Is Obama Worth a Mass?

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Now that the abortion president will be honored and feted and listened to at Notre Dame’s commencement, the question becomes, who will say the commencement Mass?

The University of Notre Dame has officially and with much self-satisfaction invited President Barack Obama to address its 2009 graduates and to receive an honorary law degree. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a deliberate thumbing of the collective nose at the Roman Catholic Church to which Notre Dame purports to be faithful. Faithful? Tell it to Julian the Apostate.

That someone who procures or advocates abortion thereby excludes himself from communion with the Church has been clear doctrine all along, and increasingly bishops have found the courage to tell those Catholic politicians who are the great enablers of abortion legislation that they cannot receive Holy Communion. Is it any worse to celebrate such a politician as Barack Obama? So where does that put ND President Father Jenkins? He can hardly say Mass without receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so doubtless he will recuse himself and have someone else say the Mass. But to whom will he go? All his cohorts must come under the same cloud as he. Perhaps the pastor of the president’s erstwhile church in Chicago will be invited to harangue the assembled graduates and parents and faculty – those who can bring themselves to attend commencement this year. Why not?

Perhaps because, having been reminded of the sermons he heard over the years, Barack Obama distanced himself, as they say, from the fiery orator at whose feet he sat for decades. In this, whatever his motives, he has perhaps pointed a way for the Notre Dame administrators to redeem themselves. Perhaps they are unaware of Obama’s record on abortion. Perhaps they have not been paying attention to what he has already done as president. On being reminded of all this, and mindful of the parlous position this puts them into vis-a-vis the Church if they thus celebrate the president, perhaps they will as publicly rescind their invitation as they have issued it? Don’t count on it.

For one whose fifty-four year career as a member of the Notre Dame faculty is coming to an end this June, it is a bitter thing to reflect on the 2009 commencement speaker. It is of course convenient to have an excuse to absent oneself from the festivities. Listening to commencement addresses is the penalty that graduates must pay to receive their diplomas. One can count memorable commencement speeches on the cuticle of one finger. They are ceremonial occasions that will be little remembered and less celebrated. One has groaned at previous selections, but the invitation to Barack Obama is far from being the usual effort of the university to get into warm contact with the power figures of the day. It is an unequivocal abandonment of any pretense at being a Catholic university. And it is in sad continuity with decades of waffling that have led with seeming inevitability to it.

No event was more crucial for Catholic universities than the infamous 1967 Land O’Lakes statement in which the assembled presidents of Catholic institutions declared their freedom from the supposedly baleful influence of Catholic orthodoxy. They would continue to call themselves Catholic, but the definition of the term was constantly under construction. And this by institutions whose task is decidedly not to define what Catholicism is. And now we have come to the point where the University of Notre Dame is publicly excluding itself from allegiance to and acceptance of one of the most fundamental of Christian moral truths, mentioned explicitly in the Didache and again and again over the centuries. Abortion is an essentially evil act, both from the viewpoint of natural morality and from the explicit teaching the Church. There is no way in which an individual, a politician or an institution can finesse that fact.

By inviting Barack Obama as commencement speaker, Notre Dame is telling the nation that the teaching of the Catholic church on this fundamental matter can be ignored. Lip service may be paid to the teaching on abortion, but it is no impediment to upward mobility, to the truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society, whether on the part of individuals or institutions.

Some years ago, Archbishop Michael Miller in his Vatican capacity as overseer of Catholic education, said in an address at Notre Dame that the Holy Father was considering prohibiting the use of the word “Catholic” by institutions whose behavior contradicts that use. By inviting Barack Obama to be the 2009 commencement speaker, Notre Dame has forfeited its right to call itself a Catholic university. It invites an official rebuke. May it come.

Ralph McInerny is a writer of philosophy, fiction, and cultural criticism, who has taught at Notre Dame since 1955.

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  • William Dennis

    And so another Catholic institution prostitutes itself again for secular recognition and federal funding. I do not only blame the spinless clerics and trustees of these institutions, but also the “faithful” alumni. ND has a large alumni and following, if they would say enough you would see the hypocrisy end. A Catholic college that sells its principles is “anti-Catholic.” I feel sorry for the parents being hoodwinked by these robed charlatans. I feel sorry for faithfull alumni. Good piece.

  • Mark

    ND: “We have no king but Caesar.” -’nuff said

  • A.L.

    Fr. Jenkins. the president of ND, should be ashamed of himself and think of ‘the day’ the Lord calls to give an account of his deeds. I hope every ‘faithful’ alumni and the students and the parents of current students at ND will rise up in protest and remind Fr. Jenkins of his calling as a priest (a man of God).

  • Anne

    Home Educator
    Are we in the “great apostasy” as author Michael O’Brien surmises in his March newsletter? How many more signs do we need that this is so? Anne

  • debby

    The scariest thing demonstrated here: no shame, no twinge of reflection, such boldness in arrogant flipping of the bird to the Holy See over this and similiar events by what are supposed to be leaders within Catholicism. Not my leaders, but many of the masses have no clue. So is American Catholicism building a new Sodom, Babalyon, Egypt? What is the goal here? I just don’t understand. maybe this is why Islam is spreading at such a high rate. Catholics don’t know who they are.

  • steve

    Several years ago, when Fr Jenkins first became Presdient of ND, we had the chance to visit with him. One question we put to him was: When will he restore the Catholic identity at ND??
    His response was that we were to be patient, as he was doing his best. His best for whom?? Obviously not God, or the Blessed Mother.
    To whom much is given much will be expected,
    May God continue to bless ND, even though the leadership is no longer Catholic

  • Leave in a state of Grace.

    Just when I think that Notre Dame is beginning to recall its Catholic identity and leadership, some stuck-on-stupid atrocity slips by and puts to shame every effort that has been made to save ND from itself. I hope that the graduates will give a clear message to the eyes of the administration and the world by not showing up for their graduation. Diplomas can be mailed. A fond farewell after the final visit to the Grotto would do well. Depart in the presence of Mary.

  • Daniel Kettinger

    These remain frustrating times for those who desire so much to see all Catholic schools – and especially Catholic universities – rediscover and fall in love again with their special mission to serve souls. As a very recent alum of ND, I find that Prof. McInerny’s insights confirm my impressions. Notre Dame has not, on the whole, been nearly as faithful as she should to this mission, and secularization has undeniably eroded the faculty’s collective commitment to the Faith. Please pray for ND!

  • Mary

    Ralph, I would resign if I were you!

  • Molly

    Mixed Messages
    I got pregnant during the summer of my sophomore year at ND. I resisted the temptation to abort the “burden” (Obama’s words) despite the convenience of the Planned Parenthood building a few blocks from campus. I had the courage and fortitude to face the consequences of sex outside of marriage due to my strong Catholic upbringing and education. ND is sending mixed messages by inviting Obama. Our Lady’s university is saying, “abortion is bad, but not that bad”, or “abortion is an important issue, but it’s not the only important issue”. Isn’t it the most important issue? I wonder if I would have made the same decision if I got pregnant after my Catholic university honored Obama…

  • William Thierfelder

    As president of Belmont Abbey College, I am in full agreement with Dr. McInerny’s comments. In contrast to Notre Dame, we do not have a commencement speaker. The homily, by the celebrant of the Mass, preceding the actual commencement ceremony serves as the commencement address. Our 2009 celebrant and homilist will be Archbishop Michael Miller who will also receive and honorary doctorate from Belmont Abbey College.

  • David Zizik

    Prof. Mary Ann Glendon is also slated to receive an award at ND’s 2009 commencement. See, I have a suggestion for Fr. Jenkins: Uninvite Obama; replace him with Prof. Glendon, whom ND should have invited to deliver the commencement speach in the first place.

  • jane pickhardt

    This is so very sad…my father-in-law attended Notre Dame, and we were seriously considering sending our son (junior in HS). Now ND is off the list. There is NO WAY we could send our son there now…I would much rather him go to SECULAR university than a school that pretends to be Catholic. Just when you think it can’t get any worse it does….Mother Mary pray for us.

  • Jennifer

    As an alum and a Catholic, this breaks my heart. Of all of the mistakes that a university can make, making a public mockery of the core values that the university claims to embrace surely is one of the worst. It is shameful. If you would like to share your thoughts with Fr. Jenkins, he can be contacted at:
    Office of the President
    400 Main Building
    Notre Dame, IN 46556
    (phone) 574-631-3903
    (email) [email protected]

  • B.A.

    If this is to happen, let us pray that whatever credible Catholic influence there may be at ND will have an effect on our president instead of the reverse. Many Catholic people across our beloved country are praying for him to have a change of heart regarding life. Let’s add this visit. Jesus himself said he came for the sick, those who really need him. The president REALLY needs him, but Satan wants him bad. What will we do? What would Jesus do? He went to a deserted place, prayed, fasted.

  • Bakerstreetrider

    Thank you for the excellent article. You have truly summed up the issue well. “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”

  • Zachary

    I hope ND realizes that this could blow up in their faces. Obama’s approval numbers are fast plummeting and will likely be negative by June. Further, Justice Ginsburg has signaled that she may retire after this term, meaning speculation for a new justice would peak right at the time of commencement. What if Obama were to pick a radical pro-abortion judge? I can imagine boycotts, demonstrations and loss of funds. Of course, there is always FOCA lurking as well. ND is taking a great risk.

  • Anonymous Discerning Alum

    Propsective Seminarian
    While I’m sure that the outrage over this does not surprise Fr. Jenkins, I wonder if he realizes that this decision just might cost the Holy Cross Order vocations. I’m an ND grad who has been discerning with Holy Cross and had planned on applying to Moreau soon. With this decision, I feel inclined to consider other Orders or a Diocesan vocation. Maybe I’ll reconsider when my anger subsides, but I am definitely wary of the prospect of being formed in an environment that honors Barack Obama.

  • SB

    To Molly
    Molly, thank you for your candor and witness to your faith. God bless you.

  • Ken Colston

    Rightfully bitter words from ND’s most eminent professor. I hope someone throws him a retirement party the day of commencement, and protesting Catholics can attend. ND is now off my junior son’s list of colleges, and this is the biggest scandal to have ever disgraced a Catholic university in America.

  • Tim

    No man is perfect. No politician is perfect. And no political party or ideology perfectly fits the “Catholic perspective,” whatever that means to someone. To react this way to President Obama’s visit is wholly inappropriate and unproductive. As a God-fearing Catholic who was very active ministerially and spiritually during my 4 years at ND, I welcome Obama and hope that a substantive dialogue on all life issues results, as the unborn are not the only defenseless victims these days…

  • Fernando

    I am appalled at such a thought as a mass for the biggest abortionist. Why on earth would the Catholic Church tell people they cannot recieve communion because they were divorced. The pot calling the kettle black. Remember, let him that is without sin cast the first stone. All that has been seen coming out of these so called Ivy League schools is graduates being scraped from the bottom of the barrel. So this is what the Church is teaching the nation of young people?

  • Kelly

    My prayers are with you and the entire University of Notre Dame. I am deeply saddened that the Blessed Virgin has a university in her name which has such high disregard for the Church and Her teachings. Someone should give a heads up to those with theirs in the sand: Jesus is our King, the Lord and Savior – not Mr. Obama. He’ll shake your hand with the right and sign anti-life legislation with the right. May the Lord have mercy on the souls who endorse this nonsense.

  • Scott

    An Honor for ND
    Please people, get a grip! The sitting president will be speaking at this year’s ND commencement. This is a great honor for the university and U.S. Catholics. I am a strong prolifer since the 1970s, a Notre Dame alumnus, a former student of Dr. McInerny, and my son is currently an ND student. Remember that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama. Are right-wing fanatics destroying the Catholic Church in our country, as happened in Italy, Spain, Mexico?

  • Future Priest

    I am also pursuing the priesthood here at ND and will DEFINITELY be scratching Holy Cross off my list, if not completely leaving the school altogether. It is a sad day at the school of Our Lady.

  • Brad

    Amen! Bottom line is that ND is not getting another dime from me, and I think that Rome should back away from them.

  • Barbara Dougherty

    Thank you Prof. McInery – Hope the ND admin. will have the courage to step out in faith and proclaim the truth – if so, possibly hearts will be changed about the killing of the innocent in the womb! God Bless you, The Doughertys in

  • Joseph Ryan

    WOW ! I did not know there were any Catholics left at Notre Dame. Thank you for speaking out about Notre Dame having forfeited the right to call itself “Catholic.”

  • ryan

    Scott you are off
    Where to start, I will just say that you are way off on your analysis. I find it hard to believe as a “prolifer” you dont see the unabashed attack on human life that this president’s administration is conducting. If this FOCA is approved and Catholic doctors and hospitals are forced by the gov. to perform abortions then what will you say about this president. I don’t understand your right-wing fanatic comment as well.

  • Tom Duggan

    I am studying for the priesthood here in Cleveland, Ohio. This decision by Fr. Jenkins makes me sick. The only saving grace is that virtually no men in seminaries these days think like this priest. We are far more orthodox in general and excited to serve the people and think with the Church. No man who claims compassion for the poor but turns his back on the unborn can be trusted. I wish Notre Dame loved the Church as much as it loves money, football and cynical politicans like Obama.

  • Jimmy

    As a current Notre Dame student, I am both ashamed and angry at Notre Dame’s decision. It is absolutely mind-boggling that a radical man such as Obama is welcomed to speak here on campus! May we all continue to pray that Fr. Jenkins and the administration have the wisdom and courage to do the right thing by revoking the invitation. In the meantime, we will continue to fight Jenkins and his pals! Great article Professor McInerny!

