South Bend, Ind., Apr 23, 2009 / 16:09 pm
Bishop John M. D’Arcy, whose diocese encompasses the University of Notre Dame, has issued a statement saying that President Fr. John Jenkins, CSC has given a “flawed justification” for the university’s commencement invitation to President Barack Obama and should have consulted with his bishop before inviting the pro-abortion rights politician.
Bishop D’Arcy said a U.S. bishops’ document regulating such honors “does indeed apply” to the invitation.
In an April 21 statement, Bishop D’Arcy reported that Fr. Jenkins had sent him a copy of a letter to Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted. Bishop Olmsted had written to Fr. Jenkins earlier, charging that the invitation of Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at Notre Dame’s commencement is a violation of the U.S. Bishops' 2004 statement “Catholics in Political Life.”
Fr. Jenkins, in his letter to Bishop Olmsted, reportedly argued that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) document “Catholics in Political Life” did not apply to the invitation to the U.S. president. The university president sent a copy of the letter to Bishop D’Arcy.
Bishop D’Arcy said that because the matter was now public, it was his duty as bishop to “respond and correct” as part of his “pastoral responsibility.”