Bishop letter to Jenkins: Inviting Obama is "public act of disobedience"

UPDATE, 4:35p: Matt Abbott at RenewAmerica has posted a letter written from black priest and member of Notre Dame's Admissions Advisory Board, Fr. John Raphael, to Fr. Jenkins:

... I have spent 18 years working with blacks and whites, Protestants and Catholics, to bring more African Americans into the pro-life movement. During the last 2 months the Obama administration has already begun to aggressively roll back the gains made in defense of life over the course of the last 15 years....

obama black baby.jpg

[T]he historical significance of the first African American president is emptied of its meaning if this same president refuses to embrace the rights of the unborn....

As an African American and a priest, as a principal of a Catholic high school and a member of the Admissions Advisory Board of the university, I cannot adequately express in words how deeply this action offends those who are committed to carrying out the task of Catholic education and witnessing to the Gospel of Life in the context of a Catholic school. Even if the university chooses to cooperate with certain policies of the president that are not contrary to the teaching of the faith, the conferral of this type of public honor is wholly gratuitous and incongruous with the mission of any Catholic institution....

[HT: Cy Hunter]
_______________

American Papist got the scoop and has more details, but here is an email sent from Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olsted to Notre Dame Prez Fr. John Jenkins yesterday...

email to jenkins.jpg

See previous posts:

  • "Obama goads Fighting Irish"
  • "Notre Dame student to pro-lifers: 'Don't hijack our day'"
  • "11 Notre Dame student groups repudiate Jenkins/Obama"
  • "Notre Dame: exercise nuclear option?"
  • "New Notre Dame Fight Song"


  • Comments:

    Bam! There's a true Shepard- Bishop Olmsted.

    Posted by: Bobby Bambino at March 26, 2009 2:27 PM


    Excellent! I hope his office is FLOODED with similar letters, and that he rescinds Obama's invitation.

    Posted by: Allison at March 26, 2009 2:29 PM


    Me. too. But don't hold your breath on Jenkins rescinding the invitation.

    Posted by: Mike at March 26, 2009 3:27 PM


    Way to go Bishop Olmsted!

    Posted by: Elisabeth at March 26, 2009 3:34 PM


    I'm as opposed to abortion as anyone, but the way some people (usually Catholics) are starting to use a persons position on abortion a standard for "qualifying" their faith really disturbs me. It takes away from Jesus and His sacrifice and it really smacks God in the face.

    Posted by: Brian at March 26, 2009 4:11 PM


    Brian,

    Abortion is against Catholic doctrine, period. You cannot be Catholic and be pro-abortion. There is no choice in the matter, it's not about being part of the Catholic "in" crowd. The Church is in the business of telling us what God doesn't like and abortion "smacks Him in the face" more than protesting.

    Posted by: Pansy Moss at March 26, 2009 4:31 PM


    Brian said

    "the way some people (usually Catholics) are starting to use a persons position on abortion a standard for "qualifying" their faith really disturbs me. It takes away from Jesus and His sacrifice and it really smacks God in the face."

    You're really not that bright. Not at all.

    Posted by: Bad_Pro-Life_Theology/Philosophy_can_no_longer_be_tolerated at March 26, 2009 4:33 PM


    There needs to be some sort of ALTERNATIVE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY @ Notre Dame that the students can go to.

    I propose that that be arranged as a way to show Obama and Notre Dame how the students and families feel.

    They could walk out when Obama comes to speak and go to the alternative commencement.

    Posted by: Bad_Pro-Life_Theology/Philosophy_can_no_longer_be_tolerated at March 26, 2009 4:37 PM


    I think it is important to post the following (from The American Papist website):

    Mike Phelan, Director of Marriage and Respect Life for the Diocese of Phoenix, introduced the letter this way:

    "Due to the fact that the invitation by Notre Dame’s president, Fr. John Jenkins, to President Barack Obama to give the commencement speech at Notre Dame’s May graduation is a public act causing widespread public scandal due to the US President’s clear support of policies which fail to protect and even attack innocent human life, Bishop Olmsted has given permission to release the attached email text publicly."

    Posted by: Janet at March 26, 2009 4:44 PM


    Brian,

    I fear your comment belies a lack of belief about what abortion really is. It is the moral equivalent of killing 3500 3 year olds every day. There is no difference. It wouldn't be any more heinous if that is what Obama supported. Inviting someone who supported that anywhere, especially a Catholic University, is completely intolerable. Yet that is what ND is doing. What it shows is that there are those who only give lip service to abortion being morally reprehensible. They don't REALLY believe it. And that is precisely what we see in this situation; that many people don't truly consider abortion as bad as they make it out to be. It is one of the most horrific and vile things any one human being can do to another. To invite a man who supports that to speak at ND shows that they don't think abortion is really what we claim it is.

    Furthermore, even if we grant that it is disturbing to use someone's position on abortion to qualify their faith, I don't see how taking away from Jesus' sacrifice follows. God love you.

    Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 26, 2009 4:46 PM


    "There needs to be some sort of ALTERNATIVE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY @ Notre Dame that the students can go to. I propose that that be arranged as a way to show Obama and Notre Dame how the students and families feel. They could walk out when Obama comes to speak and go to the alternative commencement. "

    Wow... that's actually not a bad idea, BPLT/PCNLBT. Seriously, I'd make sure Rachael (sp?), the ND student who is graduating this year who has frequented the blog a bit in the past couple of days, is aware of your idea. She may be able to help get something like that organized. God love you.

    Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 26, 2009 4:50 PM


    I propose that that be arranged as a way to show Obama and Notre Dame how the students and families feel.

    They could walk out when Obama comes to speak and go to the alternative commencement.


    Posted by: Bad_Pro-Life_Theology/Philosophy_can_no_longer_be_tolerated at March 26, 2009 4:37 PM

    I'm actually thinking that people getting up and just walking out might be good. Maybe they could stand outside the hall and sing a good Catholic hymn joining hands in solidarity.
    Imagine the effect if hundreds and hundreds of students just got up and left.
    Post the videos on Youtube. Who needs the main stream media.

    Posted by: angel at March 26, 2009 4:59 PM


    ***Notre Dame - Isn't It Time They Stop Calling Themselves "Catholic"?***

    Notre Dame keeps showing by its actions the last thing they really are is "Catholic".

    First, it is the President of Notre Dame refusing to cancel the annual showing of the "Vagina Monlogues" play on the campus, then it was dissenting Notre Dame priest Fr. McBrien helping out Hollywood write the anti-Catholic film "The Da Vinci Code" and now Notre Dame invites radical Pro-Abortion, Pro-Infanticide (voted against IL Infants Protection Act which would protect babies already born from being killed) proponent President Obama to speak at their commencement.

    Mike

    Posted by: Mike at March 26, 2009 5:15 PM


    You're addressing a former clinic escort turned pro-life activist who has worked extensively with Rock for Life and Bound4Life and volunteers at a crisis pregnancy center. I also lost a daughter to abortion and know many others who have lost children to abortion. I think I know what abortion is.

    My point in saying that is this: When we, as humans, prescribe *anything* beyond Jesus as a way to somehow qualify us as saved/good/going to heaven, whatever you may call it, we lessen the value of what Jesus did because we place our faith in Jesus and [insert whatever]. Jesus is the way, Him and Him alone. I was not trying to say Catholics are bad, or abortion is good. Please don't put words in my mouth.

    Posted by: Brian at March 26, 2009 5:22 PM


    Brian,

    Thank you for sharing. I can't even begin to imagine the roller coaster of emotions that have gone on in your life.

    As far as what your point is, I agree. But I guess I'm not sure that this is what is happening i.e. that those protesting Obama speaking are somehow placing abortion beyond Jesus or making any judgments about salvation or placing our faith in some way in the rejection of abortion. God love you.

    Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 26, 2009 5:30 PM


    Brian you said

    "the way some people (usually Catholics) are starting to use a persons position on abortion a standard for "qualifying" their faith really disturbs me. It takes away from Jesus and His sacrifice and it really smacks God in the face."


    Brian, a person simply cannot be Catholic and support abortion. PERIOD. If that is a "qualifying" standard, so be it. It is abortion which is the hideous offence to God, not Catholics calling other "prochoice Catholics" in on their liberation theology beliefs.

    That being said, I am glad that you are no longer a prolife escort and I am very sorry that you lost a daughter to abortion. Your pain must be keen.

    Posted by: angel at March 26, 2009 5:41 PM


    Brian,
    I am so sorry about your daughter lost to abortion. And mine.

    Posted by: Carla at March 26, 2009 6:27 PM


    Brian,
    I am also very sorry for your loss.

    Posted by: Janet at March 26, 2009 8:40 PM


    Brian,

    I think whether or not someone supports the murder of babies by their own mother is actually a pretty accurate litmus test for the state of their soul.

    It's hard to know and love Jesus and support murdering children. Even lost people with a semblance of a moral compass are apalled. Someone with the Holy Spirit should be nausiated at the thought.

    Posted by: Jacque at March 26, 2009 9:35 PM


    St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, LA is very blessed to have Rev. John J. Raphael, SSJ as their principal. I hope we hear more from him in the future.

    "[T]he historical significance of the first African American president is emptied of its meaning if this same president refuses to embrace the rights of the unborn...."

    Aborted babies don't vote, can't get a good education, have no access to decent housing, can't earn a just wage, do not benefit from a clean and green environment, cannot emigrate legally or illegally, and have already received the death penalty and been executed by the state before they were even capable of committing a crime. They cannot support or protest any policy, practice, or person whom they feel to be guilty of an infringement upon their rights. They simply die. There only hope is the Infinite Mercy of our Eternal Father and, thank God, that is a blessed hope! But His mercy does not remove our responsibility to make sure that each of them has their God-given right to live protected by our government and our laws.
    http://www.nbccongress.org/features/bridge-01.asp
    Building a Bridge over Troubled Waters
    By Rev. John J. Raphael, SSJ

    Posted by: Janet at March 26, 2009 11:58 PM


    For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

    I submit that any Christian who supports abortion is either lacking in knowledge or in goodness, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If it is only knowledge they lack, we should educate them; if it is the other four, we should pray for them and attempt to turn them from their path, but I hold out less hope.

    Anyone who thinks that it is okay to shove a sharp instrument in the back of a child's head and suck out his brain with a vacuum is a sick, twisted individual, and I do have trouble believing that they know what it is to be a Christian. Perhaps they have a basic knowledge that Jesus has saved them and accept that--but they obviously either are very recently saved or not active in their faith at all. I don't believe that God would allow his children to participate in that kind of evil if they have a true relationship with Him. Does being pro-life or pro-choice determine whether you are a Christian? No. But it is telling.

    Posted by: YCW at March 27, 2009 12:54 PM