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Notre Dame president defends invitation to Obama; bishop will boycott

Catholic World News - March 24, 2009

University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins has issued a statement defending the university’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the commencement address there. “The invitation to President Obama to be our Commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research,” he said.

Bishop John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend announced on March 24 that he would not attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises. Bishop D'Arcy-- who revealed that he had not been told that Notre Dame was extending an invitation to President Obama until after the fact-- explained that wanted to set an example. "My decision is not an attack on anyone," he said; "but is in defense of the truth about human life." He cited the 2004 statement by the US bishops' conference that Catholic institutions should not honor public figures who "act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."

While America magazine carries a defense of Notre Dame's selection-- and a denunciation of those who are protesting it-- the Cardinal Newman Society reports that 60,000 people have signed a letter of protest since it was posted just 4 days ago.

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