Fargo Bishop Samuel J. Aquila is scheduled to appear on Fox News’ "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" tonight to discuss President Obama’s invite to speak at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement this Sunday.
Speaking to CNA, the Diocesan Director of Communications, Tanya Watterud noted that Fox News called early this week to see if the bishop would appear on the show.
She explained that Bishop Aquila agreed to the interview “because he knows the importance of the news media in reaching out to people with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The teachings on the dignity of all human life are especially important to him, and he frequently addresses, through his homilies and writings, how our society today attacks that dignity through the courts, through legislation, in the media, and in many other ways.”
“Many people will never be aware of the inherent dignity of human life – the inherent dignity of their own lives - and the multiple efforts against human life at its most vulnerable stages unless Catholic leaders and others share this news in the public arena, she continued. “Bishop Aquila frequently calls on the people of the Diocese of Fargo to live their faith in the world. He is setting an example for us by doing so, himself, through news media interviews like the one scheduled for tonight.”
The bishop previously spoke out against the invitation last month when he sent a letter to Father John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame saying that he was both "surprised and saddened" to learn that President Obama "would be speaking at the commencement exercises and also be receiving an honorary degree."
In the letter, which is also posted on the diocesan site, he wrote, "I know you are a man of integrity and believe in the Church’s witness. I also know as a priest and a president of a Catholic University, you are well acquainted with Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the 2004 statement of the Bishops of the United States on ‘Catholics in Political Life.’ Even though President Obama is not Catholic, he clearly rejects the truth about human dignity through his constant support of a so called ‘right to abortion.’ He also tolerates the inexcusable act of letting aborted children die who are born alive. He promotes an intrinsic evil which must always be resisted by a just and civil society."
Quoting from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Bishop Aquila continued, "Your judgment in this matter is seriously flawed, with damaging consequences, for ‘…you are not on the side of God, but of men’."