Sunday, May 17, 2009

Should Notre Dame Lose “Catholic” Status?


Take the poll in the right side bar at Faultline USA.

Despite the fact that Notre Dame University has a long tradition of extending graduation speaking invitations to sitting American Presidents, this invitation to President Obama is not about Obama, but about Notre Dame. The real issue is about what it means to be a “Catholic” University.

President Obama’s speech today to the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame, and his award of an honorary degree, is a slap in the face of Roman Catholicism because of his strong outspoken pro-choice abortion beliefs and his support for federal funding of stem-cell research.

America, You Asked For It!, explains the dilemma this way:

The problem, of course, stems from Notre Dame’s Catholic roots and Obama’s position on the sanctity of human life in its embryonic stage. The Catholic Church “has always condemned abortion as a grave evil” and condemns stem cell research on the basis that “It is immoral to produce human embryos destined to be exploited as disposable ‘biological material.” These views are polar opposites of the President’s positions on abortion and stem cell research.

Moral Outcry explains it this way:

This is a travesty for a Catholic institution to be honoring the man behind some of the most liberal, pro-abortion agendas this nation has ever seen. In the spirit of intellectual openness, the powers-that-be have seen fit to acquiesce to the status quo of the pro-abortion agenda that’s steamrolling through the government right now.

It would appear that money, power, status, and untold legal entanglements would make it very, very difficult for the Catholic Church to punish Notre Dame for this affront to the churches’ basic teachings.

According to, “Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, sits on the board of directors of Millennium Promise, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa that promotes contraceptives and abortion, it has been revealed.”

The finding comes as the controversy over President Obama's award and speech at the University reaches a fever pitch in the last week before the event. As the president of Notre Dame, Fr. Jenkins has received the majority of the heat for the scandal. However, despite the criticism of over 70 U.S. bishops and over 350,000 petitioners, Jenkins has steadfastly continued to defend the university's honoring of the president. In a letter to graduating students dated this past Monday, Jenkins said that Obama is "a remarkable figure in American history and I look forward to welcoming him to Notre Dame."

According to UPI, “Bishop John D'Arcy, who oversees the region's diocese, said he would not attend Sunday's ceremony.”

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred," D'Arcy said in a statement.

The latest Gallop poll shows that for the first time, more Americans see themselves as pro-life rather than pro-choice. Still I have to wonder what this really means in terms of walking the walk of faith?

Despite the fact that Fox news has been featuring this story for weeks, the actual fact that only hundreds of pro-life activist Catholics from across the country plan to attend a peaceful protest in South Bend, Ind. is a sign that belief in pro-life appears to be more virtual than real.

Pro-Life Action League members also will begin their civil disobedience effort off-campus and then join the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society at the prayer vigil on campus to coincide with the commencement ceremony. Additional arrests are possible, if not expected.

"We're going have graphic pictures of abortion and what abortion does to babies and we'll also have signs that will say 'Obama = Abortion' and 'Shame on Notre Dame,'" Gura said.

Citizens for a Pro-Life Society will be carrying signs ranging from the "very graphic to very simple," Parran told

According to ABC News, “Obama won the Catholic vote in last year's election, 54-45 over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Twenty-seven percent of voters identified themselves as Catholic, according to national exit polling.”

Note to the Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops: There are some Catholics, however, that understand the actual cost of walking the walk of their faith.

This year, for the first time in more than 100 years, Notre Dame will not present its most prestigious award, the Laetare Medal, because the Catholic scholar who won it, Mary Ann Glendon, turned it down.

Join Christians Against Leftist Heresy


  1. Perhaps the issue wouldn't be so great if Barack "Born Alive, Let Them Die" Obama was a run of the mill, take it or leave it type pro choice loser. The fact that he is so grotesquely on the side of the infanticide industry (as can be seen in the Illinois State Senate transcripts) makes the invitation and any level of honoring, completely unacceptable.

  2. Should Notre Dame lose its "Catholic" status? Wouldn't that be granting victory to the pro-abortion team? If the Catholics part company with Notre Dame, then there will be fewer people to support the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" on hand to fight against evil.

    I think a better idea is for Notre Dame to part company with their president who invited Obama to campus in the first place.

  3. It seems the majority of the university faculty and staff are in favor of moving away from Catholic teaching, so it seems odd that they would remain Catholic in name only.

    I'm Methodist, and I've watched in sadness as our Methodist Universities have dropped away from Christian teaching and principles one after another after another. My heart goes out to the minority of students and alumni of Notre Dame whose are in agony over what they are seeing happening to their school today.

