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Monday, March 23, 2009




Of course!

Mark Brumley

Fr. Jenkins' comment would make sense if abortion were not such a fundamental violation of human rights, such a fundamental contravention of the purpose of government, such a grave and widespread attack on the most vulnerable of human beings, and Barrack Obama were not so prominent a supporter of the proabortion rights position. By inviting him and honoring him, ND is simply saying that the right to life for unborn children and the evil of a million legal abortions every year are not that important. It is as simple as that. And by adopting that stance, ND shows that either it does not understand Catholic social teaching or it doesn't care about it on a crucial, massively significant issue.

People sometimes wonder how some Catholics (and other Christians) could have been lulled into collaborating with Nazi persecution of Jews. They should simply ask themselves how some Catholics (and other Christians) today wind up honoring proabortion rights politicians. I understand the element of caterrng to human opinion that comes with the excitement of the President of the United States coming to ND. But of course ND is supposed to be about honoring God, not human opinion.

It is a disgrace that a university named in honor of the Mother of God is honoring a man who aggressively supports state-sponsored killing of innocent human beings in their mothers' wombs. Even if, per impossible, Mr. Obama were complelely ignorant of when life beings, ND's administration, by identifying itself with Catholicism, is not allowed to be ignorant. Yet it chooses to honor Mr. Obama.


I just found this video petition:

Deacon Harold

As an alum ('88) I've been disappointed with some poor decisions ND has made under Fr. Jenkins (continuing the Vagina Monologues, for example) but the decision to have this president speak at commencement shows me that ND is more concerned with its academic reputation and prestige than in maintaining its Catholic identity.

ND has sold-out to the culture and this decision confirms it. This invitation sends the wrong message to the country and is a slap in the face to all of us who struggle and labor daily to build a culture of life. Our Lady's university needs serious prayer and a wake-up call. And the CSCs wonder why they can't get vocations!

My feeling is that ND will not change its decision unless some big donors/supporters threaten to withhold financial support.


Changing ND or changing House of Representatives in 2010 require the same thing: lots and lots of money to finance the operation and a cadre of zealots who'll dedicate their lives to making it happen.

Catholics, especially conservative ones, don't spend much time or money on political battles, nor are they especially zealous. The Obama/ND debacle proves it. Would ND do this if they thought their endowment would be impacted?

As Deacon Harold said, "ND has sold-out to the culture..." I agree. But also, Catolicism has sold out by voting to create the Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, etc. axis. Most Catholics I know are nice folks, sweet, but more like Oprah politically and theologically than M. Angelica.

We Catholics are responsible for how ND has changed, how congress has changed, how our nation is steering clear of practicing Catholic values.

We allow evil, we deserve to reap its consequences


I assume you mean:

"... so I owe it to them to rethink my avid support of late-term abortions"?

and not:

"... so I owe it to them to rethink my avid support of late-term adoptions"?

Ed Peters

Great institutions aren't built overnight, nor are they destroyed overnight (though destruction happens more quickly than building). So ND grew for 100+ years, and has been slowly killing itself for some 40. But the decline under Jenkins has been steep and rapid, and I think, the descent is now irreversible.

My parents' generation will miss ND, because they remember when. But mine won't. ND has always been a thorn in our side. Sure there are some good Catholics left there. But then, there were good Catholics at Mizzou, too, and no one thought it was Catholic, either.


I think there is a major difference between having the President of the United States of America give a commencement address on the one hand, and bestowing on him an honorary degree on the other.

The former is simply recognizing his importance as a world leader. I would support any number of high profile politicians giving an address. BUT, presenting someone with an honor of some sort is what makes this scandalous, IMO. It is also what the Bishop's Conference indicated is out of bounds.

Bob Schiavoni

Thank you for your continued coverage of this scandal. I wish not to be critical of Father Jenkins but his decision is so disheartening to many of the faithful who have worked hard through prayer, through action and through giving of their treasure to stop or at least make strides at abating abortion and embryonic experimentation. I have two words which forcefully respond to ND and to Father Jenkins: "born alive". Of course that is the touchstone title of legislation stridently opposed by then Mr. Obama legalizing the murder of a child "born alive" as a survivor of (mostly chemical) abortions.

A commencement speech is not an "engagement" (as Father Jenkins euphemistically describes his apologia) between the Church Militant and this anti-life, anti-liberty president. Father Jenkins has granted this president a homilitic prop to be used against us; a propogandist's tool. No one can excuse this action who believes solemnly in the cause of life

Finally, this decision saddens me as the Church is the witness to the world on issues of morality and liberty. Many outside the Church are looking upon this with an "I told you so" disdain toward what they now justify as calling our dogmatic hypocrisy. And, of course, within the Church, many are applauding this "progressive" decision as it promotes a different and more insidious agenda regarding Church teaching. How is it that Father Jenkins does not see this? How is it that the Bishops now are to be seen as having the moral authority to act decisively against catholics who vote for and support the culture of death? How is it that this campus, consecrated to "Our Lady", be allowed to promote a most hideous agenda? I will pray that the Holy Spirit guide us all.


While I am cynical about Fr. Jenkins reversing his position. I do think that the pro-life community can mount a pretty good protest. However, I think that there is probably a sizable amount of students in the graduating class who must be pro-life. I think it would be immense if 2 minutes or so into the speech they got up in unison and walked out silently. Obama is adept at taking the wind out of protesters who crashed one of his campaign spots as I saw in a YouTube video. That's why I think if you can get a quarter to even half of the graduating students to just walk out, it would be immense.

Sandra Miesel

Who is supposed to be fooled by Fr. Jenkins' silly excuses? Dialogue?? If cancer hadn't killed my late husband, seeing his alma mater fawning on Obama would have done the trick.

Ed Peters

"I wish not to be critical of Father Jenkins..." Okay, but why not? Is there something uncouth about being critical of a high profile leader who has made a terrible decision?

Hitherto, fwiw, my impression of Jenkin's leadership has ranged from poor to nondescript. Now, I just think he should resign.

Bob Schiavoni


"I wish not to be critical" because I hold the sacrifice of his priesthood in the highest regard and tend to be very careful in openly displaying such criticism. So often and on so many issues it is easy for us to be critical of a priest or bishop without undermining his priesthood---so because of that I try very hard to be circumspect. And, though "I wish" otherwise, I am critical of his conduct. My concern with Father's actions though is that he may have gone beyond the prudential but I will leave that to the theologians among us to discuss that aspect of his decision. Finally, Father Jenkins actions should cause all of us to ponder how our own hubris and pride may have contributed to this horrid cultural pietre dish, and so we must pray for Father and for a good and holy dose of "infused wisdom" on his behalf.

Ed Peters

Okay S. Our sensibilities in this regard differ, but okay.

Dan Deeny

Poor Fr. Jenkins. He's followed Prof. Kmiec around the bend.


As an ND alum, here's my modest proposal: Since ND is interested in "teaching" those with whom they disagree, they should host Bishop Williamson at commencement as well, and give him an honorary history degree. After all, he's shown quite a lot of leadership in a group oppressed by the Vatican. Anybody who thinks that's a bad idea just has no respect for the episcopal office. It's all about dialogue.

Mark L.

Let's leave aside the moral issues for a moment (fear not - ND's invite is clearly wrong on these grounds).

Aren't honorary degrees supposed to be given to people who have actually done something with their lives, made some significant contribution to society and/or generally made the world a better place? How on Earth can ND justify rewarding the former junior senator from the State of Illinois in this fashion? If I were a past recipient of an honorary degree from ND, I would return it, probably folded into a paper airplane. Oh, yeah, I'd do the same thing based on the moral issues as well.

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