White House Reacts to Obama-Notre Dame Debate, Pro-Life Petition Gains Steam

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

White House Reacts to Obama-Notre Dame Debate, Pro-Life Petition Gains Steam

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 25
, 2009

South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) — The White House has issued a response to the intense debating heating up in response to the news that the University of Notre Dame has invited pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give the college’s commencement address. Meanwhile, a pro-life petition opposing the move is gaining steam.

Obama has accepted an invitation from the Catholic college to speak to graduating seniors and Notre Dame will honor him with a conferred degree.

Reacting to the news that local Bishop John D’Arcy will not attend the event because of Obama’s strong pro-abortion record, White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage shrugged off the criticism.

"Notre Dame is one of the first universities President Obama will visit as president and he is honored to address the graduating class, their families and faculty of a school with such a rich history of fostering the exchange of ideas," she said in a statement.

Brundage said Obama understands not everyone will agree with his pro-abortion views.

"While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, including Catholics with their rich tradition of recognizing the dignity of people, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position," she added.

"[T]he spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country," Brundage continued.

While Notre Dame president John Jenkins has refused to rescind the Obama commencement invitation in the face of pro-life criticism, opponents of the move are still responding in large numbers.

Nearly 125,000 people have signed a petition against Notre Dame’s decision that the Cardinal Newman Society and CatholicVote.com have co-sponsored.

Patrick Reilly, the president of the Catholic educational group, told LifeNews.com that D’Arcy’s decision to boycott the graduation is going over well with pro-life Catholics.

“Catholic families everywhere will be grateful for Bishop D’Arcy’s boycott and statement, which bring new hope that the honor will be canceled,” he said.

“Bishop D’Arcy has called on Notre Dame to ‘recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige’ and reaffirms the U.S. bishops’ policy against honors to pro-abortion politicians. Now it is time for university president Father Jenkins to respect the judgment of his pastor," Reilly added.

In a new column about the controversy, prominent Catholic writer Deal Hudson says Jenkins’ reasoning for refusing to cancel the Obama speech makes no sense.

"Fr. Jenkins’ response to the growing criticism of his decision to honor Obama at the Notre Dame graduation is remarkably Clintonian," he writes.

"Jenkins first says Notre Dame is honored by the president’s presence at graduation. He then adds that the school intends to teach Obama about the error of his ways on abortion," Hudson explains. "Does anyone really believe that?"

"Does Fr. Jenkins really think anyone will buy this? Does he think us that stupid? That gullible?" Hudson asks, saying Notre Dame will be letting Obama teach its graduates — not the other way around.

The news of Notre Dame’s decision spread across the Internet like wildfire after the White House and Notre Dame released timed announcements on Friday afternoon.

By the end of last weekend, the CNS petition reached 30,000 signers. Tuesday afternoon it hit 80,000 supporters and was adding more than 2,000 per hour.

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 https://president.nd.edu/contact-us

Related web sites:
Petition – https://www.NotreDameScandal.com

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