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.
But the current furor is over objections to Obama’s pro-abortion and pro-stem cell research policies.
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:
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.”
Here is why Notre Dame thinks this is OK: