Archive for the ‘Notre Dame’ Category

Obama, Notre Dame, Abortion Controversy Won’t Easily Die

March 27, 2009

Another bishop has sent a letter to the president of the University of Notre Dame urging him to rethink inviting President Obama to the university to recieve an award.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix wrote the letter to Father John Jenkins to say, “I am saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University.”

Photo of Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C.
Fr. Jenkins

The controversey erupted when a petition was circulated to express displeasure at the pro-abortion Obama’s trip to Notre Dame planned for May 2009.

Some Catholics say Obama should not have been invited to speak at the Catholic university’s commencement because of his pro-choice stance on the issue of abortion and his decision to permit federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

Over 188,000 people have put their names on the online petition (as of Friday morning March 27):
http://www.notredamescandal.com/

Olmsted’s letter follows a statement earlier this week by Notre Dame’s own Bishop John D’Arcy, in which the bishop criticized the decision and announced his intent to boycott the ceremony. 

Just about a year ago, Father jenkins came under fire at Notre dame for allowing the show “The Vagina Monologues” on campus.

At that time he said, “I am very determined that we not suppress speech on this campus,” Father Jenkins said in a statement. “I am also determined that we never suppress or neglect the Gospel that inspired this university.”

*********************

Dear Fr. Jenkins,

I am saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University and even to receive an honorary degree.

It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States.  Our USCCB June 2004 Statement “Catholics in Political Life” states: “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.”  No one could not know of the public stands and actions of the president on key issues opposed to the most vulnderable human beings.

John Paul II said, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.”

I pray that you come to see the grave mistake of your decision, and the way that it undercuts the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel of Life in our day.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
Diocese of Phoenix

Related:
http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/p
bcs.dll/article?AID=/20090326/News01
/903260347

Obama’s Views Cause Troubles Between Notre Dame, Bishop, Many Catholics

 Bishop: Notre Dame has ‘chosen prestige over truth’ by inviting Obama

80,000 Sign Petition to Withdraw Invite to Obama

The University of Notre Dame says its invitation doesn't mean the university agrees with all of Obama's positions.

The University of Notre Dame says its invitation doesn’t mean the university agrees with all of Obama’s positions.

******************

By Tom Coyne
Associated Press

Jimmy Carter came to Notre Dame in 1977. So did Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George W. Bush in 2001.

The University of Notre Dame has a tradition of inviting new presidents to speak at graduation. But this year’s selection of President Barack Obama has been met by a barrage of criticism that has left some students fearing their commencement ceremony will turn into a circus.

Many Catholics are angered by Obama’s planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure.

The consensus Thursday on the campus of the nation’s largest Catholic university was that any president should be welcomed at Notre Dame.

“People are definitely entitled to their outrage, but I think the main thing is to see that it’s an honor to have the president of the United States come to speak here whether you agree with him or not,” said Katie Woodward, a political science junior from Philadelphia.

Justin Mack, a senior film major from Dallas, agreed.

“I didn’t vote for him and there are a lot of things I don’t agree with him or support. But I feel like for this event people need to put that aside,” said Mack, a senior film major from Dallas. “My hope is that doesn’t distract too much from what the weekend is about, which is the graduation.”

But the distractions have been mounting, including sharply worded letters from two bishops. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Phoenix Diocese on Wednesday called Obama’s selection a “public act of disobedience” and “a grave mistake.” On Tuesday, Bishop John D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, which includes Notre Dame, said he would not attend the ceremony because of Obama’s policies.

Hundreds of people on both sides of the issue have sent letters to the student newspaper, and a coalition of conservative student groups has announced its opposition.

University spokesman Dennis Brown says Notre Dame does not plan to rescind the invitation. Anyone associated with the university can recommend a commencement speaker, he said, and the president consults with university officers to see who would be most appropriate.

Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins has said the university does not condone all of Obama’s policies but that it’s important to engage in conversation.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama believes everyone has the right to express their opinion, saying the president met last week with Chicago Cardinal Francis George and others to discuss topics Obama and the Catholic church are interested in.

“He looks forward to continuing that dialogue in the leadup to the commencement, and looks forward to delivering the address in May,” Gibbs said.

