Notre Dame Honors Pro-Abort


The University of Notre Dame announced today that President Obama will be the commencement speaker this year and receive an honorary degree.  Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes, the bishops of this country* spoke on this point in 2004:

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

I hope that faithful Catholics will do their best to persuade the administration of Notre Dame to rethink this invitation.  If the administration does not, I hope that enough faithful Catholics show up on May 17, 2009 to make the protest of the speech a memorable one.  I also trust that the students of Notre Dame who take their Faith seriously will also find means during the speech to express their displeasure over the choice of speaker known.

* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or USCCB

Update I:  As usual, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is on top of the story.

Update II:  Totus chimes in.

Update III:  For those of you who would like to make your views known to the president of Notre Dame, click here.

Update IV:  Good.  There is a website set up to organize resistance to this invitation.

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  1. “Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes…”

    I think Our Lady can endure it, as she has loving birth-pangs for all God’s children to be saved…

  2. Yep she can Mr. DeFrancisis. Why any faithful Catholic would endure for a second such an insult to Our Lady is another matter.

  3. Mr. McClarey,

    Your conception of the Church sounds more lihe a bastion than the sacrament for God’s universal salvific will.

    BTW, I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

  4. I don’t think it has anything to do with politics. Abortion is such a paramount evil — analogous to and well beyond in death count — the genocide of the Jews in the holocaust. The fact that a Catholic institution, apart of the Catholic Church, would invite someone who supports such a horror, even in ignorance, to deliver a speech and to commission the students to go engage the world presents itself as a scandal.

    Now, granted, I ardently oppose the war in Iraq and I think we need to re-think our strategy on Afghanistan. My views on torture as just the same. However, the scope and gravity of these evils, is a pale comparison to abortion. Now, I’m not advocating a proportionalist trap of condoning or “watering” down the lesser evils, to totally oppose the greater one; I’m just saying, one cannot make the comparison as if the two sides are morally equal because the scope and gravity in and of itself attests to that.

    I do not think President Obama should be given the opportunity to speak at any Catholic institution or receive any award. In the same way, I would have opposed President Bush speaking at a Catholic institution or receiving any award.

    Rather, I think that Catholic institutions should avoid all together giving the privilege of speaking at such ceremonies to politicians who represent a political platform and a realm of bias and division (politics) instead of the breadth and all-embracing truth of the Gospel. At this point, I cannot name many Catholic politicians who are a “sign of contradiction” that bring to life Catholic Social Teaching in their political office who could truly be a uniting figure at a commencement ceremony.

    That’s my two cents.

  5. Totally disagree with you in regard to President Bush Mr. DeFrancisis. I believe he waged just wars. As to the torture issue, I disagree with waterboarding, but I can understand how reasonable people would disagree with me.

    As to President Obama, giving an honorary degree at a Catholic institution to a man who has raised campaign funds on the basis of his support for that barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion is a capitualtion to the culture of death and a despicable, I would say calculated, insult to the Blessed Virgin who brought our Redeemer into the World through her womb. This is tantamount to a synagogue giving an award to a neo-Nazi politician. The administration of Notre Dame should be deeply ashamed.

  6. Good call Eric! It really does help to have a range of viewpoints, especially in the face of Mark’s attempt at moral equivalency. Your defense of orthodoxy is all the more poignant considering your opposition to the Iraq war.

    Mr. DeFrancis,

    do you really think it’s just as bad to pour water on the face of 3 avowed terrorists as it is to murder a million babies a year? That is just sick.

  7. “That is just sick.”

    Matt, I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from that type of comment. I enjoy your vigorous defense of Catholic teaching, but Mr. DeFrancisis has said nothing of a personal nature in this thread against anyone else and he should not be attacked personally. You made your point well without your final sentence.

  8. Matt,

    I made no attempt at moral equivalency. You are reading into my remarks. Try harder.

  9. Mark,

    You comment here often enough you should plug AC in your name, ie, place the http address as the link to your name.

    You’re part of the tapestry here, mind as well go all the way!


  10. Mark D.,

    are you unfamiliar with the term, “moral equivalency”?

    When we decry the honoring of a pro-abortion president at a Catholic university, and you ask:

    I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

    You are clearly implying that the acts, even if we accept your analysis of them, are equivalent, or at least on the same moral scale.

    Do you accept that abortion is far more grave a situation, as the Church teaches, or not?

  11. Ah, Catholic Anarchist, with your penchant for name calling as a substitute for analysis and argument, it is always good to have the delete button ready when you come calling, and I deleted your last comment for personal insults.

  12. Once again Mr. DeFrancisis I simply disagree with you about the wars being unjust. However, this entire thread is about Notre Dame honoring a pro-abort, and the Church puts abortion and euthanasia in a special category of evil as Cardinal Ratzinger noted in 2004:

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Here is a link to the entire memorandum:

    What the administration of Notre Dame is attempting to do should be anathema to all believing Catholics.

  13. I was shocked and disappointed by this. One (small) mitigating factor, however, is that Notre Dame has a long-standing tradition, going back at least 50 years, of ALWAYS inviting each sitting president to be its commencement speaker. Most, if not all, presidents since Eisenhower have accepted the invitation at some point. They did not go out of their way to do this for Obama because they thought he was especially great (which was the impression I had at first)

    Perhaps they (ND administration) felt they could not back out of this tradition now without it appearing to insult the presidential office. You all know how we’re supposed to respect the office, no matter who happens to occupy it?

