Notre Dame Scandal

Regarding “‘Prestige Over Truth’” (April 5), Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., Bishop John D’Arcy’s explanation that he will boycott Barack Obama’s commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame was Christ-like: “I wish no disrespect to our president. I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the office of the presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith ‘in season and out of season,’ and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions. My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.”

What is the appropriate response for the rest us, the rest of the Church? Will we have any response at all? If so, will it be Christ-like?

Barack Obama’s anti-life policies will last for years. An appropriate response from the rest of us should also last for years. There is no better way to counter Obama’s misguided policies than to pray daily for him — and that his policies will be short-lived and overturned.

The best, the most Christ-like, way to do this is to pray The Rosary of the Unborn ( and for bishops, priests and parishioners to begin The Parish Rosary Program in every parish ( This wonderful permanent program, which began as a pre-Jubilee Year program in the Archdiocese of Detroit, has spread across North America.

There is simply no better way to counter the culture of death than to turn to Our Blessed Mother and to do what she asks: Pray the Rosary — and for those in the most need of mercy.

Patrick Hirzel

Battle Creek, Michigan

I have to admit that the current controversy surrounding Father Jenkins’ commencement invitation to President Obama has left me heartsick. One is left to wonder if under Father Jenkins’ misguided explanation that even the devil himself would be welcome to speak at Notre Dame!

Equally troubling is that once again lay people are on the front lines voicing their anger, while the silence from the majority of our bishops is almost deafening — even though this invitation is in direct conflict with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ own statement on this subject.

The moral outrage of all bishops and priests in the United States of America should be so loud as to be heard all the way to the Vatican — Holy Father, we need you in South Bend, Ind., on May 17, 2009!

Maureen J. Fitzsimmons-Vanden Heuvel

Hartford, Wisconsin

Editor’s note: Please note that, at this writing, Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel Dinardo and four bishops, including Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy, have been critical of the event.


I am appalled at the fact that a Catholic university, in our diocese no less, has so little respect for life and the teaching of the magisterium that it would invite the most pro-abortion president in history to speak there. I ask you to pray that the president of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins, shows us that he truly believes and follows the teachings of the magisterium by rescinding the invitation to President Obama. 

If Father Jenkins does not, I invite all who hold life sacred from conception until natural death to come to Notre Dame on Sunday, May 17, to show President Obama how committed we are to upholding the sanctity of life. “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me” (Matthew 25:40).

Ann T. Gray

Fort Wayne, Indiana

I am so proud of Bishop D’Arcy and his decision not to participate in the commencement exercises at Notre Dame. That is very courageous and bold of him. I think the university should be ashamed of itself for giving such an honor and privilege to a pro-choice, pro-abortion president.

As a practicing Roman Catholic, I am deeply disappointed and surprised by this invitation. I only wish that I was an alum of Notre Dame so that I could disassociate from it and pull my support, financial and otherwise, from it in protest.

Stephanie Land

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

I was shocked, deeply saddened, and offended to learn that the University of Notre Dame has invited President Barack Obama, the most radical pro-abortion president in the history of our country, to give this year’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

As you note in your editorial “100 Days of Abortion” (April 5), Obama promised his supporters at Planned Parenthood: “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).” This act would nullify every state and federal restriction on abortion. It now appears that President Obama plans to implement this legislation incrementally.

He has already reversed the Mexican City Policy and the previous administration’s policy on embryonic stem-cell research; and now the right of conscience of Catholic and all other pro-life health-care professionals and institutions is being threatened.

Obama is so extreme that as a state senator in Illinois he opposed passage of legislation that would have required medical care be administered to babies born alive from botched abortions.

It is extremely misleading for a Catholic institution to honor or provide a forum for any politician who has a record of championing laws and public policy that directly conflict with Church teaching on respect for the dignity of all human life.

If Notre Dame is to remain authentically Catholic, it must rescind its invitation to President Obama. I hope that Father John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, will do the right thing, because if he does not withdraw the invitation, he will be creating a confusing, and yes, a scandalous situation. Students at any level of education learn more from the example of their teachers and administrators than they do from their text books.

One picture is worth a thousand words. And, as one pro-life bumper sticker says: “You Can’t Be Catholic and Be Pro-Abortion.”

The big question is: Will Notre Dame choose to remain Catholic and be pro-life? Let us pray the answer is Yes.

Jill A. White

Hamilton, New Jersey

As a Roman Catholic, I take strong exception to the unbelievable fact that Notre Dame will extend to President Obama an honorary doctorate degree on May 17, 2009.

My concern is that Notre Dame somehow sees fit to convey such an official honorary doctorate degree on an individual who gives the mother of an unborn child the unequivocal legal right to terminate the life of her unborn children at any time, for any reason, during the entire nine months prior to birth.

It is truly a barbarism unworthy of our great nation!

Thomas E. Dennelly

Sayville, New York

Conflict of Interest

In consecutive editions of the Register (March 1 and March 8), Father Kearns responded to letters from subscribers requesting further coverage and information concerning the now well-known double life of Father Marcial Maciel.  In both responses, Father Kearns stated that the Register would rely upon “independent journalism” in order to “avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest.” Thus, it was with much surprise that I saw the Register publish in its next edition the story from Zenit News Service about the ongoing status of the Legion of Christ in Baltimore with Archbishop O’Brien (“Legionary Fallout,” March 15). Because Zenit is (by its own website admission) “promoted by the religious congregation of the Legionaries of Christ,” it appears that any Zenit stories about the Legion are far from “independent” and at least require an editor’s note regarding the very apparent “conflict of interest.”

The Register provides a great resource for the Catholic faithful, and this value must be preserved through journalistic integrity. For future issues, please provide a disclaimer on all stories from Zenit involving the Legionaries of Christ. 

Will Esser

Charlotte, North Carolina

Editor’s note: You make a good point. Our decision was to avoid driving the news by creating stories ourselves. But we will inevitably use Zenit, because their stories are sometimes the only ones available. From now on, when we run Zenit stories about the Legionaries, we’ll note that they have a relationship.

Mercy on Families

Regarding the letter from Mary M. Doering in the March 15 issue: Without going into detail, I  can tell Mrs. Doering that she is definitely not alone in her experience, sadness  and prayers. We are many. Let us all join together in prayer for God’s mercy on families.

Carolyn Morin

Stayton, Oregon

Death Penalty Reversal

I am a longtime subscriber and supporter of your publication. However, your article on Gov. Bill Richardson (“New Mexico Stops New Executions,” April 5) does injustice to the millions who have been aborted! The death penalty reversal does not cause one to praise his “conversion,” and the battlegrounds are clear in this culture war. Do not be brought to the same level as our liberal Catholic detractors who try to compare abortion to the death penalty. His conversion is false if he still holds strong to an intrinsic evil, and you do a disservice to his eternal soul if you have told him, in public print, he has come back to the faith at all. Please print a retraction.

Kelly Copeland

Tucson, Arizona

Editor’s note: We noted his abortion support in the story. That article says: “NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) continues to give Richardson high marks for his unequivocal defense of abortion rights.” It adds: “Shortly before he became Pope Benedict, in his letter to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger discussed Catholic politicians, abortion and the death penalty. ‘There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty,’ he said, ‘but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.’”