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Leaked: ND Prez Comment on USCCB Document Prohibiting Honoring Pro-Abortion Politicians
LifeSiteNews ^ | April 8, 2009 | Kathleen Gilbert

Posted on 04/09/2009 7:30:50 AM PDT by NYer

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, April 8, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com has obtained a copy of University of Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins' commentary on the U.S. Bishops Conference (USCCB) document, "Catholics in the Political Life," which was sent to Notre Dame's Board of Trustees at the beginning of this month. In the commentary Jenkins explains how he believes that the university's invitation of President Obama to be this year's commencement speaker and receive an honorary law degree is in keeping with the "letter and the spirit" of the recommendations included in the USCCB document.

The USCCB issued "Catholics in Political Life" in 2004. The document directs Catholic schools not to honor pro-abortion politicians.  Many of the 29 bishops who have so far spoken out against the scandal, including Notre Dame's Bishop John D'Arcy and USCCB President Cardinal Francis George, have indicated that the school's invitation to President Obama to speak at commencement and receive an honorary law degree was in violation of the bishops' directive.  (To view the USCCB document, go to: http://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.shtml)

The following is the complete text of Jenkins' commentary:

In June 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement, "Catholics in Political Life."  A number of people have quoted this document with regard to Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to be its Commencement Speaker and receive an honorary degree.  Our interpretation of this document is different from the one that has been imposed by those criticizing us, and I wanted to explain our understanding.

The 2004 document was clearly adopted by the Bishops as provisional.  As the document says, "[h]aving received an extensive report from the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, and looking forward to the full report, we highlight several points from the interim report that suggest some directions for our efforts...."  Nevertheless, despite its provisional character, this document has been used by all the people at Notre Dame who recommend speakers for commencement or others for honorary degrees since its publication.  We have tried to follow both the letter and the spirit of its recommendations.

Two key sentences of the document have been frequently quoted regarding the invitation to President Obama:

"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."

Because the title of the document is "Catholics in Political Life", we understood this to refer to honoring Catholics whose actions are not in accord with our moral principles.  This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in "defiance" of it.  Moreover, fellow university presidents have told me that their bishops have told them that in fact it is only Catholic politicians who are referred to in this document.

In addition, regardless of how one interprets the first sentence, the second is also important.  It reads: "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. [My italics]"  In every statement I have made about the invitation of President Obama and in every statement I will make, I express our disagreement with him on issues surrounding the protection of life, such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research.  If we repeatedly and clearly state that we do not support the President on these issues, we cannot be understood to "suggest support".

Finally, the document states that "we need to do more to persuade all people that human life is precious and human dignity must be defended.  This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials...."  However misguided some might consider our actions, it is in the spirit of providing a basis for dialogue that we invited President Obama.

On May 17 we will welcome the ninth President who will receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame.  It will be an important opportunity to bring the leader of our nation to Notre Dame, and, I hope, a joyful day for our graduates and their families.

Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: ndu; obama; usccb

1 posted on 04/09/2009 7:30:50 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 04/09/2009 7:31:25 AM PDT by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

“Because the title of the document is “Catholics in Political Life”, we understood this to refer to honoring Catholics whose actions are not in accord with our moral principles.”

Fr. Jenkins is being a weasel. I think he is full of crap.


3 posted on 04/09/2009 7:34:38 AM PDT by Batman11 ("Big ears isn't my President!")
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To: NYer

Notre Dame = abortion & baby killing university.


4 posted on 04/09/2009 7:36:09 AM PDT by Frantzie (Boycott GE - they own NBC, MSNBC, CNBC & Universal. Boycott Disney - they own ABC)
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To: Batman11

Much as it pains me to say it (since I don’t like to criticize priests), I have to agree with you.


5 posted on 04/09/2009 7:36:22 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: NYer

What a wimpy, legalistic defence! Hitler wasn’t a Catholic either... would you have afforded him the same honor?


6 posted on 04/09/2009 7:37:38 AM PDT by pgyanke (You have no "rights" that require an involuntary burden on another person. Period. - MrB)
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To: NYer
However misguided some might consider our actions, it is in the spirit of providing a basis for dialogue that we invited President Obama.

An 'address' is not 'dialogue'. Any idiot knows this.
7 posted on 04/09/2009 7:38:36 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: NYer
It makes me dizzy trying to follow the mental, verbal, bureaucratic, theological, and hypocritical gymnastics that this guy has to go through to get to the statement:

“On May 17 we will welcome the ninth President who will receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame. It will be an important opportunity to bring the leader of our nation to Notre Dame, and, I hope, a joyful day for our graduates and their families.”

I am nauseous.

8 posted on 04/09/2009 7:39:38 AM PDT by Never on my watch (Honk if I'm paying your f'n mortgage, you lazy bastard! Nice car by the way.)
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To: NYer

Somebody put a collar on that weasel!

9 posted on 04/09/2009 7:39:40 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: NYer

> This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in “defiance” of it.

That’s risible! “Defiance” has nothing at all to do with whether or not one recognizes the authority of what one is defying.

These canon lawyers are playing “Humpty Dumpty” and making words mean what they want them to mean. They would be better served by referring to a dictionary.


10 posted on 04/09/2009 7:39:51 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: Batman11

It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.


11 posted on 04/09/2009 7:40:19 AM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: Batman11

What an arrogant little creep this Fr Jenkins is. I am stunned by the fact that he is rejecting or simply ignoring all of the bishops of the US. Typical Obama supporter.

Doesn’t Fr Jenkins have a superior somewhere? If so, what is he doing? And doesn’t the superior have a superior, so to speak, in Rome?