  • Larry

    Scott –
    I think you need to re-read your Catechism and just about every encyclical and pastoral letter on life issues. I pray that you have a conversion and realize your material participation in the Culture of Death by your support of Obama.

  • ndparent

    Sadly, it is Catholics like yourself who are lying down and allowing this university and this country to fall further into the quicksands of sin as evidenced by seeing no problem with the University of Notre Dame honoring Obama. He isn’t just speaking…they want to give him a doctorate for crying out loud. The man is what he does-in 60 days he has reversed a load of pro-life reforms. What could be more indicative of what he stands for. You are not a strong prolifer if you voted O.

  • rebecca

    Back in the 70s, I had the honor of hearing Professor McInerny speak at my college, Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. I had many years of Catholic schooling under my belt and had never heard of Natural Family Planning nor of the clear teaching of the Church on many life issues. Professor McInerny opened my eyes to the while hot blinding light of God’s truth in these areas. I am thankful for his prophetic voice at Notre Dame these many years, and I pray for our country. God help us all.

  • Michael Sundermeier

    I was a student of the young Ralph McInerny at Creighton University over 50 years ago. I admired him then. He was young, witty and taught well. I was sorry when he went on to Notre Dame. He is not so young now, but I admire him even more today. Notre Dame will feel the loss of Ralph McInerny just when it needs him. God bless McInerny and God forgive Jenkins.

  • Mary Henkels

    Culture of Life
    Thank you for standing up for life. It really is quite simple. If we are not with the Lord on this issue, we are against Him who proclams, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” If we do not stand up for life, we are working for the Culture of Death. Life is the basic right from which springs forth all other rights and freedoms. We are a ND family deeply offended by this choice of speakers. How offended must Our Lady be! She who carried within her the most important Life of all time!!

  • Joseph Bruce

    B.O. = Left Wing Fanatic
    Sometimes dialog is a waste of time. There is not a human being alive with the use of his reason who does not know that abortion is murder. Those who continue to facilitate abortion anyway, to make it easier to obtain, to condone it in any way, are deeply self-deluded left-wing extremists. God bless all of you who are speaking up in defense of the defenseless unborn. I know that you are also the same people who do other charitable things. May God reward you and bless you!

  • Richard

    This situation is so grotesque that it is not enough for the invitation to be rescinded. It also demands the resignation of Jenkins. This man has no business whatsoever shaping Catholic souls at the present time.

  • Sherry

    What an outrage. I would have expected better from Notre Dame. I agree as you say, an official rebuke is warranted.

  • Bonaventure

    Thank you for speaking the Truth, Dr. McInerny.

  • Bob

    Professor McInerny,
    Thank you for a breath of Catholicism at a supposedly Catholic University. Thank you for a breath of the Truth of the Church. The Notre Dame herself is crying that a university named after her would conferr any degree, let alone a doctorate, on such a blatant abortionist, for do not doubt that billions of babies will die for the sake of useless embryonic stem cell research.

    May God forgive them, for they must not know what they do.

    May it come, indeed.

  • William J. Bell, Jr.

    Dedicated Roman Catholic
    Notre Dame was always my favorite University since I was at an age where I could enjoy sports. When I heard the abortionist President is going to preside at this year’s commencement, I was appaled. From this day on Notre Dame will never be my favorite University under any circumstances


    To the Alumni of Notre Dame: What better way to honor this man of letters who has served your beloved alma mater than to take up your pens and
    show your support for the TRUTH and BEAUTY he has brought to Notre Dame for 55 years! TELL YOUR PRESIDENT JENKINS.

  • Laureen

    Have Mercy Oh, Lord
    I believe the only time Our Lady feels joy looking down upon Her campus is during the Medjurgorje Conferences that take place once a year. For Mary to witness the pilgrims as they recite their rosaries across the South Quad with candlelight towards Her grotto is probably providing the only hope for that campus. Obviously this annual faith-filled practice can no long sustain this campus’s loyalty to the Catholic teachings. Now I pray our Pope reacts to this atrocity. God forgive Jenkins.

  • William Dennis

    Honoris Causa?
    Scott, I think it is great that your son is at ND. And I do think that an address by a sitting president would be great for ND. But this sitting president is the antithesis of all that ND used to stand for. His speaking at ND is akin to Hitler addresing the Jewish youth and the NAACP. ND is not being honored here, Obama is. And what for? The issue here is not the status of ND, but the character the the speaker. As for right winged fanatacism, I would be concerned about left winged Europe.

  • B. Johnson

    Psalm 12:8

    [Ed. note: “The wicked walk on every side, When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.”]

  • Sue

    How can this be? The college that represents “Catholic” colleges inviting this president who is openly opposed to the most basic tenet of our Faith, preserving life! I hope every alumni cancels their support and lets the president of Notre Dame know why. I am appalled and so very sad those in charge would allow this to happend. May God have mercy on their souls.

  • JeffG_Squarewon

    Here here! I’m a student in the Southeast, and there have been tons of youth rising in resistance to this wholly un-Catholic decision by Notre Dame. I’ve put together a list of articles written on this situation. Find them here:

  • James Kettinger

    ND should learn from football and retreat to its own endzone and take a safety on this one. Retract the offer. Do like the Belmont Abbey College, where the Mass celebrant homily serves as the commencement address. Or, honor the “Joe Paterno” of faculty longevity, 54 year prof Ralph McInerny, with the commencement address. His would be a truly Catholic address, memorable, and inspirational. My guess is that it would fit on the cuticles of at least one hand, or five fingers!

  • Carter

    To think that a UNIVERSITY would offer a platform to a speaker who did not espouse its own positions!

  • charles s. smith

    As a graduate of Notre Dame (1960),I am ashamed and saddened at my alma mater choosing Obama as their commencement speaker.The message this sends the world regarding the seriousness and truth of Catholic teaching is a relativistic “different strokes for different folks”.. . a scandalous slap on the face of Our Lady and yes,I agree, a rejection of the Catholic identity associated with Notre Dame since its founding.

  • Lee Anne Boyle

    Parent of ND student
    Thank you,
    2 Timothy 4: 3-5
    “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables. As for you, be steady and self possessed; put up with hardships, perform your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

    Please continue to help us fight this. We need you. Our church needs you.

  • Terri

    mother of 2 alumni
    For those of you upset about ND’s action, there are two things we can do to make a difference. First, check out this website for like-minded people: Second, do not donate any money to N.D. and write them a letter telling them you will not donate until they come back in line with the Vatican.

  • Don Berra

    AMEN, AMEN. What a wonderful way of saving that Notre Dame excommunictes themselves from the Catholic Church. Good riddance!

  • Christopher

    Mr McInerny is very well intentioned and zelous, there is no doubt of this. Unfortunately, his zeal does not increase the veracity of the arguement he proposes. Mr. Obama is not a Caholic and we cannot know the depth to which he ought know better. St. Peter Martyr reminds us of prudent inquisitorial work.

    It is a time of patient interaction with the state- which gives Ntore Dame legit degrees. We need to split the hair of man and office. Ought he recieve a degree… no. speak there, sure.

  • Anne Flynn

    Catholic Educator
    Thank you! May God bless you abundantly in your work…this is such a travesty, and I am so incredibly grateful for your frankness, and willingness to share the Truth. We have signed the petition to Father Jenkins, and have faxed another letter to the university. My students and family will be praying to St. Michael every day until the day of commencement.

  • Ernest Troie

    We are told in the Bible to pray for our enemies and the leaders of our government and he seems to fit both. The best prayer is the Mass.

  • Frank Kenski

    Let the rebuke be handled by the Knight Brothers along with Fr. Dowling.

  • Tim

    ND Class of ’61
    Someone wrote: “Mr. Obama is not a Catholic and we cannot know the depth to which he ought know better.” This was not the point. The point is: Fr. Jenkins and the ND faculty DO know better. And they are doing this anyway. The university should fish or cut bait. Stop the hypocrisy about being a Catholic university.

  • Diane Martinson

    Mrs. Mom, Reg. Nurse
    To acknowledge Pres. Obama with a place of honor, tells everyone that the Catholic Church doesn’t take abortion seriously. To honor a murderer for other accomplishments is to minimize the profoundity of the greater horror. It takes courage to stand by your beliefs and morality. Spinelless aquesence is no leadership. Our Catholic leaders should remember – failure to lead brings no followers. God calls us to be courageous. We cannot just say we are Catholic, we must live as God tasks us.

  • Joan

    It is not surprising that Obama was invited to speak at Notre Dame. After all, 53% of Catholics voted for him. They put him in office, and they knew his position on life issues. However, I hope Notre Dame now goes all the way, gives up the pretense of having a Catholic identity, and PLEASE change its name. “Notre Dame” is about as unsophisticated and embarrasing as “Pro Life.”

  • John Soucy

    Thanks Prof MciInerny for a wonderful article

  • Gary Carpenter

    What you are seeing is the product of government funding. I am sure Obama believes ND owes it to him to permit his grandstanding at the commencement ceremony…holy by association. The narcissist wins. The faithful lose. Fr. Jenkins, the wicked, will know no peace.

  • Father Joseph Leppard

    As a former student at Notre Dame, I am highly disappointed in Father Jenkins’s decision to invite the President. I guess the question I have is what are Father Jenkins’s own thoughts about the teachings of the Church on abortion, embronic stem cell research, the Mexico Policy and the revoking of the Conscience Rule? Father must somehow know these positions taken by Obama are in direct contrast to the teaching of the Church. It’s almost like a very arrogant Fr. Jenkins made such a decision.

  • Blaze

    Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. The Good Lord has a way of speaking to hearts and I think we may very well see a different outcome than we ever expected. Pray for the man that he humbles himself and sees the light.

  • Sylvia

    Thank you for your honesty, and I must say, ND is not deserving of such an ethical, moral man like you! It’s sad you leave what we all thought is a great institution, but now has fallen to the radical-leftist propaganda—and for what? What are Jenkins motives? Is it all about $$$?
    I strongly believe BO’s intent is breaking down Christianity and Catholicism, and ND is his 1st target! BO’s good at distracting us, using our weaknesses to make his CHANGE. ND does not deserve being called CATHOLIC!

  • Susan M. Shay

    I have not come across any public comments from those in church authority over Fr. Jenkins. Are there any? Where is their public outcry over this hideous public lack of conscience on the part of the University of Notre Dame’s leadership. And where is the public voice of all the other campus religious? It is ironic that Notre Dame’s trustees should tolerate such blatant unethical decision making when they fire football coaches for far less! Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness!

  • Mary Oberle Hubley

    Such an example to our young people of, what, courage to stand by their Catholic convictions?!! Let’s see, didn’t Obama says something about his intent to be “in your face”?! To tolerate this insult on the part of the board of Notre Dame is out of the question.

  • Ryan

    I amazed that this professor did not protest when Bush spoke on campus, or even when the Pope officially received the Clintons at the Vatican. John Paul the Great did not shun either of those presidents, even though their record on life is both reprehensible and tarnished. Instead, he chose to use those opportunities to speak about important issues and, in the case of Mr. Bush, lecture about the need to respect life and foster peace in this world.

  • Bill Longhi \’51

    All the protests will be for naught unless we follow through with action. I will no longer contribute to the sectarian Notre Dame. After a dozen years as a member of the Badin Guild and the Sorin Society I cannot in good conscience continue to support such anti-Catholic in your face actions.

  • Ana Braga-Henebry

    Our son, oldest of seven, is graduating. My mother’s heart is torn. The image that came to mind was exactly this one of Our Lady’s tears. I would like to hear more from other graduating-class parents as I think we need to plan something silent and eloquent we can do during his speech, which we will attend for our children.

  • Dan Ravasio

    This will be a sad day should it occur as planned. As a Catholic I am outraged. But as a Catholic, I have to see it as part of God’s plan to wake us up!

  • PGN

    Thank for the honest and heartfelt article. May all Catholics rise the occasion to not be silent as we see the fabric of our beliefs torn as they did Christ’s garments. It appears the decision has been made to bring ‘Judas-Obama’ forward and may we all pray, pray, and pray that the Blessed Mother softens his heart and guides his heart towards her Son, our Lord Christ.

  • Therese

    Cheer Cheer for “Old” Notre Dame…I mourn the passing of a fine Catholic university. Ryan, it is one thing for Christians to have dialogue in hope of greater discernment and understanding but quite another to give a platform to one who would lead others into grave moral error. My heart goes out to the students and parents faced with this dilemma. Kneeling and praying the rosary during the speech would be an awesome nonviolent witness. God’s ways are not always our ways. God Bless Us All!

  • Rosie

    YES! It is great to see people publicly stand up for the truth and for our true Catholic faith. Thank you Ralph McInerny.

  • Rosie

    Scott (An Honor for ND)
    Just because Catholics voted for Obama does not make it right. It just means that there are a whole bunch of Catholics who do not truly understand their faith and the Church’s teachings. If you are truly Pro-Life, you cannot possibly be in agreement for what Obama stands for. Yeah, it’s difficult to be a true Catholic because you CANNOT pick and choose what you will believe in as a Catholic. I pray for all the misguided Catholics.

  • anonymous

    It’s good to be able to sift the resource of the web and become ‘informed’. I’m a convert who prior to being ‘welcomed’ into the Church was employed at a treatment centre for Catholic Clergy. One morning at the staff meeting it was announced that two of the resident Priests had sex on campus. Without hesitation a Primary Therapist celebrated with “‘Ain’t love grand!” The Director, a Jesuit said little. The American Church is in a state of schism.

