Report: Bishop D’Arcy plans Notre Dame statement

THIRD UPDATE: OSV has it on its blog.

It’s coming Tuesday morning, says this post on the Our Sunday Visitor blog site. (Both Notre Dame and Our Sunday Visitor are in Bishop D’Arcy’s Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.)

UPDATE: We’ve just learned the statement now will not come until Wednesday.

SECOND UPDATE: Now (Tues., 11:45 a.m. EDT) we’re hearing it could be today after all.

Full voice mail and 270 signatures an hour

Happy Monday to officials at the University of Notre Dame!

The organized opposition to the university’s announcement last Friday that President Barack Obama would speak and receive an honorary degree at commencement May 17 is filling the voice mail message boxes of all the school’s top officials and shows no sign of abating. The American Papist blog reports that the messages boxes of the university’s president, vice president, provost, assistant provost and public relations director were all full and refusing to take any more messages by the end of the day Friday.

An online petition asking the university’s president to rescind the invitation is receiving 270 signatures an hour, according to its co-sponsors, the Cardinal Newman Society and CatholicVote.org.

The National Review Online organized a symposium today on the topic: “A moral exemplar? Should the University of Notre Dame honor our most anti-life president?” and got contributions from George Weigel, Jesuit Father James Schall and others. Catholic newspapers, including the National Catholic Register and National Catholic Reporter, are contributing to the debate as well. Comments were still coming in today on our blog as well.

Notre Dame has not yet issued an official response to the protest, but Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, the university president, talked about it with a reporter from The Observer student newspaper yesterday.

The tortoise and the Herr Papst

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM ANGOLA — Non-cardinal passengers on the papal plane have to be onboard well before the pope or they get left behind — at least that’s the threat used to keep journalists moving.

PAPAL TURTLE

Father Lombardi carries the pope's tortoise down the aisle of the papal plane during the flight from Cameroon to Angola Friday. (CNS/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

But speed seems to have nothing to do with the fact that Pope Benedict XVI’s tortoise was not onboard when the pope’s Alitalia chartered jet took off from Luanda, Angola, this morning.

The turtle tortoise, a symbol of wisdom, was a gift from a group of Pygmies from the Baka ethnic group. They gave the pope the turtle tortoise Friday as the pope was leaving Cameroon for Angola.

The eight-inch long brown turtle tortoise made Friday’s papal flight from Cameroon to Angola. But when all the reporters, cardinals and papal aides were onboard this morning for the flight back to Rome, there was no turtle tortoise in sight.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told the reporters that the tortoise was left “in good hands” at the apostolic nunciature in Luanda, Angola’s capital.

While there had been some discussion about bringing the turtle tortoise back to the Vatican gardens with its dozens of fountains, in the end, Father Lombardi said, it was decided that the turtle tortoise belonged in Africa.

The papal spokesman promised that a good home in the proper habitat would be found.

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