Monday, May 11, 2009

And the Beat Goes On

More bishops condemn the Obama/ND invitation. Thanks again to American Papist for helping to keep up with this so myself and emailers don't have to:

Bishop George Thomas of Helena, MT:
The honorary doctorate should be reserved for persons whose lives and accomplishments reflect those exemplary qualities and values we wish to cultivate in the lives of our students. Sadly, President Barack Obama's consistent assault upon the civil rights of the unborn reflects the very antithesis of our Catholic social and moral teaching on the sacredness of life from conception until natural death.

I am particularly disappointed in your leadership, Fr. Jenkins. By allowing the University to confer this degree, you have failed to exercise your prophetic voice and teach the American people that the only change we can count on is 'founded on truth, built upon justice, and animated by love' - love for the least, the last, and the lowliest in our midst.

Bishop Reymundo Pena of Brownsville, TX:
Father Jenkins, what you have done is in direct violation of the U.S. Bishops 2004 document on Catholics in Public Life, which states that Catholic institutions are not to bestow honors on, or provide speaking platforms to, anyone who stands in public opposition to the Church’s moral doctrines, particularly those which defend the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. The prestige that the president will lend to your commencement is not sufficient reason to disregard these principles. There are numerous prominent public figures distinguished for their moral rectitude and record of public service from which you could have drawn.

Mr. President, less than 18 months ago, Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speaking engagement at La Sapienza University in Rome, simply because some of the students reacted negatively to the announcement of his coming. Rather than risk throwing the university into turmoil, the pope humbly withdrew. I respectfully ask you to consider freely withdrawing your commitment to speak at Notre Dame University, for the same reason.

Bishop Edward Cullen of Allentown, PA:
When there is a doubt about the meaning of a document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where does one find an authentic interpretation? A fundamental, canonical and theological principle states that it is found in the local bishop, who is the teacher and law-giver in his diocese.

I stand in solidarity with my brother bishop and share the sentiments that he expressed in his letter. As does he, I regret that this situation has taken place and call on the leadership at Notre Dame to face the issue squarely.

Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis:
Father Jenkins has no excuse for not standing up for a strong Catholic identity at Notre Dame.

I am quite confident that if there is a change of direction on the part of the board, Father Jenkins will quickly change or leave. I would appeal especially to major donors who love the university enough to withhold donations until there are substantial changes in leadership.

Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, WI:
No comments available. :-(

Bishop James Johnson of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO:
While we must pray for our president, respect his office, and acknowledge and support the good things he does to lead our nation, it is also our duty to make known our opposition to those actions and decisions that stand in direct opposition to the moral law and the foundational principals of America. Such is the case when innocent human life is attacked and left open to the exploitation of the powerful. This is a position which is totally incompatible with Catholic faith and life. A person who holds such a position should not be honored in any way by a Catholic institution.

I lend my support to Bp. John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana, and his decision to not attend this year’s commencement at Notre Dame. I also join those calling for Notre Dame to reconsider this decision. Even at this late date, such a reversal would be a credit to Notre Dame’s leadership, and would restore the near-universal goodwill that Notre Dame is now almost assured of losing.

Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita, KS:
A statement about this invitation remarked that the University is “delighted that President Obama will follow in this long tradition of speaking from Notre Dame on issues of substance and significance.”

What issues are of greater substance and significance than those touching upon the sacredness of human life? What might he say that would inspire delight? Bestowing on the President an honorary degree only adds insult to injury.

It is impossible to defend this invitation to the Catholic faithful who ask; it is an embarrassment. The President would surely understand if you were with all courtesy to disinvite him; he is an intelligent person. Please do so.

Bishop Michael Warfel of Great Falls-Billings, MT:
“Until there is clarification, this decision will prevent me from advocating participation by members of this diocese at the University of Notre Dame,” Warfel said.

Warfel said he will encourage Catholic parishioners in his central- and eastern-Montana diocese to boycott the Indiana school and its Catholic formation programs “until its leadership discontinues making decisions that are inconsistent with the promotion of the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sacredness of human life.”

Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown, PA:
Despite the fact that Notre Dame University has painted itself into a corner, its
President could rise to the occasion and have this Catholic institution of higher learning be a powerful witness to the plight of the unborn by withdrawing the honorary degree. Perhaps, the degree was a condition for the President’s speaking at the commencement, as was the covering up of the cross at Georgetown University when he spoke there. If so, we are seeing an unprecedented intrusion into the practice of our Faith in this nation, and it is being aided by educational institutions claiming to be Catholic.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn:
Father Jenkins made a serious error in inviting President Obama to be the commencement speaker at Notre Dame, and even more so in conferring upon him an honorary degree. Father Jenkins speaking to the rationale behind the invitation has said that it should not be interpreted as “condoning or endorsing his (President Obama’s) positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Yet, we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement.”

Unfortunately, his disclaimer has not been accepted by the bishop of his diocese, and many other bishops, as well as a host of the laity and alumni of the University of Notre Dame. Our engagement is always meant to influence the person for the good, to explain perhaps how they may be in error and always to respect the dignity of the person even if they may be wrong. I will write to Father Jenkins and explain my opinion, sending a copy of this article.

Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg, PA:
It does not seem exaggerated to conclude that Notre Dame is not one with what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Consequently, how can Father John Jenkins, President, purport to uphold and advocate for the Catholic mission of the institution?

The attempts to justify this invitation represent for so many a pathetic trivialization of Notre Dame's Catholic identity. The toxic residue from this scandal will be the perception that Notre Dame has made dissent in the Catholic Church respectable. This cannot be looked upon as a paradigm to be followed by others.

Auxiliary Bishop Roger Gries of Cleveland:
No comments available. :-(

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston at BC's Law School:
No comments available. :-(
But I'm going to look around for this. If anybody has a reference, please let me know.

Bishop John Gaydos of Jefferson City, MO:
The invitation on the part of the university asking President Obama to address the graduates at this year’s commencement has raised serious questions about Notre Dame in particular and Catholic colleges and universities in general and their relationship to the wider Roman Catholic Church.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a document written in 2004 and titled, “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.”

This directive seems to me to be in harmony with the vision set out by Cardinal Newman those many years ago. Bishop D’Arcy has pointed out that by inviting the President to speak and giving him an honorary degree, Notre Dame is violating this directive, since the president has shown ample evidence of his opposition to the obligation of protecting defenseless human life.

And in local news, Bishop Sam Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, LA:
While we respect the office of the president of the United States and the person, we do not agree with his policies and actions, especially when they are diametrically opposed to the moral teachings of the church and the fundamental Natural Law. As citizens we have a right to voice our opposition within the norms of the country’s civil laws.

At the same time, we have a right to deny any person a forum to promote his own agenda, when these are in contradiction to the teachings of the church. And if we are going to deny them a forum, we should certainly not honor them with any recognition or award.

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