  • Max L.

    Not surprised. Here in Naples FL, St. Ann Catholic Church gives a “PhD” from Notre Dame a page in the weekly bulletin to peddle dissent. Did you know that the Gospel of John is historically “most suspect”? That the “keys of the kingdom” passage in Matthew was “added” by Matthew? That Jesus walking on water is a “tale”? That the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels were “put in his mouth” by the evangelists? That it is “likely” the birth narrative of Jesus is “not historically accurate”?

  • Tom M.

    Great article! Pres. Jenkins and his ND colleagues are perfectly described In 2 Timothy–they do not tolerate sound doctrine but follow their own secular desires and stop listening to truth and wander off to fables! I pray that ND stops its wandering in the wilderness of secular materialism and returns to its Roman Catholic roots. What an shameful scandal for a Catholic (?) institution to honor a prominent proponent of the culture of death.

  • Brad Miner

    A NOTE FROM THE CATHOLIC THING: The response to Ralph McInerny’s article has been remarkable, and we’ve posted nearly all comments it has received. (Some, you’ll understand, simply are not appropriate.) I’m inserting this note because there is a 4-part post, heartfelt, from a Notre Dame alum (ndgrad08) that must appear in pieces–but, I hope, in sequence. -Brad

  • ndgrad08

    As an ’08 graduate from the University of Notre Dame, I think it is outrageous that one could view its choice of commencement speaker as a negation of its Catholic identity. First and foremost, Notre Dame has always put its relationship with the Roman Catholic Church before anything else. The commencement speaker’s address is to and for the graduates, not to the faculty or to the Holy See. The decision has finally, as it should always have, reflected the will of the students – who, despite being . . .

  • ndgrad08

    “86% Catholic”, appreciate that abortion is a viable option under certain circumstances; who, despite 86% having been raised Catholic, voted more for Obama than for McCain (I should know, trust me). Obama, like all human individuals, is dynamic. He has more than one platform. Not to analogize Obama’s abortion policies with any of Bush’s, but really? How many free passes did he get? That’s not the point. The point is this: my graduating class, this year’s graduating class and several to come after . . .

  • ndgrad08

    after are graduating into a world with a superior education and no jobs to be found, the worst economic recession in our lifetimes, three ongoing wars- one that has no definite end or enemy- and a plethora of other issues. President Obama has been and continues to be what gives me and all of my future fellow alumni hope for our future and the future of our country. So, why not give them the courtesy of going out into that world after a hearing a personalized speech written for them, from a man . . .

  • ndgrad08

    they admire, a man who holds the salvation of our future in his hands? Let it go. The speech is not for you, nor does it have anything to do with you. After all, if the Pope’s lifting of Bishop Williamson excommunication does not inherently mean that he supports the bishop’s denial of the Holocaust, than how can one claim Notre Dame’s decision to have Obama as its commencement speaker is “an unequivocal abandonment of any pretense at being a Catholic university”?? It’s just an insane allegation.

  • Donna

    Where is the Bishop? Why can’t he insist Obama NOT speak at the commencement ceremony?

  • Roland Wu

    If the Church does not respond to this, it must mean that it is not that important after all, and maybe all of you are over-reacting. The Church is surely taking the proper course of action with Nancy Pelosi, and with Joe Biden, and all the staunchly pro-abortion Catholic politicians. If you think you don’t understand this, then you can appreciate that there are a lot of other things about your faith that you do not understand. That is why you have to trust the integrity of the Magesterium.



  • Dan Devine

    What next, tax payer-funded abortions available at the ND student health center? I believe the current administration (both in the White House and under the Golden Dome) would favor such a program.

  • Susan C.

    For those who will be at the commencement and are upset about President Obama’s attendance, PRAY THE ROSARY during his speech. Pray for his conversion. This can be done quietly and respectfully. While I believe inviting President Obama to speak dishonors the institution of Notre Dame, I am more concerned that it dishonors Our Lady.

  • Don BTexas

    Fr. Jenkins can protest all day long that having Obama as the commencement speaker does not mean that ND agrees or supports Obama’a policies. However ND is giving Obama visibility and it will be hard for many people to disassociate the setting and the messenger. As is often the case, power perceived is power achieved. ND has sold it’s soul for fame that tarnishes.

  • John F. Barrett

    Catholic Layman
    While disappointed, I am not surprised by Notre Dame’s action. Perhaps they’ll find time to have Obama huddle with Charlie Weiss on how to return ND to its position of prominence on the football field while he’s denigrating our faith from the podium.

    Let’s hope that all ND alumni/a stop support for their no-longer-Catholic instituion and let them beg to eat at the trough of secular society, instead.

    And, let’s pray that Our Blessed Mother intercedes for the salvation of the souls at ND.

  • Therese vacca

    As they say: money talks. Donors need to petition that if Obama comes they will probably stop their donations.

  • gerard

    Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us, For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

  • Dan

    ndgrad08… to hear you say of Obama “a man who holds the salvation of our future in his hands” is a statement that is beyond anything that I could imagine anyone saying. SALVATION OF OUR FUTURE – are you being serious? This is a trick comment to get the goat of readers, right? SALVATION??? What??? Holy Cow!!!

  • Patrick Roach, ’07


    It is clear that Notre Dame has failed to form you in the Catholic faith if you believe that Barrack Obama is the “man who holds the salvation of our future in his hands”. If Notre Dame had imparted Truth to you, you’d recognize that the man who holds your salvation in his hands is Jesus Christ. The delusional messiah-worship of Barrack Obama is part of the problem. By inviting Obama, Notre Dame is pandering to enormous cross-section of America that worships a mortal man. Sad.

  • Christopher

    I will never give another penny to Notre Dame. Instead, I will support institutions that understand and support the teachings of the Church.

  • Cleta

    What the President of Notre Dame has done, inviting Obama to give the commencement Address at NOTRE DAME is an absolute OUTRAGE. This article is so well written, there is nothing to add, except to say that I agree with the writer, Ralph McInerny. (Having read some of the comments below, I have a problem with the ndgrad208’s 4-part comments….why be anonymous? One loses credibility, as far as I’m concerned, when one does not have the courage to post his or her name).

  • Elizabeth Caruso

    I am shocked and disheartened by this decision of Notre Dame. After years of “Cheer, Cheer for old Notre Dame” my voice has been silenced.

  • My Father’s Daughter

    To ndgrad08
    As an ’82 graduate of ND, it is beyond my comprehension how anyone who sees himself as Catholic could or would ever “appreciate that abortion is a viable option under certain circumstances.” As Pope Benedict has clearly and correctly pointed out, abortion is and always will be an instrinsically evil act. While it is permitted and tolerated, there will never triuly be peace or justice in this world.

  • Rosie

    It is so sad to read your comments. I fear your Catholic formation has been inadequate. Obama does not hold your OR anybody else’s salvation. Only Jesus Christ can do that. At a very core level, you have ignored what Obama stands for and that is his complete disregard for human life. Just because “abortion is a viable option” does not mean it is moral or right. If you have any doubts, search the internet for pictures of dismembered aborted babies & decide if it is “viable.”

  • Rosie

    By the way, students who want the “will of the students” to be represented should go elsewhere. Attending a Catholic University should mean you are willing and ready to truly follow the Catholic teaching NOT your own will. That is the problem these days…people no longer want to believe there is an “absolute truth.” You are either Catholic or you are not. You cannot be Catholic and Pro-abortion/pro-choice. It just is not possible! Do some praying and check yourself.

  • Elizabeth DeAngelo ’01

    Thank you Patrick Roach!
    You took the words right out of my mouth. I was about to respond to him and realized that you had done it for me. I think we all need to be careful of allowing any man or woman on earth to be the one “who holds the salvation of our future in his hands.” Unfortunately that student is clearly also more interested in what is popular among his peer group than what is morally right. All I can hope is that his views will change when Obama does not bring the “salvation” he is hoping for.

  • Bernadette Palla

    A Mom
    A comment favoring welcoming Obama to ND was hopeful of a substantive dialogue on all life issues. All life issues are not equal. Why is abortion the most important life issue? Because the right to life is the most fundamental right we have. It is the one right on which all other rights depend. One has to be alive to be able to exercise any other rights. Legally sanctioning the murder of a preborn child, the most innocent and dependent among us, is morally reprehensible & demeans us as a nation.

  • Gregory Solman

    Class of 1980
    From the start of the pitiable handling of the Vagina Monologues “controversy”–and it oughtn’t to have been, as it’s the sort of thing that a pre-Hesburgh president would have effectively managed with the sweep of his hand and five minutes–I’ve seen (pace the fiery preacher from Chicago) Father Jenkins’s chickens come home to roost. I say of Jenkins what his Senate colleagues cynically crack about Joe Lieberman: “He’s always wrestling with his conscience–and his conscience always loses.”

  • Gregory Solman

    Class of ’80
    And don’t think they can’t compound the error, as did my graduate university, Columbia, when it gave a forum to one of the world’s most openly hateful anti-Semites. First they’ll invite someone like Comrade Obama and try to save Catholic face by pretending to have principles and rebuke him when he’s there, which will translate at Our Lady just as it did at Alma Mater: Rudeness on top of apostasy. I hope at least they fawn over Obama and let the world know what values that really adhere there.

  • William N Bonner, Jr.

    Only two words:

    Bravo and AMEN!

  • Militia Christi

    Let the evil one come. Our faithful should be on their knees praying the rosary while he spews his venom. It will show Obama their great witness of Christ. The rest of us are to fast and pray the entire day. Our Lady will join us. Obama can only be pulled from the clutches of the evil one by fasting and prayer. Spread the word so that everyone knows what to do that day.

  • Nina

    With William Bonner, Jr.: Bravo and Amen!

  • Ken

    I am not a Catholic, but I agree wholeheartedly with those who see Notre Dame as abandoning the moral high ground by inviting the President as a commencement speaker. He clearly stands against the teachings of the Catholic Church and cannot be called her friend. And to give him an honorary degree on top of it? What has he done, from the perspective of Scripture, that is worthy of honor?

  • Joseph Collins

    I think Pat Buchannan said it best some years ago when discussing a similar situation that ocurred at his alma mater, Georgetown University: I would rather send my kids to a public university where they would have to stand up and defend their faith rather tha to one of these so called “Catholic” Universities where it would be stolen from them!

  • mike wendell


  • MM

    CAtholic mother
    Notre Dame has been on the edge for many years now they have jumped off the cliff.

  • Joe

    This is rediculous
    To all you people that are outraged about the Obama thing. YOU ARE IGNORANT! I think maybe you should be outraged about real scandal such as your holy teachers malesting kids or school loan scandals that rarely make the news. Before you act as stupid as possible you should fix all the things going wrong with your high representatives of the catholic religion.
    Obama is our president who will do wrong and right just like you and me. And about the stem cell research, wait until you beneifit from it.

  • Tn Catholic

    The petion is at a website called NotreDameScandal. I don’t know the exact address but I’m sure you can Google it.

  • Barbara

    Has Notre Abandoned the Church? When did the Catholic Church stop praying for someone and start praying to them? What has this man done to warrant praise by the Church in America? He spits on our Faith all the time yet he is to be awarded. I will pray for the priest responsible for this because I fear for his soul.

  • Chris

    Since Obama has no respect for human life, I hope the students will respond to him in kind. If he shows up they should show him their backs. Then maybe the rest of us “Catholics” in America can get some backbone and stand up for our faith.

  • Bob

    “inspiring leader”
    This is precisely why thousands of people are leaving the Catholic Church – lack of leadership who will stand up for Christian teachings. Having President B.O. at the commencement as a so-called inspiring leader is a slap in the face.

  • john mohr

    practicing Catholic
    Jenkins should be fired from his position for doing this completely horrible act. This will forever tarnish the name of Notre Dame in my eyes, and will allow the merchant of death obama to use this to political gain.
    I wish I could contact the Pope about this for Jenkins should be fired!
    I will need to go to confession but I hope Jenkins rots in hell!

  • Paul

    Ralph, stick to writing your poorly written mysteries and polemic filled “philosophy” books.

  • Nick Johnston

    I suggest all graduates either change their wills or stop giving money to Notre Dame.

  • Truth

    Throw science into the mix and religious catholic nuts go crazy.

  • LH

    One has to wonder how many supporters, students, professors, and the like voted for President Obama?
    Secondly why are we surprised? Listen to his recent address to the Iranians.
    Just give a listen everyone! It can be obtained online! This is the country that wanted to wipe Israel off the map!! He wants to be their best friend!
    It’s time to wake up America, and embrace objective truths. The scriptures are not relative!

  • Dan

    Goodness me. When will you people realize that God is a myth – just like Zeus, Poseidon, and the like. You were given some positive teachings from an inspirational man (Jesus) and you have allowed a few narrow-minded bigots to corrupt and warp these teachings into a practice of intollerance and blind obedience. Please, for the sake of the rest of the world, open your minds and your hearts… we will all be better off in the long run.

  • Tim Underwood

    Lay Catholic
    This egregious behavior cries out for censure by the Catholic Bishops. If they fail to strip ND of its official Catholic standing then they are acquiescing on the abortion issue once again. This would never have happened if they had been doing their jobs for the past few decades.
    So, what is it, Bishops, will you act like you’re serous about the sanctity of life here?

