Open Letter to University of Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

This letter was sent to Father Jenkins on Friday, March 20, 2009, following the announcement that President Barack Obama has been invited to give this year’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.

Dear Father Jenkins:

As an alumnus of Notre Dame Law School, I am deeply offended that you would invite President Barack Obama to speak at Commencement this year.

In his first days of office, Mr. Obama has chosen as his first federal court nominee a pro-abortion Indiana judge who has struck down Indiana’s parental notification law seven times; reversed the Mexico City policy that prevented U.S. funding of pro-abortion groups internationally; lifted federal restrictions on stem cell research of human embryos; announced that he intends to reverse conscience clause protections for medical care workers; and named Kathleen Sibelius, who is so pro-abortion that she had to be publicly warned by her bishop, Archbishop Naumann, not to present herself for communion, as Secretary of Health and Human Services, to oversee all of these measures.

This is the person whom you feel is worthy to address the students and faculty of Notre Dame, in the shadow of Our Lady atop the Golden Dome, with the spires of the Basilica in the background? Father Sorin must be wringing his hands in heaven, that his successor would approve this disgrace. Shame on Notre Dame for choosing to scandalize the faithful who continue to support the Catholic identity and mission of the University.

Very truly yours,

William B. Newton, Esq.
NDLS ’99

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24 thoughts on “Open Letter to University of Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

  1. >Hooray! I’m glad you wrote this. I hope that an outpouring of outrage will get them to rescind this invite, but alas I’m afraid it won’t. I hate how both Obama and ND are using each other for political as well as PR ends, with the only possible result of confusion and discord sown in the ranks of Catholics in this country. Now those like Kmiec will only crow that “If he’s good enough for THE Catholic University in the US he’s certainly ok to vote for.” Disgusting. I’m happy to have Thomas Aquinas College (CA) as my true alma mater to fall back on.Boots,Notre Dame Architecture, 2008

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  2. >Good for you! It’s a shame that this once great university has decided that it’s a university with Catholicism instead of a Catholic university. I’m going to recommend parents not consider ND until the university stops pretending that it’s Catholic, and start acting like it. When they tell Fr. McBrien to go back to his diocese and stop catering to the culture, then I’ll happily endorse them.

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  3. >Oh, my Goodness. I cannot believe what I am reading. How can Barack Obama be invited to speak at this year’s commencement? This is an outrage. Our Lady will be weeping that day. As an alumnus of our great university, I am begging you, Fr. Jenkins, to reconsider this travesty. Is this not the same man who has appointed -too many to count- those who are pro-abortion? I am ashamed and embarrassed. Please keep God and Mary our foundation. It’s bad enough that they will soon be taken out of everything else in this country, thanks to Obama.

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  4. >My friend,What a beautiful letter. It is unfortunate that it needed to be written. I hope the university reconsiders their choice. Let’s pray for a better outcome.Peace be with you, ~~Alex

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  5. >Good letter. I will probably add how deflating this has been for me. I have spent a lot of time and some money in supporting ND. I was disappointed with the Sheen Laetare Medal last year this is heartbreaking. I will also probably donate to Right-to-Life or such organization instead of sending money to ND this year.

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  6. >THANK YOU! I am so sick of “Catholics” claiming moral relativism as an excuse. Stand up and be faithful or go find a protestant church to have your buffet of “beliefs”. Stop giving the Culture of Death notches in their belt!

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  7. >Good for you! I hope all the alumni of ND rise up to protest as well. You can be sure, ND has been dropped from the “prospective college list” by us and many of our friends. It is such a tragedy that a university which was founded upon Catholic traditions and values should cravenly bow to the popular culture and throw morality out the window.

