Notre Dame President Gets Second Term Despite Honoring Pro-Abortion Obama

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notre Dame President Gets Second Term Despite Honoring Pro-Abortion Obama

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — The controversy at Notre Dame University where the Catholic school gave an honorary degree to pro-abortion President Barack Obama and allowed him to give the school’s commencement address apparently didn’t hurt ND president John Jenkins’ standing.

On Friday, Jenkins was appointed to a second term as Notre Dame’s president.

The decision drew immediate condemnation from pro-life Catholics who are outraged that the educational institution went against the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Notre Dame has suffered terribly in recent years because of a lack of leadership and commitment to its Catholic identity,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society.

He told, “The Board of Trustees has once again neglected their responsibility to uphold Notre Dame’s Catholic mission by reelecting a president who has displayed public disrespect for the bishops and has permitted repeated scandals including the honors to President Obama."

Father Jenkins was elected to a five-year term as president of Notre Dame on April 30, 2004, becoming the university’s 17th president.

Chairman Richard Notebaert announced last Friday that the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees elected Fr. Jenkins to serve a second five-year term.

On May 17, 2009, Notre Dame bestowed an honorary doctor of laws degree upon Obama who, as CNS’ Reilly said, has "pro-abortion and other anti-life policies and statements" that "have set him opposed to fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic Church."

Led by Bishop John D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, in which Notre Dame is located, 83 Catholic bishops vocally opposed the honor for the pro-abortion president.

They were joined by the more than 367,000 individuals who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s petition calling on Jenkins to rescind the honor.

Reilly also noted that Jenkins acted in direct defiance of the 2004 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement “Catholics in Political Life”, which most bishops cited in opposing the honor for President Obama.

The statement prohibits Catholic institutions from honoring “those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” In June, 2009, the USCCB released a statement affirming Bishop D’Arcy’s “pastoral concern for Notre Dame University."

Reilly also notes that Jenkins sits on the board of Millennium Promise, an anti-poverty organization which he says reportedly supports and encourages legal abortions.

In September, Jenkins issued a statement announcing new pro-life initiatives at the University of Notre Dame and saying he would attend the 2010 March for Life with hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –

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