Monday, March 23, 2009

Notre Dame Controversy

There is a big controversy brewing over the University of Notre Dame inviting President Obama to speak at commencement. I am sure this one is just starting, but here are some links.

The Notre Dame Observer has this to say:
University President Fr. John Jenkins responded to criticism regarding the announcement of President Barack Obama as the 2009 Commencement speaker by clearly making a distinction between honoring the president and supporting his political views.

Jenkins made it clear in an interview with The Observer Sunday the University does not "foresee circumstances" that would cause Notre Dame to rescind the president's invitation.

"We have invited the president and he's honored us by accepting," he said.

The White House and the University announced March 20 the president will speak at the May 17 Commencement ceremony, to take place in the Joyce Center. The Notre Dame appearance will be Obama's second commencement address as president; he will speak at Arizona State University on May 13 and the United States Naval Academy on May 22.

Notre Dame has a long-standing tradition of inviting the current U.S. president to speak at the University, Jenkins said.

"Presidents from both parties have come to Notre Dame for decades to speak to graduates about our nation and our world. They've given important addresses on international affairs, human rights, service, and we're delighted that President Obama is continuing that tradition," Jenkins said.

Some members of the Notre Dame community, and the larger national Catholic community have negatively responded to the announcement, launching campaigns to stop the president from visiting the University because of his stances on issues regarding the protection of life.

Jenkins made clear the University is not honoring the president for his stances on these issues, but for his leadership.

"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 said.

These "crucial differences" in positions on the protection of life are not being ignored in extending the invitation to the president, Jenkins said, but rather can be used as a catalyst for dialogue.
Of course, the US Bishops have asked Catholic schools to not give "awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for actions which fundamentally contradict Catholic teaching."
More links:
*Notre Dame press release
*Catholic Online
*Lifesite News
*American Papist coverage
*Cardinal Newman Society petition against the visit.
*Ralph McInerny, a prof at NDU, argues that ND says NDU is no longer Catholic. I don't know about that, but they surely aren't strengthening their Catholic identity with this invite.


Tito Edwards said...

Notre Dame 'scandal' may be more accurate.

Lindsay said...

I just really don't understand what makes Notre Dame think this is anything other than a [very shrewd] publicity stunt by the Obama administration. He knows exactly the message this sends. Like it or not, ND is the voice of American Catholicism, so for him to receive an endorsement and an honor from the school gives the impression that his policies are at least tolerable to American Catholics, which is simply not true.

C'mon, Notre Dame. Be smarter.

lawrence said...

have they invited other pro-abortion democrats in the past? If so, would not this fall more under stare decisis as opposed to a new policy?

Marion said...

I think its a great idea for Obama to speak at a Catholic University, it will make it so much easier to make Catholic doctors DO abortions once we swallow this one! All part of the plan...come on people, WAKE UP

IAmWhoAm said...

There are quite a few people I know who hold things true of which I am absolutely opposed. I don't necessarily keep them out of my life.
If that would be the case, are any of us out there willing to exclude 50% or more of the people we interact with from our lives? What about Christian witness? No, it's much more comforting being Scribes and Pharisees.

Marcel said...

Straw man argument. It isn't about excluding people from our lives (which must happen sometimes - think of a man who beats his kids). It is about the Catholic identity and obedience to the bishops.

Pat said...

Perhaps those blessed with superior educations and having positions to make a better and moral difference in this world could address live problems in our world.A beginning would be poverty and there is plenty of it.Mental illness and what it does to extended generations,especially in families with many childen.Alcoholism.Sexual abuse.Pedaphiles.Need I say more? I could never have an abortion myself,but I also understand that I don't have the right to dictate to another person what their right is on this subject.

Marcel said...

Pat - you contradict yourself. You are saying that we need to spend our time on more important issues, yet here you are spending your time on an issue you apparently think is unimportant.

If abortion IS killing of a child, then nothing is more important. If that is the case, then the Notre Dame controversy IS important, because it speaks to the Church's mission and identity.