The Vatican and Notre Dame

VATICAN CITY — One of the biggest debates among U.S. Catholics at the moment is about Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Barack Obama to give this year’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

But so far, the issue has not had the same resonance at the Vatican — at least publicly. There’s been no Vatican statement, and the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio have yet to mention the controversy.

When Catholic News Service requested reaction from Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, head of the Congregation for Catholic Education (which, of course, deals with Catholic universities), we received a polite “no comment.”

Based on conversations with Roman Curia officials, I have no doubt that the Obama-Notre Dame question is on the minds of U.S. priests and bishops working at the Vatican. With statements pouring in on one side or another back home, how could it be otherwise?

But non-Americans at the Vatican tend to see the issue in a different light, I think.

For one thing, they seem more comfortable with the idea of accommodating dignitaries and civil authorities in a church setting, even when their political positions aren’t in line with the church’s teaching.

I emphasize that these were casual conversations, not a comprehensive survey of opinions. But two episodes in particular have been mentioned to me by Vatican officials over the last week.

One was that French President Nicholas Sarkozy received the title of honorary canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran during his visit to Rome in 2007, a tradition that goes back centuries. Sarkozy, who also met Pope Benedict, supports legal abortion.


File photo of students at Rome's Sapienza University passing a sign protesting Pope Benedict's planned 2008 visit, a visit the pope then cancelled. (CNS photo/Reuters)

The Vatican and the Diocese of Rome seemed to have no problem with honoring the twice-divorced Sarkozy, who says he is a Catholic. In fact, the Lateran vespers service to bestow the title was “all pomp and circumstance,” as one Vatican official put it.

The second thing mentioned was that when Pope Benedict was invited to give a major talk at the Rome’s Sapienza University in 2008, the criticism and protest by some professors and students who didn’t want to give him a platform caused the pope to cancel the appearance. The episode was viewed at the Vatican as a prime example of intolerance.

Last year, a minor controversy erupted at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelicum, when Cherie Blair was invited to speak on “Women and Human Rights.” Some U.S. and British groups called her “pro-abortion” and tried to get the invitation rescinded; the university refused to cancel, despite receiving hundreds of complaints. During her talk, Blair said she had difficulties with the church’s teaching on responsible parenthood, but implied that her problems were with church teaching on contraception, not abortion.

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47 Responses to The Vatican and Notre Dame

  1. Jeff Tan says:

    I do think that there is a difference between inviting a speaker who differs publicly with the hosting institution (or the one behind it), and awarding an honorary title to a similarly differing and public person.

    And of course, there may be a wide gap as well between the abortion-related governance/legislation of President Sarkozy, and that of President Obama.

    Moreover, European society may not be impacted so much in honoring President Sarkozy, this being a longstanding tradition (as reported above), likely political, with hardly a ripple among Europeans. Americans on both sides of the debate will not take things lightly concerning the honor being given to President Obama. There will be strong emotions to either support it or abhor it.

    Finally, one key distinction in the case of Notre Dame is that the local conference of bishops had already given their pastoral guidelines, prohibiting this very act that Notre Dame’s president seems determined to see through regardless.

  2. Mark Rondeau says:

    I think this helps show that opposition to President Obama speaking at Notre Dame is being stirred up by partisan Caholic Republicans. Remember that John McCain also supports stem-cell researach on human embryos and is also an unappologetic supporter of the unjust war in Iraq (correctly opposed by two popes). If McCain had won the presidency, would the same people who are objecting now to Obama object to McCain speking at Notre Dame? I don’t think so.

    Aren’t universities supposed to be places of free and open debate? Can’t disagreements be made clear in a respectful way?

  3. Jim D says:

    I would have to wonder of the first pope, St. Peter, would have invited Nero to his church of a “honorary” degree? Seems both had no problem doing in the innocent.

  4. Paul says:

    Once again, war and abortion are not moral equivalents. Abortion and war are not moral equivalents. Abortion is an intrinsically evil act. War is not. There is a big difference.

    And NO, Catholic universities are not places of free and open debate when it comes to Catholic beliefs.

  5. Kevin says:

    “Aren’t universities supposed to be places of free and open debate? Can’t disagreements be made clear in a respectful way?”

    Two things tend to override this oft-used handwave:
    1. The universty’s invitation clearly violated the prior act of the USCCB.

