Bishops call on Notre Dame to defend life, cancel Obama invite

President of Notre Dame Fr. John I. Jenkins
President of Notre Dame Fr. John I. Jenkins

.- Still more U.S. bishops have written regarding the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to deliver the spring commencement speech and receive an honorary degree. The Archbishop of Newark has encouraged the school to underscore its commitment to the Gospel and the reverence for life, while an Oklahoma bishop called the invitation a “scandal” and asked it be withdrawn.Archbishop of Newark John J. Myers, writing in a Wednesday statement, said he was “pained” to learn of the invitation.

Acknowledging that not all people believe what the Church teaches, he said the extension of honors to those who “do not share our respect and reverence for life in all stages” creates the perception that the honor is an endorsement.

“We cannot justify such actions, and the Bishops have stated so clearly and strongly,” he wrote.

“If the president of Notre Dame University truly wishes to show that his institution is rooted in Catholic teaching and tradition and committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he must underscore this message at commencement plainly and clearly, and invite everyone to embrace an immutable and all-inclusive reverence for life,” Archbishop Myers wrote.

Bishop of Tulsa Edward J. Slattery, in a Tuesday letter to University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, asked the invitation be canceled.

“As you know, President Obama is aggressively promoting abortion on demand not only here in the United States but all over the world,” he wrote, saying the president wants doctors to be required to perform an abortion whenever the mother asks.

“Faithful Catholics and all men and women of good will are appalled by the sin of abortion. It is a cancer in our society which is eating away at all the other pro-life issues because abortion destroys human life at its very beginning and has become so common,” he wrote.

“For President Obama to be honored by Notre Dame is more than a disappointment, it is a scandal – especially to young adults,” Bishop Slattery added, arguing the school’s honoring of the president will make it easier for a woman contemplating abortion to undergo the procedure.

He said the cancellation of the president’s visit would be remembered as “an affirmation of the intrinsic value of human life, a courageous example of prophetic witness worthy of a Catholic institution.”

According to the Oklahoman, Archbishop of Oklahoma City Eusebius Beltran sent a similar letter.

“President Obama, by word and action, has approved of abortion and other atrocities against human life. Therefore he deserves no recognition at a Catholic institution,” Archbishop Beltran said, noting that he will comment on the matter in the April 5 edition of the archdiocese’s newspaper, the Sooner Catholic.


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