Notre Dame Bishop OK With Obama Speech Response, More Catholics Speak Out

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notre Dame Bishop OK With Obama Speech Response, More Catholics Speak Out

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 20
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — The Catholic bishop who oversees the part of Indiana that includes Notre Dame University says he is fine with non-violent demonstrations in opposition to the college’s decision to allow pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give commencement and receive an honorary degree.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend has already made his own plans clear to boycott the graduation ceremonies because of Obama’s participation.

Now, in comments to the Catholic News Service, his spokesman, Vince LaBarbera, says Bishop D’Arcy is fine with positive expressions of disagreement, but he doesn’t want those who oppose the decision to join with those who are harshly attacking the president or Notre Dame.

More than a dozen pro-life student groups have formed an ad hoc coalition called ND Response and several alumni groups are coordinating their own efforts targeted at removing Jenkins or withholding donations to the college.

Those appear to be the effects D’Arcy says are worthy of support — not protests led by outside groups or people.

The coalition has posted a message from Bishop D’Arcy on its web site saying he is supportive of the coalition’s efforts “or any other prayerful and dignified demonstrations by Notre Dame students.”

Meanwhile, six more bishops have joined the more than two dozen who have already spoken out in opposition to Notre Dame inviting Obama.

Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of the Cincinnati Archdiocese, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of the Orlando Diocese, Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, Bishop Joseph Latino of the Jackson Diocese, Bishop Leonard Blair of the Toledo Diocese, and Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of the Evansville Diocese have joined their colleagues from other states.

Finn delivered a keynote speech over the weekend where he characterized Notre Dame’s decision to honor Obama as wrong, scandalous, discouraging and “confusing to many Catholics.”
“I suspect that, since Notre Dame will need a scapegoat for this debacle, and Fr. Jenkins will probably lose his job, at this point perhaps he ought to determine to lose it for doing something right instead of something wrong. He ought to disinvite the President, who I believe would graciously accept the decision," Finn said.

Wenski’s Orlando Diocese has announced a Mass of Reparation for “the many shortcomings and transgressions committed against the dignity and sacredness of human life in our world,” specifically for Notre Dame’s decision

And Gettelfinger , in an article for the Message Online, wrote, “By their actions, President John Jenkins and the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame are by affinity also pandering to the pro-choice movement, and in doing so, they are betraying their faithful alumni and supporters of this once great university.”
The actions drew praise from a pro-life group that has helped lead the response to the Notre Dame decision.

“It is clear now that Notre Dame’s actions have created a wound in the Catholic community, but fortunately the university still has time to end the scandal,” said Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, whose petition at has now passed 323,000 signers.

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