Several students at Notre Dame have voiced their displeasure at Obama's invitation to speak at their graduation. They composed a beautifully written response that can be found at the website below. It's sad that the president of a university can overshadow so much good that is taking place at Notre Dame. I still believe that this can be a perfect opportunity to make a statement and to educate the public about Catholic beliefs. Maybe, just maybe we can teach some Catholics what it truly means to be Catholic. Visit the website and click on the press release for the complete letter.
Notre Dame Response
Several other Catholics are speaking out as well. Below is a letter written by Virginia House Member Robert Marshall to the president of Notre Dame. This letter was so beautifully and masterfully written I had to share this with you as well. I found this in Judie Brown's blog from American Life League. God bless!
Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, Notre Dame University
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Dear President Jenkins:
I write to you as a Catholic, an l8-year legislator and as a graduate of Benedictine Belmont Abbey College regarding your invitation to Barrack Obama as a Commencement speaker.
You claim that Notre Dame's invitation for the President to address graduates "should in no way be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of life, such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research."
John Cardinal O'Connor deliberately refused to invite democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, then running for re-election, to the 1996 Al Smith dinner because Clinton refused to sign a bill banning partial birth abortions. He also declined to invite republican presidential candidate Bob Dole to avoid the appearance of favoritism. (Jack Kemp and Al Gore went to the dinner as vice-presidential candidates.)
Your list of moral issues on which Barrack Obama is at variance with constant Church teaching is incomplete and should have included Obama's endorsement of same sex "civil unions" with rights of marriage, homosexual adoption, opposition to a Federal Marriage Amendment, and support at the UN for decriminalization of homosexual behavior.
You attempt to make a distinction between honoring the president, as in awarding him a doctor of laws degree, and supporting his political views. But honor is the recognition with words and awards for someone who, in one or more aspects such as virtue, intelligence, integrity, etc., excels others. Such an award would be considered an act of justice. But there is no justice in granting a doctor of laws degree to one who wishes to place outside the protection and rule of law, an entire class of human beings who cannot defend themselves against unjust aggression.
In addition to Obama's support for the Freedom of Choice Act which would undo 35 years of court-tested state and federal laws which have saved lives, he favors civil and/or criminal sanctions against doctors, nurses, and medical personnel who would exercise their rights of conscience to refuse to participate in any manner in the unjust killing of a child before birth by abortion. This position alone should disqualify the president from receiving any honor from Notre Dame, let alone a doctor of laws degree.
The Catholic Catechism notes that anyone who promotes "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible to achieve” is guilty of scandal (Catechism of the Catholic Church #226).
You state another reason for your invitation is that President Obama is an inspiring leader … facing many challenges … he has addressed them with intelligence, courage and honesty.
During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama said that deciding when human life begins is above his “pay grade.” (Virginia third graders are required to learn this simple fact.) Yet, Obama wasted little time issuing an order authorizing the destruction of embryonic humans apparently without attempting to resolve whether they are indeed created human beings. Nor did he seek to establish whether scientific process, including that conducted at Notre Dame, has eliminated any justification for using embryonic humans for stem cell research.
Mr. Obama further accuses those who oppose human experimentation of ideological bias and politics as he authorizes tax monies for this lethal research, which has demonstrated NO cures, NO therapies and NO long range clinical benefits! This is neither an example of honesty nor courage, but merely blind ideology.
Most curiously for someone receiving a broad welcome from a college president such as yourself, President Obama is seeking tax law changes which would make charitable giving to our churches and institutions like Notre Dame much more difficult and costly.
You conclude that you “cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them … show respect for them and listen to them.”
We respect the person of the president since he is made in God’s image; we respect his high office which derives from our venerable Constitution. But it is precisely because we have listened to the words of this president that we reject his Culture of Death policies which are inimical to the individual and common good.
We oppose and reject actions which give the appearance of indifference to evil and that is why we reject President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame University.
Lastly, your actions make it much more difficult for Catholic lawmakers like myself to garner support for legislation upholding a Culture of Life, and against policies which degrade our culture and foster disrespect for persons. I urge you to reconsider your invitation.
Delegate Bob Marshall