year, gifts to the university totaled $226,689,374, including $60,133,035 in government grants. During the July 2007 - June 2008 fiscal year, in contrast, gifts totaled $347,155,514, including $62,241,121 in government grants. Thus most of the decline in contributions was in private donations rather than government funding.

The decline in donations largely coincided with the late-2000s recession, which officially began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

During the July 2006 - June 2007 fiscal year, gifts to the university had totaled $309,743,862, including $61,218,074 in government grants.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Petition to Free the ND 88 Receives over 6,000 Signatures…So Far


We hope our readers will join us in signing the petition to the President of this once-great Catholic university.

Also, these 88 defenders of life were supported by more than 80 bishops in the United States who opposed the scandal of Obama receiving an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame. It is long past time for the American bishops to insist that the President of Notre Dame drop charges against these 88 faithful, pro-life activists, and then they need to ensure that Notre Dame has authentic Catholic leadership.

From LifeSiteNews

A
petition to “Free the ND88,” which is being co-sponsored by Human Life International, the Thomas More Society, and LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), has received over 6,000 signatures to date, and is still going strong. (Click here to sign the petition; Click here for the petition's Facebook page)

The petition is addressed to the president of the University of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, and asks him to request that the charges be dropped against the 88 pro-life activists who were arrested on Notre Dame’s campus last May, while protesting Obama’s appearance at the university.

The 88 pro-lifers are still facing trial on charges of trespassing, and could receive a sentence of up to a year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine if found guilty.

The Thomas More Society (TMS), which is representing the ND88, recently reported on its website that, despite numerous pleas from concerned pro-lifers, “Notre Dame so far has ignored all requests that the charges be dropped, claiming through its publicity officers that this somehow is beyond its power.” However, TMS called this a “disingenuous response,” given that “the cases could not continue but for Notre Dame’s ongoing involvement and support.”

Fr. Jenkins last week made good on his promise to attend this year’s March for Life – one of several pro-life gestures undertaken by Notre Dame in an effort to repair its tarnished pro-life image following the Obama controversy. At one point during the march, Fr. Jenkins was confronted with a massive banner reading, “Fr. Jenkins: Free the ND88.”

At the same time, several pro-lifers have said that they personally spoke with Fr. Jenkins about the situation at the march. One of these was Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League.

Scheidler said that at the march he went up to Jenkins and “told him I was speaking on behalf of many friends and fellow Domers, and that he should pardon forthwith the Notre Dame 88.” Scheidler says that Jenkins “was polite but absolutely noncommittal, saying something like, ‘Well, you’ve told me.’”

Jenkins told The Observer, Notre Dame’s independent newspaper, that he had expected to see some signs protesting his position on the ND88 at the march, but would only say, “I felt it was important not to let those banners take away from the central goals of the day.”

He added cryptically, “And I refuse to let them distract from advancing the pro-life cause.”

John-Henry Westen, editor of LSN, said, “It is clear that Fr. Jenkins believes that he can get away with portraying himself as being dedicated to the pro-life cause at the same time as persecuting his purported ideological compeers – the ND88 – who were arrested on his campus for doing nothing more than peaceably defending the unborn.”

“It is important for pro-lifers to let Fr. Jenkins know, in great numbers, that there is a fundamental disconnect between his actions and his words that is undermining his efforts – however legitimate or sincere they might be – to restore Notre Dame’s pro-life image.”

Westen encouraged pro-lifers to sign the ND88 petition, and to spread it around to as many of their pro-life family and friends as possible. “It seems that Fr. Jenkins’ mind is made up,” said Westen. “Well, it is up to us to convince him to change his mind. And the only way we can do that is if we work together to let him know that his position is unacceptable.”

To sign the petition, click here: https://secure.lifesitenews.com/np/clients/lifesitenews_us/campaign.jsp?campaign=19


Friday, June 5, 2009

Notre Dame Not Seeking Leniency for Arrested Pro-Life Protesters: Thomas More Lawyers Now on the Case


From LifeSiteNews
By Kathleen Gilbert

Thomas More Society attorneys appeared in St. Joseph County Criminal Court to defend two prominent pro-life advocates against trespass charges brought this morning by local prosecutors in the wake of protests at the University of Notre Dame. The attorneys join the fight with pro-life attorney Tom Dickson, who is representing dozens more pro-lifers arrested at the campus.

Laura Rohling and Jane Brennan went onto the Notre Dame campus to educate students about the after-effects of abortion, based on their own personal experiences with abortion. Ms. Brennan, author of “Motherhood Interrupted,” is a frequent guest on Catholic TV and radio. She serves as regional coordinator in Colorado of “Silent No More,” a group which brings public attention to the plight of women who have experienced emotional and psychological trauma following abortion. Ms. Rohling serves as assistant regional coordinator of that group.

Brennan and Rohling, like dozens of other pro-life advocates who travelled across the country to protest President Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame, were arrested for criminal trespass upon entering campus.

Witnesses say that only individuals who bore a pro-life display of protest - including a large cross, photographs of aborted children, and images of Mary - were arrested, while other passersby and pro-Obama demonstrators were allowed to roam free.

While South Bend prosecutor Michael Dvorak is pursuing charges against the pro-lifers, defense attorneys say they are concerned that the University has not sought leniency for the protesters.

