Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort-Wayne, South Bend, Ind., is not supportive of the protests organized by Randall Terry against the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama.
“Bishop John D’Arcy has urged Catholics ‘to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations,’ such as those advocated by Randall Terry and others who have pledged to create a ‘circus-like atmosphere’ surrounding Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony,” Vince LaBarbera, director of the Catholic Communications Office of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, told the Register yesterday.
Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue who converted to Catholicism in 2005, has organized protests at Notre Dame intended to provoke arrests in order to express opposition against Notre Dame’s decision. He said last month he intends to turn the commencement ceremony into a “circus.”
Alan Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully against Obama in the 2004 U.S. Senate election in Illinois, was arrested last week during a protest at Notre Dame organized by Terry. Keyes was arrested a second time today, along with 17 other people, in another Terry-organized protest, Associated Press reported.
Bishop D’Arcy will not attend Sunday’s commencement, to express his own opposition to the decision to honor Obama, and has issued two statements denouncing Notre Dame’s action. But in another statement, he urged “all Catholics and others of goodwill to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations” against Obama or Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president.
Earlier this spring, Archbishop Raymond Burke said he had been misled by Terry after Terry made public an interview where Archbishop Burke commented about the issue of reception of Communion by pro-abortion Catholic politicians.
Terry released a videotape of the interview at a March 25 press conference at which Terry called for the removal of two U.S. bishops who, according to Terry, were not acting appropriately with respect to the reception of Communion issue, Catholic News Service reported.
Archbishop Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis who is now prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, said he granted the interview with Terry on the understanding that it was to be used only to encourage pro-lifers and said he was not informed it would be shown at a press conference.
“Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable,” Archbishop Burke said in a March 26 statement. “If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.”