  • Cindi 1981

    Wake up the Echoes!
    Rally sons (daughters) of Notre Dame! It is definetly time to wake up the echoes! Our son is currently a 4th gen ND student and thankfully not a senior. He does not support this choice of speaker or the bestowing of a bogus degree … and I quote him, “yet another mistake by this administration.” We will not give ND one penny more than it takes to get him out of there. Our money will go to our local Pro Life org to educate fellow Catholics. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

  • Carolyn Izzo

    Wife of a Alumni
    My husband received both a Bachelors and Juris Doctorate from ND, to see this man receive any recognition from what is supposed to be a Catholic school is nothing but a shame for me, my children and my deceased husband. I demonstrate this with empty donation envelopes to the school. If morals and values don’t matter I know money does.

  • Greenjeans

    Mere observer
    The author’s purported “ethical” stance might be credible if the Catholic Church and its representatives reliably embraced practices that safeguarded life, e.g. opposing elective wars, torture, the death penalty, environmental degradation, and supporting health care for all. The sad fact is, the Church has forgottten what Jesus stood for. It is a monolithic, reliable friend only to the rich and powerful. What right does it have to demand anything from anyone?

  • Steven Golde

    The Catholics do a lot of great things for communities across the globe, but to spew such vitriol based on name calling is callous and childish. Pro Abortion gives women the choice, it does not make a president a baby killer. quoniam punitio non refertur primo & per se in correctionem & bonum eius qui punitur, sed in bonum publicum ut alij terreantur, & a malis committendis avocentur.

  • Brad Miner

    D’Arcy says NO
    NOTE: The bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese has announced he will not attend the ’09 graduation at Notre Dame. [Also note: for some reason a space appears between the O and M in the URL below. Close it when you copy and paste.]

  • Rod

    Am a Baptist, but way to go, ND! No Obama speech!

  • Dennis Shaw

    It is time Catholics of maturity admitted that being “pro-life” is about more than abortion. How do people who supported George Bush sleep at night or go to communion?

  • Bridget

    My son, my husband, my father in law and 2 bro in laws all ND grads. I’m SMC ’82. Not another dime Jenkins…not another dime! We who did not vote for the Leninist Wolf knew this cold, corrupt radical for what he was prior to election day. Was it not enough for Fr. Jenkins that Obama consented to allowing babies who actually survied abortions to be left to die, alone alongside filthy laundry? God, Country, Notre Dame? As for the obots here on this thread…wake up! Tyranny vs Liberty.

  • Dan Sullivan

    What a disgrace. Where is the local bishop? Hiding in his cathedral? Why aren’t the Irish fighting for the unborn, instead of hosting this latterday Herod?Spend those thirty pieces of silver well. You’ll get no more from me as long as apostasy rather than Our Lady rules du lac.

  • Mary Ellen Sanchez

    Parent of graduate
    You stated my thoughts and feelings with accuracy. It is a bitter way to have to end four years of my child’s college education.
    Thank you for understanding.
    ME Sanchez

  • Leon Dixon

    I’d guess a two week or two month INTERDICT would seem about right and would serve many salutory purposes.

  • Roger Haden

    Jenkins should be fired.

  • Dai Yoshida

    Without Father McInerny, our family has no reason whatsoever to consider Notre Dame as a possible College choice for our children. Thank you Father, for keeping up the good fight. You will be missed.

  • Mike

    Fr, Jenkins as Nicholson
    In the movie Bridge on R. Kwai, Col Nicholson builds a bridge for his captors, but another POW asks “Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?” Eventually, Nicholson realizes his monumental mistake, exclaiming, “What have I done?” Dear Father, you cannot treat with the enemy. Obama has already invalidated important protections for life. Your “dialogue” merely closes the barn door after the horses are out. Let Obama build his own bridge.

  • Joan Grabowski

    Daughter of the Most High
    As a graduate of Saint Mary’s College ’82, your name and reputation are familiar to me, Dr. McInerny. Thank for for speaking out. May God have mercy on Fr. Jenkins’ soul. Better yet, may God overwhelm him with grace, mercy and conversion of heart.

  • William H. Phelan

    Is anyone out there old enough to remember SAPIENTIA CHRISTIANA? It was the predecessor to Ex Corde Ecclesia. One toothless document after another. No wonder young Catholics have no fear of Hell. They have abandoned Catholicism as a waste of time for chuckleheads with gray hair. Notre Dame’s invitation was a SCHISMATIC ACT, and the school should be denied its “Catholic” identification. Will anything happen? Of course not.

  • Al

    It is sad that a university of such (past) stature would set such a woeful example. Perhaps, the university, with the president and along with the many Catholic senators and Pelosi, will celebrate the beginning of the end of what used to be the great country of America. Life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness. First life must go, then liberty is next. There is no excuse for this ignorance of Catholic teaching. The local Bishop should recind the name of Catholic from the University.

  • Georgian

    If a catholic university will not stand up against abortion why should the students who attend the university stand up for abortion. Double standard. Take a stand and cancel. He is NOT an ispirational speaker, he is a liberal who’s intend is to get in front of as may young people as possible to influence them. The university shouldn’t help. Maybe if the university stands it’s ground Obama will begin to get the message.

  • Terry McDermott

    Dear Fr. Jenkins: Inviting President Obama to speak at ND is spitting in the face of JESUS:
    “JESUS, I hand it to YOU
    A little hand raised high in the air,
    wondering if anyone cares?
    As she reaches for the hand of God,
    as pro-lifers we need to applaud.
    It is way beyond time for the truth to be told,
    Like JESUS in the temple, we need to be bold.
    Sold out for life is our call,
    not one more child, Lord, let fall.
    Hands raised across our nation,
    standing firm for abortion cessation.

  • William N Bonner, Jr.

    81,000 and counting. People are speaking out. You can even buy a cap and shirt on Zazzle to show your support! Just search for “Notre Dame Obama”

  • Gabriel Espinosa

    Maybe it’s time for faithful Catholics to take matters into their own hands…literally.

  • hoolie

    This is the same University that caved on The “V Monologues.” Notre Dame could have been on my list for my “high honors” Catholic son to attend, but I don’t want him leaving college with less faith than he arrived with. Notre Dame is a faith diffuser… they are not interested in developing the “Catholic Identity” of their students, they woul rather follow their own agenda with does NOT parallel the Church’s. Shame on them!

  • Brad Miner

    Terry McDermott, cont’d
    Satan applauds the killing from the gates of hell,
    we need to speak out and to tell.
    Every abortion kills a living child,
    why does that not drive everyone wild?
    Are these deeds of darkness in control,
    as every lost life takes it toll?
    JESUS, rend the heavens and come down,
    as rivers of blood are all around.
    Hearts must change and be broken,
    and the word “abortion” must be spoken.
    Stolen property You need to take back,
    expose the difference between lies and fact.

  • Brad Miner

    Terry McDermott, ended
    [Here’s the end of the McDermott poem. But, folks! Watch the character limit!]
    JESUS, we cannot do this alone,
    the horror of it all chills to the bone.
    So on my knees I will pray,
    for Your presence and white ribbon day.
    Let every mother hear as you end the strife,
    “Mom, take my hand, not my life.””
    -Terry McDermott

  • Maria

    As of this writing (3/24/09 – 2:00PM – PST), the petition tallies are at 81,630. What a joy to see those numbers!

  • Pio

    It’s time to get serious
    Please don’t stop with disinviting Obama. We need 100% certainty and authentic moral clarity: a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, something even Bush/Reagan did not have the guts to support. Therefore, unconditional, active and public support of a pro-life amendment should be a litmus test not just for commencement speakers, but any Catholic who wants to receive communion. Anyone refusing should face the wrath of the bishop and, ultimately, excommunication.

  • Joseph Collins

    Write a letter to Rev. Hugh Cleary CSC, Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Rome to protest this act and at the same time have this man removed from his ministry and the office of President of this once great university.

  • Mark McIntire

    At last, someone of real intellecutal stature has called it the way it is, was, and should be. Mcinnery’s argument is locialy valid and theologicaly sound. If an institution calls itself ‘Catholic,’ then it has no business honoring purveyors of murder. Notre Dame calls itself ‘Catholic,’ yet Barack Obama is the highest ranking perveyor of death in the United States. The fallacy sd populum does not make murder acceptable. -Mark McIntire, Santa Barbara

  • V. R. G.

    Pro-life means many things, but protection of innocent babies is far more important than the few thousand who died in Iraq & Afghanistan who CHOSE to be in the US military. Please stop equating the two.
    The majority of U.S. women having abortions (56%) are in their 20s.
    1% had been forced to have sex.
    Each year, about two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion

  • Karla

    One must also realize not only is this president pro-abortion, he’s pro-creation of life from stem cells to “harvest” those parts from this created life, and eventually destory it. President Obama and the Democratic Party also are imposing a war against all mention of God and religious practices in public life. I don’t know how many notice each day we are called to stand up for our beliefs and risk losing jobs and government assistance for doing so. I find it appalling that ND would “honor” Obama.

  • Lakin

    Jesus never condemned -He listened, He prayed, He spoke. I find too many Catholics using violence in language and behavior. Obama is calling on research to be made on issues. Engage in positive actions Notre Dame & Catholic Universities & researchers. Homosexuality is caused by many underlying causes, child abuse, undetected physical deformity, moral weakness, aggressive spouse etc. Yet, there appears not enough dialogue or guidance provided to or by Catholics. May the Holy Spirit guide us.

  • Mary Bortner

    Medical Technologist
    I just heard that Notre Dame University has invited President Obama to speak at their commencement and receive a statesman award. Everyday I feel like the world is spinning out of control and each and every day I have begun to cling to my Catholic roots more and more to feel some sense of comfort in the midst of all of these radical beliefs.

  • Brad Miner

    Medcal Techologist, 2
    I am a member of St. John’s Westminster parish and several weeks ago we were asked to write to our legislators to oppose the abortion bills being brought forth. Last night, on the way home from work I heard that the morning after pill is now approved for 17 year olds. When I think it can’t get crazier–Notre Dame invites Obama to speak at graduation. I have a 22 year old daughter and a 20 year old son, both attended Catholic schools for 12 years…

  • Brad Miner

    Medical Technologist, 3
    . . . not because of the good education but because I believe in our core values. I felt the sacrifices we made were priceless. I now debate with my kids issues like abortion…my daughter and I now Notre Dame does the unthinkable. Well, she will interpret that gesture as a significant expression that she is right and the church supports her views because it is “Catholic” Notre Dame. This cannot happen! We ..You…have to stand up to this.

  • Obama Supporter

    The Catholic church is fast becoming an organization of haterd. The sooner we realize that people aren’t just “pro-life” and “pro-choice” the sooner the world will be a better place. Stop insulting the man for his beleifs, if you remember that was once what was being done to us in America, have we learned nothing?

  • Mary

    Actions speak louder than words…just don’t attend.

  • Brad Miner

    500 CHARACTERS, please!
    COMMENTERS: PLEASE NOTE THE 500 CHARACTER LIMIT ON POSTS. The counter to the left above the composition area counts down the characters. Please be concise. Thanks, Brad

  • Donald Maxwell

    Retired Military
    Where has the morality of our Catholic institutions gone? This man stood in front of NARAL and Planned Parenthood pledging to do everything he could to promote abortion and the culture of death. Where are the voices of our shepards?

  • Peter

    What are they thinking at ND these days? My late father-in-law who fought the KKK in So. Bend in his college years has to be turning over in his grave. This is a sad day for any well-informed Catholic who is lookinng for true leadership from an institution like Notre Dame. Any Catholic who is awake knows that the culture of life is what must be promoted. To invite Barack Obama and award him a high honor is beyond me. Fr. Jenkins?

  • Kevin

    America is not a country that upholds core tenets of Catholicism. Many think if Obama comes to Notre Dame, ND will be endorsing a “baby killer,” someone who does not uphold the sanctity of life. Catholic supporters of ND forget about the violations of the sanctity of life occurring in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, and other parts of the globe where the U.S. is perpetrating violence on humanity. Outraged Catholics also ignore U.S. torture. Catholics should not cherrypick their values.

  • Joe Pagano

    Pastoral Coordinator
    If the ND staff & faculty does not believe strongly enough in their Catholic Faith and the teachings of the Church to cancel this outragous slap in the face to the Church – I propose that the Student Body make a significant statement by NOT standing, aplauding of cheering Mr. Obama at any point in this ceromony. I think this would send a LOUD and CLEAR statement on the Faith of this new generation of Catholic men and women.

  • M Doyle

    Thank you and God bless you Mr. McInerny.

  • Brad Miner

    To “Mendoza”
    To a commenter calling himself “Mendoza”:
    If you wish to attack Catholicism and Catholics, please do so without profanity, and that includes swapping out letters for asterisks.
    The Mgt.

  • Tom Brennan

    A cleansing fire
    Running the trails through a forest yesterday, we came upon a controlled burn of ~60 acres, still smoldering. The apparent work of unseen hands, the smoke & scattered flames in the twilight were eerie and unsettling. But such burns are done to benefit the overall forest today (the taller trees were unharmed), and to reduce the chance of a hellish, uncontrollable forest fire tomorrow.
    “I came to cast a fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled.” Lk 12:49 May it come, indeed.

  • Heartbroken ND Parent

    I urge everyone to go to and sign the petition to withdraw the invitation to Obama to speak. My son is a graduate of Notre Dame and as a parent, I am absolutely heartbroken. This is a slap in Our Lady’s face. Put your ego aside Fr. Jenkins and withdraw the invitation.

