Skip to comments.Tens of Thousands Sign Petition Asking Notre Dame Not to Honor Pro-Abortion Obama
Posted on 03/24/2009 4:23:02 AM PDT by Man50D
Many American Catholics, including alumni and students of the University of Notre Dame, are expressing anger and profound disappointment at the school's decision to invite President Obama--who supports abortion on demand and legalized same-sex unions--to be the school's commencement speaker and to award him an honorary doctoral degree in law.
Tens of thousands already have signed a petition aimed at persuading the president of Notre Dame to rescind the school's offer to Obama.
On Friday afternoon, Notre Dame and the White House announced that the university had invited Obama to be the principal speaker at the university's May 17 commencement exercises. At the same time, the university posted an announcement on its Web site revealing that it would also be awarding Obama an honorary doctorate in law.
This has done more to divide Catholics than just about anything Ive seen in recent times, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told CNSNews.com Monday. It approaches the level of anger that the general public has with these Wall Street people who have been fleecing us and then asking us for bonuses. There is a lot of indignity out there.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a group dedicated to promoting fidelity to Catholic teachings at Catholic universities in the United States, launched an online petition drive on Saturday, urging people to sign a letter to Fr. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame. The petition, drafted in the form of a letter, asks him to rescind the university's invitation and intention to honor Obama.
The letter to Jenkins notes that Obama's positions on abortion and same-sex unions are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching, and that Notre Dame's decision to honor Obama thus runs directly contrary to a declaration by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.) that Catholic institutions should not honor or provide a platform for politicians who stand in defiance of the church's moral teachings.
"It is an outrage and a scandal that 'Our Ladys University,' one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage," says the Cardinal Newman Society petition to Fr. Jenkins.
"Whatever may be President Obamas admirable qualities, this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions and inviting taxpayer-funded research on stem cells from human embryos," says the petition.
"The honor also comes amid great concern among Catholics nationwide about President Obamas future impact on American society, the family, and the Catholic Church on issues such as traditional marriage, conscience protections for Catholic doctors and nurses, and expansion of abortion 'rights,'" the petition says.
The petition also directs Fr. Jenkins' attention to a document entitled "Catholics in Political Life" that was approved in June 2004 by the U.S.C.C.B. This document was drafted under the direction of Cardinal Francis George, now the president of the U.S.C.C.B., Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, and then-Bishop Donald Wuerl, who is now the archbishop of Washington, D.C.
The document notes that it has always been Catholic teaching that abortion is "intrinsically evil" and that legalizing it is never justified.
"To make such intrinsically evil actions legal is itself wrong," says the bishops' declaration. "The legal system as such can be said to cooperate in evil when it fails to protect the lives of those who have no protection except the law. In the United States of America, abortion on demand has been made a constitutional right by a decision of the Supreme Court. Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good."
The bishops' statement goes on to specifically instruct Catholic institutions that they should not honor those who defy the church's fundamental moral principles.
"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," says the bishops' statement. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
As of Monday evening, according to the Cardinal Newman Society's website, more than 31,000 people had signed the petition to Fr. Jenkins asking him to uphold this principle by reversing Notre Dame's decision to honor Obama.
Notre Dame junior Mary Daly, president of the campus Right to Life chapter, said that awarding Obama runs contrary to the universitys Catholic traditions.
In many ways, the president defends many political and moral ideals that are in opposition with what lies at the foundation of the university, Daly told CNSNews.com.
I think that it (Obamas receiving the degree) has complicated the matter a little bit more because in addition to having him speak we are honoring him with a law degree, Daly added, and so in honoring him, in some ways, it can be understood as inclusively approving of a lot of what he stands for.
Daly said that the president's open support for abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are in clear conflict with the Catholic faith.
She also said that she is disappointed that her school, which she said is one of the most prestigious Catholic universities in the country, felt the need to give an award to Obama.
William Dempsey, president of the Notre Dame alumni group Project Sycamore, which aims at preserving the universitys Catholic tradition, expressed similar views.
This is a stunning shock to an enormous number of alumni, it really is," said Dembsey. "Here you have the most pro-abortion president of the United States, and one whose position collides most squarely with the position of the Catholic Church.