Bob Reish, the student body president and a graduating senior, said there is a “general excitement” about Obama’s visit, although he is aware there are people on both sides of the issue.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, The Observer, the student newspaper, had received 612 letters about Obama’s appearance – 313 from alumni and 299 from current students.

Seventy percent of the alumni letters opposed having Obama giving the speech, while 73 percent of student letters supported his appearance. Among the 95 seniors who wrote letters, 97 percent supported the president’s invitation.

Sophomore Kelsey Fletcher, a Japanese major from nearby Elkhart, said she doesn’t think the university should have invited Obama to speak.

“He shouldn’t be giving the commencement address because of his policies, but once you invite him you can’t disinvite him,” she said. “That would be rude.”

Others noted that Obama is only speaking at three universities this year.

“We can’t just forgive his viewpoints, we can’t just let it go without expressing our thoughts on it,” said Thomas Heitker, a freshman biology major from Columbus, Ohio. “But he’s only speaking at three universities this year and to be one out of so many is something we should be proud about.”

Chris Carrington, a political science major from the Chicago area, said he doesn’t see how Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame contradicts Catholic values.

“To not allow someone here because of their beliefs seems a little hypocritical and contradictory to what the mission of the university and church should be,” he said.

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Obama’s Views Cause Troubles Between Notre Dame, Bishop, Many Catholics

March 25, 2009

President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to give an address at the University of Notre Dame commencement in May.

But his pro-abortion and pro-embryonic stem cell research views have gotten a reactions from some 80,000 to 100,000 Catholics who are protesting in the form of an on line petition.

 Lifting a federal ban on embryonic stem cell research, he said just last night at a news conference, was the “right thing to do” despite criticisms from various quarters.

A White House statement released Tuesday said the president welcomes the “spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues” sparked in the Notre dame community.

But the discussion has spilled over everywhere, with reports in newspapers in London and Rome.

“While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, including Catholics with their rich tradition of recognizing the dignity of people, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position,” the White House statement said.

The Catholic Bishop in Notre Dame’s area said he will not attend.

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLIT
ICS/03/24/obama.bishop/index.html

From the “Observer,” the student newspaper at Notre Dame:
http://media.www.ndsmcobserver.com/media/s
torage/paper660/news/2009/03/25/News/Bi
shop.White.House.Issue.Responses-3681769.shtml

 Bishop: Notre Dame has ‘chosen prestige over truth’ by inviting Obama

80,000 Sign Petition to Withdraw Invite to Obama

The University of Notre Dame says its invitation doesn't mean the university agrees with all of Obama's positions.

The University of Notre Dame says its invitation doesn’t mean the university agrees with all of Obama’s positions.

Bishop: Notre Dame has ‘chosen prestige over truth’ by inviting Obama

March 24, 2009

The Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, is to boycott the commencement address by Barack Obama at Notre Dame, the famous Catholic university in his diocese. Bishop John M D’Arcy says that, by inviting the fanatically pro-abortion President, Notre Dame has “chosen prestige over truth”.

By Damian Thompson
Telegraph (UK)

What a great man! He may be in his late 70s, but can we have him for Westminster, please?

Here is Bishop D’Arcy’s statement. It is uncompromising and quite magnificent. I imagine it will make uncomfortable reading for Fr John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, who also has to deal with a petition of 80,000 Christians appalled by his choice.

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life. This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “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.

Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.

I wonder how many Bishops of England and Wales would boycott an event hosted by a Catholic institution at which President Obama was the speaker. Bishop O’Donoghue, for sure. But the rest? What do you think?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_tho
mpson/blog/2009/03/24/notre_dame_
has_chosen_prestige_over_truth_by
_inviting_obama_says_bishop

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/24/we-prayerfully-implore-you-t
o-halt-this-travesty-immediately/

80,000 Sign Petition to Withdraw Invite to Obama

L.A. Times coverage:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
nation/la-na-obama-notredame25-2009ma
r25,0,7036570.story?track=rss

120,000 Sign Petition to Withdraw Invite to Obama

March 24, 2009

Almost 120,000 people (as of March 25 at noon) have signed a petition objecting to the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama to receive an honorary degree at the University and to participate at the University’s commencement.