“The Thomas More Society is urging the University to request that these trespass charges be dropped,” said Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society. “Such a magnanimous gesture will go far toward healing the divisions that have arisen between Notre Dame and the pro-life movement, in light of recent events.”

The Society has assembled an all-“Fighting Irish” team, including President and Chief Counsel Thomas Brejcha, Notre Dame class of ’65, Executive Director Peter Breen, Notre Dame Law class of ‘00, and South Bend attorney David Wemhoff, Notre Dame class of ’79, in defense of Ms. Rohling and Ms. Brennan.

“What’s vitally needed is dialogue about pro-life issues of abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, marriage, as well as about capital punishment and peace issues rather than confrontation in South Bend’s criminal court,” Brejcha continued. “The pro-life movement is the next stage of America’s civil rights movement, and Notre Dame is not Birmingham.”

The Thomas More Society has a history of partnership with the University of Notre Dame. The late Fr. Ned Joyce, former Executive Vice President of the University, was a regular financial supporter of the Society. Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, former President of the University, wrote fundraising letters in support of the Thomas More Society’s successful defense of peaceable, non-violent abortion protests in the landmark United States Supreme Court case, NOW v. Scheidler.

To contact University of Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins:

Office of the President
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN
46556
Phone: 574.631.3903
Email:
president@nd.edu


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cardinal Arinze Presents Authentic Vision of Catholic Education in Wake of ND Scandal



From LifeSiteNews

His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, delivered the commencement speech and received an honorary doctorate at The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (TMC) in Merrimack, New Hampshire. During his address, Arinze delivered to the graduates an authentic vision for the mission of Catholic institutions of higher education.

"Cardinal Arinze's words of wisdom ring true in this age of contrasts when more and more Catholic universities are recognizing the priceless value of their Catholic identities, said Patrick Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). CNS is a watchdog organization devoted to Catholic education.

"Unfortunately," he continued, "some Catholic universities, including Notre Dame, have chosen prestige over principle. It is good to know that Thomas More College is encouraging graduates to emulate such a defender of the Catholic faith as Cardinal Arinze. This is the kind of public witness Catholic institutions should be providing in the public square."

Cardinal Arinze emphasized the mission of Catholic universities to strive to educate students about the relationship "between faith and reason, on specialization and orientation, and on science and ethics." He noted that the marker of success for Catholic colleges and universities is having "succeeded in forming and turning out model Christians who are good citizens."

Arinze continued, "If a Catholic College or University adopts this attitude of 'courageous creativity and rigorous fidelity,' it will be able to contribute much to promote a healthy synthesis between faith and culture in society."

"A Catholic college or university educates students to appreciate that moral rules of right and wrong apply also to science, technology, politics, trade and commerce, and indeed to all human endeavors."

"In the complicated world of today, where all kinds of ideas are struggling for the right of citizenship, a university student needs a clear and viable orientation on the relationship between religion and life. The Catholic College or University is ideally positioned to help him see the light and equip himself for a significant contribution in society."

Cardinal Arinze encouraged TMC for its rigorous moral, as well intellectual formation. He asked, "But what does it profit us if a student is an intellectual giant but a moral baby… if he or she can shoot out mathematical or historical facts like a computer but is unfortunately a problem for the parents, corrosive acid among companions in the College, a drug addict and sexual pervert, a disgrace to the school, a waste-pipe in the place of work and Case number 23 for the Criminal Police? It is clear that intellectual development is not enough."

The Cardinal noted the difficulties facing new graduates in a world ruled by moral relativism. "A person who holds that certain actions, like direct abortion, are always objectively wrong, is regarded as 'judgmental', or as imposing his views on others."

Echoing Pope Benedict XVI's address to Catholic educators, he said, "The exercise of freedom in pursuit of the truth is very much a part of integral education. If a Catholic College or University does not help in this way, should we not say that it has failed in one of its important roles?"

"If a Catholic college or university answers to its vocation in the ways outlined above, then it will be educating, forming and releasing into society model citizens who will be a credit to their families, their college, the Church and the State. It will prepare for us members of Congress or the Senate who will not say 'I am a Catholic, but...' but rather those who will say 'I am a Catholic, and therefore...'"

During his speech, Cardinal Arinze praised TMC as "a young and dynamic Catholic liberal arts college…dedicated to forming students intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition and with unapologetic fidelity to the Magisterium, or the Teaching Authority of the Church."

Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is also lauded in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for its significant emphasis on intellectual offerings and for its recent strengthening of "its already notable Catholic identity."
(See: http://www.catholichighered.org/TheNewmanGuide/tabid/356/Default.aspx)


Monday, May 18, 2009

To the Eternal Shame of Notre Dame!



"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

Isaiah 5:20

An 80 year old priest arrested at Notre Dame for praying and opposing the killing of babies!




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fr. Jenkins to Graduating ND Students: "There is Much to Admire and Celebrate in the Work of Obama"



The motivations behind University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins are becoming clear. He has defied the hierarchy in Rome and throughout the United States, cost the University of Notre Dame millions in alumni donations, spawned a rebellion among students who refuse to be Herod's pawns in an effort to divide Catholics, and created a scandal from which his once respected university will not soon recover, because his board is comprised of close Obama supporters, some of whom have financially benefited from earmarks proposed by Barack Obama during his brief Senate career.