    That being said: given Obama’s particularly egregious efforts to promote the destruction of unborn human life, combined with the earlier controversies over Bush 43’s appearance, now would have been a good time to drop this particular tradition simply because of its potential to be a source of scandal.

    I doubt very much that a Jewish university would invite, say, Pat Buchanan or another well-known critic of Israel to be a commencement speaker, or that Brigham Young University (Mormon) would invite a vocal opponent of Proposition 8, even if they had a “tradition” of inviting similar public figures in the past.

  14. Also, the argument that this is somehow going to promote “dialogue” and “openness” doesn’t wash. This isn’t a debate, a question and answer session, a panel discussion or a forum with multiple participants, which does not imply endorsement of any particular participant’s views. (If it were, there MIGHT be some justification for having him there.) No, this is a speech by ONE man to a captive audience, at which he gets to express his views to them (and to the nation via press coverage), and at which he is personally honored with an honorary degree. Not a “dialogue” but a one-way conversation.

  15. Good comment as usual Elaine. I would note that Bill Clinton never gave a commencement address to Notre Dame. I do not know if he received an invitation. As far as I can tell no pro-abortion President has ever before delivered this address.

  16. Correct Catholic Anarchist. Your comments are only deleted when they involve personal insult or are not on topic. Your most recent comment is not on topic, but you are responding to a prior comment by me so I will not delete it.

  17. Notre Dame has made a grave error by inviting the abortionist to speak at their commencement. He is openly anti-Catholic and anti-God.

    What possible reason would ND have for asking him above all of the many qualified, intelligent, Catholic or at least pro-life speakers from which they could have chosen? This is the question. Even if they have invited every sitting president throughout the years, this guy is like no other president in his outrageous disrespect for human life. He resembles Hitler more than a president of the United States.

    His presence at ND will be an insult to the Catholic faith. Let us hope that through public outcry that they have the guts to un-invite him ASAP.

  18. Mark,

    The Church opposes instrinsic and grave moral evils. Unjust wars and torture are both.

    war is not intrinsically evil, water boarding is not intrinsically evil, though given circumstances it is reasonable to conclude that these acts in particular circumstances are, or even in almost every circumstance.

    Are you suggesting that ALL intrinsicly evil acts are morally equivalent? That telling a lie is as grave an evil as abortion?

    Do you even understand what “intrinsically evil” is? It bears no relation to the severity of an act. It’s not that abortion is intrinsically evil that which makes it so heinous.

  19. It’s interesting to see just how ridiculous the arguments are over at Vox Nova. MZ’s argument, such as it is, is “grow up.” Thoughtful, that. Morning’s Minion “doesn’t care,” although not for any reason that he can explain.

    Henry takes the cake for the dumbest argument, though, as usually is the case. He says that this is like Jesus being criticized for hanging out with sinners. Yeah, except for the part where Jesus said that he was calling the sinners to repentance, and except for the fact that Jesus was specifically explaining why he was hanging out with the lower classes of society rather than the powerful and prestigious (precisely the opposite of what Notre Dame is doing), and except for the fact that Notre Dame is just sucking up to power rather than calling it to repentance. Other than that, it’s a great analogy, worthy of

  20. I graduated from Notre Dame in 1977. President Carter was our commencement speaker and he was pro-choice.

  21. President Ford also gave a speech at Notre Dame. Here’s what he wrote on abortion. Looks like his need for exceptions shouldn’t have sat well with Notre Dame back then.

    “Abortion on demand is wrong,” he said, adding that every state should have a constitutional right to control abortion and expressing his belief that such laws need to “recognize and provide for exceptional cases.”

  22. Well Jim Notre Dame won’t have to worry about Obama having exceptions. He is 100% pro-abortion. Of course the Catholic Church is 100% against abortion. Even a pro-abort like yourself should be able to see why this might be a wee problem for Catholics who actually believe what the Church teaches, especially since what the Church teaches is that an innocent human life is destroyed in every abortion.

  23. Mark – Did I miss something? Did the Catholic Chuch, i.e. Our Holy Father, declare the Iraqi War an “Unjust War.”

  24. This is truly hypocritical. If Notre Dame wants to stay “true’ to its beliefs, then NO U.S. President should ever be invited to speak at a commencement. ALL OF THEM would be guilty of violating Catholic doctrine. As mentioned, George W. Bush was criticized by his holiness Pope John Paul II for his “unjust” war in Iraq. How many innocent lives, including children, were lost in that conflict? How are those innocent lives any different from the unborn? What about Bush’s immoral actions of torture and imprisonment? Did Notre Dame rescind his honorary degree as a result? The church needs to be consistent with its criticism. You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others. This is why people are leaving the church. They are inconsistent. The church should be fighting on ALL issues where innocents are harmed, not just select one. What about the homeless people in this country that were ignored by the prior Republican administrations? Are their lives insignificant? Of course we don’t need to mention the scandals in the Catholic Church itself.

    I would have one thing more to say to all these people that are upset with President Obama speaking:

    Romans 14:10 “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

  25. ” You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others.”

    That is a recipe for doing nothing Mr. Miller and allowing evil to flourish. We have almost a million unborn kids put to death each year in this country and President Obama is vigorously in favor of this policy. For a university dedictated to Our Lady to honor such a man is an obscenity.

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