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Catholic Charities bestows highest award on Father Hesburgh

March 28, 2011

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Father Theodore Hesburgh, who served as the president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, has been awarded Catholic Charities USA’s Centennial Medal, “the most prestigious symbol of Catholic Charities' first 100 years.”

Father Hesburgh, now 93, “is a person who perfectly embodies the spirit and the meaning of all that we stand for,” said Catholic Charities USA board member Kathleen Flynn Fox. “We honor a man not only deeply admired and respected in this country, but around the world,” added Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “Few are of his caliber.”

Father Hesburgh 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 of 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: rpp - Mar. 30, 2011 2:07 PM ET USA

    And people wonder why I refuse to give to Catholic Charities.

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 29, 2011 12:24 PM ET USA

    To give this Priest who was largely responsible for the resulting secularization of Catholic institutions of higher learning a medal of any kind is a travesty.

  • Posted by: LWL - Mar. 29, 2011 9:26 AM ET USA

    I am, once again, confused as I try to understand what a prominent Catholic organization stands for when it considers a priest such as Fr. Hesburgh “a person who perfectly embodies the spirit and the meaning of all that we stand for.” Catholic Charities USA certainly does not stand for or with the Catholic Church's Magisterium.

  • Posted by: Obregon - Mar. 28, 2011 11:52 PM ET USA

    Unbelievable, He, more than anyone else, worked to strip the university of its Catholic identity and now he receives a medal for his ungodly and un-Catholic deeds!

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Mar. 28, 2011 8:00 PM ET USA

    This is outrageous. No wonder there is so much criticism of Catholic Charities, USA. This man was and is an embarrassment to the Church, for selling out to the culture and the anti-Catholic foundations. As I recall, he was behind David Rockefeller's attempt to see if Paul VI would let him write the birth control regulations!

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Mar. 28, 2011 6:42 PM ET USA

    Catholic Charities gives award to Fr.Hesburgh? A black eye for them and I'll not be donating to their causes.

  • Posted by: sparch - Mar. 28, 2011 10:23 AM ET USA

    Enough of a reason to withold future donations to Catholic Charities. Look at the state of Catholic universitys today, due in part from the Land "O" Lakes Statement. Look at what Father Hesburg threw in with, the Rockefeller Foundation was one of the driving forces behind legalize abortion in the 1950's and 1960's. He accepted monies from them to promote their agenda, not the Church's. And Father Hesburg embodies the spirit of what Catholic Charities is all about? Truely a scandal in the church.