Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Lou Holtz, Amy Barrett, and Father Jenkins

Partisan support of a pro-abortion anti-religious liberty Presidential ticket intensifies at @NotreDame while faculty splits on #AmyConeyBarrett nomination. #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

In this bulletin we report on recent developments bearing on the appointment of Pete Buttigeig to the Notre Dame faculty; the reproof by Fr. Jenkins of Lou Holtz for his criticism of Joe Biden; voter education on campus; and a divided Notre Dame faculty on the Barrett nomination. And we propose again for your signature our Open Letter to Father Jenkins about the Biden/Holtz affair. 

Biden’s Stepped-Up Appeal to Catholic – and to Pro-Abortion –Voters

In the recent bulletin in which we discussed Father Jenkins’s admonishment of Lou Holtz for his criticism of Joe Biden’s claim to a robust Catholicism, we noted that Biden’s Catholic card “was played again and again at the Democratic convention. 

Now Biden is doubling down on his appeal both to opponents of the Church and to its supporters. 

For the former, in response to the question what he’d do if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Biden declared on October 5 : 

[T]he only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation to make Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.

Roe v. Wade, that is, with its license for abortions up to birth. 

For Catholic voters, though, a new TV ad campaign, designed to show Biden as “the clear moral choice,” portrays him in all the trappings of a devoted son of the Church.

The video opens with Biden speaking to a priest (the editor-in-chief of America magazine) as the camera segues to images of a bible, a rosary, Biden at Mass, with the Pope, joining hands in prayer, and addressing a congregation in front of an altar.

In a voiceover, Biden tells the priest: 

My father would say the cardinal sin of all sins is the abuse of power, whether it’s a man raising his hand to a woman, whether it is the government abusing its power, basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism.

A real interlocutor rather than a stage prop priest would have asked Biden why he does not consider the government’s facilitating the aborton of countless innocent lives inexpressibly worse than “a man raising his hand to a woman.” 

This effort by Biden to capitalize on his patently false claim that “I practice all the elements of my faith” was precisely the target of Lou Holtz’s denunciation and makes Father Jenkins’s reproof of Holtz ever more regrettable.

Notre Dame Faculty Fellow Pete Buttigeig joins Biden’s Transition Team

Since we last discussed Notre Dame’s employment of Pete Buttigeig as a Faculty Fellow, he has not only intensified his campaigning for Biden without any disclaimer by Father Jenkins but has now joined Biden’s transition team as a co-chair.

This is another #1 for Notre Dame – the first time the University has added to the faculty and the payroll a politician while he joins a campaign to subsidize abortion and to roll back the Trump regulation Notre Dame cites to keep from providing free abortifacients to students and employees. As Wall Street Journal columnist and Notre Dame alumnus Bill McGurn warns,

[T]oday’s Democratic Party is willing to use the full force of the federal bureaucracy to bring religious institutions to heel—no matter how genuinely Joe Biden may love his rosary beads.

One might think the President of the University would have something to say about Faculty Fellow Buttigeig’s campaigning at last, but not a word yet. 

Meanwhile on Campus

Various university units have organized a series of events to inform students about the election. 

“Balanced” is not the adjective that springs to mind. “Biased” is.

Two prominent political figures are featured: Pete Buttigeig and former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, the Chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and a member of Biden’s legal team.

Some of the sessions are “neutral,” e.g., a “Debate Watch,” “Voter Registration Day.” Of the remaining 14 programs,

  • Five, all titled “Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary,” deal with various aspects of racism.
  • Two deal with “Racial and Social Injustice and Inequality” and “Movements for Justice.”
  • One focuses on “Evangelical Perspectives,” but none discuss Catholic perspectives, in particular the bishops’ guide to Catholic voters, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” 

And none deal with the issue the bishops declare “preeminent,” abortion. 

Notre Dame Faculty Divided on Barrett Nomination

We are sorry, but not surprised, to report that 158 active and retired Notre Dame faculty have now publicly and strongly opposed Judge Barrett’s confirmation, while a somewhat overlapping group of 102 faculty have urged postponement until after the election. (There are 1386 active faculty.)

The “postponement” letter does not fault Barrett, but slams the Republicans and the President for advancing the nomination.

Only one active and four retired law school faculty joined.

The “opposition” letter, however, which no law school professor has joined, is harshly critical of President Trump and his selection of Judge Barrett. They abhor her “views” and fear she “wouldn’t protect the many people in society who are ignored, excluded, or treated unjustly.” 

In sharp contrast, 23 of Barrett’s tenured law school faculty colleagues (out of 32) lauded her nomination in a letter to the Senate Committee notwithstanding their “divergent views” about politics, “judicial methodology,” the President, and “the timing” of the nomination:

She is a brilliant teacher and scholar, and a warm and generous colleague. She possesses in abundance all the other qualities that shape extraordinary judges: discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity.

We say we are not surprised at the distaste for Judge Barrett’s “views” by the protesting faculty because we regard it as a reflection of the significant weakening of Catholic faculty representation in the colleges of the University other than the law school, a phenomenon we have often addressed. 

However Judge Barrett may rule as a Justice on questions of abortion, sex and gender, religious liberty and the like, her personal “views” are surely those of the Catholic Church. In contrast, the signatories’ model, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was a formidable adversary of the Church on these fronts. 

For those who are interested, the sources above disclose the names of the faculty signatories of both the “withdrawal” and the “protest” letters up to the time of publication. We will update the lists in due course. 

Very Uncivil Discourse!

One of the Notre Dame faculty opposing Judge Barrett, Political Science Professor Eileen Hunt Botting, has attacked her in a breathtakingly nasty article, “Amy Barrett’s Fall From Grace.” You should read it in full to appreciate its sneering animus. Here are some representative snippets:

From the time Barrett joined the Notre Dame law school faculty, Botting wrote,  “she had been groomed to be the pro-life legal icon of Christian womanhood,” and “it was whispered around Notre Dame that she would eventually” be a Supreme Court Justice.  “All she had to do was wait patiently for her moment.”

When her moment came, “the corrosive love of power drove Barrett and her supporters to worship at the foot of a President who has cynically courted the pro-life lobby.”

But just as she “seemed to reach peak perfection as a Christian model of maternal concern for the lives of the born and the unborn . . . the rising hubris of Amy Coney Barrett tripped her up as she strode in her peach high heels into the right-wing debutante party of her dreams.”

Though she “entered the Rose Garden as the darling of the pro-life cause,” Botting wrote, “ she left with her powers of moral and legal judgment in serious question.”

Because she didn’t wear a face mask. “Can we trust [such] a judge” Botting asks rhetorically.



Both the lamentable faculty opposition to Barrett and the support in faculty and administration for a pro-abortion anti-religious Presidential ticket evidence a substantial weakening of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. In our view, as a university Notre Dame should abstain from supporting a particular candidate or a party but should instead promote an informed and balanced examination of competing political policies, and as a Catholic university it should promote such examination in light of the principles set out in the bishops’ “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” Notre Dame has failed badly on both counts to date.

Sign Our Open Letter!

To read our open letter to Father Jenkins and to add your signature, please click here.

Leave a Reply

 Let us know what you think about the issues we’ve raised in this bulletin in the comments below. And help to spread the word by sharing this bulletin with others who care about Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. 

Every Penny Helps!

If you are like us and want to see an authentic Catholic renewal at Notre Dame, please consider lending a hand by making a donation to Sycamore Trust.


10 Responses to “Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Lou Holtz, Amy Barrett, and Father Jenkins”

  1. Eugene, I posted some comments that were removed also. Scary to think that criticism of the CCP is censored by the Observer.

  2. I am a proud alum and have been a proud catholic since the nuns taught me at Queen of All Saints grade school and the Holy Cross priests taught me at Notre Dame High School for boys. I used to play Basketball with my classmate Ed Malloy and have been married for 55 years to my lovely wife. We have two kids and my son Graduated from Notre Dame in 1990. I attend church every Sunday and during the pandemic do so on my computer at the mass at Sacred Heart Church .