But as Saint Augustine wrote, “God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to suffer no evil to exist.” We have reason to believe that efforts are underway to "clean house" at the University of Notre Dame. This outrage has galvanized an often spineless American Catholic hierarchy as few issues have ever done. One of the Church's most prominent scholars and the former US Ambassador to the Holy See has refused the University's highest honor, Church going Catholics are overwhelmingly opposed to Obama receiving honors from the flagship Catholic university in the United States, awareness of Obama's deadly agenda is considerably greater among all Americans than it was previously, national polls show opposition to abortion has increased by 8%, and Catholic colleges and universities will think twice before according a platform, much less honors, to any pro-abortion politician in the future.

As we wish Father Jenkins good riddance, we are thankful for the good that God has brought out of the scandal Jenkins created.
From LifeSiteNews
By Kathleen Gilbert

The president of the University of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, has issued a letter to graduates addressing the controversy that has exploded over the school's invitation to President Obama to deliver this year's commencement address and receive an honorary degree. In the letter Jenkins expresses his admiration for President Obama and his record.

"There is much to admire and celebrate in the life and work of President Obama," wrote Fr. Jenkins. "He's a remarkable figure in American history and I look forward to welcoming him to Notre Dame."

(To see full text of Fr. Jenkins' letter: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051305.html)

The University has been the center of a firestorm of controversy, drawing criticism from 74 U.S. bishops and 360,000 petitioning Catholics, ever since it was announced that Obama would appear on campus for graduation on May 17.

Instead of attending the official commencement ceremonies, pro-life graduating seniors protesting the invitation will attend a meditation led by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life in the university's Grotto of Our Lady Lourdes. A rally on Notre Dame's South Quad, organized by ND Response and featuring several speakers, is expected to draw thousands of peaceful pro-life protesters.

"The decision to invite President Obama to Notre Dame to receive an honorary degree and deliver the Commencement address has triggered debate," wrote Fr. Jenkins in the letter to graduates dated May 11. Jenkins noted that the debate has grown "heated," even among some "who agree completely on Church teaching regarding the sanctity of human life, who agree completely that we should work for change - and differ only on how we should work for change."

Saying that both he and the University are "unequivocally committed to the sanctity of human life," Jenkins said he was "saddened" that those protesting the invitation "have suggested that our invitation to President Obama indicates ambiguity in our position on matters of Catholic teaching."

"Notre Dame has a long custom of conferring honorary degrees on the President of the United States. It has never been a political statement or an endorsement of policy," he said. "As St. Peter wrote (I Pt. 2:17), we should honor the leader who upholds the secular order."

Jenkins said that the Catholic university's "special obligation not just to honor the leader, but to engage the culture" has "never been easy or without controversy."

"The President's visit to Notre Dame can help lead to broader engagement on issues of importance to the country and of deep significance to Catholics," said the university president.

Jenkins concluded highlighted as especially admirable Obama's "views and policies on immigration, expanding health care, alleviating poverty, and building peace through diplomacy have a deep residence with Catholic social teaching." He added that, "As the first African-American holder of this office, he has accelerated our country's progress in overcoming the painful legacy of slavery and segregation."

"He's a remarkable figure in American history and I look forward to welcoming him to Notre Dame."

In the letter Fr. Jenkins does not criticize Obama for the extreme pro-abortion record that has led U.S. pro-life advocates to label him the "most pro-abortion" president in U.S. history.

Last month, Fr. Jenkins told the audience of a town hall meeting that Notre Dame is "tremendously proud" to honor Obama.

Concerning the unprecedented backlash the decision drew, Jenkins said, "I think it's unfortunate that the great event of President Obama coming to this campus has been a little clouded by that controversy."


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Notre Dame Students Boycott Graduation Over Pro-Abortion Obama Speech



From LifeNews.com
By Steven Ertelt

More graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame are boycotting the commencement ceremony scheduled to take place this weekend featuring pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Their refusal to attend is a dramatic conclusion to what has been branded a scandal of national proportions.

Students say the decision to boycott the graduation and attend alternative commencement events, including a prayer vigil featuring Father Frank Pavone, is not a political decision.

“It’s not a political issue; this is an issue of human dignity, and it’s a Catholic issue,” said Greer Hannan, a Notre Dame graduating senior. “As a Catholic university, we need to stand up for it.”

The evening of May 16, Bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Rev. John D’Arcy, will lead a candlelight prayer vigil for graduating seniors and their families to pray for an end to abortion.

On graduation day, in addition to the meditation ceremony with the Priests for Life leader, a large rally will be held on the South Quad of the university featuring a variety of speakers.

ND Response, the student-led coalition that is planning the events, told LifeNews.com today that "Notre Dame should not be honoring a political figure who supports abortion and embryonic stem cell research."

The collection of several pro-life groups has also released a new Hollywood style video showcasing their displeasure with Notre Dame and Obama.

Meanwhile, a new article on the popular Catholic web site PewSitter indicates some reasons for why Notre Dame president, Rev. John Jenkins, invited pro-abortion President Obama to be the graduation speaker.