    2. Unless I missed it in the four page document on the ND website, there is no debate here. There is no announced other forum, during which Obama will be provided the opportunity to learn the sound and holy teaching of the Church regardign the sanctity of life. The only thing there is, is an opportunity for Obama to mount to the podium at the most recognizable Catholic University (albeit, not always recognizable by her actions) in the country and say whatever he chooses to say. Based upon his actions in recent weeks, it is naive to the extreme to believe that he will fail to make use of the opportunity to create further divisions among the faithful. It would not be out of character for him to use the venue to openly deride a teaching he probably does not even understand. I don’t expect that, more for the want of political advantage in such a move; but I do not put it past him.

  6. Holly Hansne says:

    Thanks CNS for posting this article. It puts the hyperventilating here into perspective. Pope Benedict is a gentleman, a rare commodity these days. I believe the Vatican knows it needs the US help in areas like the middle east and China. The US values the Vaticans many contacts throughout the world. The Pope himself was a victim of zealots who thought he had nothing of value to say to them. The Pope decided to not give his speach to the university students. It was a gracious act. In other places I have offered a kind of compramise for President Obama. Rather than speak at Notre Dame, he should accept the invitation of Archbishop Dolan to attend his installation in NYC. It would be a gesture of respect and good will to the catholic community at large. I am sure the president will be briefed on the contraversy. Anyone else who likes this idea should go
    to and send an email from the contact tab at the upper right of the page.

  7. Jean says:

    I would welcome Jesus, The Pope , the President and anyone else I could invite to my home who would offer peaceful dialogue. I am amazed that some could be so judgemental without listening to their words. As an educated Catholic, taught to respect others, I am proud that I can have openmindedness and agree to disagree. My opinion may be different but I would not be rude to a very distinguished guest and no way would I embarasss my fellow Catholics by being so short sited. After all isn’t there an old phrase that says” Judge not lest you be judged” I guess some folks just want to go back forty years where all house doors were closed to those of other views. How very SAD. Go Notre Dame!

  8. jane walker says:

    Providing a forum for anyone who supports intrinsic evil is wrong. Our actions teach, and must match our words. Pro-abortion politicians who make it a point to court Catholics mock our Faith, and those who support such individuals are used to push for ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance.’ There is NO SUCH TOLERANCE for those who believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death- witness the banning of pro-life legislators at Democratic Conventions. If you think the moment to appear at a Catholic university is lost on pro-abortion groups you underestimate their resolve. Such an appearance provides the perfect opportunity to advance themselves as ‘moderate’ and provides a platform that legitimizes their anti-life views. As a candidate Pres. Obama prevaricated when pressured about his actual stand on BAIPA. He misled so many with his euphemisms that most people interviewed considered him to be pro-life! Now we have tax dollars paying for abortions, funding abortion groups overseas, filling the coffers of Planned Parenthood, paying for embryonic stem-cell research, buying condoms to distribute to Third-world countries and high school students- all while Congress and the President attempt to pass FOCA. God help us, Jesus have mercy on us, and Spirit renew us!

  9. tony says:


    As a super educated Catholic, I was taught that actions have consequences and maybe if President Obama thought that women had a right to hurt you directly instead of unborn children you might consider the issue to be more than a polite academic difference.

    “Judge lest ye be judge” – you really need to come to a deeper understanding of these words. No body is judging Pres Obama’s soul. What they are saying is that his policies and actions are significantly out of line with Christian teaching and pretending their is no difference gives rise to scandal. Imagine if ND had invited the Pres of South Africa during apartied?

    Jesus said that the Holy Spirit must come to convince us in the matter of sin. Convincing of sin is a grace. It is the necessary precondition to accepting new life and embracing the gospel. And woe to him who calls evil good and good evil. Go Catholics!

  10. Tom Kelty says:

    And let us all recall that Mother Church buried all the German military leaders with full honors during WW2. The hierarchy in all their watered silk stood side by side with some of the
    monsters who ran the war for Germany.
    So the Vatican is aware of the need to hesitate in taking sides on this issue.

