Here is the text of Bishop Olmsted’s letter to President Jenkins (h/t American Papist):
While I am disappointed by President Jenkin’s decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement, particularly the decision to confer an honorary law degree, I have several questions about this letter:
1) Is Bishop Olmsted stepping on Bishop D’Arcy’s toes by commenting on events in the latter’s diocese after Bishop D’Arcy has already addressed the matter (quite well, I might add)?
2) If Bishop Olmsted did feel the need to share his opinion with Fr. Jenkins, was it prudent to make it public?
3) Is it fair for Bishop Olmsted to accuse Fr. Jenkins of committing ‘a public act of disobedience’? The 2004 USCCB* statement that Bishop Olmsted cites is somewhat ambiguous. Notice, the statement does not prohibit granting “awards, honors or platforms” altogether. It prohibits granting “awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” This may appear to be hair-splitting, but it’s actually quite significant. Bishops, particularly in committee, are very careful in drafting such documents. Events suggest President Jenkins was careful in how he interpreted it, as he has already stated that the invitation to President Obama does not constitute an endorsement of his positions on abortion or embryonic stem cell research. Given the ambiguity in the USCCB statement, is Bishop Olmsted’s statement just to Father Jenkins? And, even if just, is it prudent?
* USCCB or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops