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Obama's Notre Dame invite continues to raise objections

April 9, 2009 |  2:19 pm


President Obama got a grand reception in Europe and Turkey, but an upcoming appearance in Indiana is proving to be a harder sell in some quarters of South Bend.

As The Ticket reported earlier, some Catholics — including a cardinal — are objecting to Obama’s planned appearance at the University of Notre Dame because the president supports abortion rights. Obama is scheduled to deliver a commencement address May 17. (He'll do the same at Arizona State University, but more on what won't happen there later.)

Now more voices are being raised against the president. Ten priests from the Congregation of Holy Cross, the order that founded the university, say the institution risks its "true soul" by hosting Obama. They “prayerfully request” the school reconsider the invitation.

In a letter printed this week in the student newspaper, The Observer, the priests wrote:

It is our deep conviction that Notre Dame should lead by word and deed in upholding the Church's fundamental teaching that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. In so doing the University must take seriously the 2004 instruction of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that "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."

The priests also write:

The University pursues a dangerous course when it allows itself to decide for and by itself what part of being a Catholic institution it will choose to embrace. Although undoubtedly unintended, the University administration's decision portends a distancing of Notre Dame from the Church which is its lifeblood and the source of its identity and real strength. Such a distancing puts at risk the true soul of Notre Dame.

It should be quite a scene when Obama shows up in May. Randall Terry, who has long crusaded against abortions, told the Observer that he plans to attend the ceremony and demonstrate appropriately. He wouldn’t supply many details but said, “We will make this a circus.”

In addition to delivering the commencement address, Obama is scheduled to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Which brings us — surprisingly — to the ASU story. For more on that, go to the jump by scrolling down or click on the "Read more" line.

-- Steve Padilla

Photo: AFP / Getty Images (Golden Dome on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind.)

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Obama will speak at ASU’s commencement ceremony in May as well, but he won’t be getting an honorary degree. As the asuwebdevil (we love the name of “ASU’s online news source") reports:

University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said Tuesday that the University awards honorary degrees to recognize individuals for their work and accomplishments spanning their lifetime. “Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time,” Keeler said.