Skip to comments.Head of Holy Cross order (pens letter and) asks Obama to rethink position on abortion
Posted on 03/31/2009 12:56:37 PM PDT by NYer
Father Hugh W. Cleary
ROME (CNS) -- The head of the Holy Cross religious order that founded the University of Notre Dame has written to U.S. President Barack Obama and asked him to rethink his positions on abortion and other life issues.
U.S. Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, said that when Obama receives an honorary degree from the Indiana university and delivers the commencement address in May, he should take to heart the objections of Catholics who have been scandalized by the invitation.
Father Cleary asked the president to use the occasion to "give your conscience a fresh opportunity to be formed anew in a holy awe and reverence before human life in every form at every stage -- from conception to natural death."
The 13-page letter, dated March 22, was made available to Catholic News Service in Rome. Father Cleary also prepared an abridged version of the text as an "open letter" to the president, which was expected to be published on the Web site of America magazine.
Father Cleary's letter began by congratulating Obama on being awarded an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame, and said the university was honored to have him deliver the commencement address.
The visit should be a "teachable moment" for all involved, Father Cleary said.
He asked the president to take advantage of the occasion to "rethink, through prayerful wrestling with your own conscience, your stated positions on the vital 'life issues' of our day, particularly in regard to abortion, embryonic forms of stem-cell research and your position on the Freedom of Choice Act."
Father Cleary repeatedly quoted Obama's words at the National Prayer Breakfast in February: "There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being." Sadly, the priest said, legalized abortion implies that a person's choice for personal freedom supersedes this obligation to protect and nurture human life.
"An 'unwanted' child comes in many forms: an untimely presence; a disabled or deformed creature; an embryo of the wrong sex; a child conceived out of wedlock; a child conceived through a hideous crime," he said.
Father Cleary said the United States has a history of defining the parameters of human life "when it suits our self-interest." One example was slavery, justified by denying that a black human being of African descent was fully human, he said.
Father Cleary noted that many U.S. Catholics today feel their beliefs are dismissed without the serious attention they deserve. Catholics recognize that they live in a pluralistic society, he said, but also believe they have something vital to say about life issues.
"We want to be taken seriously. We insist on taking ourselves seriously; that is why there has been so much protest and turmoil in regard to your presence at Notre Dame," he wrote.
He suggested that at his Notre Dame appearance Obama speak about how Catholics "can be taken seriously for our faith convictions without being dismissed offhandedly and shunned; it is too offensive to be ignored, it is unacceptable."
Father Clearly said in his letter that he had been deluged with angry e-mails regarding Notre Dame's invitation to the president. He explained that he has no authority over the decision-making by the university, which is directed by a board of fellows and a board of trustees.
Priests and brothers of the Holy Cross order continue to serve at the university, and the university's president -- at present, Father John I. Jenkins -- is always a Holy Cross priest.
That’s a waste of good ink.
That’s a waste of good ink.
A refreshing alternative to the sheepishness of Jenkins.
He should publish an article on the topic now.
Father Cleary reminds me of Obama going to Ahmadinejhad and asking him to do away with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The chances of either being successful are slim and none.
Nothing like appeasers though.
I always heard a Liberal was a Conservative who hadn’t been mugged yet. The truth is that a liberal has been mugged and liked it, wants it again, even begs for it.
Good idea. I wrote a sternly-worded letter to our local coyotes asking them to prayerfully reconsider their position on killing chickens.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
I’ve got news for you, Father:
Repentance first, absolution follows.
Good deed first, reward follows.
Conversion first, welcome into the community follows.
That’s the weakest excuse for welcoming and rewarding and embracing evil that I’ve ever heard.
However, Obama doesn't take Catholicism seriously. It is likely that he will appeal to the liberal Catholics in the audience by saying that there are so many other issues besides abortion.
The watering-down technique. Many fall for it. Including Fr. Jenkins.
It is up to the people, it seems, to rise up and teach Jenkins and ND the error of their ways!
I hope the streets surrounding ND are completely shut down by protests!
Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome
Damage control and nothing more.
He should say, whatever your real names is, your uninvited to speak at graduation.
Were some catholic churches included in the stimulus bill?
Nice try, Padre. No dice, though. Do your job and fire Fr. Jenkins. The scandal may yet be remedied—but not through meaningless statements like this one.
Odds are good that will happen but doubtful you will see that part of Obama's visit on the msm.
You got it, Kansas58.
In related news, I wanted to make sure you got this link to the possibly GOOD news about Notre Dame: the UNINVITE OBAMA PETITION now has a phenomenal 223,607 signatures (sign up and send it to everybody in your Address Book!)
...And a BIG, BIG PROTEST IS A-COMIN' which stirs my activist imagination and makes me think Obama is gonna unite us after all :o)
Imagine 20,000 young, old, tie-dyed, purple-haired, properly-hatted and mantilla-covered, Catholic and not-Catholic-by-a-long-shot, All-Baby-Loving conservatives in the streets of South Bend singing
Please forgive me if I've pinged you more than once. I'm getting kinda excited, here....
I could not take this letter seriously for several reasons including:
1. Fr. Cleary has the authority to remove Fr. Jenkins from his position as president, but he implies he is powerless to do anything meaningful.
2. It is simply disingenuous to laud a man who thinks the daily slaughter of thousands of innocent defensless human persons is public policy that should be enshrined as a constitutional God-given right.
Now we know who to direct the outrage against.
Exactly. He should remove Fr.Jenkins effective immediately and then send a letter to Pres. Obama retracting the invite. To do any less is not an acceptable Catholic response.
This is good news. Minimal, but nevertheless good news.
What has he told Notre Dame to do?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.