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  8. >What a grave and horrible scandal it would be if a supposedly Catholic institution of “higher” learning goes ahead and has as a guest speaker America’s “Abortion President”, and then even gives him an honorary degree in ‚ÄúLaw‚ÄĚ! An honorary Law degree to a man who never saw an abortion related law he could not support so long as it legitimizes the mass murder of millions holy innocents? Come on!She who gave to us the “Gospel of Life,” she who is the “New Mother of the Living,” she who brought an end to child sacrifice in Mexico, she who stood at the foot of the Cross enduring the bloody scene at the sight of the “aborting” of her Son, she is now going to bestow high honors upon the “New Father of the Culture of Death”? God Forbid! Satan will be proud of any leader at Notre Dame and of any member of the Magisterium who stands by and does nothing to abort this duplicitous, dastardly, diabolical decision from taking on flesh and blood!Why not just tear down any statures of the Our Lady and replace them with statues of Pontius Pilot and then bestow upon him a posthumous honorary Law degree?

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  9. >Fr. Jenkins, if you are in bed with the devil, don’t force your evil upon the eyes and ears of others. You and Obama can hang out together in private and share your common death wish. My advice to you, is don’t mock God, you will always lose.

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  10. >Good job on your letter to Father Jenkins. Below is my letter to the Fort Wayne Catholic Herald. Jenkins should resign; and Morlino should Intro ObamaDear Editor, I read your summary of the first 50 days of President Obama’s presidency, and was struck by how ironic it is that such an article would appear at the same time Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins is inviting pro-abortion Obama to Notre Dame to give a commencement speech. The article clearly summarizes the aggressive pro-abortion agenda of the Obama administration — overturning the Mexico City policy so U.S. taxpayer funds could be used to fund abortions in other countries; ending the conscience clause for health care workers so they can be forced to participate in procedures which the oppose on moral, ethical or religious grounds; the appointment of radically pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sibelius to head the Department of Health and Social Services and overturning the federal ban on the destruction of human embryos for scientific research. That’s all in 50 days. And, Obama has said he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which is opposed by the church. Father Jenkins should have read the article before extending the invitation to President Obama. He should resign immediately. He has violated the trust and confidence of Catholics in America and around the world and he sullied the name and reputation of Notre Dame forever. Today, our lady is crying. Or, perhaps our lady could smile if some good could come from this terrible spectacle. If the Obama speech is to be given, then I would strongly recommend that Notre Dame invite Notre Dame alum the Rev. Robert Morlino, archbishop of Madison, WI diocese, to give the introduction of the President. Morlino could use the forum to explain to the President — and the world — why his policies are immoral, and unethical. Bishop Morlino holds a masters degree in philosophy from Notre Dame. How fitting it would be for a clash of Catholic truth with the worldly views of Obama on stage with the whole world watching. A true learning moment in the spirit of Catholic higher education. Morlino currently serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, He has also served on the USCCB Bishops‚Äô and Presidents‚Äô Committee, which seeks to encourage the Catholic identity of institutions of higher education. In 2008, for his work in defense of the dignity of the human person, Bishop Morlino was awarded Human Life International‚Äôs Cardinal von Galen Award, named after the famous German bishop who worked actively against the Nazis. That same year he also received the St. Edmund‚Äôs Medal of Honor, awarded to Catholics who have used their God-given talents in promoting the common good. As a Catholic, it saddens me that such a fine institution as Notre Dame University would confer its status upon Obama by giving him an honorary doctor of law degree. Notre Dame is being used by the Obama administration to confer acceptance by Catholics on to the administration’s policies. What is particularly disturbing is that the honorary degree is being given to the President, despite a directive against such awards to pro-abortion politicians. This honor is clearly a direct violation of the U.S. bishops‚Äô 2004 mandate in ‚ÄúCatholics in Political Life‚ÄĚ: ‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ Father Jenkins was wrong. He must go. And, Bishop Morlino should be allowed to share the stage to introduce Obama and provide the world the truth. Sincerely, James E. PughMadison, Wisconsin

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  11. >you don’t like it? then don’t go. just stop your false outrage and stop embarrassing my alma mater.universities are inherently about dialogue, debate, new ideas, and pushing boundaries. you clearly fear that, which is immature.for all of you who posted, are any of you alums? if not, then be silent. thank heavens for all of us that Jesus was more forgiving than you. please try to follow in his footsteps and be less judgmental.your disrespect for the President is insulting. you act more like Pharisees than Christ with your closed-mindedness.