  11. ed gleason says:

    93% of ND seniors support Obama’s presence.. The mini-minority catholic right is loud but nobody is listening..let’m eat blogs

  12. gramps says:

    Did the president of France during his campaign and in the first acts of taking power do everything possible to show his intenet to defy Catholic Church teaching on the most important of all issues, that of life of innocent babies, and add to that the intent to remove allowing doctors and nurses to no longer be able to follow their own conscience? Did he signal a promise to the baby killing industry that he would sign into law that there could be no laws or any attempt to stop in any way the full onslaught of abortion with FOCA? Did the President of France start to reverse restrictions on the medical research of living humans as did Obama. The full out assult on human life and Church teaching by this person is the issue and why honoring him is a grave insult by the University by inviting him with an honor given on top of it. The CNS is a rag for the left leaning ObamaCaths so it is not surprising to see this type of article. I would pay more attention if it was actually in a real Catholic paper.

  13. John Hetman says:

    It’s always heartening to see so-called progressive Catholics denounce the intolerance of orthodox Catholics in cases where they oppose the promotion of barbaric and immoral actions of which abortion is at the top of the list. There must a special circle in hell for the tolerant progressive ones in these cases…the same tepid or lukewarm people spit out by Christ.

  14. Kristin says:

    If feel sorry for the Notre Dame students to be put in such a position. If they are supporting Obama’s presence because Notre Dame always invites a new president to speak they are being grossly misled. This is not just any ordinary president. This is a president who seems to have tremendous sway over young people. Listen carefully to his words and watch his actions. He is not Catholic and therefore does not hold Catholic views. What his stance on abortion is is the complete opposite of what the Catholic Church’s stance. This has been the Catholic Church’s stance long before the US of America was even a glimmer in the founding fathers’ eyes. This is the Catholic Church’s core belief and is not a radical right agenda. The Catholic Church is not a political body it is a religious body. There are no radical right Catholics or liberal Catholics, only Catholics that understand and accept what the Church teaches and ones that do not. President Obama is not merely a speaker at a university, he is the President of the United States who has just signed an executive order restarting the use of American money to fund abortions overseas. He has said he wants to reduce the number of abortions, but how can increasing funding and access to abortions possibly reduce them? It is not logical. Abortion is an industry and so is embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cell research is considered tissue donation, and so money cannot be attached to it in the same way and that is why it is ignored by politicians. Follow the money and the agenda. Since abortion was made “legal” in 1973 over 50 million American lives have been snuffed out. Add up all of the wars we have been in and the number of lives lost does not even come close. Anyone who uses their position of power to promote and support such an industry has no place giving a commencement address and receiving honors at a Catholic university–no matter who they are–period. Sometimes the truth is inconvenient.

  15. G.K. Thursday says:

    Alas, Ed Gleason may be right about the seniors at ND (it is 100% certain that he cites no source for his %ages, however). BUT, that still doesn’t make Obama’s policy actions institutionalizing the slaughter of the innocent (which abortion really is) good in any way. And it makes ND’s decision to honor the President contrary to both the USCCB’s expressed policy and promotion of moral virtue. This opens up again the whole question of whether ND is genuinely Catholic or not.

    With respect to this issue, it is important to recall that a Catholic University has a dual legal identity, one in civil law, but also one in canon law. The bishops have been very reluctant to use canon law (never have used it actually), but if the public statements/actions of a few bishops against awarding Obama a prestigious degree indicate the fellow feeling of a much larger number of bishops, the pressure to use canon law to strip ND of its Catholic status could be building. And what would ND do if it was canonically stripped of Catholic status? Would Catholic families still send their sons and daughters there? How would that affect their enrollment?

    Beyond this, as CNS recently reported here:

    the Holy Cross superior general in Rome, Father Hugh W. Cleary, has written a 13 page letter to be published in America magazine and delivered to the President asking him to “give your conscience a fresh opportunity to be formed anew in a holy awe and reverence before human life in every form at every stage — from conception to natural death.” Whatever the effect of this letter, it is important to question the etiology of it. Although the Vatican itself has not commented directly, it may be that this letter from the highest curial authority for the Holy Cross is written precisely to make a comment. It is sad though that Fr. Cleary doesn’t act to replace Fr. Jenkins at ND, rather than simply write to Obama, since that is well within his power (in his letter Fr. Cleary points out that he has no direct authority over ND’s Board of fellows and Board of trustees; he does however have such authority over Fr. Jenkins).

