Bishop D’Arcy says planned demonstrations “unseemly and unhelpful”

Bishop D'Arcy

Bishop D'Arcy

This was news to us, though perhaps you’ve already seen it: Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., issued a new statement late last week calling on Catholics not to attend planned demonstrations when President Obama speaks at Notre Dame next month because they can be “unseemly and unhelpful.”

He also said he had a “positive meeting” with the president of the university, “and I expect further dialogue will continue.”

Here’s our story today.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who has opened an office in South Bend to protest the Obama speech (as noted in our story), responded to Bishop D’Arcy this morning in an opinion column published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

15 Responses

  1. Well, maybe the bishop has some inside news. Perhaps President Obama is going to make a small concession such as responding positively to the voices of those who asked him to maintain the conscience rights of health care workers thus respecting freedom of religion. I wouldn’t count on it though. Maybe the president of Notre Dame will make peace with the authentic Catholic pro-life community by honoring a pro-life leader the same day. I wouldn’t count on that either. It will be interesting to see if the President pulls the conscience rights of health care workers before or after he is honored at Notre Dame. Pulling these rights before he is honored would certainly kick things up another level.

  2. With all due respect, there is nothing unseemly about protest if done peacefully. It might be unhelpful but one thing that is certainly not helpful is to remain silent and not speak out in defense of those babies whose lives will be extinguished because of Obama’s policies.

  3. I have to agree with Bishop D’Arcy. We have had our debate about inviting the president, it is (mostly) over. A lot of shouting on commencement will not lead anyone closer to truth and peace.

  4. Will the “positive meeting with the ND prez result in something positive for the image of today’s liberal clerics running the so-called Catholic academies, Your Excellency? I suspect it won’t. Your time might be better spent behind the scenes working for the prez’s ouster from his ND presidency.
    Obama will not decline the invitation. He thoroughly enjoys coming into the “enemy camp” and thumbing his nose at those who can offer no more than a comment about “positive meetings” and wishing that Catholics not protest the ND decision with “unseemly and unhelpful” demonstrations. Were the demonstrations at Selma and other places “unseemly and unhelpful,” Your Excellency?
    Your Excellency, do you actually understand that this is just one small battle in a larger war that we continue to lose because we continue to flinch from the fight?

  5. I think abortions are unseemly and unhelpful.

    Taking away the victim’s right of protest CAN’T be an answer.

    Protestors should simply wave baby blue and bright pink handkerchiefs during the commencement instead of booing or applauding.

  6. I can sympathize with the university and the bishop wanting to give the graduates a good, peaceful, enjoyable graduation ceremony that is memorable in its normalcy, but normalcy was already removed from it by those who selected Pres. Obama for speaker and special honors.

    It would be a violation of the Church’s teachings on social justice to NOT protest. One has to face Jesus someday and answer his question: Why did you remain silent against injustices when there was something you could do about it?

  7. To understand Bishop D’Arcy’s comments it is necessary to know the whole story. The demonstrations he is objecting to are those planned by outsiders who have come into South Bend, set up offices and operations, and who plan to “create a circus” to embarrass the University of Notre Dame and the President.
    There are marches and demonstrations happening on campus, and these will continue in a variety of ways — teachings by faculty, a pro-life march before the FB spring scrimmage (Blue Gold Game), and so on. Randall Terry, who is the leader of the outside effort, has dismissed with contempt the efforts by our students and others within the Notre Dame community to address the Obama invitation. He should not. He and his followers should respect the hard work and strong witness of very many within our community.

    Bishop D’Arcy is aware of and supportive of what members of his own flock are doing to support the cause of life and the restoration of full Catholicity at Notre Dame.

  8. Do not disrupt the ceremony. We must all stand together and give President Obama a peace of our mind collectively through dialogue.

    The Bishops have publicly spoken we must have peaceful demonstration not negative behavior. It goes against us and incriminates us that people think that we are a cult and not capable of well thought out dialoge.

    Peace Marches in Washington and San Francisco should be a positive example to us for this kind of activism.

    We do not want anyone harming or being harmed through this.

    The President gets the picture once you send enough well written letters. Not negative but well thought out and articulated.

    President Bush got the message from letter writing on life issues. One can do the same with this.

    CHANGE HEARTS AND MINDS. DO NOT THROW STONES.

    REMEMBER THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTRY. REMEMBER THE PROTESTING MOB. WHAT DID JESUS DO? I LIKE MOTHER ANGELICA WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT OUR DEAR SWEET LORD WROTE IN THE SAND THAT DAY. I HOPE THAT I CAN TAKE A SMALL LEAF FROM OUR LORD AND DO THE SAME FOR ALL OF YOU TODAY. LISTEN TO YOUR BISHOPS. SEE WHAT THEY PROPOSE. WE MUST BE ONE MIND AND ONE BODY. THE BRIDE OF CHRIST THE WAY HE, CHRIST INTENDED.
    NOT THROWING STONES. GOT IT?
    YOUR KEEP WRITING YOUR REPS WITH THE SAME TOPIC AND THEY WILL GET THE PICTURE. SO WILL YOUR PRESIDENT.
    YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SOLID PLAN, PERIOD.
    LOVE IN CHRIST
    BROTHERS AND SISTERS

  9. This entry is a misrepresentation. Bishop D’Arcy was NOT condemning all protests, only ones that are disrespectful. This has been established by the diocesan communications director, Vince LaBarbera.

