Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
The controversy over Notre Dame’s honoring of President Barack Obama just isn’t going away.
And it shouldn’t: The decision by Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, is so spectacularly wrong and has such damaging repercussions for the Church’s pro-life witness that faithful Catholics can’t afford to let up on their efforts to provoke a change of heart and mind on the part of Father Jenkins.
In this post last Monday, the Daily Blog detailed some of the things lay Catholic Americans can do to support our bishops as they address the evil consequences of this terribly ill-advised decision by Father Jenkins. And we’d like to suggest that faithful Catholics continue to put these ideas into action.
The leadership shown by Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., has been especially welcome.
In a statement announcing his decision not to attend Notre Dame’s May 17 commencement in order to express his strong protest against what Father Jenkins has done, Bishop D’Arcy noted succinctly that the university appears to have chosen “prestige over truth” in honoring the pro-abortion Obama both with an honorary law degree and selection as Notre Dame’s commencement speaker.
In this context, we think a Christian paraphrase is appropriate: What does it profit a Catholic university to gain the prestige of the whole world, if it loses its Catholic soul and identity in the process?
We learned another lamentable fact from Bishop D’Arcy’s statement: Father Jenkins did not extend Bishop D’Arcy even the routine courtesy of consulting with him before inviting Obama and deciding to confer upon him an honorary degree.
Even though he is Notre Dame’s diocesan bishop, Bishop D’Arcy learned of the university’s scandalous decision only on March 20, shortly before it was announced at a White House press conference. How can this be appropriate, Father Jenkins?
We applaud the statements of the other U.S. bishops who have joined with Bishop D’Arcy in denouncing Notre Dame’s actions, and we look forward to additional statements from more bishops to reinforce the pro-life witness of our Catholic shepherds.
Those statements are needed especially because, as we warned last week, prominent Catholics who dissent from or downplay Church teachings on the sanctity of human life have rushed to defend Notre Dame’s actions with specious arguments.
So, faithful Catholic Americans, keep up your prayers and your pressure on Notre Dame. This battle hasn’t been lost!