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Now it's 46: More Bishops Against ND Scandal

Notre Dame, a 'symbol of Catholic education in America throughout its history,'has 'embarrassed Our Lady and embarrassed our Church.' Bishop David Zubik

SOUTH BEND, Indiana ( - Three more bishops have lengthened the list to 46 U.S. Church leaders condemning the Notre Dame scandal. The University of Notre Dame continues to face a rising groundswell of outrage from Catholics across America after inviting President Obama to give the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree May 17.

In a column appearing in the April 24 edition of the Pittsburgh Catholic, Bishop David Zubik lamented that Notre Dame, a "symbol of Catholic education in America throughout its history," has "embarrassed Our Lady and embarrassed our Church."

"Notre Dame - Our Lady - is a title and devotion that every Catholic holds close to heart," wrote Zubik. "Which is why it is so painful that the current leadership of the university has been so sadly forgetful of its responsibility to its sacred name, and to all the faithful, by deciding to give an honorary degree to our president who has made so clear his opposition to the Church's teaching on the sacredness of human life.

"It must leave Our Lady - 'Notre Dame' - embarrassed."

Bishop Zubik said "there is no doubt" that the various aspects of the President's anti-life agenda "stand in stark contrast to the Church." "President Obama has not been a quiet supporter of abortion rights. He has been a vociferous cheerleader for legalized abortion through his political career," Zubik affirmed.

The difficulty, however, said the bishop, is not Obama, but Notre Dame's decision to extend the invitation in the first place.

"All courtesy should be given to the president. After all, he is our president and he deserves our respect," he wrote. "But it was Notre Dame University that created this mess. The university should never have considered honoring him."

The bishop explained: "This is not a matter of the proper respect due our president, or even inviting him to speak on campus, or one of political motivation or a denial of free speech. The issue is not as clear as it must be.

"To give an honorary degree, to confer such an honor, makes the statement that the recipient of the honor reflects the mind and the heart of the giver," wrote Zubik. "That certainly can't be true in this instance! This is Our Lady's university choosing to give an honorary degree to the single most outspoken pro-abortion president since the issue was foisted upon the country by the Supreme Court."

Urging Catholics to use the Notre Dame scandal as an opportunity to examine their own consciences, the bishop concluded: "Let's take that from this sad affair - our pledge to do better. Maybe we can hope that Notre Dame - the university of Our Lady - will make a similar pledge."

In Arlington, VA, Bishop Paul Loverde recently issued a letter to a scandalized parishioner, expressing his solidarity.

"I share your dismay that Notre Dame, contrary to the direction provided by the bishops, has chosen to extend to him an invitation which - despite the University's statements to the contrary - undoubtedly will be viewed by many as approbation of his policies," wrote Loverde, whose letter was published by the Cardinal Newman Society today.

"If Notre Dame were hosting the President as a participant in a dialogue that included a full presentation of the Church's position regarding the primacy of life, then the University's action would be more understandable," said the Arlington bishop.

"However, given the unique national prominence of Notre Dame among Catholic universities, the decision by a few administrators to give him a platform and honor on Commencement Day will be damaging to the Church, to the pro-life cause and, ultimately, to the university itself.

"This situation underscores the need for Catholics to be united and speak with one voice in our respect for all human life; otherwise, we project confusion and uncertainty on this most basic of issues," Loverde concluded.

Like the majority of the U.S. bishops against the scandal, Bishop LeVoir of New Ulm, MN reacted to Notre Dame's decision by recalling the U.S. Bishops Conference 2004 directive against honoring pro-abortion politicians.

"Since President Obama has taken stands that contradict the fundamental moral principles of the Catholic Church, e.g., the approval of abortion and embryonic stem cell research, he 'should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for his actions' at a Catholic university," said Bishop LeVoir in an April 13 statement.

"The decision of the University of Notre Dame makes it much more difficult for the Church to carry out her vital mission to transform our culture into a culture of life and love," he concluded.

The bishops who have so far expressed disapproval of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D'Arcy - Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila - Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond - Austin, TX
4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito - Palm Beach, FL
5. Bishop Leonard Blair - Toledo, OH
6. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein - Indianapolis, IN
7. Bishop Robert Baker - Birmingham, AL
8. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - Lincoln, NE
9. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran - Oklahoma City, OK
10. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú - San Antonio, TX
11. Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS
12. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Houston, TX
13. Archbishop Timothy Dolan - New York, NY
14. Bishop Thomas Doran - Rockford, IL
15. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty - Scranton, PA
16. Bishop Robert Finn - Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
17. Bishop Victor Galeone - St. Augustine, FL
18. Cardinal Francis George - Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
19. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Evansville, IN
20. Archbishop José Gomez - San Antonio, TX
21. Bishop William Higi - Lafayette, IN
22. Archbishop Alfred Hughs - New Orleans, LA
23. Bishop Joseph Latino - Jackson, MS
24. Bishop John LeVoir - New Ulm, MN
25. Bishop Jerome Listecki - La Crosse, WI
26. Bishop William E. Lori - Bridgeport, CT
27. Bishop Paul Loverde - Arlington, VA
28. Bishop George Lucas - Springfield, IL
29. Bishop Robert Lynch - St. Petersburg, FL
30. Bishop Joseph Martino - Scranton, PA
31. Bishop Charles Morlino - Madison, WI
32. Bishop George Murry - Youngstown, OH
33. Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ
34. Bishop R. Walker Nickless - Sioux City, IA
35. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt - St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
36. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien - Baltimore, MD
37. Bishop Thomas Olmsted - Phoenix, AZ
38. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk - Cincinnati, OH
39. Bishop Kevin Rhoades - Harrisburg, PA
40. Bishop Alexander Sample - Marquette, MI
41. Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, OK
42. Bishop Richard Stika - Knoxville, TN
43. Bishop Anthony Taylor - Little Rock, AR
44. Bishop Robert Vasa - Baker, OR
45. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Orlando, FL
46. Bishop David Zubick - Pittsburgh, PA

