Bryan Fischer
Notre Dame and its pro-abortion commencement speaker
By Bryan Fischer
March 26, 2009

Notre Dame's decision to award an honorary degree to President Obama and invite him to be this year's commencement speaker has stirred up justifiable outrage in the pro-life community as a whole and the Catholic pro-life community in particular.

Since taking office, President Obama has expanded federal funding for abortions and taxpayer funding for life-destroying embryonic stem cell research, as well as taking actions to overturn conscience protections for doctors and hospitals. He has nominated Kathleen Sebelius, a rabid pro-choicer and confidant of notorious late term abortionist George Tiller, to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

While an Illinois state senator, he used his influence four times to defeat a bill designed to ensure that newborn babies get medical care if they survive an abortion attempt.

For those who believe in the sanctity of human life, when a pro-life institution honors a public official who has used his authority aggressively to endanger babies in the womb, it's little different than B'nai B'rith inviting Adolph Hitler to be its keynote speaker at a 1944 fundraising banquet.

Says the Cardinal Newman Society, "It is an outrage and a scandal that 'Our Lady's University,' one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage."

It is such a scandal that the Catholic bishop in whose diocese Notre Dame is found, John M. D'Arcy, is refusing even to attend the graduation ceremony, a first for him in his 25 years at this post. He correctly observes that, when Obama reversed the ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research, he was not, as the president claimed, separating politics from science but rather separating science from ethics.

While he prays for the president and wishes him well, Bishop D'Arcy says a "bishop must teach the Catholic faith 'in season and out of season,' and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions."

He adds that "the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for."

The university's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, is still defending his decision, an action by which he and the school have "chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality," according to the Newman Society.

The university is operating in open rebellion against the U .S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which declared in 2004 that, "[t]he Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

If the university does not rescind this invitation, we can only hope that major donors to this prestigious school decide to send their dollars elsewhere, to institutions who more faithfully reflect their values.

A university spokesman blithely said the torrent of criticism is "nothing beyond what we expected." Well, perhaps we can prove them wrong.

The Cardinal Newman Society has posted a petition at the following link, and you don't have to be Catholic to sign it — I did — just pro-life.

There were 65,000 signatures on this petition at noon yesterday, over 113,000 when I signed it early this morning, and 142,889 as I prepared to submit this column.

If you'd like to add your name to the list, you may access the petition here:

Petition Opposing Notre Dame's Decision to Honor Pres. Obama

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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