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Biden, Cardinal McCarrick pay tribute to Notre Dame’s Father Hesburgh

May 24, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden joined Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and political figures from both parties in paying tribute to Father Theodore Hesburgh, who served as the president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987.

“In 1972 I ran for public office as a 29-year-old kid because of your passion for civil rights,” Vice President Biden told Hesburgh, now 96, at a Capitol Hill reception in honor of the seventieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. “You're one of the reasons I've been so proud to be a Catholic.”

Cardinal McCarrick called Hesburgh one of “four great Americans,” along with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Father Hesburgh, known for his support for the civil rights movement in the 1960s, was a principal organizer and signatory of the Land O' Lakes Statement, in which Catholic university presidents declared their “true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical.” The priest also faced criticism for his role as board member and chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, a staunch advocate for population control. (Hesburgh retired as chairman in 1982.) In 2008, Father Hesburgh told the Wall Street Journal that he had no objection to the ordination of women.


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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - May. 26, 2013 12:05 AM ET USA

    One of the ominous impressions from the Land O'Lakes manifesto is that anything the institutional Church has to say specifically about the various theological studies would be detrimental and harmful to the integrity and freedom of the Catholic university's pursuit of academic excellence. Such an attitude implicitly denies the infallibility of the Church's Magisterium in teaching on faith and morals guaranteed it by Christ, in exchange for worshiping the false god of academic freedom.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 25, 2013 4:22 PM ET USA

    Thanks, shrink, for the link to Diogenes' comment. Incidentally, it was another reminder of how much one misses Di on this site.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 25, 2013 8:22 AM ET USA

    It's hard to know who has done the most damage to the Church, these three faithless servants, or people like Mahoney in LA and Keith O'Brien in Scotland. In the long run, I would say that harm done by the McCarrick/Hesburgh/Biden axis is more lasting. Their notions (I won't call them ideas) have led to the loss of many souls.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - May. 25, 2013 8:19 AM ET USA

    Birds of a feather flock together. Wish I could find a better description, but that about says it.

  • Posted by: shrink - May. 24, 2013 2:05 PM ET USA

    McCarrick, a cardinal in good standing with the Vatican, was a co-signer in the Land O'Lakes declaration. See the Diogenes commentary on the LOL declaration.

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 24, 2013 11:06 AM ET USA

    There are three of the problems in the Church, each congratulating each other on chipping away at the Magisterium - Hesburgh for making Catholic colleges un-Catholic; Biden for being un-Catholic educated, but proud (of course); and McCarrick "forgetting" instructions from Rome on refusing Communion. Just three peas in a pod, I guess.