  4. If Notre Dame wants to be a secular univerity, fine, but if they want to claim they are a Catholic university, then fire Jenkins and apologize for inviting Obama. Might as well invite some Muslim leader or other non-Christian. I doubt if parents and students who believe in their Catholic teaching wanted to hear kill the born as well as the unborn Barack Hussein Obama.

  5. My feeling is that if Obama were not so narcissistic, he would do the right thing and turn the engagement down, but that is not going to happen with "His Barrackness".

    There is a crisis of faith here and the Catholic church will have to act accordingly. I think the current President of the University and all those on the BoD who gave this invitation should be asked to step down rather than remove the University from the registry. That just punishes generations of Catholics who have honored their faith by going there for their education and supporting the school. This of course is just MHO, and since I am not of the Catholic faith, I may not know what the norm is in these situations. I just think there has to be a compromise that would make the statement without punishing the faithful.

  6. I would say they are no longer a Catholic university, no matter what they call themselves.

  7. Notre Dame is in a difficult place: it's tradition of inviting presidents to speak is on the line, and so is it's position on the sanctity of life.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this.

    The fact that he's speaking at graduation doesn't automatically tie into his or ND's position on life/abortion. It's not as if he was invited to address a morality conference.

    At the same time, the school must not subjugate its principles.

    A tough call.

  8. All I have to say is I was raised Catholic and disagree with the stance the church takes, so I am no longer Catholic.

  9. I was earlier today of the mind they should lose their Catholic status since they think so little of the faith's teachings. However, after learning more about this Jenkins - I say he's the larger portion of the problem. He should be booted and quickly.

    Shame on the Catholic establishment for allowing such a person to have such sway for so long. Wake up, get busy!

    Lord help us all!

  10. Anonymous, they did invite a Muslim leader: Barack Hussein Obama.

    They should have invited a Catholic statesman with something valuable to say: Alan Keyes.

  11. I tend to agree with Minorcan’s comment. The problem is with Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University and his ilk which fills most Universities today. We can’t deny any longer the near total take over by the left of most of America’s cherished institutions and that includes all higher education and Mainline Protestantism as-well-as Roman Catholicism.

  12. I'm not Catholic. Like Jenn, I am Methodist and am conflicted about the National Council of Churches and Methodism's part in the NCC. I give my money according to my angst.

    I'm not sure how I feel about Notre Dame losing their Catholic status. I'd like to see Jenkins gone, that's for sure - and especially after his speech today which I felt just flung every Catholic value to the wind, and in fact chided Catholics for their beliefs.

    If Jenkins was beseiged by outraged Catholics, he sure didn't show.

    There must be a number of people in the upper echelons that need to go.

  13. Another Concerned AmericaSun May 17, 07:55:00 PM 2009

    I do think that the Catholic Status should be removed. As a practicing Catholic (who doesn’t always do the best job) I do look for my institutions to do better than I do, to lead the way. I am asking, how is this organization leading the way? Someone earlier in the comments said along the lines of, don’t take it away, then there are fewer defending the faith. How are they defending it now I ask of you?

    For any who are Christian, whether you be Catholic, Methodists, Lutheran, or any other, the only thing that has made sense to me is
    "fruit on the tree". Simple enough statement isn’t it. Live your life as an example. Do not hold yourself above for any reason, only offer your comfort and the serenity of your life to those who are in need. Let the fruit on your tree show that there is indeed another way.

    Then it doesn’t matter if it is abortion, or any other issue. And you will learn compassion in the process for those that are walking a road that perhaps we did, or one we do not understand. Show them the fruit on the tree.

    But yes, while it pains me to say it, Notre Dame decided to snub its nose at the pope and the world. For that, as with anything else, there are repercussions. If you teach secularism, then you should be secular.

  14. Notre Dame cannot lose what it no longer has.

    It has chosen presitige over truth.

    It has shown that is ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

    It has shown that it is Catholic in name only, just as Barack Obama is Christian in name only.

    So what's to vote about?

    Besides, the opinions of those of us who are Protestants and other non-Catholics don't matter: The Catholic Church will have deal with this matter.

  15. A good post and poll. However, I believe the question and battle for Notre Dame is not should it remain a Catholic university but whether the control of this
    Catholic University should be restored to a council of Catholic Bishops or a Catholic board answerable to the church. This is a battle going within the
    Catholic church. This debate has occurred within various protestant supported universities and seminaries. We do not need another Christian college / university turned over to the control of the non-Christian world!

    God Bless,
    Dr.Bill Smith
    Editor, ARRA News Service