Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
“What should the Church do about Notre Dame?” I asked Archbishop Raymond Burke last night. His answer:
“What it should do is have Notre Dame come clean. Is it Catholic or isn’t it? A Catholic institution, a Catholic university, cannot give honors to someone who is a promoter of things that are opposed to the most fundamental beliefs of Catholics, and so that’s what needs to happen.”
How can the Church do that?
“There’s an apostolic constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which sets forth the requirements for a university to have the name Catholic. I think that Notre Dame has to either follow those norms or say ‘We’re not a Catholic university anymore.’”
Archbishop Burke, of course, is the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. He was archbishop of St. Louis from 2003 until last year.
He’ll have more to say about Notre Dame this morning.
I’m in the lobby outside of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. One of the organizers just told me that Archbishop Burke’s words to me constituted his first public statement about Notre Dame, “But wait until you hear what he has to say this morning,” he said. “Hold on to your glasses.”
Which reminds me, I’d better head into the breakfast now. More later.
At the prayer breakfast, Archbishop Burke said:
“In a culture marked by widespread and ingrained confusion about the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, our Catholic schools and universities must be beacons of truth and right conduct.”
He added, “The purposed granting of an honorary degree” by Notre Dame to Barack Obama is “the source of the greatest scandal.”
The archbishop said, “If we as individuals are not willing to accept the burdens” of the Catholic witness to the right to life, “we are not worthy of the name Catholic.”