You talk about giving the enemies of the church a tool here, they are going to play this for all thats worth, said Dempsey. Its a great thing for Obama and his people. I mean, holy smokes this is just a gift drop right on their lap.
Both Daly and Dempsey said they see no problem with inviting the president to speak at the university. The problem lies in granting him an honorary degree.
This is not a question of whether or not the university should invite President Obama to give a talk at the university," said Dempsey. "It has nothing to do with that. This is a question of awarding him the honor of an honorary doctorate of laws degree.
Randall Terry, a Catholic convert who is the founder of Operation Rescue, was sharply critical of Notre Dame's honoring Obama.
Would Notre Dame give Herod an award after he authorized the killings of babies in Bethlehem? Terry asked. The level of this treachery from Notre Dame cannot be overstated.
Fr. Jenkins, did not respond to interview requests from CNSNews.com, but he did talk to the Notre Dame Observer, a campus newspaper.
Fr. Jenkins took pains to explain to the student newspaper that his intention was to honor President OBama for something other than his absolute support for abortion on demand. He also said that he intended Obama's appearance at the Notre Dame commencment to be an opportunity for "engagement" with the president on the abortion issue.
"The invitation of President Obama to be our Commencement speaker should in no way be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of life, such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research," Jenkins told the Observer.
"We are not ignoring the critical issue of the protection of life," said Jenkins. "On the contrary, we invited him because we care so much about those issues, and we hope for this to be the basis of an engagement with him."
"You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them show respect for them and listen to them," Jenkins told the student newspaper.
At the same time Fr. Jenkins spoke of the pro-abortion president as an "inspiring leader" who has shown "courage and honesty."
President Obama, he told the Observer, is "an inspiring leader who has taken leadership of the country facing many challenges: two wars, a really troubled economy, he has issues with health care, immigration, education reform, and he has addressed those with intelligence, courage and honesty."
Fr. Jenkins also said Notre Dame was honoring President Obama for the positive influence he has had on American race relations.
"I would say that it's a special feature for us that we will hear from the first African American president here at Notre Dame, a person who has spoken eloquently and powerfully about race," Jenkins told the Observer. "Racial prejudice is a deep wound in America and President Obama has been a healer, so we honor him for those reasons."
Notre Dame alumnus Dempsey, however, said that many Catholics would argue that, by awarding Obama a degree, Notre Dame is in breach of the principal expressed in the U.S.C.C.B's 2004 statement on Catholics in Political Life.
Dempsey said the award to Obama is "repellant to the Catholic Church.
He added: The university will be seen as finding his views (acceptable), although they will say they dont find his views of abortion acceptable, they are nevertheless honoring him, and thats the heart of the problem here.
Dempsey was critical of Fr. Jenkins' argument that Notre Dame would be engaging Obama when he showed up to receive his honorary doctoral degree.
That is a justification, that is engagement,which may be appropriate in other circumstances, but obviously there is going to be no engagement with President Obama on abortion issues, on this occasion, Dempsey told CNSNews.com.
To say that he is being honored for other matters and not for this and that makes it alright does not fit the occasion, he said. The anger among alumni here is intense on this matter.
The Catholic Leagues Bill Donahue, meanwhile, questioned what Jenkins meant by engagement.
That kind of double talk is not going to work, people prefer straight talk, said Donahue.
A Pro-Obama Catholic
Douglas Kmiec, a former professor at Notre Dame law school and former dean of the Catholic University of Americas Columbus School of Law who shocked many orthodox Catholics when he supported Obama for president last year, said he sees no problem with the award.
While there are differences in views between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church, there are also similarities the university cannot isolate itself just because it is Catholic, Kmiec, who worked for the Obama campaign, told CNSNews.com.
Kmiec said that the Catholic Church and the Obama administration are similar in that they are both doing what they can to help out families in these tough economic times.
Its the universitys responsibility as an academic institution to present both sides of the issue, he added.
Kmiec said the university is evening the playing field by its plans to award Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and a conservative, with the Laetare Medal--the highest honor the university can make to American Catholics.
But Bill Donahue said the university is exploiting Glendon, a strong pro-life advocate, by awarding the high honor to her at the same time a pro-abortion advocate is being honored. Dempsey agreed.