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  12. >Thanks very much for reading, Anonymous. You have the absolute right to your own opinions, as indeed I have to mine and my readers to theirs. I would point out that your post might have had just a bit more teeth, had you the courage to sign it with your name, indicating the school of Notre Dame from which you graduated, and the year.By all means, keep asking questions of life. It is only by so doing that eventually – God willing – we arrive at the answers.

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  13. >This scandal is not just about Notre Dame, the institution. This is about Notre Dame, the Catholic institution. Scandal is something that effects the entire universal Church, not just people on campus.

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  14. >Excellent, excellent letter. I have sent him several emails myself. Obama being honored at ND is an absolute disgrace and a horrible insult to Our Lady. And btw, to the anon above, I will add that my son is a graduate of ND and my husband and I have poured a lot of money into the school. But EVERY Catholic has an interest in this event because ND bears the name Catholic. With that name comes responsibility. Truth DOES matter.

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  15. >Fellow ND grads: The last couple years, due to shenanigans like this, my donations to the university have been made as restricted gifts to the university’s student Right to Life group. Obviously, the group is fighting an uphill battle and needs all the help it can get.

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  16. >As a current student at the Our Lady’s University, I can honestly say that many of us here are genuinely conflicted about Fr. Jenkins’ decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement this year. On the one hand, we must respect the office of President of the United States, and it is an honor for our beloved campus to host the leader of the free world. Of course, there is a substantial population, like myself, who can not and will not tolerate the Notre Dame imprimatur being given to someone whose views on the sanctity of life are so dramatically at odds with the position of the Church and the university. Myself and eight other students, with more co-signing literally by the hour, have submitted a letter to Fr. Jenkins, asking to make a public, vocal statement that the university strongly disapproves with the President’s actions. I invite you to read it on my student Web site, http://www.nd.edu/~pbrown6/ObamaVisitLetter.html. God bless all of you who still wish the best for a university that was and hopefully will still remain one of the premier Catholic institutions in America.

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  17. >Excellent letter! Thank you so much for sending it. My husband and I signed the petition and sent Fr. Jenkins a letter reminding him of the scandal this is to ALL Catholics.Thank you for your leadership in this area,Marie

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  18. >Great Letter … I am so disheartened, but not really SURPRISED. ALAS more and more so called CATHOLIC UNIVERSITYS have left true CATHOLIC DOCTRINE to climb into bed with “FALSE PHILOSPHY”…If this proceeds without Fr. Jenkins receiving reprimand from his BISHOP and DISINVITES MR. OBAMA I will further believe the devil has a strangelhold on the catholic church!I am so SORRY OUR LADY!

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  19. >I am a 1983 graduate of ND and this is just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions on the University’s part which are contrary to the basic teachings and beliefs of the Catholic religion. The previous comment that the school has become a univeristy associated with Catholicism rather than a Catholic university echoes the truth. The changes in the Univeristy’s philosophies and programs over the years has been subtle and at each challenge, the administration has weathered the storm only to proceed on with their chosen agenda. A true measure of the attitude of the current student body will be in how many elect to miss graduation in protest of this decision or more effective would be their choice to leave the ceremony once President Obama has been introduced. My heart will always be with Notre Dame but on this day, my heart breaks for the choices they are making.

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  20. >who then would replace obama? it cant be anyone who supported the iraq war or any republican who voted in support of the iraq war. The War was confirmed as an unjust war by both recent popes and the american catholic bishops council.also, considering that obama is just speaking at ND and charlie weis works there, what is his specific stance on abortion? has he voted for a democrat that was pro choice? if so, he should be gone as well, using your logic. how about jimmy clausen, should the starting ND quarterback be allowed on the field if he is pro-choice, or even voted for democrat? should montana be allowed back if he is pro-choice?you cant be selective on this issue, if you are going to push obama out using this logic, then the other examples follow as well.what benefit did all of you receive by voting for bush and his pro-life stance 4 yrs ago? abortion is still legal and bush had 7 republican judges in the supreme court, then majority that all conservatives were waiting for. why did bush not deliver for you? uh?

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