    Politically, it would not be prudent for the Pope to intervene in a case like this. It could be seen as the hostile action of a foreign power (to non-Catholics and/or American nativists). Far more skilled is this approach which confronts Obama with authentic Catholic positions in a way he cannot ignore, but which comes from a non-foreign position in the Church (Cleary is an American; his letter argues that American Catholics must be paid attention to in the political process; no question of foreign powers condemning Obama). We shall see if the President responds to them in a serious way or if he merely flexes his rhetorical stylistics in a florid non-response, as he has most often done in the past.

  16. Ricky Vines says:

    The folks at the Angelicum had the same sensibilities to protest Cherie Blair’s invitation. If any, it confirms the uproar
    in ND now.

    In Sapienza, it is apples and oranges. The righteous indignation over the honor bestowed to someone who took the offensive
    against the culture of life and caused more to die is not comparable with that of the liberals who refused to hear a man of God.
    The comparison makes no sense.

    Sarkozy’s honor is not set out to be a model. With the POTUS, the response is strong because of his recent offensive to the
    pro-life culture in removing the right of conscience for Christian health care workers, reversing the Hyde amendment and thus
    using Medicaid dollars to pay for abortion and covering abortion in the new health care plan and his future promise to put the
    culture wars behind. So, one needs to protect and advance the cause of the unborn in every way.

  17. Jim D says:

    Tom – All the military leaders? Are you also including the many non-Catholic military leaders also? Most up the upper ranks were Protestant Prussians. So I’m not sure which “Mother Church” you are talking about. I guess I would have some doubt about your statements.

  18. Charles Cornelius says:

    The invitation was not extended to someone that is divorced but to someone who approves of aborting a child anytime up the the very minute of birth and even after birth if the abortion was not proberly conducted. From reading some reponses I had no idea how liberal Catholics are becoming in living their faith. Notre Dame of course has the right to say and do what they want the university to stand for but they should decide if it should remain a Catholic institution relecting the teaching of the Catholic Church or become a university with no affiliation to a religion. I can no longer hold my head high and say I am proud to be a Notre Dame supporter.

  19. Gail says:

    I support Notre Dame. The President is an incredible leader who is working hard to lead this country out of a financial disaster and safely bring our country out of the morass of Iraq and Afganistan. He is a loving father, a great husband and was a loving son. He overcame great odds to reach the White House. All Americans, including Catholics, should be proud of him. He is the perfect role model for our young people.
    It is sad that there are Republican Catholics who are hijacking our religion for their political purposes and are engaging in a spirituality of confrontation. Shame on all of you.

  20. J. Bob says:

    Oh wonderful. If you can’t make a logical point, come out with the term “Republican Catholic”. Wonder how many “loving fathers” support infanticide? I guess some children are more equal than others.

  21. Dan says:

    It’s clear from almost half these posts we have a lot larger problem then this simple ND controversy. Education of Catholics in America has been on the steep decline since at least the 1960’s and it is evident here. If the pro-ND posters here are Catholic and they can’t see the point that a Catholic institution should not bestow an honor on anyone who via EO and legislation in the recent past seeks to solidify the Culture of Death as our Church defines it, then there is no sense in further ‘debate’. Our job as individual souls must be to stay the course and not be derailed nor discourage by the spirit of satan now roaring like a lion. Guard your soul since there is evidence all about that The Church is falling maybe even collapsing which could mean the end of the age is near. Let’s speak our mind but lets focus on the goal—keeping souls out of hell. God’s perfect justice will prevail and the evil one will be cast with his minions into the lake of fire. All other affronts to us as Catholics are of no consequence. Lets tell them loudly ‘my soul is not for the taking’ Yeah spiritual warfare is very real—let’s not become a casualty lest Christ went to The Cross in vane.

  22. Rick says:

    Gail writes….”It is sad that there are Republican Catholics who are hijacking our religion for their political purposes and are engaging in a spirituality of confrontation. Shame on all of you.”
    Does the Catholic Church have two different sets of teachings and beliefs. Maybe there are three, one for Dems, one for Reps. and one for Indep..

    You say that your religion is being hijacked, that infers that the Church is a Democrat institution, how else could it be hijacked by Republicans.