12 posted on 04/09/2009 7:43:03 AM PDT by livius
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To: NYer

"Our interpretation of this document is different from the one that has been imposed by those criticizing us, and I wanted to explain our understanding. The 2004 document was clearly adopted by the Bishops as provisional. Nevertheless, despite its provisional character, this document has been used by all the people at Notre Dame who recommend speakers for commencement or others for honorary degrees since its publication. We have tried to follow both the letter and the spirit of its recommendations...Because the title of the document is "Catholics in Political Life", we understood this to refer to honoring Catholics whose actions are not in accord with our moral principles. This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in "defiance" of it."

Talk about pharisaical. This is pathetic.

No one who promotes the culture of death is supposed to be "honored" or granted any awards or speaking platforms. Regardless of that document, this is just common sense.

13 posted on 04/09/2009 7:48:30 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: NYer

Actually, he’s right about the document. It was aimed at Catholic politicians. The document is not a good weapon against the Notre Dame decision. Our critique should use different arguments.

And the bishops should fix the loophole pronto.

It doesn’t change the fact that giving Obama an honorary degree is scandalous. But the UCCB document doesn’t directly condemn what ND is doing. By extension it does but ND is exploiting the document’s limits, being directed at Catholics in public life.

Go back and look at the 30+ bishops who criticized Jenkins. Some of them cited the document, some did not.


14 posted on 04/09/2009 7:49:13 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Batman11
"Fr. Jenkins is being a weasel. I think he is full of crap."
3 posted on Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:34:38 AM by Batman11

My thoughts exactly. The word "weasel" popped up immediately. It doesn't get any more weasely than this. I can't believe is running around parsing documents pharisaically with hair-splitting to try to justify this. It's like a kid saying the dog at his homework. Or Bill Clinton debating the meaning of the word is.

15 posted on 04/09/2009 7:52:22 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: NYer
However misguided some might consider our actions, it is in the spirit of providing a basis for dialogue that we invited President Obama.

So typical of liberals to twist their ill-formed reasoning by using their favorite liberal crap wording "in the spirit" and "dialogue." What a coward!

16 posted on 04/09/2009 7:54:25 AM PDT by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: Gerish

They should invite Castro next year if it’s all about “dialogue” and inclusiveness.


17 posted on 04/09/2009 8:04:21 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: livius

He’s a legalistic trilobite. Ignoring the folks who actually wrote the damn thing a few years ago... It’s not like this is some ancient manuscript that needs sages pouring over it to conjecture what they meant. UHHG.

The head of his order says it’s up to the bishops. The bishops say it’s up to the head of the order. Perfect cover for everyone. I still say this would get solved really quick 500 years ago.

Freegards


18 posted on 04/09/2009 8:09:18 AM PDT by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed Says Keep the Faith!)
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To: bcsco; Charles Henrickson

Sophistry from a Catholic bureaucrat.

I’m shocked...SHOCKED I tells ya!


19 posted on 04/09/2009 8:12:15 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (FreepMail me if you want on the Bourbon ping list!)
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To: livius
Fr. Jenkins does indeed have a superior. Here is his official portrait:


20 posted on 04/09/2009 8:18:52 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Batman11
Fr. Jenkins is being a weasel. I think he is full of crap.

Jenkins: crapweasel

21 posted on 04/09/2009 8:19:01 AM PDT by Petronski (For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden. -- Cdl. Stafford)
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To: NYer

Fr. Jenkin’s main concern was worldly prestige.Obama’s main concern is keeping the Catholoic vote in the 2012 election after he signs the Freedom of Abortion Act.


22 posted on 04/09/2009 8:28:52 AM PDT by ardara
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To: NYer
Fr. Jenkins is a Judas Iscarius.
23 posted on 04/09/2009 8:37:35 AM PDT by utahagen
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To: pgyanke

It’s believed that Hitler was a Roman Catholic.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=8945

Check out google “Hitler Roman Catholic”


24 posted on 04/09/2009 8:46:55 AM PDT by eCSMaster
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To: eCSMaster

*sigh*. Bad example. You’re right, he was a fallen-away Catholic.


25 posted on 04/09/2009 8:51:27 AM PDT by pgyanke (You have no "rights" that require an involuntary burden on another person. Period. - MrB)
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To: NYer
While the document is primarily addressed to Catholics -- including Fr. Jenkins, who as president of a university is surely, and incompetently, "in public life" -- it has both Catholic and non-Catholic politicians as its scope. This is clear from the fact that it explicitly addresses non-Catholic politicians in some clauses, and Catholic politicians in others.

If, therefore, the USCCB wanted to limit the "should not honor" cause to Catholic politicians, it would have said so. It would have said "should not honor those Catholic politicians [insertion mine and is missing in the original] who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles". It would not have relied on interpreting "defiance" as "disobedience", as Fr. Jenkins lying lawyers do.

26 posted on 04/09/2009 8:55:28 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: NYer

Does this Order have a Superior General?

Does he have the same equipment most men are born with?


27 posted on 04/09/2009 10:21:02 AM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: NYer

Jenkins is rationalizing.

Keep FReeping Notre Dame.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2210995/posts?page=28#28

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2210995/posts?page=87#87

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2210995/posts?page=101#101

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2210995/posts?page=102#102

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2212664/posts?page=29#29

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2212664/posts?page=37#37


28 posted on 04/09/2009 11:48:44 AM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
I’m shocked...SHOCKED I tells ya!

Now, cool down. Just because Lutherans aren't capable of same...uh, forget I said that. ELCA news, anyone?

29 posted on 04/09/2009 12:13:04 PM PDT by bcsco (I'm a Constitution defender!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

.


30 posted on 04/09/2009 9:35:56 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion, Euthanasia & FOCA - - don't Obama and the Democrats just kill ya!)
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