Notre Dame U. Allows Pro-Abortion President Obama to Give Commencement
by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2009
South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) — Leading pro-life Catholics are calling on Notre Dame University to rescind its invitation to pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who is slated to give the college’s commencement address to graduation seniors on May 17. They say a Catholic college should not be giving a platform to an abortion advocate.
The president will also give the commencement addresses at Arizona State University and the United States Naval Academy.
Joe Scheidler, a Notre Dame graduate and the founder of the Pro-Life Action League, is outraged that his alma mater would allow Obama to address graduates of what is supposed to be an institution of higher learning steeped in the Catholic traditions.
Over the first two months of his administration, Barack Obama has established himself as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, he told LifeNews.com. My alma mater should not be providing a platform for this president.
Starting from his first week in office, President Obama has enacted a string of executive orders, appointments and policy decisions that contradict Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life — a teaching that Notre Dame is supposed to uphold, said Scheidler.
Scheidler is calling on concerned Catholics, especially Notre Dame alumni, to contact Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, and urge him to withdraw the Obama invitation.
If Notre Dame does not dis-invite Obama, Scheidler says "the Notre Dame campus can expect a massive pro-life protest on graduation day."
Father Jenkins cannot expect pro-life Catholics to stand back and allow the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history to make a mockery of Notre Dames Catholic identity, Scheidler told LifeNews.com.
The issue of Catholic schools giving pro-abortion activists a platform to address graduating seniors is nothing new and the problem rose to the level that required the attention of the nation’s Catholic bishops.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops adopted a policy in 2004 that tells Catholic schools not give a platform to abortion advocates.
"Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," the document they nearly unanimously adopted says.
"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions," it said.
The statement, called "Catholics in Political Life," was adopted by a vote of 183-6.
But, Notre Dame has been a troublemaker of sorts in the past when it comes to adhering strictly to pr-life Catholic teachings.
Although the college has honored pro-life advocates like Martin Sheen and adopted a grant program to help pro-life student groups, it has caused some consternation.
The Cardinal Newman Society noted that Notre Dame theology professor Cathleen Kaveny last year publicly challenged bishops’ statements encouraging Catholics to oppose pro-abortion candidates.
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