This is a transparent effort to take the curse off the selection of Obama, Dempsey told CNSNews.com . I mean (Mary Ann Glendon) deserves the medal in every possible way, but the inference is inescapable that here we are going to give Obama an award, but now we are going to show that we dont really mean it by giving Mary Ann Glendon the medal.
Despite all the objections to Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama to be honored at its commencement, Fr. Jenkins said Monday the inivtation will stand.
Thanks for the ping.
The petitions are great. It would be better if some fat cats threatened to stop supporting ND football for a year or two.
I hope you are right. It will take something like that to have an effect. The enemy respects nothing but brute power.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame ceased to be a true Catholic University years ago.
This has done more to divide Catholics than just about anything Ive seen in recent times,
Catholics are already divided.
I really don’t think REAL Catholics are divided.
nope. Wheat from the chaff, catholics from cinos.
Indeed. As a practicing Catholic, I was shocked and saddened when I saw how many "catholics" voted for Obama. I really believe that Catholic-Democrat is an oxymoran.
Their stated goals for the next four years are not as pro life as they are for sponsoring multiculturalism.
That is why they would not make a unanimous statement about not voting for a man who would support infanticide.
If anyone wants to post Jenkin's & the Chancellor's email and telephone numbers, I would appreciate it... save me from having to make a couple of extra phone calls.
My pastor was positively giddy the Sunday after Obama was elected...without even a hint of acknowledgement at how rabidly pro-abortion Obama is.
It saddened me greatly. Will never look at him quite the same again.
and that is one bet you would lose...
lets not confuse Catholics from CINO’s & Cafeteria Catholics!
The Lord will come again, and the wheat will be separated from the chaff!!
Perhaps the University of Notre Dame should stop pretending that it supports Catholic doctrine and announce that it is a secular university and be done with it!
I would not want my children influenced by such.
I would no longer attend a church where the priest was openly pro BHO.
As far as ND goes, I am guessing they have a lot of alums who contribute a lot to the school and are also pro life. Maybe if some of those people stop sending checks it will hurt the school in their pocketbook, and this will have an impact.
Academia cannot go a single day without honoring a murderer somewhere.
I mention that it is fine with me if Obama speaks at Notre Dame,....just take down the statue of Our Lady from the dome and stop calling themselves Catholic.
No sense making her a part of this disaster.
Are you looking around for a different church?
How many colleges and universities have invited Mumia Abu-Jamal to speak?
Quite apart from the abortion issue -- what on earth has Obama done to deserve an honorary doctorate?
“Fr. Jenkins took pains to explain to the student newspaper that his intention was to honor President OBama for something other than his absolute support for abortion on demand. He also said that he intended Obama’s appearance at the Notre Dame commencment to be an opportunity for “engagement” with the president on the abortion issue.”
He may well be sincere in his thinking, but you do not honor someone who holds the power to kill tens of millions of the most innocent among us with a degree!
Obama holds the power and he has shown us he does not care about human life by his actions in rescinding the conscience clause, and his human embryonic stem cell experimentation approval.
There is no discussion. There is only prayer at this point.
It doesn’t receive money from the Catholic Church. Notre Dame is awash in money from football, the government, and from the success of Catholics in entering the mainstream of business and society after World War II.
The only thing ND receives from the Church is the permission to call itself a Catholic university.
Taking that away is the “nuclear option” belonging to the bishop of South Bend-Fort Wayne. But if he takes it away, then he becomes the focus of the story and Obama gets a free ride.
And Notre Dame would defy the bishop, start calling itself a “university in the Catholic tradition,” and, in PR and marketing terms, would be none the worse for doing so. The Church would have lost the last remaining control it had over the university and the rest of the world, which hates the Church anyway, would side with Notre Dame. Obama would win, Notre Dame would win, the Church would lose.
But that’s probably what now does need to be done—lose the battle in the name of winning the war for Truth: declare Notre Dame an UnCatholic University.
Those who think, however, that if the bishop would only declare ND uncatholic all would be well are deluding themselves. All would get a lot worse. The bishop and the Church would be portrayed as inquisitors who destroy freedom of inquiry and motherhood and apple pie and justice and peace and goodness and sweetness and light.
But then, they already are accused of that by many.
And at least the Truth would have been told.
People keep saying that schools like Notre Dame aren’t really Catholic but the school is only an outward sign of an inner problem i.e heretical Catholic religious orders and the people who enable them.