    “spirituality of confrontation”?….. I can’t think of a more confrontational person in the history of mankind than Jesus Christ. He revolutioned the entire world and reshaped Western Civilation by confronting the religious and political hierarchy of the time.

    Gail, you may support the new President and it is your right to do so. You must also come to grips that he is a FERVENT supporter of late term abortion (clearly infantacide) and stood alone in the Illinois state legislature to block funding to hospitals to treat babies that had survived botched abortions. I personally cannot comprehend a believer in Christ holding in their heart these convictions. Maybe you can.

  23. Gail says:

    I should have mentioned also that the President walked away from a lucrative legal career to devote his life to public servcie and work for the disadvantaged and has made Mathew 25 the cornerstone of his life and his administration. He has just announced a goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and has made it clear that this country does not torture. For all these reasons he deserves honor and respect. He is the perfect role model for our children

  24. Brother Alan says:

    We have never had a President who was entirely consistent. Life is as sacred outside the womb as it is in the womb. Some say the child in the womb is more vulnerable. I say all children are quite vulnerable, and I hope you defend all life. Cardinal Bernardin got it right when he talked of the seamless garment of life.

  25. Jean says:

    Hurray for Gail…so many are stuck and cannot see the forest /for the trees A band of ultra conservative orthodox people are trying to return to pre vatican II. Many young people and older folks of today endorse the loving church of today…..reaching out as Jesus did. This isn’t about Republican or Democrat. This has turned into a hate media blitz that many can’t see the real harm that the media is doing and scared catholics are showing…think about that. WWJD..most likely welcome..listen.. and PRAY for the actions that some disagree with would be given another look.
    A former President had some highlighted social problems…the press went crazy…but he still is listened to and has appeared in many Catholic areas…I bet not too many “holyier that thou” shooed him away. NO ONE is perfect but we sure are quick to jump in line without all the details. Has anybody read the speech? Maybe instead of this rediculus uproar we CATHOLIC’s should stand up against the girl who was whipped in Afganistan or better the American who prays, listens and does NOT follow the hipe of the media who would love to get the Catholics wound up over a visit to a University. God Bless Our Lady of Notre Dame…she’s a wise ‘Ole Gal” Go Notre Dame!
    PS Gail I’m a Replican and Tony..I’m a super duper educate Catholic.

  26. Dan says:

    I agree with Jean’s only point—we should all pray

  27. Rick says:

    Gail, the perfect role model for our children is not Obama, it is Jesus Christ. The more you place your faith in men or in government and not in God, the further away from the Truth you will stray. As I read your blind allegiance and defense of a “man” I worry for your salvation. Mr. Obama may be all those things you say but if you look at him without blinders on, you will see he is very flawed as are all of us. Government is evil, the more power given to gov’t, the more evil it becomes. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, British Monarchs……all committed incredibly horrible atrocities against their own people and others. How? They attained unlimited powers. Our Founders were God fearing men and women that realized this truth a long time ago and therefore limited the power of the federal government to avoid this. Mr. Obama does not subscribe to that philosophy and is amassing incredible amounts of unConstitutional powers at lightening fast speed. Beware of the Golden Calf and graven image. Place your hope in Jesus and not men or politicians. You have more power to change the world than you know.

  28. Dan says:

    Nat Hentoff wrote for the Village Voice for many years—he is not a right wing nutjob. After reading this short article does anyone still believe our President is a role model for YOUR children let alone qualified to make decisions affecting all our national interest and security?

  29. Athelstan says:

    “And let us all recall that Mother Church buried all the German military leaders with full honors during WW2. The hierarchy in all their watered silk stood side by side with some of the
    monsters who ran the war for Germany.
    So the Vatican is aware of the need to hesitate in taking sides on this issue.”

    and Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago provided for a full Catholic funeral for “Scarface” Al Capone too.

  30. Dan says:

    Theresa Capone had urged Msgr. William J.Gorman to give last rites for burial. St. Columbanus church authorities had accepted, so Msgr Gorman a previous fire dept chaplain who knew the family, did gravesite prayers and last rites.
    To my knowledge Al Capone was never honored at ND.

  31. Rick Hansen says:

    I think the students must take a stand and boycott the address by Pres. Obama. This is not a casual difference of opinion, but someone who is actually hostile to one of the most important tenants of our faith. Unfortunately the leaders of Notre dame have sold out in order rub shoulders with the Prez. We either stand for something or we don’t.

