Protest ND Obama Tribute

NOTRE DAME, IN – Notre Dame’s prospective honoring of President Obama unleashes a storm of protest.

So far thirty-four bishops, including two Cardinals, have joined Bishop D’Arcy in condemning this action. The fissure between University and Church disclosed last year when fifty bishops moved their conference from Notre Dame because of the Vagina Monologues has widened greatly. And the disillusionment, sadness, and anger reflected in the countless messages from alumni, parents, family, and friends of the University that we have received are further testimony to the severe damage that this improvident act has inflicted.

We defer consideration of all of this to a later bulletin in order to describe actions that can be taken in response to this move by the University.

Student plans.

The student committees are planning events of prayer and protest probably beginning the evening of May 16th and in any event continuing on graduation day, May 17th. We are informed Bishop D’Arcy likely will participate. Non- students will be welcome. We hope many will attend. We will furnish details as soon as we have them, but the best way for keeping abreast is to sign up for bulletins from the ad hoc student organization ND Response.

Alumni Weekend Panel & Sycamore Breakfast.

To assist you in planning, we note that, for the fourth year, there will be a panel discussion on the Catholic identity of Notre Dame sponsored by the Class of 1952 on either Friday or Saturday of Alumni Weekend, June 4-6 and a Sycamore breakfast at the Morris Inn on Saturday. Bill Dempsey will again moderate. The panel members will be Dr. Ralph McInerny, Dr. Walter Nicgorski, Arina Grossu (’05), and Jonathon Buttaci (’09). It would be helpful if those who think they might attend would let us know as soon as may be convenient. We will provide more information shortly.

Suggested actions

  1. Sign our petition if you haven’t and disseminate it broadly. The forwarding link is at the top right of the petition, (Our home page also contains a link to the petition, The Cardinal Newman Societyalso sponsors a petition that has attracted over 300,000 signatories.
  2. Tell Father Jenkins and the other Fellows of the University what you think if you haven’t. (Under the Statutes of the University, the Fellows are charged with seeing to it that “[t]he essential character of the University as a Catholic institution of higher learning shall at all times be maintained.”)
  3. Contact your bishop. We list at the end of this bulletin the bishops who have already spoken out. If yours has, thank him. If not, urge him to speak. Protesting bishops have declared Notre Dame’s action to be in conflict with the 2004 USCCB warning that Catholic universities “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”
  4. Send copies of your messages to We intend to assemble representative protests for submission to the Fellows and the Board.
  5. Submit an announcement to your church bulletin. Some parish bulletins have provided information and contacts. We urge you to submit a posting for yours. A generic sample:

Notre Dame and President Obama. For those interested in the controversy over the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to receive an honorary degree and to be the Commencement Speaker, information and a petition are provided by an organization of Notre Dame alumni, The Sycamore Trust, Because of the President’s strong pro-abortion position, many bishops and others have protested Notre Dame’s honoring him.

  1. If your bishop has spoken out, ask your pastor to publicize the action. He might endorse and can in any case include some words from the bishop’s statement.Bishop _____ has protested Notre Dame’s action in proposing to confer an honorary degree upon President Obama and to have him as the Commencement speaker. The President’s strong pro-abortion position and recent actions are well known. Our bishop has declared _____. An organization of Notre Dame alumni provides information and a petition at
  2. Write letters to your diocesan paper and urge full news coverage with inclusion of the views of ND alumni through Sycamore. (Contact: Bill Dempsey, 703-536-4666,
  3. Support the Fund for the Protection of Human Life as we have previously recommended.
  4. Support the students. Some of the students’ activities require funding. Contributions cannot be made to them directly, but the Fund provides support. Those who wish to indicate their desire to help the students can do so through the Fund. Simply follow the instructions for contributions to the Fund with an additional sentence:I designate this contribution for the use of The Notre Dame Fund for the Protection of Human Life. It is my desire that this contribution be used first to support the student-led ND Response protesting the University’s invitation to President Obama, and then to support the Fund generally.

To encourage and thank the students, write them at ndresponse@gmail

Please take special note of the strong April 16th statement of support by Bishop D’Arcy: “I am supportive of all efforts by NDResponse or any other prayerful and dignified demonstrations by Notre Dame students, and if my schedule allows, I will attend and also meet with students if they would find this helpful.”

Sources for information

The Cardinal Newman Society site is a good source for general information. As we have mentioned, the student site is http://www.ndresp

A caution for those who may visit the University

Bishop D’Arcy has wisely counseled all “to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations,” and the diocesan office requested Catholics not to attend an anti-Notre Dame, anti-Obama rally held on Good Friday. South Bend Tribune, April 11, 2009.

This rally was organized by Operation Rescue, the aggressive pro-life organization headed by Randall Terry. He has opened a South Bend office and plans, in his words, “an ugly fight” that is “not for the fainthearted.” “Notre Dame ,” he has declared, will rue the day they invited this Agent of Death to speak.” He plans to “raze (sic) hell” to “make life miserable for those at Notre Dame who betrayed the Faith.” Protests have begun and so have fisticuffs, with someone assaulting a demonstrator near Notre Dame wearing an Obama mask and smeared with red stain.

The student gathering should be our focus.

Bishops protesting Fr. Jenkins’s decision

1. Bishop John D’Arcy – Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila – Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond – Austin, TX
4. Bishop Robert Baker – Birmingham, AL
5. Bishop Gerald Barbarito – Palm Beach, FL
6. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran – Oklahoma City, OK
7. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz– Lincoln, NE
8. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein – Indianapolis, IN
9. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú – San Antonio, TX
10. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
11. Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
12. Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
13. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
14. Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
15. Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
16. Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
17. Archbishop Alfred Hughes – New Orleans, LA
18. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
19. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
20. Bishop George J. Lucas – Springfield, IL
21. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
22. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
23. Bishop Charles Morlino – Madison, WI
24. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
25. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
26. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
27. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN
28. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
29. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
30. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg, PA
31. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
32. Bishop Richard F. Stika – Knoxville, TN
33. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
34. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR

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