The problems at UND are a reflection of the problems in the Brothers of the Holy Cross just as the problems at Jesuit schools are a reflection of the Jesuits. I wish people would stop giving them money. That’s the only thing that affects them. It’s harder said than done, my mother used to give money to the Maryknolls without knowing what they really did. She thought she was doing good.
Do you think he cares? Jenkins is a philosophy professor who took on this job out of duty, not ambition. I imagine he’d like nothing better than to return to his philosophy teaching.
When will people learn that the president of a university is not a powerbroker. He’s in the crossfire between faculty, board, students, alumni and parents. He can never please all of them. If he alienates big donors or faculty, he gets fired. You don’t fire the donors, you don’t fire the faculty (because the faculty’s research prestige is the university’s marketable “product.”
If Jenkins were fired, nothing would change. What drives the decisions are marketing factors. And the sad truth is that the market for “Catholic education” today doesn’t give a damn about pro-life or other Catholic teachings.
For God’s sake, people, focus your anger at the board, at the faculty of Notre Dame, at the donors who won’t pull their donations (because most of them are themselves only CINOS). That’s where the problem is. Jenkins is small potatoes in all of this. He’s the messenger boy. The message is created by the huge reservoir of CINOism out there in the culture.
Well, I'm sure the anti-Catholics at NBC were ecstatic to hear your comments.
Now, call the LAT, NYT, SeeBS, CNN & ABC...they'll all enjoy hearing your comments as well...and be SURE to say you are a practicing Catholic...If you wanna do something constructive, CALL ND & VOICE YOUR OUTRAGE!
I suppose BO will show up and make a wonderful sounding speech (off the teleprompter of course!) saying we should find common ground on the abortion issue, respect each other’s opinions, and all the usual bull. And he will be lauded by the media and even by some pro life liberals for his ability to transcend the issue and bring people together, blah blah blah.
I don't "care" if He "cares" but one way or the other Hussein will not be speaking at ND on commencement day. And you can take that to the bank.
Is that cino as in ch-ino or as in k-ino? I love it but want to pronounce it correctly. Cheers...
To paraphrase Ralphie commenting about his Pop’s car’s sapre ‘tire’ in A Christmas Story , “It’s football in the academic sense of the word.”
I know this might incite a Holy War of sorts, but...
According to Sowell’s “Conflict of Visions”, there are basically two camps of thought on the capabilities of humans.
In the constrained view, no single human is that much more capable than any other, and therefore, the dispersed knowledge of individuals who are experts in their own spheres take precedent over some central planning authority.
In the unconstrained view, some humans are so much more capable than others that they not only have the ability, they have the duty to seek power and make decisions for the masses. The masses have to go to these elite individuals for their sustenance and protection.
Now... Aren’t Catholics of the opinion that only the priests can talk to God, and that all the parishioners must go through them to have access to God?
Seems to me that Catholic doctrine fits well with the unconstrained vision of the left.
Not exactly sure. When I speak about it I usually say see-no. Another freeper may say it differently, and I would defer. I often call them cafeteria catholics or catholic lite when not speaking to conservatives. I think its just easier to type the cino deal when posting.
mware, thanks for ALL you do, everyday!!
kellynla, mware is one of our more thoughtful, caring Freepers and your sarcasm was not appreciated by me and I'm sure she didn't care for it!
I’m with you - our priest (Scottish) made some crack about Bush and Cheney a few weeks after the election - our old parish is 65% afri-amer with two being state reps and they ALL voted Obamanator. While we loved the church and hubby was lecture coordinator, etc, we hit the door FAST when the priest, when confronted (respectfully) abt his comment, said he was disrespectful to EVERYONE not just Repubs - and we said we didn’t want him to be disrespectful to ANYONE - geesh. We are fortunate to have other parishes from which to choose - now we have a cute little Polish priest and pray for the unborn every Mass. Big change - that you can believe in!
Oh, OUCH!!!! : )
Just the opposite here in Lansing, from the Bishop, the Bishop Emeritus, right on down through the priests, deacons, Eucharistic ministers...even the alter servers, not old enough to vote. I saw less sadness after the death of JPII.
yea, well calling MSNBC is NOT “constructive”!!!
and if you can’t figure that out, that’s YOUR problem!