    I am appalled at the path Fr. Jenkins is taking Mary’s school. Would She say abortion is OK ? NO, would she say that her sons who oppose abortion are no longer welcome at her school ? NO Would she shed a tear for each unborn KILLED in an abortion ? YES. Then I would ask why is Fr. Jenkins not honoring her lideals ? Why is he trying to pander to those who will kill the unborn ? What reason is there in his plan to make Notre Dame a secular crap hole school like those East Coast liberal schools. Why ?

    Our Notre Dame, our mother, the lady on the Dome is shedding tears these days as She sees her school becoming a liberal pest hole while claiming to be Her school., Her sons fought to free the slaves save the world in two wars and faithfully serve this country over all these years and now Fr Jenkins is spitting on the graves of Her sons and aborting her future sons.. Notre Dame has always been a force for good not a home to popular counter culture wackos. We are the Fighting Irish because we fought the KKK and were a stop on the underground railway, Fr. Corby was present at Gettysburg tending the troops, we have embraced integration and social justice and Fr Hesburg stood against campus protests but now FR. Jenkins hires abortion activists and denounces pro life members of the family, where is he coming from ?

    I am a proud alum who is embarassed by what My mothers school is becoming, Why should we give up our heritage and our beliefs to try and become some East Coast elite when it is them who should try and become the Notre Dame of the East. When did we decide to give up our moral leadership and who made that call.. Certainly not me and probably not the majority of the alums. Perhaps it is time to change the leadership of our Lady’s school and go back to being the leader in faith and morals that Fr Sorin intended us to be.

    Tom Longeway ’63

  3. Gregory W Ganser October 24, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Bill, you are one of the few “voices in the wilderness”. Thanks for your strong backbone and beacon of light pointing towards the subdued glimmer of light and liberty.

  4. Deacon Edward J Knauf '1981 October 24, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I fully support the efforts of the Sycamore Society, and I trust in the intercessory power of Our Blessed Mother, but it’s difficult not to be discouraged by the happenings at her university. The faculty is a sore disappointment, and the student body, once robustly Catholic, now seems to consist largely if not predominantly of secular Ivy League wannabees who selected Notre Dame as their safe school. And Father Jenkins’ tenure, devoted singularly to the hubristic pursuit of prestige (when it should have been devoted singularly to the glorification of God in Christ Jesus!) has been a disaster.

  5. I have stopped donating to Notre Dame as I don’t want my money supporting Buttigieg among others, especially those who do not adhere to Catholic principles. Allowing Notre Dame to be “non-Catholic” is a huge problem for those who would like their kids to get a moral Catholic education.

  6. Paul Vincent Coleman October 24, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Fr. Jenkins has made a career of abandonment of the flock to the wolf pack.SAD INDEED

  7. Dr. Carolyn O'Rourke October 24, 2020 at 9:48 am

    I signed the letter to Father Jenkins,

  8. It’s sad that the University (and Fr. Jenkins) actively supports a man who in 50 years of public service has done nothing but make himself rich and pander to whoever will support him! I wish I was a big donor to the University so stopping my donation would hurt – unfortunately, I’m not but I will stop donating!

  9. CENSORSHIP by the staff of the ND Observer is my objection. A Chinese National student posted a letter two days ago criticizing the US Government and attempting to interfere in the ELECTION for refusing his re-admittance during Covid. The student’s letter contained ZERO criticism of his own communist China Government for releasing the virus in the first place.
    My, and others, posted comments to the US election interference by this student were continually REMOVED by the Observer staff.
    Seemingly, the University, nor its student editors no longer tolerate dissent or criticism.

  10. Steve Martinek ND (PL) '71, '74 October 23, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Bergoglio endorses “civil unions” to enable sodomy, and he sees “global warming’ both as a moral issue and as paramount to the right to life. Jenkins honors Obama, and Biden, and treats Trump with condescension and disdain and condemnation–despite Trump being the most outspoken pro-life POTUS in history.I applaud and envy those, like Sycamore and Dempsey and Miscamble, who still have the energy and vigor and optimism to continue to monitor and protest every step off the right path at our beloved University of Notre Dame. We once were ND! I was chagrined and embarrassed at the panderings of Jenkins and Coach Kelly on the abysmal “Juneteenth” video in support of Black Lies Matter. I’m about done.

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