The article indicates political connections between members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and Obama which may explain why a Catholic university would ignore Church teachings and significant public outcry to honor the pro-abortion president with an honorary degree.

One example listed in the expose' is that of the Chair of the Notre Dame Trustees, Richard Notebaert, and his wife may be friends of Obama's and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has received federal funding earmarked by Obama when he was a senator.

One of Obama's "key" fundraisers, Frank Clark, served on the museum board at time the funding was received.

The PewSitter article also explores other connections and makes the case that Jenkins may be doing little more than the bidding of a Board of Trustees politically disposed to support Obama.

Related web sites:

ND Response - http://www.ndresponse.com/
New video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KUBdrrbF6o


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Father Corapi Thanks Signers of Notre Dame Scandal Petition






Catholics Overwhelmingly Oppose Notre Dame Honor to Obama: Rasmussen Poll


From LifeSiteNews

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that more than twice as many Americans - and a wider margin of Catholics - oppose the University of Notre Dame's decision to give an honorary law degree to President Barack Obama, as those who support it.

The Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that, by a 60% to 25% margin, U.S. Catholics say Notre Dame should obey guidelines issued by the U.S. bishops and refrain from awarding an honorary degree to the president. Among all Americans, 52% oppose the honor and 25% support it.

"Faithful Catholics are sick to the heart over this scandal, which reflects decades of such scandals in our Catholic institutions," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.

"The Rasmussen poll confirms that this is not about politics … It's about Catholics who are fed up with Catholic institutions betraying their bishops and putting secular prestige ahead of principle, thereby undermining their own Church on the most serious moral issues of the day."

According to the poll, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans believe that it is important for speakers at graduation ceremonies of religious universities to share the views of the university. Although a majority (56%) of Catholics agree with the statement, support is also strong among Evangelical Christians (87%) and other Protestants (63%).

In 2004 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement which reads, in part: "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."

Knowledge of that bishops policy appears to be key to Americans' views on the Notre Dame honor. When asked whether President Obama should cancel his appearance at Notre Dame because of pro-life opposition, 52% of Americans say "no" and 30% say "yes." A poll released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life first asked respondents how much they had heard about "criticism of Notre Dame by abortion opponents," then asked whether it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to honor Obama. Although Mass-attending, White non-Hispanic Catholics opposed the award 45% to 37%, support for the honor was strong among all self-identified Catholics (50%) and all Americans (48%).

"Clearly people are respectful of the Presidency and probably don't want politics to interfere with commencement ceremonies," Reilly said. "But when the context changes to principle over politics, and Americans are made aware that a Catholic university is violating a directive of the Catholic bishops based on moral teaching, public opinion swings against Notre Dame's action."

Rasmussen Reports confirms in its poll summary that "the discomfort on the issue is focused on the university decision rather than on the president," and "the response is tied more closely to the violation of the bishops' guidelines that to the policy issue concerning abortion." While pro-life Americans strongly oppose the Notre Dame honor, even "pro-choice" respondents are evenly split as to whether Notre Dame should snub the Catholic bishops.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

66 Bishops Decry 'Toxic Residue' of Notre Dame Scandal


Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua expresses "great distress" at Obama invitation and calls for invitation to be rescinded

From LifeSiteNews
By Kathleen Gilbert

Four more U.S. bishops have come out against the decision by the University of Notre Dame to honor President Obama with the commencement address and an honorary law degree at the school's graduation May 17.

Philadelphia's Archbishop Emeritus, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, released to the Catholic professional group Legatus his letter to University president Fr. Jenkins expressing "great distress" at the invitation and calling for its retraction. (http://patricknovecosky.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/cardinal-bevilacqua-addresses-n...)

"While one may understand an invitation to President Obama to engage him in conversation on creating a culture of life, it is not appropriate for him to speak at the commencement exercises of a Catholic university, nor should he receive an honorary degree," wrote Bevilacqua. "Such actions cause confusion among faithful Catholics and send a mixed message regarding the clear Magisterium of the Catholic Church on life issues.

Read the rest of this entry >>


Monday, May 4, 2009

Notre Dame, My Mother


From First Things
By Lacy Dodd

For many members of the Notre Dame Class of 2009, the uproar surrounding the university’s decision to honor Barack Obama with this year’s commencement address, and to bestow on him a doctorate of laws, has provoked strong feelings about what the ensuing conflict will mean for their graduation.

I know how they feel. Ten years ago, my heart was filled with similar conflicts as we came closer to the day of my own Notre Dame commencement and my commissioning as an officer in the United States Army.

You see, I was three months pregnant.

That March, I had gone—alone—to a local woman’s clinic to take a test. The results were positive, and I was so numb I almost didn’t grasp what the nurse was getting at when she assured me I had “other options.” What did “other options” mean? And what kind of world is it that defines compassion as telling a young woman who has just learned she is carrying life inside her that she has the option to destroy it?

Read the rest of this entry >>


Saturday, May 2, 2009

'Jane Roe' of Roe v Wade Attacks Notre Dame Decision to Honor Pro-Abortion Obama


From The Telegraph
By Damian Thompson

The woman whose pregnancy provoked the Roe v Wade court case that legalised abortion in the United States in 1973 has condemned the decision by Notre Dame University to invite the fiercely pro-abortion Barack Obama to deliver its commencement address on May 17.

