Today the Cardinal Newman Society is delivering the first 300,000 names of Catholics who have signed their petition opposing Notre Dame’s decision to have President Obama deliver its commencement address and grant him an honorary degree.
The Cardinal Newman Society, whose mission consists of “renewing and strengthening” America’s 224 Catholic colleges, started the petition at NotreDameScandal.com to oppose President John Jenkins’, C.S.C., invitation to Obama on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s teaching on Catholics in Political life.
Since the petition was started, nearly 9,000 people per day have added their name to the list, resulting in the current total of 344,000.
Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows are set to meet this Friday, May, 1 at a previously scheduled meeting. The Cardinal Newman Society said binders containing 64,000 double sided pages were sent via FedEx to Father Jenkins and the entire Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows.
To date, 50 U.S. bishops have advised Notre Dame that their decision was flawed and some have even called for the invitation to be retracted. Yet, the Cardinal Newman Society noted that “only the Notre Dame Trustees and Fellows have direct authority over Father Jenkins.” The organization sees the meeting as its “best hope for an end to this scandal.”
The Cardinal Newman Society called for Catholics to “pray” for the Trustees and Fellows “charged with safeguarding Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.” The Board of Fellows contains 12 members, including 6 Holy Cross priests, while the Board of Trustees contains 38 mainly lay members.
Other copies of the petition are reportedly being sent to Archbishop Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education; Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican ambassador) to the United States; Francis Cardinal George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Bishop John D’Arcy, of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who presides over Notre Dame; and Bishop Robert McManus, Chairman of the USCCB Education Committee.