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Now, a U.S. cardinal denounces Notre Dame's Obama invite

March 29, 2009 |  1:32 am
Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Texas criticizes the University of Notre Dame for inviting pro-choice Democratic president Barack Obama to speak at graduation in May and give him an honorary degree

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has become the first American cardinal to denounce the University of Notre Dame for inviting Democratic President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker in May and to receive an honorary degree.

Four Catholic bishops have now criticized the school for its decision to invite a pro-choice president to address its university body, including as The Ticket reported here the other day, Bishop John D'Arcy of northern Indiana announcing that he would boycott the famous Catholic school's May 17 commencement exercises over the invitation to the president, who recently broadened funding of stemcell research.

More than 120,000 others have signed an online petition urging the institution to rescind the invitation.

A Notre Dame spokesman for President John Jenkins has stated the school stands firmly by its invitation, one of three commencement address Obama will make this spring.

Now, Cardinal DiNardo has joined the fray over faith, writing in his pastoral newsletter this weekend:

I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning."

The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.

The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all....

The University of Notre Dame's famous golden dome in South Bend Indiana

...Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life.

Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views.

Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a 'Teacher,' in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.

Cardinal DiNardo was joined in his Notre Dame criticism by fellow Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin, who denounced the school for not "living up to its Catholic identity."

"In my opinion,” that Bishop writes in his newsletter this week, “it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support.”

Notre Dame has taken special public relations pride in its ability to attract prominent graduation speakers to its South Bend campus over the years, especially newly-installed presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Cardinal Daniel DiNardo); University of Notre Dame.