Norma McCorvey - the "Jane Roe" of Roe v Wade - is now a Catholic pro-life campaigner. And she has joined 60 Catholic bishops in condemning the university 's decision to honour the most "pro-choice" politician ever to sit in Congress.

"Obama is not the ideal person to speak to a young bunch of kids that are going out into the world for the first time," she told me.

"These people will have to remember that it was him who spoke at their graduation for the rest of ther natural lives. We have many in the pro-life movement that are better qualified to do this.

"I am really surprised more parents haven't pulled their kids out. I have heard that many of them will not show up this reason."

Norma is a brave lady: in the 1980s she revealed herself to be the "Jane Roe" of the famous case, and in the 1990s she converted to Christianity. In 1998 she became a Catholic and now campaigns for civil rights "for everybody, including the unborn". (Incidentally, she never had an abortion: the case took so long that she had the child, which was adopted.)

As I wrote the other day, "Notre Shame" is is turning into one of the biggest PR disasters of Barack Obama's presidency, and is quickly eroding his fragile support among American Catholics.

Fr John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, is now the most unpopular priest in America. He and his liberal friends simply cannot see that a Catholic university cannot hold up a campaigner for partial-birth abortions as a moral exemplar for young people, even if he is the first African-American President of the United States.

Notre Dame had been planning to give its Laetare Medal to Mary Ann Glendon, former US ambassador to the Vatican. She has now declined the honour and won't be attending. Surely the President should now do the decent thing and withdraw from this occasion. Of course many of the students would be disappointed – I imagine that most of them are pro-Obama. But it could be explained to them that Notre Dame is a Catholic university, and that actually means something.

As it is, however, I reckon this shameful event will go ahead. And you won't need to tell the students about the consequences of being at a Catholic university because, frankly, Notre Dame won't be one any more.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First 300,000 Petition Signatures Delivered to Notre Dame Board Members, Fr. Jenkins


Copies Are Being Rushed to Rome, Papal Nuncio, USCCB and ND Bishop John D’Arcy


Today, April 29, 2009, the first 300,000 names of individuals who signed the petition at NotreDameScandal.com — opposing the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama at commencement — are being delivered to Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the Board of Trustees and the Board of Fellows as they prepare for scheduled meetings on Friday, May 1, at Notre Dame.

As of this morning, more than 344,000 people have signed the petition, but because of the overwhelming numbers it took The Cardinal Newman Society more than 24 hour
s to prepare the data and print more than 64,000 sheets of paper, double sided, which were then bound in notebooks and sent via FedEx to Father Jenkins and individual members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows.

Copies of the petitions are also being rushed by The Cardinal Newman Society, which sponsored the petition, to Archbishop Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education; Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican ambassador) to the United States; Francis Cardinal George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Bishop John D’Arcy, of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who presides over Notre Dame; and Bishop Robert McManus, Chairman of the USCCB Education Committee. “

Only the Notre Dame Trustees and Fellows have direct authority over Father Jenkins, so their meetings on Friday are our best hope for an end to this scandal,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“It is critical for all of us to pray that the Trustees and Fellows charged with safeguarding Notre Dame’s Catholic identity will heed the 50 bishops and hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholics urging Notre Dame to withdraw its invitation to President Obama.”

The University of Notre Dame is governed by a 12-member Board of Fellows, including six Holy Cross priests, who are charged with ensuring “that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning.” The Fellows delegate most of their governing authority to the 38-member Board of Trustees, comprised mostly of lay people.

The university’s charter states: "The essential character of the University as a Catholic institution of higher learning shall at all times be maintained, it being the stated intention and desire of the present Fellows of the University that the University shall retain in perpetuity its identity as such an institution."


Monday, April 27, 2009

Glendon Declines Commencement Honor From Notre Dame


From Catholic World News

Mary Ann Glendon has announced that she will not accept the Laetare Medal-- the highest honor conferred by the University of Notre Dame-- at this year's commencement exercises.

Glendon-- the Harvard Law professor who recently stepped down from her post as US ambassador to the Holy See-- has indicated that she decided to decline the Laetare Medal because of her concerns about the commencement address that will be delivered by President Barack Obama. In an April 27 letter to Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, she wrote that a prospect "that once seemed so delightful has been complicated" by the Obama appearance and by Notre Dame's response to criticism from the American bishops.

In her letter Glendon expressed dismay that Notre Dame chose to honor the President despite his clear public stand against Catholic principles on key moral issues. She also voiced her discomfort with the university's suggestion that her own speech at the commencement exercises might counterbalance the Obama appearance. A commencement celebration, she said, "is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised" by Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama in defiance of clear guidance from the US bishops.

The full text of Glendon's letter follows:

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon



Monday, April 20, 2009

"Fr. Jenkins Will Probably Lose His Job": Nine More Bishops Make 42 against ND Scandal


From LifeSiteNews
By Kathleen Gilbert

Nine more bishops have publicly acknowledged their disapproval of the University of Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at the school's commencement exercises May 17.

Bishop Paul Coakley of the diocese of Salina, KS, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) today that he has written a personal letter to Father Jenkins expressing his "deep disappointment" at the invitation.