  32. Jakob says:

    Paul wrote this to the poor leadership at the Church of Corinth! Atten leaders ship at ND.

    1 Cor 8:10-12

    10 If someone sees you, with your knowledge, reclining at table in the temple of an idol, may not his conscience too, weak as it is, be “built up” to eat the meat sacrificed to idols?

    11 Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died.

    12 When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ.

    13 5 Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

    The fact that Obama will speak a Catholic Universtity ND, will cuase much confusion (AKA, this thread). Attn Father Jinkens, this applies to you too!

  33. Sabrina says:

    The issues of intersection/interaction between Catholic teaching and public policy are quite different in Latin America than they are here in the United States. I don’t doubt — though I have no personal experience of it — that they are quite distinct from every other Catholic “region” of the world as well. Thank goodness the Vatican doesn’t weigh in on each and every breach and bump on the local level.

  34. JEFF GALLAGHER says:

    I too wish Notre Dame had not chosen to give Pres Obama an honorary degree, but I am equally dismayed at the treatment given to ND. Where were all these critics when Obama was invited to speak at the Al Smith dinner in New York a major fund raiser for the Archdiocese Catholic charities and where were the protest when Obama was honor with an invitation to the installation of the new archbishop in New York. Why is it a mistake, an outrage and more for ND to invite the Preisdent and not the bishops who extended the above invitations. Why are so many bishops condemning ND and not a word was said to fellow bishops.

  35. I find the backlash against our President from fellow Catholics hypocritical and misplaced. The Church, and especially the Vatican, shies away from judging any one of us, and especially elected officials, by a single moral issue. The Catholic Church allies itself with global leaders when their policies align with our social doctrine, and it censures them in those areas where we do not.

    The Church has not condemned or morally sanctioned President Obama, but only criticised his stance on ONE position: abortion. His foreign and economic policies, however, as well as his interfaith outreach to Islam ( seemingly align with Catholic social doctrine and should be praised.

    If the Bishop guiding Notre Dame’s diocese believed the President’s abortion stance to be so severe as to outweigh the totality of his policy, then it was up to that Bishop to block the appearance or the honorary degree. If any scandal is to be alleged, then it arguably belongs on the shoulders of that Bishop, not the President.

    We need to be as complex as our faith.

  36. I’ve posted on this several times on my blog ( ) but wanted to add these words to the debate here with regard to the ritual venue my alma mater has chosen to honor Obama:

    Commencement is more than the sum of its parts. Commencement is the school’s annual ritualization of itself in which the institution’s history, accomplishments and future are made present in solemn ritual fashion.

    It is to just this moment that the University of Notre Dame has invited Barack Obama, not simply to be a guest but also: to receive a parchment bearing the University’s seal, honoring him as a Doctor of Laws; to be clothed with the school’s academic mantle; and to be the principal voice in its annual spring ritual.

    The invitation to Obama and his acceptance of it are not the business of coming together at a common table for dialogue – as welcome and true to Notre Dame’s ethos such a meeting would be. Commencement is neither a seminar nor a symposium. Commencement is a ritual revelation of the university’s mind, heart and soul: commencement is the symbol of Notre Dame, in the deepest sense of that word.

    Both Notre Dame and Barack Obama know this well and each has seized the opportunity.

  37. Teresa Rice says:

    Notre Dame is violating the guidelines given by the conference of catholic bishops. This catholic university is suppose to be an extension of the catholic church representing Catholic Moral Values. Obama is the anthesis of what a role model catholic. I am outraged at how the President of Notre Dame is using this to make a political statement while accusing catholics who are against Obama’s speech and him receiving honorary degree of doing the same. Yet, the ones that are against Obama’s appearance are standing up for the basic morality that the Catholic Church stands for. The Pope or Vatican needs make an example of Notre Dame by initiating an ultimatum, don’t host Obama or lose your catholic status.

    I have further comments on my blog along with a video showing my outrage at Notre Dames decision to honor Obama.

