Catholic Cardinal, Bishops Denounce Pro-Abortion Obama’s Notre Dame Speech

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Cardinal, Bishops Denounce Pro-Abortion Obama’s Notre Dame Speech

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 30
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has become the first Catholic cardinal to denounce the invitation the University of Notre Dame extended to pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give the college’s commencement address. Obama will also receive an honorary degree from the prestigious university.

The invitation has sparked national outrage as more than 120,000 people have signed a petition saying they are upset that the college has invited a president who defies the Catholic Church’s pro-life teachings.

In his pastor newsletter over the weekend, Cardinal DiNardo said he found the commencement invitation "very disappointing."

He said that having a sitting president at a graduation ceremony is an honor, but he added that Notre Dame has a higher obligation to Catholic teaching.

"Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning," he explained.

About Obama’s consistent pro-abortion record, Cardinal DiNardo said, "The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person."

He reminded Notre Dame officials of the document the nation’s Catholic bishops adopted asking Catholic universities "to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life."

"Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views," he said.

For pro-life Catholics who are upset with Notre Dame, DiNardo said the "decision requires charitable but vigorous critique."

Meanwhile, Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin joined in the criticism and denounced the school for not "living up to its Catholic identity."

"In my opinion it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support," he wrote in his newsletter.

"In the midst of such a sad situation, as Catholics we must continue to be pro-life and to proclaim with even greater strength the values of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church," he continued.

Three other bishops have criticized Notre Dame, including Bishop John D’Arcy of northern Indiana, where the university is located.

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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