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Despite the fact that Notre Dame University has a long tradition of extending graduation speaking invitations to sitting American Presidents, this invitation to President Obama is not about Obama, but about Notre Dame. The real issue is about what it means to be a “Catholic” University.
President Obama’s speech today to the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame, and his award of an honorary degree, is a slap in the face of Roman Catholicism because of his strong outspoken pro-choice abortion beliefs and his support for federal funding of stem-cell research.
America, You Asked For It!, explains the dilemma this way:
The problem, of course, stems from Notre Dame’s Catholic roots and Obama’s position on the sanctity of human life in its embryonic stage. The Catholic Church “has always condemned abortion as a grave evil” and condemns stem cell research on the basis that “It is immoral to produce human embryos destined to be exploited as disposable ‘biological material.” These views are polar opposites of the President’s positions on abortion and stem cell research.
Moral Outcry explains it this way:
This is a travesty for a Catholic institution to be honoring the man behind some of the most liberal, pro-abortion agendas this nation has ever seen. In the spirit of intellectual openness, the powers-that-be have seen fit to acquiesce to the status quo of the pro-abortion agenda that’s steamrolling through the government right now.
It would appear that money, power, status, and untold legal entanglements would make it very, very difficult for the Catholic Church to punish Notre Dame for this affront to the churches’ basic teachings.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, “Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, sits on the board of directors of Millennium Promise, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa that promotes contraceptives and abortion, it has been revealed.”
The finding comes as the controversy over President Obama's award and speech at the University reaches a fever pitch in the last week before the event. As the president of Notre Dame, Fr. Jenkins has received the majority of the heat for the scandal. However, despite the criticism of over 70 U.S. bishops and over 350,000 petitioners, Jenkins has steadfastly continued to defend the university's honoring of the president. In a letter to graduating students dated this past Monday, Jenkins said that Obama is "a remarkable figure in American history and I look forward to welcoming him to Notre Dame."
According to UPI, “Bishop John D'Arcy, who oversees the region's diocese, said he would not attend Sunday's ceremony.”
President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred," D'Arcy said in a statement.
The latest Gallop poll shows that for the first time, more Americans see themselves as pro-life rather than pro-choice. Still I have to wonder what this really means in terms of walking the walk of faith?
Despite the fact that Fox news has been featuring this story for weeks, the actual fact that only hundreds of pro-life activist Catholics from across the country plan to attend a peaceful protest in South Bend, Ind. is a sign that belief in pro-life appears to be more virtual than real.
Pro-Life Action League members also will begin their civil disobedience effort off-campus and then join the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society at the prayer vigil on campus to coincide with the commencement ceremony. Additional arrests are possible, if not expected.
"We're going have graphic pictures of abortion and what abortion does to babies and we'll also have signs that will say 'Obama = Abortion' and 'Shame on Notre Dame,'" Gura said.
Citizens for a Pro-Life Society will be carrying signs ranging from the "very graphic to very simple," Parran told FOXNews.com.
According to ABC News, “Obama won the Catholic vote in last year's election, 54-45 over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Twenty-seven percent of voters identified themselves as Catholic, according to national exit polling.”
Note to the Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops: There are some Catholics, however, that understand the actual cost of walking the walk of their faith.
This year, for the first time in more than 100 years, Notre Dame will not present its most prestigious award, the Laetare Medal, because the Catholic scholar who won it, Mary Ann Glendon, turned it down.