Pro-Life Catholics Express Skepticism About Notre Dame President’s Overtures

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Catholics Express Skepticism About Notre Dame President’s Overtures

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 18
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — More pro-life Catholics are expressing skepticism about the overtures Notre Dame University president John Jenkins is making. Jenkins is attempting to repair the damage from inviting pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give commencement and presenting him an honorary degree.

As reported yesterday, Jenkins says he is planning to attend next year’s March for Life and is asking people to join him.

He is also launching a new task force meant to promote the pro-life perspective as well as aide for pregnant women and adoptions.

The Cardinal Newman Society, which helped lead the opposition to the Notre Dame-Obama scandal, sent an email yesterday responding to Jenkins’ letter to Notre Dame staff and students.

CNS president Patrick Reilly said, "These are welcome steps in the right direction — the sort of activities that Catholics should expect from any Catholic college or university — but there are serious steps that Notre Dame should take immediately to atone for its shocking betrayal of the U.S. bishops and the Catholic Church last spring."

He said Jenkins and other ND officials should "acknowledge the scandal of publicly honoring a staunchly pro-abortion public official as commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree, an apologize to the U.S. bishops, the 2009 Notre Dame graduates, and all faithful Catholics."

He called on the university to drop criminal charges against those who, through peaceful and civil disobedience, protested last May’s commencement ceremony.

The CNS president also said Jenkins should develop firm policies to prevent such scandal in the future, by ensuring that honorees are not public opponents of Catholic teaching on key moral issues like abortion. He urged Notre Dame to do more to make sure only pro-life speakers are allow on campus.

"There is much more that should be done to renew and strengthen Notre Dame’s Catholic identity—ensuring fidelity to Catholic teaching in the classroom, increasing Catholic faculty, and restoring authentic academic freedom," he said in his email.

But those actions would be a good start to repairing the damage Jenkins and Notre Dame officials have done, Reilly said.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –

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