  • Barbara

    I thought when you have Catholic in front of your name that meant you lived the Catholic faith.
    Sounds like the president of ND does not believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church. I hope all alumni stop all donations to ND. I know this will hurt but it sounds like this is the only thing the staff will be able to hear. I can’t imagine any Baptist church inviting a known abortionist public figure to speak.

  • alum

    Thanks Prof. McInerny! Notre Dame will lose one of their finest teachers. Fr. Jenkins is above all things a priest who has a duty to teach us about our faith and to provide us with an EXAMPLE of Catholic education. It’s so disheartening to know that he is breaking apart our small community instead of trying to unite us, especially at a time we young people need strong Catholic leaders. Let us all pray that Fr. Jenkins will do what is right.

  • Becky

    Worried Mom
    What a wonderful, well-written article. It occurred to me, as I was reading this, if Pope Benedict is yet aware of Obama’s invitation to Notre Dame. Perhaps, it would take his involvement (and prayers) to stir the heart of Father Jenkins to do the right thing and withdraw this invitation. It seems as though we take a step forward as Catholics, only to have this type of event throw us off our path again. Thank you for your article. Let’s pray that God will win this battle with many prayers!

  • Matthew

    Shake down the thunder from the sky! ND has invited Hitler to its commencement.

  • Mary

    Our Lady is weeping that a University named after her could remove all manner of Catholic teachings by this invitation. I do think the Devil is working his magic.

  • James Garrow

    Well said my friend. A sad end to a great place. The rush to appease the god of populism is apparent in everything political in our land. Standards and absolutes are washed away in the torrential need to be seen as current. All the brilliant rhetoric of the President of the United States belies a constant fact, he is an abortion supporter not a champion of life. I would ask this honorable institution to reconsider the invitation and know the ramifications of allowing this populist to speak.

  • Edward

    The commentators that continue to set up the “straw man” argument of the pro-life Catholics who are supposedly indifferent to wars and the death penality are apparently ignorant of the USCCB’s continuous support of efforts to end the death penalty and repeated papal calls for peace. In the same way that we study scripture, Catholics are not “either/or” on life issues we are “both/and”. Rather it is the pro-choicers that seem to exclude the rights of the pre-born in favor of the post-born.

  • David M Tompos

    Prof. McInerny-
    To answer your question – yes. Obama is worth a mass. In fact, all of our fallen Catholics NEED our prayers and pleadings – Kerry, Pelosi, Biden, and Kennedy. These have all chosen to be “in the world,” instead of standing by their Catholic faith. Many times have I roamed the campus of Our Lady on the Dome – but no more. My eyes and attention will turn south – to Ave Maria Univ. in Florida. We are not to judge, but I will pray for Fr. Jenkins.
    Happy Easter.

  • Kurt

    Beautiful article. I am no longer under the illusion that Notre Dame is a Catholic University. Clearly, Notre Dame is a Secular University that I would not send my children to and expect them to receive a good Catholic formation.

  • James

    Notre Dame has chosen evil over good, darkness over light, death over life, and lies over truth.
    They are now in the domain of the evil one – and they are drawing young ones into that domain. That be millstone territory.

  • J. Williams

    Special Education Teacher
    “after are graduating” This is what kind of education you are getting at Notre Dame? To correct it: After our graduation. The English Language has correct usages and if you intend to say you are a college grad, please write like one.

    Thank you.
    The English Teacher

  • Amy Kleinberg

    Thank you for contributing such an truthful and powerful statement against the travesty of honoring President Barack Obama with giving the commencement speech at the 2009 graduation ceremony at Notre Dame.

  • Dr. Jim Garrow

    A simple protest
    As a younger man I was able to announce my displeasure with those who stood for things that I didn’t agree with. I did this by protest. I would encourage the graduating class to respond as good Catholics and have nothing to do with “the appearance of evil” and “cling to that which is good”. You graduate and receive your degrees by mail. This would be an appropriate response in not “honoring that which is unseemly”, an absentee graduation. You do not honor that which God condemns.

  • Thomas M. Hopkins

    As the virtues of our secular society collapse on pace with the market, the Land O’ Lakes bunch is revealed to be as unscrupulous and incompetent with our Catholic faith treasure as the Wall Street and Washigton corrupt nincompoops have been with our economy and our republic. Holy mother Church – my true home, Deo gratia.

  • Mark Murphy

    By the way, the best way to stop abortions in this country is to pressure the physicians doing them (for profit I might add) to stop. Find out who they are in every community and put their names and pictures on the Web. Who would want to get health care from a murderer?

    Mark E. Murphy MD PhD
    San Diego, CA

  • John

    2008 ND alum
    For those who want to villify all of ND, please remember in your prayers all the many, many faithful Catholic students, faculty, clergy, and staff who are tearing their hair out right now about this decision, most of all those who are actually graduating this semester and have to see their beloved university at one of its darkest hours when they should be celebrating a wonderful four years. Love thee Notre Dame… but please just pull your head out of wherever it is right now.

  • David

    We all have work to do
    The description above says “The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary.” Much of the reaction to Professor McInerney’s comeplling argument is anything but intelligent: it is largely consumed with self-righteousness, judgment, anger, vile, insults and triumphalism. This is precisely how the Pharisees treated our Lord. None of this will save a single human life or convert the heart of someone contemplating an abortion.

  • Dan King

    You Phonies. Where have you been for the last few hundred years concerning the Death Penalty; covering up for pedophile priest; racism and war. You call your selves Catholics. You are not Catholics, you are shameless, gutless bigots and scum.

  • James T

    Wow, glad to see that he cares so much about the unborn children. The ones who are alive however, are getting raped by people this man supports. How can you people be taken seriously anymore?

  • Dom

    This article is pitiful. Although I enjoy the holier than thou attitude. Quite refreshing. By the way James, a bit over the top don’t you think? But hey, don’t let me keep you from being delusional

  • Michael

    Catholic betrayers
    I am very sorry to tell you this cancer of denying the right of an unborn to live has too many Catholics all over the world. It is so convenient that to support their liberal (perhaps sexual) lifestyle they’d deny the defenseless, innocent, god-like infants their basic right to exist as a direct challenge to the Creator who creates them out of His immeasurable love for them. Sadly, our parish has plenty of these “infidels” — from the priest to the leity. God shall not be mocked!

  • Jim Tobin

    What a disgrace for Notre Dame. “Catholic” University has lost its moral compass. Mr Obama is the last person to be recognized with such an honor from a once Catholic university.

  • Mark Breese

    I would think this 12 yo girl could speak higher of ethics than Obama could.

  • Conor Gilliland

    To “Obama Supporter”
    No one is preaching hatred toward anybody, least of all Obama. If you asked anybody on this blog, they will probably tell you they are in as much need of grace as Obama or Fr. Jenkins. The problem most people recognize is with the decay of moral fortitude in the face of pop culture, from an institution committed to the opposite. No doubt there will be some “emergent” Catholic (whatever in hell that means) that supports this kind of thing, but the faithful need to stay committed to whatever is

  • Conor Gilliland

    To “Obama Supporter”
    true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

  • Ed

    It boggles my mind that someone can claim to be Christian and support the murder of innocent babies. You so call Christians, who support this crime of abortion ,will have to stand before God someday and explain that . Where are the bishops. Don’t turn your back on us again like you did in the priest scandal. Holy Father in Rome, intervene here. We need your guidance. The one positive note in all this is that there are still many who oppose abortion and are in accord with the church’s teaching

  • Jim

    Not so cut and dry
    The commentary on this article, on the whole, is absurd. Abortion is wrong; Obama thinks it should be legal. Obama is speaking at ND’s commencement. Ergo, ND is not Catholic. WHAT? Notre Dame’s ONLY job is educate the most elite group of Catholic students in the U.S., to give them the tools to make a difference in this world so that they might be happy in the next. Lively campus debate has ensued, which will only bring more ND students closer to the truth.

  • Jim

    Not so cut and dry, cont.
    It signals to the students that you need to work with those with whom you disagree in order to change their hearts and minds. If ND has a duty to others, it has arguably fulfilled that duty, too. It has laudably put this issue to the forefront of our minds by making this a national issue so that more will hear the Church’s steadfast opposition to abortion. ND is also building a relationship with Obama through which it can effect positive change.

  • Chad

    ND Alumnus, ’97
    As a Catholic, Notre Dame alumnus (1997), and American, I think ND is wise to embrace the president in this way. Since when do we demonize our commander in chief if we disagree with only one or two of his decisions on the many important and MORAL issues he faces? People who do this are narrow-minded, short-sighted, and are at the fringe of civilized society. Wake up, people. He is a far better leader and holds far greater moral integrity than George W. Bush ever did.

  • Jim

    Not so cut and dry, final
    You can’t expect him to listen to you if you don’t listen to him. Our nation can’t afford the Catholic Church to cut off all ties with politicians who disagree, especially when they have the power.

  • Jack leadbetter

    Right on! My heart aches for my beloved Notre Dame.

  • Greg Chiasson

    ND graduate
    Professor Ralph McInerny was a professor of mine. Along with other seminarians at Notre Dame, I esteemed this great catholic layman as one of the finest influences upon catholic youth. HIs voluminous writing is testament to his magnificent faith. Holy Mother Church may well regard Professor McInerny as an outstanding apologist and defender of the faith. When he speaks, the world would do well to listen.

  • John

    When on Earth are more Americans going to wake up and stop believing the fairy tales of organized religion? Religion is nothing more than a collection of stories made up by men to help explain what they can’t. There is no “book of God.” They are all books for men written by men!

    Religion is like believing in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny! To revolve anything in your life around it shows enormous ignorance and stupidity!

  • Mike M

    If Notre Dame takes this opportunity as the Pope did with Speaker Pelosi and engages our President (the office I support now occupied by a man whose politics I detest) with a unified message on behalf of Catholics that his stances on abortion and stem cell research are wrong, then the invitation will have benefited us all.

  • Patrick Roach, \’07

    Unified Message?
    Mike M,
    You are dreaming if you think that a commencement ceremony will enable Notre Dame to confront Obama “with a unified message on behalf of Cathoics that his stances on abortion and stem cell research are wrong.” A commencement IS NOT A FORUM. There is no exchange of ideas. It’s a means to honor graduates. Obama won’t be part of some give-and-take. He’ll be bestowed an undeserved honor and he’ll lecture Notre Dame graduates. How, pray tell, will Notre Dame send a Pro-Life message?

  • Mom

    FLA John, without a higher authority that is beyond reach of the human capacity to influence, we are nothing but animals. I don’t personally think that is the case. We are better than that. Religion is good – it gives most of us pause, except probably you. Just for the record, St. Nicholas was real and there is nothing wrong with emulating him. Easter is a Christian’s most joyful time of year – nothing wrong with including the kids in some harmless fun. I pity you for some reason.

  • Lee Anne Boyle

    Here is the contact information for the bishop of Ft Wayne – South Bend
    Bishop D’Arcy
    Fort Wayne Chancery
    1103 S. Calhoun Street
    P.O. Box 390
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46801
    (260) 422-4611

    Ultimately it is his responsibility to enforce the USCCB standard of no pro-abortion speakers at Catholic Universities.

    Contact him by phone or letter. Send the petitions to him too.

    In Christ,
    Fr Stephen Imbarrato

  • Jeanne McCarthy-Caparso

    Thank you Professor McInerny for speaking out. I sent the text of my letter to Father Jenkins, to the ND ethics department and to Pope Benedict himself asking him to contact Jenkins. My feelings are completely aligned with yours and as a second generation graduate of the University and life long supporter, I feel quite dismayed at what I feel to be a serious veering off course from the very reason why Father Sorin founded this wonderful place so many years ago.

  • Nicholas Kottenstette

    To the Catholics at ND:
    My prayers go out to all of you. It breaks my heart such scandal tarnishes ND. While completing my Ph.D. at ND, it was “The V*#$!@ Monologues” being (and continuing to be) hosted at ND to raise money for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood (PP) which scandalized me . ND awarding a Ph.D. to the ‘Champion of PP’ scandalizes you, hang in there.

  • Ricardo

    Support ND inviting Obama
    I support ND inviting Obama. He is an inspirational figure that was able to bring about change. ND is a university and as such can invite those people they believe are appropriate. Those of you opposing it, I am wondering, are you educated? Did you graduate or attend ND? I bet NOT. Most of you “angry people” are upset that ND supports the invitation of the first BLACK President! Besides, if abortion is not legal, who is supporting the children born? YOU? Why not adopt kids in the CPS system?

  • cliff roe

    ND Law ’67
    I received a solicitation letter from the Law School yesterday using the word “Catholic” three times in an opening paragraph. Other words sprinkled throughout the letter were “Grotto”, “Basilica”, “ethical”, “spiritual”.In a closing paragraph the words “Our Lady” were repeated twice. It is clear that the University’s solicitors and administration use these words without any regard to their true meaning and without understanding the true meaning of the words “Notre Dame.”

  • AnPiobaire

    “That someone who procures or advocates abortion thereby excludes himself from communion with the Church has been clear doctrine all along.” NO IT ISN’T, “increasingly bishops … tell those Catholic politicians who are the great enablers of abortion legislation that they cannot receive Holy Communion” ONLY A VERY SMALL MINORITY DO. “Is it any worse to celebrate such a politician as Barack Obama?” NO. “where does that put … Father Jenkins?” AS A COURAGEOUS AND ADMIRABLE AMERICAN CATHOLIC.