Citing his grave concern over the President's support for anti-life policies, Bishop Coakley told LSN that he reminded University president Fr. John Jenkins of the USCCB directive that forbids Catholic schools from honoring those whose positions contradict the teachings of the Church.

"The University's invitation undermines the Catholic identity and mission of the institution," said Coakley.

When LSN requested comment on the Obama invitation from Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, OR, the bishop responded simply: "This is just one more sign of the failure of Catholic Institutions to stand up for and support a higher ethical standard."

The Orlando Diocese, where Thomas G. Wenski is bishop, has announced a Mass of reparation for "the many shortcomings and transgressions committed against the dignity and sacredness of human life in our world," specifically for Notre Dame's decision to honor pro-abortion President Obama at commencement. The Mass is taking place at the Cathedral of St. James on May 3, 2009.

In a column on the Orlando Diocese website, Bishop Wenski writes, "Notre-Dame (at least in its Administration and Board) has forgotten what it means to be Catholic."

"Last year, in Washington, D.C., Pope Benedict XVI addressed Catholic educators, including university presidents," wrote the bishop. "He said 'to justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission.'

"Father Jenkins, Notre-Dame's president, must have nodded off during the Pope's speech," he concluded.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati spokesman Dan Andriacco has confirmed to CNS that Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk "supports the strong comments of Bishop D'Arcy of South Bend, in whose diocese Notre Dame is located." Archbishop D'Arcy, who is boycotting Notre Dame's commencement, has said that Notre Dame must ask itself whether by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

Mr. Andriacco also said the archbishop stands by the editorial 'Prestige over Truth', appearing in The Catholic Telegraph, on April 3, which is critical of Notre Dame's decision to honor Obama.

On Saturday, Bishop Robert Finn of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., addressed the scandal in the course of his keynote address for the 2009 Gospel of Life Convention at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

"It doesn't take another Bishops' Conference statement to know this is wrong: scandalous, discouraging and confusing to many Catholics," said Finn of the Obama invitation. "God knows what all motivates such a decision.

"I suspect that, since Notre Dame will need a scapegoat for this debacle, and Fr. Jenkins will probably lose his job, at this point perhaps he ought to determine to lose it for doing something right instead of something wrong."

Finn suggested that Jenkins disinvite the President, and instead give the honorary degree to Notre Dame's Bishop John D'Arcy, "who has supported and tried to guide the University, despite their too frequent waywardness, faithfully for 25 years."

In a column in the April 17 issue of the Catholic Times, Bishop George Lucas of Springfield, Ill., said that he was prompted to address the scandal after individuals expressed to him their disturbance at the invitation. "I am disturbed, too, at this decision by Notre Dame to sow confusion where there is clarity in Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life and the evil of abortion," wrote the bishop.

"For some this may be one political issue among many," the bishop continued. "For Catholics it is a matter of worshiping God by the proclamation of the truth. Many students and faculty at Notre Dame know this. The university's administration thinks it knows better.

"It is hard to imagine the university honoring someone, no matter his office, who had consistently spoken against the value of football," wrote Bishop Lucas. "We are not being unreasonable when we expect the value of human life to be a central focus of a Catholic university."

Bishop Leonard Blair recently stated on Toledo's diocesan website that, while dialogue with politicians on the protection of innocent life remains a "priority at every level" for the Catholic Church, the University's decision to honor Obama was not justified.

Paraphrasing the U.S. Bishops Conference 2004 directive, Blair said: "It is not appropriate for Catholic institutions to give awards, honors or platforms to those who promote an abortion agenda. Doing so suggests that Catholics are not really serious about what the Church teaches regarding grave and immoral offenses against the life of the unborn."

Blair called for Catholics to respect the office of the President, and pray for Mr. Obama's conversion, but added: "An invitation to speak and an honorary doctorate from a Catholic University go beyond the bounds of respect, and can only be a source of dismay."

On Friday, Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of the Evansville, Ind. diocese said that President Obama "has pandered himself to the pro-choice movement," and thus by inviting him Notre Dame and its president "are by affinity also pandering to the pro-choice movement." The bishop agreed with Bishop D'Arcy, who criticized the school for apparently having "chosen prestige over truth."

The Evansville bishop called it ironic that Obama would be given an honorary law degree, as he said, "Clearly that degree will not include the moral law."

"If so, then the honor is shallow - indeed empty - as God is the source from which all law is derived," he continued.

"God is truth. God is the author and guardian of all human life. God does not allow for selective obedience. Do Father Jenkins and the Board of Trustees by their decision see any disconnect of themselves from the Infinite Truth?"

In a preview of his letter to Fr. Jenkins given to the Daily Journal, Bishop Joseph Latino of Jackson, Miss., wrote that he feels the university has sacrificed the church's teaching concerning the sacredness of life for the distinction of having the nation's first African-American president speak at its commencement.