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1 - 10 of 11 Comments

  1. Patricia Williams
    4 years ago

    I am amazed that you are only publishing comments that support the position taken by this publication. Thoughtful intelligent discussion is a tradition of our Church. You are clearly attempting to promote the falsehood that no Catholics have considered the idea that it MIGHT be OK to have President Obama speak at Notre Dame. Perhaps the university intended to applaud the Presidents policies on issues also of importance to the Catholic Community. For example if we examine the letter to Congress on the 2009 Congressional Budget there are many many points of important agreement between the Obama administration and the Church. I believe that the same people who want to dissuade Notre Dame from inviting Obama to speak would have completely supported an invitation to Bush in spite of the FACT that he started a WAR in direct opposition to vocal objections by the POPE. The people can not have it both ways, Bush's war has killed over 4,000 American Soldiers. It has maimed many more. I was a Social Worker at Walter Reed and saw this first hand. And it has killed countless Iraqis. It seems to me that we can not ignore one atrocity and then condemn a man for another with out violating the teachings we hold so dear. I hope you publish this comment. Like the others whose comments you HAVE published I am a PRACTICING catholic, a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. I am not some visitor trying to insert "non-catholic" teachings to mislead your readership.

  2. Francis Pimentel-Pinto
    4 years ago

    A great many Catholics together with more than 50 bishops,in the name of their orthodoxy,want publicly to humiliate the elected President of the United States.Could this be the first sign of their intention to create an independent "American Catholic City State", similar to the Vatican City State in Italy?

  3. Kathryn Groening
    4 years ago

    As I recall, several pro-abort congressmen received communion at a Mass celebrated by non other than the Successor to Peter himself, our current Pope Benedict. I find it hard to believe the Pope knew nothing about this. I am sure others believe the same way. So what does that say about Rome's seriousness about the abortion issue?

    What is going on at ND is a travesty in action, but rather understandable considering Rome's inaction. The time for talking and counseling and dialoguing with "sinners" (or perhaps partakers of certain sins) is long past. Rome needs to act.

  4. Franc is Pimentel-Pinto
    4 years ago

    I send you a comment last night. Why was it not published?

  5. T. Skindeleski
    4 years ago

    ....and Galveston-Huston's leader.

  6. T. Skindeleski
    4 years ago

    We need to hear from the other Cardinals, not just Chicago's leader.

  7. frank ronnenberg
    4 years ago

    Public statements by bishops are nice. Sermons from the pulpit on Sunday are necessary and they aren't forthcoming. Why?

  8. roseanne perticaro
    4 years ago

    This is an absolute disgrace.Let us start with not hiring professors with liberal views that they put into the heads of the students.

  9. Frank
    4 years ago

    Further on Bruce's comment: A quick web query identified 195 dioceses in the United States. Thus, we have only 24% of the country's bishops publicly supporting their own mandate. The scandal is not only at Notre Dame but in 75% of the Chanceries in America! This is not surprising considering the culture that these senior clerics have perpetuated permitting 54% of the Catholic electorate to vote against their church's teaching as if it were elective. The wonder, if any, is why the 54% was so low!

    The only way this is to end is if Rome was to put steel in its canon law and to suspend Father Jenkin's priestly functions and penalize the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the order that enables him. While they are human, nor more or less rthan we, their behavior is apalling. Bishop d'Arcy, while a stauch and devoted defender of Catholic teaching, has been stripped of his power over "Catholic" higher education. He and we must suffer the personal humiliation of being patronized by the President of the University of Notre Dame. The issue, however, is not personal humiliation - Our Lord provides the example of how to deal with that - the issue is the scandal that is permitted and enabled by the American episcopate. If this scandal is not addressed and arrested the next step is continued and increased persecution and desecration. Ironically, the Congregation of the Holy Cross can trace its origin to a similar period in France, yet they blindly and niavely inflict this on a new generation of American Catholics. It is as if Matthew 23 was written with them specifically in mind.

  10. Bruce
    4 years ago

    How many American Bishops are there? If the number is over 250 as I suspect, where are the voices of the rest. The number now is a small minority. Give us a total, then the number speaking out as a reference.

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