  • Patrick Roach

    Clear Doctrine
    Simply because you disagree with the Bishop’s statement, doesn’t make him incorrect. I cite from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    CCC 2271: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:”

    Continued …

  • Patrick Roach

    Clear Doctrine
    CCC 2272: Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. 79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.

    Continued . . .

  • Patrick Roach

    Clear Doctrine
    CCC 2272 concludes: “Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”

  • Virginia M. Nash

    I am very sad that the wonderful Catholic University of Notre Dame has joined the millions of people in this country to refuse to stand up for moral principles. What hope do we have when such a prestigious university ignores what the president stands for. May Almighty God help us!!!!!!!!!!!

  • R. C. Pouliotte

    Thank you, Mr. McInerny, for your excellent and forthright viewpoint regarding Mr. Obama’s invitation by ND. I am a “subway alumnus” and proud to be until this incident. Let’s pray that all the outrage directed to ND administration will be successful in righting this wrong. Humility on admin’s part will have to be called into play. God bless!

  • Mom

    Ricardo – Obama is the first HALF black president. Why emphasize half his color so much if color is not supposed to matter? It’s all a bunch of crap and it’s getting tiring and boring. Whatever his color, he will go down as the worst president this once-great nation has ever had. GOD HELP US ALL.

  • Eric

    Excellent article and perspective. I have expressed my disappointment and concerns on this to my local Bishop and to the Pope. Notre Dame has sold its soul. It’s just pure arrogance and disregard for the faith. What a political manuever and victory for Obama. Next, we’ll hear that USC head coach Pete Carroll will be invited to speak at the pep rally prior to the next ND-USC game. Oh wait, football makes money, wouldn’t want to sell out on that. I pray for a change or heart of rescinded invite.

  • mario

    I agree Notre Dame is not a Catholic University!

  • QuestionEverything

    Our diocese is putting a halt to invitations that welcome Notre Dame to our college fairs at our Catholic schools… we’d rather have public universities present and REAL Catholic schools that aren’t wolves in sheep’s clothing! What an embarrassment for Notre Dame!

  • alumni parent

    Do as I say not as I do.

  • Pat

    As a practicing Catholic of 71 years of age, I am shocked (well maybe not really shocked) at the attitude of ND. Perhaps this is why I always rooted for USC.

    Many of the people I talk to are noting that ND has for a long time sought a reputation as a world class university. Well, they have it…by and of the world, but definitely not Catholic.

  • Chase

    My best regards to Mr. McInerny for a well-constructed article. Voices must be heard at the right time and in the right place. This certainly seems to be one of those times. I don’t like Mr. Obama, not because of the color of his skin but because his values directly oppose mine. ND will follow through with this commencement schedule, because how do you uninvite the POTUS? But perhaps other Catholic universities will think twice before placing vanity above morality, thanks to this uproar.

  • Joan Davis

    God must be looking down at the earth with great sadness in His heart. To realize that Notre Dame would sooner sell its soul than stand up for what is reallly right. Our children attended the Universtiy of Portland which is a sister school to Notre Dame. I will not ever mention that again to anyone.
    Notre Dame will be tarnished forever after, because the President refuses to stand for what is right.

  • Woody Woodward

    Dear Man of Great Passion for Truth, since our Pastor refered to your blog, I would like to refer you to his. This pastoral prayer was offered the past Lord’s Day at Redeemer Presbterian Chuch where I am blessed to be a member.
    Monday, March 23, 2009, A Pastoral Prayer for the Church in America
    In case this doesn’t hyper link you to the article, go to:

  • Chene

    I have loved this university for many years. Was brought up to bleed “Irish,” and now my 3 and 5 year old children can recite the victory march word for word. They have been brainwashed ND style. I am in awe each and every chance I get to attend a home football game. But, I am now deeply saddened by this turn of events. We are honoring a president who has zero regard for the sanctity of human life. May I ask . . . Where is the honor in that? May God have mercy on Father Jenkins’ soul.

  • Robert McCabe

    I am old enough to remember the days of Knute Rockne and ND playing USC in the Coliseum and aspired to go to ND, but unfortunately could not. I always have held ND as a Catholic U in high esteem, but over the years that has waned…and now Obama, a baby killer…what is wrong with Fr. Jenkins and the Board and others who engage in a mockery of the sanctity of life. I have nephews and neices and their children who were fortunate enough to go and they are fed up with the liberalism of ND.

  • Diane

    He will not be mocked
    We would be wise to heed the lessons from the history of mankind – all civilizations that practiced infantacide ended disastrously! Is that what we are choosing for America? We have gone a long way, in the wrong direction, from a government that was originally founded by God-fearing men and based on moral, Godly principles!!

    Hopefully we will correct this travesty and return to our base centered on God\\\’s word, before it is too late for us to make that choice.

  • Susan Stambersky

    I am appalled that [ND has invited] a man who not only advocates abortion but, worse yet, voted in Illinois for partial birth abortion, the more uncivilized procedure. Does anyone believe that the fetus/baby is not inflicted with pain? This is a viable life and the procedure that kills this life is murder. So much for the reputation of Notre Dame. Our Lady must be weeping.

  • Ben Pomerenke

    I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I would say I’m a devout Catholic and love the teachings of our beloved faith, but I don’t believe the comments on this page represent the majority of Catholics. Obama may not uphold the values we believe in through his government action, but that does not give us the right to deem him unworthy to speak to us. We should not reject him as a whole because of some of his beliefs. He is human.

  • Diane Johnson

    I am not a Catholic, but I am a devout Christian. To this article I say a whole hearted AMEN! This invitation is hypocrisy. It is an outrage. I am glad to see the uproar over it, and may “the powers that be” take notice!

  • Len in Michigan

    Anyone else see what Mr. Obama’s doing, appointing so-called Catholics to high fed positions? Not one of these Catholics is pro-life. He’s trying to cause the great divide within our beloved Church, while thumbing his nose at Rome. “It’s okay to be Catholic and pro-choice,” he tells ignorant American Catholics. He needs Catholics to push his programs through. But here, in a town in Indiana, this is where we Catholic lovers of life get to draw the line. May Our Lady be with us as we stand firm.

  • S. Dolores Liptak, RSM

    Professor, Church History
    I absolutely agree. Church leaders must respond as you have. Notre Dame should forfeit its right to the title of “Catholic.”

  • Charlie

    Thank you, Prof. McInerny. I was lucky to graduate in 2008 and escape from this travesty. I feel so sorry for all my friends who are graduating this year but can not attend the commencement because of Jenkins’ poor judgement.

  • Laura

    It is a sad state of affairs when the President of Notre Dame decides to pierce the heart of Mary (this being the Annunciation). While we should show gratitude to Jesus’ mother for her “yes”, Jenkins honors Obama for his “no” which our abortion president has said over and over and will continue to say, no matter how many pleading voices ask him to have a change of heart. To the Notre Dame president appearances matter more than the human heart and the Catholic faith. How selfish!

  • Keith Rothfus

    Pittsburgh (ND Law 1990)
    Let’s invite Pope Benedict XVI for an alternate Mass and commencement at Coveleski field or some alternate site and let the grads choose which they’d prefer to attend.

  • Joe Maria

    This is a test of public opinion. Fr. Jenkins and Pres. Obama would like to see how far they can stretch their relativism. If they can get away with such a blatant disregard of Catholic sense and principles, what is to prevent the public from accepting more radical scandals in the future?

  • Embarrassed alumnus

    Makes you think again about the slick ND commercials we’ll no doubt see on national TV this fall: What is ND really fighting for? Why spend so much effort on raising our profile, but then never bother using any of the accumulated capital? Especially, on an issue that science and the Church have clarified since Cuomo came to ND in ’84. Even secular lawschools read Roe only for its laughable logic. Wake up, Jenkins. O what are the odds…ND will tremble in fear like the quislings they’ve become.ND86

  • William

    MAYBE ND SHOULD HAVE INVITED FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH … And give him a standing applause for all of the innocent civilians killed in the unjustified war in Iraq and in Afganistan as well. Also for running this country into the ground in every sense. How much of this ant-Obama dribble is related to race? You Nd grads should be ashamed of yourself for the lack of respect you show the president. I am sorry, Republicans – he did win, and he won with the majority of Catholic (pro life) voters.

  • ND Graduate of 2008

    As a graduate…
    I am saddened by the decision to welcome President Obama. However, I will say that my undergraduate years were invaluable in my formation as a young Catholic. In that time I fell deeply in love with the Church and her Truth. I was inspired each day through faithful students, liturgies, professors- including Prof. McInerny. For anyone who shuns ND as having any credibility as a Catholic institution, know that there are many Fighting Irish like myself who have devoted their lives to the Church.

  • sue

    When the mother of my dearest friend was expecting, she was diagnosed with cancer and told to abort the baby so that she could begin treatments for the cancer. She refused, and courageously went through the pregnancy with the loving support of prayers from everyone she knew. The baby was born beautiful and healthy, and next week, we will celebrate this marvelous example of what trusting in God can do–my friend’s mother is turning 89 vital years young. “For nothing is impossible with God.”

  • Rosie

    Response to William
    William – it is interesting that the N.D. students standing up to this outrage seem to understand they need to respect & protect the sanctity of life. Their eternal reward for respecting what truly matters is in heaven not here on earth. I’m proud that apparently our young people are “getting it” and I’ll pray you get there too and understand where these N.D. students are coming from. By the way, read their posts — all of them are written very respectfully.

  • Mom

    William you are a fool. This has nothing to do with race and you are a true son of the divide and conquer team, aren’t you? You know as well as anyone that Catholics faithful to the magisterium voted en masse against our half WHITE (why does he insist on dissing half of his parentage?) – president. Stop trying to be incendiary and go to confession instead. And leave Pres. Bush out of it. At least he tried to keep innocent life safe.

  • Elizabeth Little

    I AGREE!
    My prayer is that the commencement ceremony will be UNATTENDED by those who are faithful! And if this means the students and their families are not there, so be it! And a mass? That would be a cruel joke – one that might invite holy wrath!


  • Dennis Larkin

    Fr Jenkins and the Trustees are poor, lost souls.

  • AnnieM.

    Fr. Jenkins, what happens to those who are lukewarm in their faith? Have you no fear of the Lord? By inviting Obama, you are supporting Obama and his works. Shouldn’t you be denouning those works? Obama has already led the way for more babies to be aborted (killed). Is your support of Obama the side you really choose to be on? Pray about it and obey.

  • DTD

    Wow! By the look of this letter, you’d think ND invited Hitler or Osama Bin Laden to speak at graduation….I notice many racial undertones in your response which I find disturbing. And where is your outrage at the many lives that were destroyed by Bush’s useless war? As a graduate of the University, I am happy that you’re ending your tenure.

  • Anthony

    You cannot, I repeat, cannot be a liberal or pro choice and call yourself a Catholic. End of discussion. Life begins at conception. Notre Dame has greatly
    tarnished itself and for the school to say the criticism “is nothing beyond what we expected” is pure arrogance. Let the donors and alumni speak through contributions.

  • Bruce Hawkins

    In my opinion The Holy Church has now become the great obaminable church. It is so pathetic it stands for absolutely nothing! My family is now going to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter-day Saints, the only church that is willing to stand up courageously and fight the hard battles for The Saviours Truth and Rightiousness!! Look at the persecution and sacrifices that church took upon itself in its fight against gay marriage in California and in the early days of the churches existence.

  • Tom


    I think the university invited Obama precisely because he is black. His race allows the school, and his Catholic supporters, to portray his very election as some kind of victory for social justice. Catholics who voted for him did so, in large part, to prove to themselves how Christian they are and determined to right Jim Crow wrongs, etc. They made it their priority to elect a black man, with no thought as to whether he is a good man. ND has made the same mistake. Obama is a fraud.

  • Ellen Urben

    I cannot believe that being a well known Catholic Institution that they would accept Pres. O’Bama has approved funding for abortion and late-term abortion. The murder of God’s children and one of the reasons American is suffering as a nation. How can O’Bama call himself Christian. What if his daughter wanted an abortion? How abortion hurts the women emtionally for years. Living thru the Hell of killing you own baby.

    What is He thinking?? This is not good for America!

  • David

    Disgusted Catholic
    Obama’s invitation to Notre Dame should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Church has become so permissive with so many things in the last 40 years – willing to overlook things like unauthorized additions to the Mass ( Example: Holding hands at the Our Father) and say nothing. Christ himself was wiiling to throw the money changers out of the Temple – to take a stand on right and wrong. It is about time for the Chuch to tell Mr. Obama that he is not welcome because of his anti-lfe policies.

  • Scott

    Guardian of the Eucharist
    I am dismayed and saddened by the complete lack of undertanding of the majority of people who have posted on this blog. One of the CORE tenants of our Catholc Faith is that no one but God has the right to decide who lives or dies. When a Catholic institution invites a sitting President who’s stance is is not pro-life, it is an afront to eveyone who calls them Catholic. Many inside and outside our faith call our faith “Rigid”. They’re right, it is on issue that are the core of human morality

  • Steve

    Bruce: leaving the Church to be a Mormon because some Catholics are cowardly and don’t understand their own faith? Sad, and you shouldn’t do that to your family, but if you’re choosing what you believe based on political affiliations, then you never understood what the Faith was in the first place. DTD: Yes, everyone who criticizes Obama does so for racist reasons, or with “hidden racial overtones”. Idjit.