The Notre Dame alumni watchdog group Project Sycamore is circulating a petition against the invitation which states in part: "The ineradicable facts that will stamp this occasion are the University's decision to inscribe in the University roll of honorees the name of the most pro-abortion President in the nation's history and its choice of him as the person to speak to the 2009 graduates about the values they should hold dear." (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/oppose_obama/) (For more information on Project Sycamore, go to: http://www.sycamoretrust.org./)

Another petition, circulated by the Cardinal Newman Society, has been signed by over 320,000 individuals. (See: www.notredamescandal.com)

The bishops who have so far expressed disapproval of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D'Arcy - Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN

2. Bishop Samuel Aquila - Fargo, ND

3. Bishop Gregory Aymond - Austin, TX

4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito - Palm Beach, FL

5. Bishop Leonard Blair - Toledo, OH

6. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein - Indianapolis, IN

7. Bishop Robert Baker - Birmingham, AL

8. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - Lincoln, NE

9. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran - Oklahoma City, OK
10. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar CantĂș - San Antonio, TX

11. Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS

12. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Houston, TX

13. Archbishop Timothy Dolan - New York, NY

14. Bishop Thomas Doran - Rockford, IL

15. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty - Scranton, PA

16. Bishop Robert Finn - Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO

17. Cardinal Francis George - Chicago, IL; President, USCCB

18. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Evansville, IN

19. Archbishop José Gomez - San Antonio, TX

20. Bishop William Higi - Lafayette, IN

21. Archbishop Alfred Hughs - New Orleans, LA

22. Bishop Joseph Latino - Jackson, MS

23. Bishop Jerome Listecki - La Crosse, WI

24. Bishop William E. Lori - Bridgeport, CT

25. Bishop George Lucas - Springfield, IL

26. Bishop Robert Lynch - St. Petersburg, FL

27. Bishop Joseph Martino - Scranton, PA

28. Bishop Charles Morlino - Madison, WI

29. Bishop George Murry - Youngstown, OH

30. Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ

31. Bishop R. Walker Nickless - Sioux City, IA

32. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt - St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN

33. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien - Baltimore, MD

34. Bishop Thomas Olmsted - Phoenix, AZ

35. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk - Cincinnati, OH

36. Bishop Kevin Rhoades - Harrisburg, PA

37. Bishop Alexander Sample - Marquette, MI

38. Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, OK

39. Bishop Richard Stika - Knoxville, TN

40. Bishop Anthony Taylor - Little Rock, AR

41. Bishop Robert Vasa - Baker, OR

42. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Orlando, FL


Friday, April 17, 2009

Notre Dame Alumni Withhold Donations Until ND Prez Replaced


From LifeSiteNews
By Kathleen Gilbert

A coalition of University of Notre Dame alumni have unveiled a campaign to withhold donations to their alma mater in an attempt to oust University president Fr. John Jenkins, who is standing by his invitation to President Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree at this year's commencement exercises.

Citing the invitation, as well as Jenkins' "other regrettable decisions over the years," the alumni founders of ReplaceJenkins.com are urging alumni and other Notre Dame contributors to sign a petition pledging to withhold all donations until the president is replaced. (http://www.replacejenkins.com)

"Although we love Notre Dame, our conscience requires that we withhold all financial support from our University until such time as Father Jenkins is replaced as Notre Dame's President with someone who will be more loyal to the teaching of the Catholic Church," states the group on its website.

"ReplaceJenkins.com fully supports academic freedom at the University of Notre Dame, but we believe that the truths revealed by Christ through His Church must be taught and defended by a faithful Catholic University."

The website continues: "We believe that Father Jenkins has, in the best case scenario, shown incredibly poor judgment in honoring President Obama given the radical pro-abortion positions Obama advocates; in the worst case scenario, Father Jenkins is deliberately acting in contradiction to Catholic teaching.

"He should, in good conscience, resign," says the group. "Alternatively, and with charity, he should be removed.

"We welcome the day when we can feel proud of our University once again - and when the University of Notre Dame leads all Catholic colleges as one deeply committed to a culture of life, a role one would expect from Our Lady's University."

The group joins over 300,000 petitioners with the Cardinal Newman Society, as well as 33 U.S. bishops, who have condemned the Obama invitation as gravely contrary to the U.S. Bishops Conference injunction that Catholic schools not honor pro-abortion politicians.

To view the Notre Dame alumni coalition's website: http://www.replacejenkins.com

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Blessing for Catholics


From The American Spectator
By Lisa Fabrizio

In the 1960s, the American Catholic Church, like the rest of the nation, underwent a period of tremendous upheaval. Proceeding from, though not limited to, the willful misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council by some in the clergy, thousands upon thousands left the Church; older members who could not withstand the confusion, and the younger ones who could not perceive an enduring faith amid the calamitous changes.

But as has happened countless times in her long history, the Church has, by the grace of God, seen good priests and bishops arise to bring her back. Yet still today, far too many American Catholics are like far too many other citizens of their country: they have a vague notion of their history or of the tenets on which they were founded, but not much more than that. Sadly, many of them get serious about the faith a few times a year, much like Americans who recall our founding principles only briefly on the Fourth of July, if at all.

Faithful, practicing Catholics are already painfully aware that, in addition to having to defend their faith to others, they must also sometimes explain it to their fellow Catholics. And, just as knowledge and respect for the U.S. Constitution and capitalism -- which were ingrained upon the American psyche for decades -- have faded into the past, so too it seems incomprehensible that today's Catholics need to be reminded that adultery, euthanasia, and the murder of the unborn constitute grave sin.

