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Pennsylvania bishop denounces ‘pathetic’ attempts to justify Notre Dame’s Obama invitation

May 06, 2009

Calling President Barack Obama “one of the most pro-abortion politicians ever to appear on the American political stage,” Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greenburg, Pennsylvania, has issued a statement on the University of Notre Dame’s decision to award President Barack Obama an honorary degree.

“The attempts to justify this invitation represent for so many a pathetic trivialization of Notre Dame's Catholic identity,” he says. “The toxic residue from this scandal will be the perception that Notre Dame has made dissent in the Catholic Church respectable.”

Bishop Brandt adds:

Although the University claims to be opposed to abortion, this issue is apparently not deemed important enough to preclude Mr. Obama's receiving honors at the Notre Dame Commencement. Other reasons for honoring him seem to be considered more significant than concerns about abortion.

There is a serious dichotomy between what the University says it believes and what it does. When a university confers honorary degrees and the honor of being selected as a commencement speaker, it is always perceived as a sign of approval and support …

It was Notre Dame which extended this invitation and initiated this scandal … It does not seem exaggerated to conclude that Notre Dame is not one with what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Consequently, how can Father John Jenkins, President, purport to uphold and advocate for the Catholic mission of the institution?

Another tragic dimension of this invitation is that it sends a mixed message regarding the sacredness of all human life. Today no one would tolerate a mixed message on race. Why should a mixed message on the inviolability of human life itself be tolerated? …

For the sake of those yet to be educated at Notre Dame, for the good of the Church which Father Jenkins, as a religious priest, is vowed to serve, I urge him to do what is honorable by acknowledging the crisis and having the courage to cease and desist from pursuing the deconstruction and division he has embarked upon.


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