Friday, May 1, 2009

More Bishops Continue To Speak Out On The Obama Invite

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City:
I do not fault the president for accepting this invitation, but the university for offering it. Notre Dame’s action is inconsistent with its Catholic identity and harmful to the efforts of the church to advocate for the protection of innocent, preborn human life.

Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama reveals that the leadership of the university is either incredibly naïve or just does not care about the impact of its actions on the church’s efforts to protect the lives of innocent, vulnerable unborn children.

Father John Jenkins, CSC, the president of Notre Dame, has attempted to posture Notre Dame’s honoring President Obama as a vehicle for engaging the president in dialogue. In reality, Notre Dame’s invitation signals to President Obama that there is no need to dialogue. Why should the president feel a need to dialogue when he is honored by our nation’s most prestigious Catholic university no matter how extreme his policies and actions supporting legalized abortion?

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver (what took him so long?):
Chaput said it was "difficult to imagine any way" the Obama invitation could be justified in light of the U.S. bishops' 2004 document "Catholics in Political Life." The directive 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."

"Notre Dame didn't need to do this to show its openness to 'dialogue,'" Chaput continued. "And candidly, very few Notre Dame faculty members would accept from their students the kind of creative reasoning now being used to defend the invitation."

Bishop Glen Provost of Lake Charles:
I must express my dismay at the fact that Notre Dame University would confer an honorary degree upon a commencement speaker who publicly, in theory and in action, espouses a position on such a fundamental issue as the life of the unborn that is in direct opposition to Catholic Church teaching.

Appeals to “academic freedom” or engagement should not prompt an indifference to what our actions imply. In reflecting on the need to voice my objection, I am reminded of a statement in the letters of Madame de Sévigné that I read many years ago. Expressing her regret at the death of a dear friend, which could have been prevented by decisive action, she writes: “By saying, ‘I don’t want to take responsibility for anything,’ people become responsible for everything.” For both the individual Catholic living in this climate of moral relativism and for the Catholic institution bestowing an honor, this observation is particularly applicable. Honos habet onus* applies as well to the one who bestows the honor.

Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden (this one is quite comprehensive on Obama's whole track to this point):
These situations are often complex and each situation must be judged on the particular circumstances that pertain by those who are responsible for upholding Catholic teaching in the institution in question, whether at Notre Dame University or elsewhere. However, it would appear to me to be inappropriate specifically to honor an individual, particularly a prominent public official, who intentionally holds and deliberately advocates positions contrary to fundamental moral principles. To do so suggests that our foundational moral principles do not matter. To do so betrays our Catholic belief. To do so ignores the Church’s Catholic identity and our own Catholic identity, which is more than a name or a label, but defines who and what we are at our core.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia:
"My reaction is that it is most unfortunate," said Rigali. "It's most unfortunate because of the confusion it causes; it's most unfortunate because of the message that it gives with regard to the importance of human life; it's most unfortunate in regard to the confusion that it causes also in the ordinary people - the students, the graduates, the families ... but above all, it is most unfortunate because the value that is attributed to life through the recognition of an honorary degree in this regard is just not acceptable."

Asked to give his opinion on the unprecedented backlash from U.S. bishops and thousands of Catholic laity over Notre Dame's decision, Rigali said he believes that "something very positive is going on in our country along with all the negative things - that there is a greater and evolving understanding of the value of human life in many, many people."

Bishop John McCormack of Manchester:
Bishop McCormack supports Bishop D’Arcy on the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama. Bishop McCormack has expressed his support for Bishop John M. D’Arcy in connection with his position on the decision by the University of Notre Dame to honor President Barack Obama.

Bishop Bernard Harrington of Winona:
I have written to Father John Jenkins, CSC, President of the University of Notre Dame, to express my disbelief and disappointment that the administration of the University of Notre Dame has invited President Obama to address the graduating class and then to bestow an honorary degree upon him.

The University of Notre Dame, which has considered itself a leading Catholic institution of higher learning, is choosing to defy the bishops of the United States and turn its back on the Catholic community in its continual defense of the right-to-life.

Shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the president of the university asked the Pope what the university could do for his papacy. I am sure that Pope would now tell Father Jenkins the same thing that Pope Benedict XVI told Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte:
"It is evident that action on the important issue of defending unborn human life must proceed along various fronts simultaneously. "Public outcry over Notre Dame's decision must be accompanied by ongoing catechesis in our parishes, public witness by the entire Catholic Church and involvement in the political process in order to promote a culture that protects the sanctity of unborn human life. The problem of the lack of respect for the right to life of the unborn is so serious in our society that this multi-front approach is essential. This is a task for laity, clergy, religious, parents and teachers - in short, for everyone.," wrote Bishop Jugis.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC (sort of):
When asked about the Notre Dame event, which has spurred a small but intense movement of angry Catholics, Wuerl said the school should not have honored Obama but that he was not in favor of rescinding the invite.

By the way, I've been relying on email notifications to this point, but it looks like American Papist has been keeping tabs on the numbers here. Also there is mention of Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center, NY. So that's another one we got going for us.

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