Upon this scene comes Barack Obama, the first American president to embrace abortion both personally and politically. Not only does he support a "right" that seeks to cut short innocent life, he has made the case that such life might be the "punishment" for sexual "mistakes." This goes beyond what even some of the most strident advocates of abortion have been willing to say in public, but such is the sorry state of morality in our country.

Now given Barack Obama's radical support of abortion -- even to the extent that he has voted that the lives of the survivors of this heinous act should also be snuffed -- you'd think that he would be wary of alienating the great majority of practicing American Catholics. Yet, spurred on by exit polling that suggests he won the overall Catholic vote by a slim margin, he has managed to elevate some of the most notoriously pro-abortion Catholics to important posts in his administration.

He has even reportedly gone so far as to try and nominate such nominal Catholics as Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to the Vatican. These choices, of course, have been rejected. Try this stinging rebuke from a Vatican source:

The Holy See has always set a very simple standard: the person should not be in opposition to fundamental teachings of the Church that belong to our common shared humanity. He or she may not believe in Catholic dogma if he or she is not a Catholic, but we could not accept someone who is in favor of abortion, or (human) cloning or same-sex unions equated to marriage. That is a fairly simple principle that governments like, say, Spain and Cuba, or Mr. Clinton's administration, have been able to understand without a problem.

Unfortunately, Obama's reward for all this is that he will be the sixth president to speak at Notre Dame and the ninth to receive an honorary degree from that formerly venerated institution. This despite the fiat from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that "…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."

No doubt Notre Dame and its leadership think that they are being courageous in honoring one who has so publicly spit in the eye of Mother Church, but it's hard to imagine why. In reality, true courage lies in opposing popular opinion in defense of principle. As Jesus explained:

If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)

And here is where we find that God does indeed continue to work in mysterious ways. Notre Dame and Barack Obama have combined to supply the Church with an opportunity to exercise one of its fundamental missions; to provide the faithful with a true teaching moment. Dozens of American bishops have issued statements condemning the Obama invitation and other indiscretions at Notre Dame, perhaps none more eloquently than Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska:

Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled at your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called "The Vagina Monologues" and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the United States...I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.

Harsh words indeed, but most welcome to the ears of faithful Catholics everywhere. Let us hope that more and more of our brethren will heed the voices of these brave bishops who understand that one's faith cannot be checked at the church door. And let us all pray together with Pope Benedict XVI who said in America last year:

Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means...rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, "there is no human activity -- even in secular affairs -- which can be withdrawn from God's dominion."


Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Former National Security Advisor Opposes Notre Dame Giving Honorary Degree to Obama


Richard Allen, former National Security Advisor to President Reagan, has spoken out against Notre Dame, his alma mater, giving Barack Hussein Obama an honorary degree. His op-ed in The New York Times follows:

Degrees of Acceptance at Notre Dame

THERE is turmoil in South Bend, Ind. — and around the country. The Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, has invited President Obama to deliver the commencement address at the university on May 17 and to receive an honorary degree.

As a result, many alumni are up in arms denouncing the decision. Priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals have criticized the university and its president. South Bend’s own bishop, John D’Arcy, has announced that he will not attend. At the same time, other members of the Notre Dame community have responded, with similar force, that Mr. Obama should be allowed to speak.

Both sides are entrenched. Is there a way out?

Inviting a president to the campus of Notre Dame ought not be an issue. Mr. Obama should be welcomed at the school — just as other presidents before him were.

But Father Jenkins also overstates the case when he says that the president is coming to Notre Dame to further “positive engagement.”

American presidents don’t go to commencements to engage in dialogue; they go to use the university platform to deliver a message, their message, not a two-way message. They fly in, speak, then fly back to Washington. Notre Dame provides a great photo op and seal of approval for any elected official.

What’s more, it’s important to remember that Notre Dame is a Catholic institution. The school openly flouts the guidelines of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops when it bestows an honorary degree upon a president who supports something anathema to the faith: abortion. Catholic doctrine holds that life begins at conception; as a candidate, Mr. Obama said that determining when life begins “is above my pay grade,” not an answer at all. There is every sign that his administration has a pro-abortion orientation.

The moral conflict could not be clearer. But here’s a solution: Notre Dame should welcome President Obama as its principal commencement speaker but should not give him an honorary degree. You see, policy positions do matter when it comes to honorary degrees, because the degrees honor something.

In his first appearance after an attempted assassination on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan traveled to Notre Dame to deliver its commencement address. As Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser, and as someone who earned two degrees at Notre Dame, I went along. Mr. Reagan had special ties to the school. He portrayed the Notre Dame football legend George Gipp in the 1940 classic “Knute Rockne — All American.” (This may be why so many people thought he was Catholic — this, and his Irish name.)

But the reasons for his invitation went much deeper. The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, the university’s president at the time, told me that he conferred an honorary degree on Mr. Reagan because he admired his unflinching stance during the 1980 campaign on the protection of the unborn. This was a difficult position at the time, for pressures were building in support of abortion rights after the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Mr. Reagan’s views and policies were recognized in the honorary degree he received.

The Obama policy on abortion is pretty much the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s. It is precisely what the Catholic Church fights against. That is why my alma mater, while welcoming him in its midst, ought not confer an honorary degree on Mr. Obama.


Richard V. Allen, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser.