Pro-Life Catholic Group Delivers 300,000 Petitions to Notre Dame on Obama Invite

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Catholic Group Delivers 300,000 Petitions to Notre Dame on Obama Invite

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life Catholic educational watchdog group today is delivering to University of Notre Dame officials more than 300,000 petitions opposing its invitation to President Barack Obama. The pro-abortion president will deliver the college’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

After news of the invitation reached the public, the response from the pro-life community was immediate and strongly negative.

Although hundreds of thousands of people contacted Notre Dame directly, another 300,000 signed the petition sponsored by the Cardinal Newman Society at

This morning, CNS officials delivered more than 64,000 sheets of paper, double sided, which were then bound in notebooks and sent via courier to Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University.

The petition numbers were also sent to individual members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows to show them how strong the opposition is to having an abortion advocate speak to Catholic students as they graduate.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Catholic group, told that there is one last opportunity later this week to stop Obama from giving the keynote address.

“Only the Notre Dame Trustees and Fellows have direct authority over Father Jenkins, so their meetings on Friday are our best hope for an end to this scandal,” he said.

“It is critical for all of us to pray that the Trustees and Fellows charged with safeguarding Notre Dame’s Catholic identity will heed the 50 bishops and hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholics urging Notre Dame to withdraw its invitation to President Obama," he said.

The University of Notre Dame is governed by a 12-member Board of Fellows, including six Holy Cross priests, who are charged with ensuring “that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning.”

The Fellows delegate most of their governing authority to the 38-member Board of Trustees, comprised mostly of lay people, but the six priests have already spoken out saying they oppose the Obama invitation.

The pro-life group is also sending copies of the petition signatures to officials with the Catholic Church in the Vatican along with Francis Cardinal George, president of the States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Indiana Bishop John D’Arcy, who presides over Notre Dame.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –

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