  • Cati

    Jesus ate with the sinners. Thank God, because sinners we are. Abortion and President Obama´s support of it is a sin against God´s love. But, I´ve yet to find any examples in the Gospels of Jesus excluding a sinner in order to convert him. Let´s not judge, lest… Let´s listen to and love people who are pro-choice and PRAY FOR THEM! Let´s work for conditions where women don´t feel forced into or attracted by abortion. I will listen to sinners, disagree with them and remain CATHOLIC

  • Mom

    Cati – Read the Gospel of John, 2:13-16. Jesus made a shambles of the temple area, likening it to a marketplace, overturning tables, and fashioning a whip from cord and driving the people out. You are free to have a dialogue with anyone you choose, but you don’t invite evil into your home, which is what Fr. Jenkins has done. Incidentally, what you FIND in the bible is more important than what you don’t find, i.e. your example of Jesus not being exclusionary

  • Kristine

    Since the Archbishop may appoint another to celebrate mass, the name Father Frank Pavone comes to mind…

  • Dennis

    If your brother sins against you, speak with him and if he won’t listen, bring witnesses along, and then tell it to the Church and if he still refuses to listen,”let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (In effect, an excommunication?). We hope and pray for conversion of mind and heart, but we don’t heap praise and adulation on the sinner who refuses to give up his sin.

  • Mike

    Dr. McInerney rightly cites the problem of abortion. But, the issue of Obama’s support for infanticide bulks even larger and makes this invitation even more heinous. ND is leading us into very dark times, indeed.

  • Sheila

    Oh, Kristine, you must share your suggestion with Bishop D’Arcy!

  • Mom

    Kristine, that is brilliant!!!

  • Val

    If hosting Obama, Notre Dame should change its name. Our Blessed Mother’s name should not be tarnished this way. Father Jenkin’s should resign and leave.

  • Joe Maria

    “All the advances of these attitudes over the past decade follow the same pattern: a) A minority comes out with a ‘crazy’ folly; b) the majority shudders and protests; c) the minority persists; d) the majority gradually becomes accustomed, adapts itself, and submits; e) meanwhile, the minority prepares a new scandal; f) and this scandal will be equally successful.

    Thus the majority gradually enters this new world fascinated, fortified, hypnotized, like a bird in the maw of a snake.” PCOliveira

  • Victor Ray, II

    I am getting dangerously close to coming to believe the Catholic Church no longer has anything to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the meaning of His life, death and resurrection or His Church. Pray for the Church before it is too late.

  • Nan ND Alum \\\\\\

    The issue is very simple….to claim you are a CATHOLIC University means you uphold the Catholic beliefs and mission(which is stated in ND’s promotional materials!) ALL of them. However, any Catholic Institution is only as strong as its leaders. Jenkins action in selecting a pro-abortionist to be its Commencement Speaker is a blatant act of defiance against the Catholic Church. “Fr.” Jenkins should GO & CANCEL Obama..Then SELECT a CATHOLIC Leader to lead Our Lady’s University and my alma mater!!

  • Mary O’

    Great article on Notre Dame by the kind of faculty member Notre Dame desperately needs more of!

  • Ray Bond

    Notre Dame Shame
    Ralph McInerny”s article is spot on. Notre Dame should be ashamed, and certainly can no longer call itself a Catholic institution. My son, who is about to enter college, is considering numerous Catholic universities. Notre Dame was on that list. Not any more. Obama is an avid pro-abortionist and should not be permitted anywhere near a Catholic institution, let alone be honored by one. Shame on you Notre Dame.

  • Conor Gilliland

    Please pray with me
    God, Father Almighty, as Christians we believe that you are interested in our lives and in the decisions we make. May we all seek first and foremost you and your will. May you give us a spirit of courage to resist injustice everywhere. If that means resisting Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, then may we all resist it passionately and peacefully. If you are working a greater good through this controversy, may you assuage our passions. Always, YOUR kingdom come and YOUR will be done. Amen.

  • Denise J.

    It pains me especially since Obama took such pains to develop a campaign strategy specifically to make himself palatable to Catholics to win their vote despite his obvious anti-life record and strident abortion advocacy. Sadly, the US Bishops helped him by coming out with strong statements AFTER the election. Now Notre Dame. May these fallen people develop a sense of shame and repent.

  • Jim

    Although raised a Methodist I have great respect for Catholocism, being married to one for 40 years and raising my 5 children Catholic and educating them through Catholic schools. I would lose all respect for Notre Dame, or any other catholic institution, were they to have Barrack Obama speak at their graduation ceremony. Not only would it be hypocritical, it would be blasphemous.

  • Rosemary Debes

    Stand Firm
    I read the following article this morning and am passing it along because I believe that we need to get the word out to encourage people to sign the petition to Father Jenkins asking them to reconsider the decision to have President Obama as the commencement speaker at Notre Dame University. I wrote in a letter to Fr. Jenkins that this great honor should be bestowed on someone who believes and upholds the fundamental truths of Our Catholic Church. Our country has a myriad of speakers to choose from that would affirm our faith and encourage the ND graduates and I implore Fr. Jenkins to reconsider this decision. I believe that the choice of President Obama will, at best, send a mixed message to those attending the commencement ceremony and to the world. Perhaps I am being naive but I believe if enough people care enough to pray and to write to Father Jenkins then I do think this decision could be reversed.

    I give my allegiance to President Obama as our President and I pray for him and for all of the leaders of this great country daily but I also believe that we need to stand up and let him know that while he is our President and he has our allegiance that we do not believe with the stance he has taken on policies that are contrary to our Catholic Faith.

    Please stand with me, pray for our President and our country but let them know that the fundamental truths of Our Catholic Church, that we hold dear will not be compromised.

  • Judy Dacanay

    So well stated. I wish I’d had a class with this professor during my time at the university. The attraction of ND has been due to its Catholicism — not just the beautiful campus, vibrant faculty, and exciting sports teams. Young people can find these things elsewhere. Without a true devotion to our Lord and His Church, ND is nothing more than a good school. This decision feels like the death knell for ND as a Catholic institution.

  • Parent 2013

    The Obama revelation has blunted the hope that, when our son begins his undergrad studies at ND this fall, he would be welcomed into a culture where tradition and not change are preeminent.

    Graduating seniors who value the traditions of our faith are rightfully offended by the selection of the commencement speaker – and deserve recognition of their achievement.
    One way to honor honor tradition without dishonoring the Office would be to consider an alternate commencement ceremony.

  • Maureen Johnson

    Catholic Identity Crisis
    I’m beginning to believe the Catholic Church = Hypocrisy. What does the Church hold to be true anymore? The minute a Catholic begins to take action we find we are fighting our own. The Catholic Church has a huge identity crisis on it’s hands. Every Catholic can clearly see that Obama has surrounded himself with Pro-Abortion Catholics: Vice President Biden; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; U.S. Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius. Now President Obama has the Catholic platform.

  • Dee

    I don’t understand the honorary degree. Our country is on the verge of changes that will ruin this country forever! Rebuke is not good enough. Wake up America.

  • Janice Lipps

    The Catholic in the pew is so tired of the weak sermons and the lack of guidance from our parish priests regarding moral issues. It is no wonder the Catholic, whatever age, cannot see the importance of the decisions we make in the voting booth. Is like taboo and don’t cause any uproar.
    Pray God exposes the evil to our Nation before we fall even farther into this culture of death.

  • nonya

    Not god
    You people are ALL hypocrites! You don’t even know that your whole religion is based on a compromise? Do your homework. Tell me why the virgin mary is portrayed as deity when it is clear that she is not? Is it traditional for your priests to continue to rape young boys and then lie about it? And the vatican’s constant flip flop on abstinence?? You people are as pathetic as it gets! Leave the confines of small town america and open your eyes! Because it’s tradition doesn’t make it right!

  • carmen

    notre dame scandal
    to Father hugh w. cleary: haven’t we gone thru enough shame in our church and now your college is causing more shame? when we try to talk to others about christ they laugh at us, they say get your house clean then talk to us. well it’s time to clean house, either you are a true believing christian or if not i suggest you get the name catholic out of your college. i pray you do the right thing, there is a higher authority and one day we all are going to face him.

  • Jeannice Theriot

    I understand that Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, is not answerable to the local Bishop and therefore is able to easily exercise anti-Catholic decisions as President of Notre Dame. However, does he not answer to his own Superior General? I found his direct email address on the internet:

    General Administration
    Via Framura, 85
    00168 Rome, Italy
    Phone: (39) 06-612-962.10 Fax: (39) 06-614-7547
    e-mail: [email protected]

    Please send him a note

  • Mom

    nonya, it’s actually nonYA business what our church and faith believe – such insolence! I don’t know and don’t care what you believe, if anything, but your comments are asinine. You sure aren’t a church scholar and your understanding of the Blessed Mother is abysmal. The Church is perfect – the people in it are not, including some priests. Get over yourself and your rude behavior. Perverts come in every stripe and walk of life- not just MY CHURCH.

  • Joanne Dunch

    Bravo! I stand and applaud you, Dr. McInerny. You unreservedly speak the truth. Having Obama receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame shouts to the world that Catholic doctrine is not worth proclaiming. President Obama condones killing babies anytime throughout pregnancy even up until birth. An honorary law degree for Obama?–What would Thomas More do if he were the president of Notre Dame?

  • NNP

    As an ND alumnus I am deeply sadden and outraged by having Pres. Obama as the commencement speaker. I feel that my alma mater has sold its soul to the devil for publiciity. I have called the Alumni Association to ask that I be removed from the alumni directory and not to contact me further for contributions unless Father Jenkins become enlightened from his poor decision. I hope other alumni will do the same and pray for a change of heart.

  • ellen

    I am all for Obama having a platform at ND but I would also like the unborn to have a platform next to Obama-why should he be heard and they silenced.

  • ed dowd

    Very simply, it is Catholic Values vs. prestige.
    Jenkins values prestige, Values have always taken a back seat at ND when it comes to prestige. It’s like the Catholic politicians: votes are more important than values. But it is a slippery slope, very soon you discover you don’t remember what your values were. pretty soon you are Joe Biden or nancy Pelosi and you are attempting to redefine Catholic values to suit your life style. So, jenkins isn’t any different from them.

  • KJW

    Re: Ben’s comment:
    “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I would say I’m a devout Catholic… but I don’t believe the comments on this page represent the majority of Catholics. Obama may not uphold the values we believe in… but…(W)e should not reject him as a whole because of some of his beliefs. He is human.”
    Hogwash. Folks were (rightly) eager to ostracize the Holocaust-denying SSPX bishop for “some of his beliefs.” How would it play if he’d been invited to speak? I believe he’s human.

  • Ann M. Filutze

    Not use the name “Catholic”? What about the name Notre Dame – Our Lady??! What an insult to Her this invitation is! Those priests who do not follow Catholic teaching should not have the title of “priest” either. Where have all the Catholics gone?

  • Liz Hamel

    Teetering Catholic
    This is a total CROCK. Shame on you. I struggle constantly with the CHURCH on these issues. I give Notre Dame a standing ovation!

  • gbihn

    There can be no question of the correctness of this piece. It doesn’t require brillance to do the right thing, just fortiude.

  • Jacqueline Maxwell

    What a slap in the face of Catholicism in America. Those Catholics who voted for Barrack Obama and those who put Fr. Jenkins in the Presidency of Notre Dame have no right to call themselves Catholics, Christians, or followers of Jesus Christ. Abortion is genocide and fully against the Catholic Church or any Church of Jesus Christ.Those so-called “popular” Notre Dame people have no right to speak for the entire alumni. Fr. Jenkins, if you can truly call him a priest, needs to step down now!

  • KJW

    R.E. Ben’s comment: “Obama may not uphold the values we believe in through his government action, but that does not give us the right to deem him unworthy to speak to us. We should not reject him as a whole because of some of his beliefs. He is human.”
    By that token, why not invite SSPX Bishop Williamson? We only disagree with some of his beliefs, and he, too, is human. Are you familiar with the term “non-starter?”

  • M T Rishel

    What an honor! Our president delivering the comencement address at a Catholic University is an affirmation of the Catholic Church’s dedication to education. Having studied at a Catholic University I am grateful for the excellent education I received. I studied with different races and nationalities who enriched my experience. Those who oppose dialogue, preferring to live in a cocoon are doing our church much harm.

  • Discouraged

    This is not just a speech. Commencement speakers are given an honorary doctorate. For what Is Notre Dame honoring the President? His stand on embryonic stem cell research? His 100% pro-abortion voting record? His opposition to the Born Alive act? His support of legislation which may compel Catholic hospitals and health care professionals to do abortions? Our bishops share responsibility for this Presidency, their letter of guidance to Catholic voters was pathetically ambiguous.

  • Mark D

    If you struggle with the Church over this, then you need to join a different organization. If indeed you do call yourself Catholic, then you are a member of the most anti-abortion organization in the world. You are the very definition of the word hypocrite. And now, sad to say, so is the University of Notre Dame.

  • Julia

    Those who perceive the Commecement of a hard earned degree as the setting for “dialogue” with the most anti-Catholic president in history are sadly misinformed.

    As a Catholic, I will engagae in debae with a pro-choice advocate, but I will not honor them for what is clearly an abomination against our people and our Lord.