  38. Daniel says:

    Did I really read here that it is only republican Catholics who are opposed to Obama getting an honorary degree? It would be more accurate to say those opposed to this president lecturing the arrogant Americans are Catholics who believe in the protection of life. Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  39. Dan says:

    The Concord pastor also wrote—“I don’t favor litmus testing politicians as part of vetting them for academic honors. Still, when a potential invitee stands this far apart from the Church on an issue at the heart of its teaching, one can’t help but question the wisdom of such a choice made by a school whose administration building sits next to its own on-campus basilica over whose front doors flies the papal flag.”
    Call me crazy, but given what our President has done in less than 90 days on several fronts against Life I just can’t bring myself to applaude him, and especially not in a Catholic institutional setting. Even further, it is deeply offensive to me and others who take seriously Psalm 139. I wish I could shake this, but I can’t. The choice of President Obama for this venue, at this time, is simply wrong.

  40. colleenspiro says:

    It is very simple. There is no judging here. There is no politics here. Obama is pro abortion. Catholic Church is against abortion. The US Catholic Bishops said no Catholic institution is to honor someone who goes against Catholic teaching. The ND University is a Catholic institution. The ND university is disobeying the USCCB.
    Open and free debate is one thing. But this is not a debate or a dialog. This is a commencement speech. Even that might not be the worse thing, but there is that honorary law degree.
    What message are we giving our young adults who we sent to a Catholic school so they can learn Catholic values? That our values mean nothing? That they are only words?
    It all comes down to this: First we teach our children to respect life and then we honor a man who wants to destroy life. That is wrong. Period.

  41. matt says:

    Let us just take a moment to actually stop what we’re doing and pray to God for guidance. It sure seemed to help me.

    That being said, I find it necessary to stand up for the foundations of our faith.

    It does worry me that a man who takes such a firm stance against the dignity of human life will be speaking to young students without any possibility of dialogue or debate. However, I do have hope that some un-looked-for good may yet come of this situation. I ask you all to pray for the students and families of Notre Dame and to put your faith in God.

  42. douay rheims says:

    It will probably take the total withdrawal of the entire football team as their protest of President Obama’s visit to cancel the speech.

  43. John C. Baal says:

    It is time for Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican to stand
    up for what is right..Show moral courage by actions
    not words..Have Ntore Dame agree to the Magesterium of the Catholic Church or lose it’s Catholc
    identity. I go to Mass everyday,say the Rosary,The Divine Mercy Chaplet,Miraculous Medal Novena,and
    await patiently for the Vatcan to show moral courage.
    I have given up on the UNCCB.”In union with Jesus,through the immaculate heart of Mary,I pray for our Holy Catholic Church.

  44. Faith says:

    This is not about politics and political differences. This is about the slaughter and murder of millions of unborn children. Yes children. God said I knew you when you were in the womb. Obama is pro abortion. His record supports it. There is no such thing as tolerance when it come to murder. I guess we should have just let Hitler keep killing at the death camps since that was just a different political view. As for McCain he is no different.. You are either for life or against it. Same with God. You are either for Him or against Him….God have mercy on Mr Jenkins soul…A father in the catholic church he is not….. For you will know my people by their fruits….

  45. Faith says:

    Dear Mr Buckley,
    Our faith is not complex. It is rather very simple. You either stand for God or are against Him. Problem is people in the Vatican and in the church also play politics instead of standing with God….. Don’t worry we will all be judged in the end and some will get threw the fire and some will not…. But God will reign in the end….As for us judging we have the command to judge all thing by the spirit…..God spirit in me says Notre Dame is wrong…namely Mr Jenkins

  46. Faith says:

    There is no such thing as a republican catholic or a democratic catholic. We are Christian first and follower of our savior Jesus Christ. His words not mine says that abortion is murder. So please take it up with God. We didn’t make the commandment He did. So where do you stand… For God or against God. Take a stand for once and keep politics and your feelings for Obama out of this…… Obama once said he didn’t want his daughters being punished with a baby…..What a statement about the sanctity of life to this man…God have mercy on him…

  47. Faith says:

    One final note…you said Obama is a role model for our children…. Tell that to the 40 million and climbing babies that have been murdered. under our abortion laws…Laws of man not God… They deserve an answer for their death and destruction would not you agree? I can see from your post that you really do not have a relationship with God. Some of us Christains have the gift of discernment. I discern you need to find the real Christ…..God’s spirit in me upholds the unborn childrens life no matter what…..

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