Pro-Life Opposition Grows to Notre Dame Honoring Pro-Abortion Barack Obama

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Opposition Grows to Notre Dame Honoring Pro-Abortion Barack Obama

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 23
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — The invitation pro-abortion President Barack Obama has received to give the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame has prompted a national outrage in the pro-life Catholic community. The college is drawing fierce criticism for giving the staunch abortion advocate an honorary degree.

After reported on the news, the switchboards at Notre Dame rang off the hook and eventually the volume of calls became too much to handle.

The voicemail message boxes for the university’s president, vice-president, provost, assistant provost, and public relations director were all full by the end of the day on Friday. Operators suggested that callers try again today to reach top Notre Dame officials.

Dr. Ralph McInerny, a professor at Notre Dame for more than 50 years, has written, “By inviting Barack Obama as commencement speaker, Notre Dame is telling the nation that the teaching of the Catholic church on this fundamental matter [abortion] can be ignored.”

Meanwhile, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has encouraged Catholics to write to Notre Dame to protest the honorary degree Obama will receive.

The Cardinal Newman Society has sponsored a new web site,, in response to the university’s decision and the pro-life group tells that more than 18,000 people have joined the nationwide campaign.

The web site includes an online petition to Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins and contact information for the university.

The petition has averaged more than 270 signatures per hour since its launch and, sponsored by Fidelis, has joined the effort as a co-sponsor.

“It is an outrage and a scandal that ‘Our Lady’s University,’ one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage,” the petition reads.

The move by Notre Dame to award and honor Obama comes after the pro-abortion president won the traditionally Republican state.

Obama’s campaign focused on northern Indiana and its swing voters who are traditionally pro-life, but frequently vote Democratic given their Catholic backgrounds. Obama won St. Joseph County, home to Notre Dame, with 59 percent of the vote as he carried the entire state last November.

Deal Hudson, a prominent Catholic writer, says the invitation and award for Obama are zapping the reputation Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins had created for himself.

"For the past few years, the buzz about [Jenkins] has been very positive. Jenkins was viewed as strengthening the Catholic identity of the nation’s most beloved Catholic institution," he writes in a new column today. "But with one bold stroke, Father Jenkins has radically altered the perception of his leadership."

The commencement address at the Catholic university is one of three Obama will give in May. Obama will also be at Arizona State University on May 13 and the Naval Academy on May 22.

ACTION: Contact Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, at 574-631-5000, fax 574-631-2770, email [email protected], or mail to 317 Main Building, Notre Dame, IN 46556. You can call Notre Dame at (574) 631-5000 or use the email form at

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