  • Paul Husting

    Thanks for the thoughtful commentary. It’s too bad you are retiring.
    Paul Husting

  • Marilyn

    This is the icing on the cake and should not be a surprise for a university whose “Catholicism” has been on a downward spiral for the last few decades. As my husband, who “converted” 30 years ago said, “Why is there such a following @ ND, even for those families who never had a member attend?” My shameful response, “It used to be a great institution. Now it has joined the other academic elitist universities who ignore morality and instead preach (as Dinesh DiSouza terms) “relative subjectivism”.

  • Jim O’

    Jenkins invitation to Obama is a total insult to Catholics who are against abortion.

  • Jim orman

    Jenkins invitation to Obama is the end result of the liberalization that began with Vatican 2. Mass said in English, confession if you feel like it, the Holy Eucharist passed out like trick or treat candies, hugging and kissing and Protestant feel good fellowship at Mass. You reap what you sow. It would be nice if the graduates would just walk out when the pro abortion president stars to speak.

  • Betsy

    Pediatric Nurse/Mother
    Thank you in the name of Catholic America. This is a sad time in the history of ND. I pray that Fr. Jenkins and the ND community will rescind this invitation. Congratulations on your retirement. ND is losing a fine Catholic professor.

  • Jim

    parent of 6
    Jenkins invitation to Obama is a disgrace and an insult. Why would you honor someone who supports the very things your university is supposed to be against?

  • Anita Schultz

    Martin Luther! We need you. We’ll get the hammer and nails ready to pound the next set of “Theses” on the chapel door at Notre Dame!

  • Dennis

    Describing the French monarchy at the dawn of the French Revolution, Belloc wrote that it was “that once great and glorious thing, which God now disapproved.”

    So too Notre Dame?

  • Arleen Harrison

    It is obvious that Fr.Jenkins has succumbed to the culture of relativism, a danger that Pope Benedict XVI has warned us about. At a time when our Catholic universities need to be a strong beacon of light for our youth, it looks like Notre Dame has turned out the light.

  • Emily

    Great article explaining further why Obama’s giving the commencement address at Notre Dame is such a scandal:

  • Mary Diane

    PhD in Leadership
    What seems to be most telling in this situation is that our American Church has a crisis in leadership. We now have the tail — a university trying to wag the dog — the Bishops. And it looks as though the tail is getting its way. Even though I have a PhD in Organizational Leadership, it just does not take much in the cognitive area to come up with this conclusion.

  • etq2000

    This is some of the most disconcerting news ever. What is happening to the standards, beliefs and backbone of the American church?!

  • Paula Buckingham

    parent of 2 graduates
    Thank you for standing up for sanctity of life. I’m ashamed of ND. ND needs a stronger president. Someone who is moral and humble and would correct an unfortunate decision. I want to be proud of ND again!

  • Patricia Anderson

    Being a Christian means believeing that Jesus is the truth, the light and the only way to heaven. Obama has stated in public that believing in Jesus is not the only way to heaven. What does that tell you? To me, it says that he is not a Christian at all. I would hope that a Catholic university would not invite a radical pro-abortion promoter to speak to it’s graduates

  • Gail Fabrega

    mother of ND grads
    Bravo! My husband, his 4 brothers, and my 2 daughetrs attended ND. My daughter Kelly was a philosophy major there. How sad ND will be losing someone whose principles and values can not be bought for the price of “political correctness”
    There is only one solution now. That the students themselves give Obama HELL if he dares set foot in “God’s country” and that the parents of the 09 graduates don’t attend!

  • Kate Cavanaugh Tibbits

    Director of Admissions
    Dear Dr. McInerny,
    My family has a history at Notre Dame. I am deeply saddened by the invitation to Obama. Thank you for your eloquent words in defense of life. I hope they will begin to change the hearts and minds of those who read them! I wish that only a handful of students/parents would choose to be present at this commencement.

  • Ray B

    Oh my word, you hit the nail on the head better than any other commentary I have heard on this travesty. I am going to forward this to everyone I know.

  • wissdom58

    Thank you for your wisdom. I know that you just feign arrogance, you immature pup.

  • Kathleen

    I have not seen any statistics on how many current students and alumni oppose President Obama’s commencement speech on May 17th. Until those directly involve stand up for their Catholic principles, I think that the university will ignore the public in general, just as the president of Notre Dame has ignored the Catholic heirarchy.

  • Gary Butler

    Mr. McInerny, Congratulations on adhering to your’s and the Catholic Church’s principles on this matter. Abortion in definition must truly be an abomination in the eyes of God the Father. Any soul who truly professes him or herself to be a Christian (which in itself is a title to be “of the body of Christ”) could not, in clear conscience, link themselves to such an atrocity to the most fundamental precepts of life itself.

  • Cerberus

    Just what we needed: moral lessons from a Roman Catholic philosopher, who is then applauded & cheered by his acolytes in the Comments.

    Please, you are the people who gave us Pius 12, Hitler’s little handmaiden; who gave us Father McLaughlin; who are still giving us one diocese after another than don’t merely protect pedophile priests but cover up that squalid, sordid protection racket.

    McInerny is the perfect moral argument for abortion.

  • Jim Durand

    Radiant beacon of Mankind
    The prez at commencement! My class had Sen. Moynihan. I and my fellow ’69’ers wore white armbands as a Nam protest … a protest against meaningless death. So if we can’t have the Irishman, O’Bama, is “W”, the master of pre-emptive strikes, fear, and awe available?

    Abortion is wrong, and many of the practices horrific. I read “Audacity of Hope”. I was not persuaded. Still, is he a demon? Where is our humility and our charity? Can ’09 bear 4 years with their heads in sand?

  • Jim Durand

    To Cerberus,
    You make a lot of claims. In the 2000-year history of the church it has errored, sometimes grandly. So have I.

    Prof. McInerny has been for decades a great “Roman Catholic philosopher”, and I had him as a grad student. We didn’t always agree, that’s for sure. But he helped me think, as I tried to do with my students. Not even you, not even Hitler, are arguments for abortion. We are all beloved children of our Creator.

    And I wish I could be there to hear the president.

  • Lucille

    “Fr.” Jenkins’ invitation to Obama is but another thorn in Christ’s crown of thorns. If our leaders are no longer leaders, where do we turn? Anyone thinking this will make Obama want to open dialogue on our positions is burying his head — this will just empower Obama to continue in his positions in all matters that are anti-Christian as well as anti-Catholic. We who are still fairly strong in our beliefs in Christ’s teachings look upon Obama as the foretold anti-Christ. Our Lady is weeping.

  • John McCarthy

    Dear Dr. McInerny…Back in the middle 1950’s, as a philosophy major at ND, I had the pleasure of taking at least two courses from you…It’s always a pleasure for me to read what you write….and, like you, I sent a letter to Fr. Jenkins on this one…What a gargantuan mistake!

    John McCarthy, ND ’58

  • ND Alum

    I’m a 2005 ND alum, with a degree of theology. Wth all due respect to Prof. McInerny, who I knew, I’d like to point out a passage from Cardinal Newman’s “Idea of a University” (I may have to post several times to get it all):
    “Nay, I am obliged to go further still; even if we could, still we should be shrinking from our plain duty, Gentlemen, did we leave out Literature from Education. For why do we educate, except to prepare for the world? ……

  • Kathleen4life

    It seems to me that since Obama has been elected and sadly by many Catholics, all hell has been raging fury. He has called Catholics by name only in a great many positions in his office. He is laughing in the face of The Body of Christ and to add more evil to the many outrageous acts Father Jenkins gives a hand basket to go on the slippery slope to hell. May God Have mercy, we truly couldn’t know what we are doing.

  • Karen Szczesniak

    Secular Franciscan
    Why stop at the President of the United States, why not invite those who others who personally act against the Catholic Church, but who are high in government, etc. You get the point.
    I can only pray that when Mr. Obama speaks at the college, that the Holy Spirit will do to him “a Saul” and his blind eye will be opened. This would be the miracle of our time.

  • Jerome T. Schall

    As a graduate of Jesuit Santa Clara U., I can only say that we were taught to avoid scandal at all costs! Most Catholic Universities and too many members of the USCCB don’t believe in hell and have failed to read Paul to the Corinthians on what to do with scandalous members of the community! Fear of the Lord is all through scripture! I recommend first disband the USCCB (it’s a club) and all Catholic Univ. who adopted the Land O Lakes conference! The German CCB felt they could work with Hitler!

  • Mrs. Sandra Kostrzewski

    holy war
    Thank you for your article. I am organizing prayer/protest vigils in my diocease of Lansing, Michigan to plead for intercession from our Lady. All you who may read this please offer an Ave for my success and remember: Ronald Reagan was once “pro-choice” too.

  • Bob Williams

    Cradle to Casket Catholic
    It should be shocking but very interesting to read the comments of some of the Bishops about the debacle at Notre Dame. See them at:
    The best that can be said about them is that they contain no profanity, though since they were made by Bishops this is not surprising. These Bishops are speaking for the entire Church and place in context the depravity of the leaders of Notre Dame. Shame on them.

  • Elizabeth D’Aquila


  • Daniel Fedele

    Holy Militant
    This is horrible, but we Catholics are greatly to blame. We always wait for Bishops or the Pope to step in and fix the problems we have. We ourselves never do enough. Prayer is a powerful weapon, but I think it is time to step it up a notch. It’s because we don’t do our part to stop things like this that we Catholics get walked on. Jesus said himself that the Church would never be broken, so why are we so afraid to fight it?

  • Jeff DC

    All this tempest over an invitation to a man who is obviously qualified as (inarguably, unlike the last one) the leader of our nation to deliver a mere speech. Has your faith been reduced to this? Is there now nothing more to Catholicism than political opposition to abortion? President Obama’s positions toward the sick and needy are far more in line with the best tenets of Christianity than those who obsess over the unborn but deny succor to the living.

  • Jim Durand

    Go. Protest.
    “Jeff DC” makes a legitimate point. Yet the prez’s choice of Sebelius for his cabinet, who lists full-term abortion docs among her supporters, should also give us serious pause. OK, class of 2009, use your free speech. Wear something that states a pro-life solidarity (red arm band? “Scream” masks?) so Obama will hear your voice. He gives the speech; you show your united objections. Maybe he’ll listen just a little.

  • Senoria Land

    Why?????? Why would Notre Dame invite this man and knows that his beliefs are against the the Catholic Church? I dont understand! Just like he wanted the cross of Jesus covered ath Georgetown University… what will he want Notre Dame to do? To me he is anti-Christ. God help us all! The Catholic Church is degrading their own regligion for this man.

  • Darlene Graver

    First Communion Teacher
    It is a sign that even within our church , one must be on gaurd of the roaring lion. God Almighty have mercy on us and on the whole world!

  • Mary

    I think Pres. Jenkins has lost his way….God have mercy on him. His vows of Holy Orders, and obeying Catholic Doctrine, he is snubbing everyone.
    I feel sorry for the students who are graduating and their parents who spent their hard earned money to send them to Notre Dame, if I was a student, just mail me the diploma, and NO ONE SHOW UP. THAT WOULD MAKE A STATEMENT., BUT THEY EARNED THIS DAY
    But Obama will show up, no matter what, but wouldn’t it be nice if he declined the honorary degree..

  • Ray Gawronski

    We can’t impeach the President, but we can put pressure on the President of Notre Dame to cancel Obama or resign.

  • Rosie

    Jeff DC — sadly you just don’t get it.

  • Pati

    Director of Religious Ed.

    You have got to be kidding me! Racial undertones. I mean, really!
    …But should I be suprised, you are the unfortunate product of the poor education your received.

  • Anna M Jones

    It appears that Notre Dame has in fact forfeited it’s right as a Catholic entity. Inviting Obama to speak is a slap in the face to all true Catholics. Obama endorses late term abortions! How can any Catholic entity award someone like Obama with any kind of award. Award for what? For endorsing the killing of late term babies. I think that who ever invited this man to speak should be fired.

  • Leon B. Duminiak

    With the ears of Notre Dame’s administration closed to the protests of the faithful, it is time for individual action based on one’s own convictions. I would suggest that those who oppose this betrayal of Catholic values physically turn their backs to the President at the commencement ceremony. This silent act would be a powerful and appropriate statement from those who have been ignored. Quiet acceptance should not be an option.

  • Chad

    What my heart sees here: Words and feelings not dissimilar to the Catholic response to Galileo’ Copernican arguments… a very Un-Catholic and unholy response based on false assumptions. Test it yourselves, brothers and sisters, against the Virtues. Where is the Humility? Temperance? And even if Charity and Kindness be granted leave from such emotional circumstances, is there any excuse for the absence of Diligence? Be Humble, and aware of your own possible misinterpretations.

  • Hap Corbett

    Jeff DC mistakenly refers to abortion as the Church’s main “political” position. Sorry, Jeff, it’s a “moral” position. Of what benefit is concern for the “needy” to those who are killed before they are born? I don’t recall a commandment that reads: “Thou shalt not kill except nanies still in the womb.”

  • Renato

    I thoroughly agree with Prof.McInery’s statement. Abortion is homicide. Why on earth human rights begin to exist ONLY after birth and not after conception? Is it because there is a conflict with another human being, the mother? But then are we not to protect the rigths of the weaker? Renato

  • Dr. Ed Gamboa

    After 3 years, McInery’s statements still ring true. Consider the Obama administration’s arrogant assault on religious freedom. The University of Notre Dame and Fr. Jenkins can find ways to redeem themselves. For starters, they can invite Cardinal Timothy Dolan as the next commencement speaker!

  • Alix

    How ugly of you.