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Nearly 100 Notre Dame faculty call for bishop’s resignation from board

April 25, 2012

Less than ten days after Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria cited Hitler and Stalin in criticizing President Obama’s “radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda,” 95 members of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame have called upon the prelate to resign from the university’s board of fellows.

After referring to Otto von Bismarck’s Kulturkampf and the persecution of the Church in France in the early twentieth century, Bishop Jenky had said that “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama--with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda--now seems intent on following a similar path.”

“Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide and absence of judgment,” the faculty said in a letter to the university’s president and the chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

“We accept that Jenky’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, but we find it profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved University’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the president’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews and other minorities for their faith.”

“We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Jenky’s incendiary statement,” they added. “Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Jenky resigned from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.”

Bishop Jenky, a Holy Cross priest, has deep ties to the university: he is an alumnus, the former director of campus ministry, and the former religious superior of the Holy Cross Priests and Brothers at Notre Dame.


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  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2012 7:40 AM ET USA

    What Jenky said is exactly the truth. The faculty remarks tell us way more about the faculty than about Jenky. One would hope that they are only being politically correct rather than ignorant. The list of signers should be encouraged to resign, if Jenky doesn't.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Apr. 26, 2012 4:53 PM ET USA

    @wvcatholic: The science and engineering faculty of any university must follow the truth where it leads, and do not have the liberty to live in fantasies of their own making. Otherwise, don't ask me to drive over any of their bridges.

  • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Apr. 26, 2012 3:23 PM ET USA

    The faculty accuses Bishop Jenky of "ignorance of history", but as I see it, they demonstrate a more deplorable lack of perspective. The world leaders Jenky refers to started slowly and did not at first appear threatening. In the early 1930s Germany welcomed the new young leader who would restore Germany to its former glory, much as America is seeking its (former?) glory days. Atrocities of the killing-fields of the American abortion clinics are, I think, a fitting comparison to Nazi camps.

  • Posted by: chasann113163 - Apr. 26, 2012 7:58 AM ET USA

    I agree, the 95 faculty members, who do not know what is really happening in this Country under the Obama administration, should resign. The Bishop knows that our religious freedom is at stake and the 95 at Notre Dame, it seems. need to be shock into realizing what is really happening. God Bless Bishop Jenky.

  • Posted by: sarsok8679 - Apr. 25, 2012 10:18 PM ET USA

    How many of these Faculty members know or understand the Catholic Faith, how many actually go to Mass? How many of them realize "..genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people,.." are aborted children that far out number the millions who died in not just Nazi Germany but in the Ukraine the gulags in Russia and because of the one child policy in China. If anything Bishop Jenky was underwhelming in his statements. I guess being a true authentic Catholic at Notre Dame is over the top!

  • Posted by: littleone - Apr. 25, 2012 9:41 PM ET USA

    I pray that future generations will read Bishop Jenky's and others words elucidating the truth of this nation's complicity in the death of millions of human beings via abortion, and will know that the voices urging repeal of Roe v Wade and those urging non-compliance with mandates and laws further impinging on religious liberty were truly heroic voices!!

  • Posted by: bamajohn - Apr. 25, 2012 8:47 PM ET USA

    That letter should give a pretty good indication of where to start the eventual clean up at Notre Dame.

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 25, 2012 6:41 PM ET USA

    The faculty letter tells me that it is time for Notre Dame to decide if it is a Catholic university or just another liberal school. It is also time for Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Catholic Diocese of Ft. Wayne - South Bend to "help" them make that decision by providing some guidance about the standards for a Catholic university vs. a liberal school.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2012 6:39 PM ET USA

    I am very proud to point out once again that you will find the scientific and engineering faculty completely absent from such an adolescent activity. When people ask about the fidelity of the Notre Dame faculty to the magisterium, I quickly point out that you will find the engineering and physical science faculty are very faithful and devout!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2012 5:39 PM ET USA

    Again we are witness to the decline of the Catholic University. Sadly, the 95 just don't get it. Never before in US history has there been such an assault on religious liberty. The Church has been targeted & has asked for support. It calls for civil disobedience to the administration's mandates. Also, Obama (honored by them!) is the most pro-abortion president in our history. ABORTION IS MURDER. This infanticide is WORSE than the Holocost. The Non-Catholic 95 should resign need to repent! Amen!!

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Apr. 25, 2012 1:42 PM ET USA

    Thanks be to God for the prophetic voice of Bishop Jenky.

  • Posted by: rpp - Apr. 25, 2012 8:53 AM ET USA

    I believe the only resignations called for would be the "nearly one hundred" signers of this petition.