    The bishop issued the statement in light of some pro-life advocates who had vowed to disrupt the ceremony.

  10. Adrian J Reimers, on April 14th, 2009 at 10:21 am Said:

    “To understand Bishop D’Arcy’s comments it is necessary to know the whole story. The demonstrations he is objecting to are those planned by outsiders who have come into South Bend, set up offices and operations, and who plan to “create a circus” to embarrass the University of Notre Dame and the President.
    There are marches and demonstrations happening on campus, and these will continue in a variety of ways — teachings by faculty, a pro-life march before the FB spring scrimmage (Blue Gold Game), and so on. Randall Terry, who is the leader of the outside effort, has dismissed with contempt the efforts by our students and others within the Notre Dame community to address the Obama invitation. He should not. He and his followers should respect the hard work and strong witness of very many within our community.

    Bishop D’Arcy is aware of and supportive of what members of his own flock are doing to support the cause of life and the restoration of full Catholicity at Notre Dame.”

    All I can say is that Notre Dame, Father Jenkins, and the Catholic Church in America damned well ought to be embarrassed!
    It is important to remember though, that the actions or words of others can never embarrass you; only your own actions can do that.
    The scandal is not so much that the Flagship University of the infidel CSC will offer both podium and PhD to the most anti-innocent life president in our nation’s history, the scandal is that our Bishops for the most part are more aghast at the angry response of those of us who know they have betrayed us than they are at the horrofic prospect of being seen as holding the man’s coat while he misrepresents his vile policies in the shadow of the Basilica Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    No angry protest could embarrass me in this regard anywhere near as profoundly as the impotent hand-wringing of the vast majority of our bishops.

  11. “Mark, on April 13th, 2009 at 7:41 pm Said:
    I have to agree with Bishop D’Arcy. We have had our debate about inviting the president, it is (mostly) over. A lot of shouting on commencement will not lead anyone closer to truth and peace.”

    Wonderful, squishy feeling, comfy thoughts and feeeeelllings!
    And during the president’s speech, which will not be part of any “dialogue”, nor will it be countered by any clear profession of committment to the sanctity of life, be sure you keep a mental count of how many loving grandparents, child molesters, and social worker “do-gooders” have succesfully ushered their pregnant daughters, granddaughters and victims into reproductive liberation centers to relieve them of the horrible burdens of motherhood; wanted or unwanted.

    Utter trash!

  12. Thanks a lot, Kevin. Must I throw rocks at the president during his speech to remain in God’s good graces? That’s utter trash.

    Turning commencement into an ugly memory for seniors and their parents is not going to change any laws or save any children. I think ‘protest’ can mean many things, including a steadfast resolve to work for a culture where life is respected in all its many forms.

  13. As Rosemary earlier noted, CNS blog has spun this story inaccurately. According to their own reporting Bishop D’Arcy said “I urge all Catholics and others of good will to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations against our nation’s president or Notre Dame or (Holy Cross) Father John I. Jenkins.” Not to stay away from any and all demonstrations, but from inappropriately disrespectful ones

    It seems to me that whether to join a particular protest or not is a matter of prudential judgment. It is of course important to protest injustice, of which this ND award is an example, but the tenor of the protest is a prudential matter. Counter-productive protests are possible, and need to be avoided as a matter of wise action. Bishop D’Arcy has supported resistance activities (including his own boycott of the event) but has also magnanimously allowed that “the Notre Dame community is well-equipped to supervise and support discussions and prayer within their own campus.”

    As far as I can see, Bishop D’Arcy has not singled out any particular protest for opprobrium, so Mr. Terry’s rhetoric in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette seems mean-spirited and paranoid. Rather than expecting the Bishop to call him, he should have consulted with the Bishop as to what would be a prudent course of action. After all ND is in Bishop D’Arcy ‘s Diocese. Mr. Terry ought to look first to the official teacher of the faithful for the Diocese (the Bishop) for leadership, rather than usurping that role …

  14. As far as I can see, Bishop D’Arcy has not singled out any particular protest for opprobrium, so Mr. Terry’s rhetoric in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette seems mean-spirited and paranoid. Rather than expecting the Bishop to call him, he should have consulted with the Bishop as to what would be a prudent course of action. After all ND is in Bishop D’Arcy ’s Diocese. Mr. Terry ought to look first to the official teacher of the faithful for the Diocese (the Bishop) for leadership, rather than usurping that role …

  15. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail, but this does not confer to us a grace to know how close they would come. As the Church is in full scale crumble mode, it does not need additional episodes of moral cowardice from bishops. Showing disrespect towards America’s mass murderer in chief is a moral imperative. It is “unseemly” to witness bishops unwilling to resist the aiding the process of accommodation.

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