The Catholic university has often endorsed liberal views and has accepted speakers of almost all views on the grounds of educational freedom.

Bishop: Notre Dame has ‘chosen prestige over truth’ by inviting Obama

But the current furor is over objections to Obama’s pro-abortion and pro-stem cell research policies.

File:NDGoldenDome.jpg
Obamadome at Notre Dame?

The student newspaper, The Observer, is asking students and members of the community to discuss the issue.

Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris commented from Rome by saying, “The Catholic Church protects life from conception.”

He said “some moral waffling” has gotten the Catholic Church into trouble in recent years.

“We need to reaffirm our identity and go back to core values,” Father Jonathan said.

Liberal media personality Phil Donahue who is Catholic and graduated from Notre Dame, urged a more liberal view, saying the Catholic Church was dying because it did not open itself to the views of people like Obama….

*****************

Consider the petition:
http://notredamescandal.com/Signt
hePetitiontoFrJenkins/tabid/454/
Default.aspx

Related:
http://marysanawim.wordpress.com/
2009/03/24/notre-dame-and-the-a
udacity-of-obama/

By Madeline Buckley
From The Observer
Student newspaper, Notre Dame

Several religious and pro-life groups nationwide are expressing outrage and threatening to protest in South Bend after the University announced President Barack Obama will deliver the 2009 Commencement address at Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony May 17.

Assistant Vice President for News and Information Dennis Brown told The Observer a rumor that University switchboards were overwhelmed with callers and had to be shut down Friday night is false – a claim made by a March 20 article on pewsitter.com.

Although many outside groups are protesting University President Fr. John Jenkins’ decision, The Observer reported in an Oct. 8, 2008 article that Obama led the student body with 52.6 percent of the vote in a mock election held by student government, in which 2,692 undergraduates and graduate students voted.

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) – a group dedicated to “renewing and strengthening Catholic identity at America’s 224 Catholic colleges and universities,” according its mission statement – launched a Web site, http://www.notredamescandal.com, that acts as an online petition asking Jenkins to withdraw the invitation for President Obama to speak based on Obama’s pro-choice stance.

The site currently claims over 47,000 signers, as of press time.

David Costanzo, CNS communications director, told The Observer that the Society believes Obama is an inappropriate choice for Commencement speaker because the decision goes against a statement made by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a 2004 document titled “Catholics in Political Life,” which reads: “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.”

Read the rest:
http://media.www.ndsmcobserver.com/media/stor
age/paper660/news/2009/03/24/News/Cathol
ic.Groups.Outraged.Over.Obama.Selection-3680
391.shtml

Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100da
ys/2009/03/24/critics-blast-obamas-notre-
dame-commencement-address/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/2
4/we-prayerfully-implore-you-to-halt
-this-travesty-immediately/

**************************

Here is why Notre Dame thinks this is OK:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-d
yn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2
009032302584.html

Obama’s Abortion Stand Causes Problems for him At Notre Dame

March 24, 2009

President Obama will be speaking at the University of Notre Dame commencement ceremony on May 17th.  While the president will also be speaking at the Naval Academy and Arizona State, those appearances haven’t caused as much uproar as his trip to South Bend, Ind.

From NBC’s Christopher Wilson
 
In today’s edition of the student newspaper, The Observer, letters to the editor, which are usually reserved for debates over the color of The Shirt or whether it’s proper to chant “Sucks” at sporting events — was expanded to cover a lively debate over whether Obama should be speaking.  

“Obama choice unacceptable,” read one headline, and “Obama a disgrace” shouted another.

The point of contention? The president’s record on issues related to abortion, the majority of which clash with the strict anti-abortion stance of the Catholic Church. An online petition has sprung up urging people to voice their complaints to Father John Jenkins, president of the university.  
Jenkins said in an interview with the student paper Monday that while there are clear differences between the president and the Catholic church on some issues (abortion and embryonic stem cell research), it was a great honor to have the president accept the university’s offer and that he had no plans to rescind the offer.

Read the rest:
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/arc
hive/2009/03/23/1854122.aspx

Related from Nice Deb:
http://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2009/0
3/23/stop-the-scandal-obama-invited
-to-notre-dame-commencement/