Sunday, April 26, 2009

Arlington Bishop Loverde Speaks Out on Scandal at Notre Dame

Arlington Diocese Bishop Paul S. Loverde is the 43rd Bishop to speak out against the invitation of President Obama to speak at the Notre Dame commencement on May 17, 2009. It is about time that Fr. Jenkins rescind the invitation, as embarrassing it may be. He must do the right thing. Catholics and all Christians must stand together to defend the dignity of the human person, to stamp out the Culture of Death. Catholic colleges must be symbols of everything the Church professes and believes.

This article is from the The Cardinal Newman Society, which is dedicated to renewing and strengthening Catholic identity at America's 224 Catholic colleges and universities.

MANASSAS, Va. (Cardinal Newman Society) - Arlington Diocese Bishop Paul S. Loverde has joined 42 of his fellow bishops in opposing Notre Dame’s planned honor of President Barack Obama at commencement on May 17, 2009. Bishop Loverde’s statement was included in a letter from the Arlington Chancellor to a parishioner, a copy of which was provided to The Cardinal Newman Society. The text of Bishop Loverde’s statement is being made public with the permission of the Arlington Diocese.

In the letter to the parishioner, Chancellor Mark Herrmann wrote: “Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has noted that Notre Dame appears to have ‘chosen prestige over truth.’ Please join him, and Bishop Loverde, in asking Our Lady ‘to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.’”

“The Cardinal Newman Society, which is located in the Arlington Diocese, is thankful for Bishop Loverde’s strong statement regarding the Notre Dame scandal,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “For more than a decade, Bishop Loverde has been a strong and consistent leader on life issues, and for that we are especially grateful.”

The text of Bishop Loverde’s statement is reprinted below:

The Catholic bishops of the United States, in their 2004 statement on ‘Catholics in Political Life,’ directed that ‘The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.’ It is clear that the Church’s teachings with regard to abortion and the sanctity of human life are among the ‘fundamental moral principles’ referred to by the bishops.

While he has been in office only a few short months, President Obama’s actions with respect to life issues already have been a source of grave concern to Catholics. You can read my statements on these issues, including the lifting of the Mexico City policy, funding for embryonic stem cell research and the proposed removal of conscience protections for health care workers, at I share your dismay that Notre Dame, contrary to the direction provided by the bishops, has chosen to extend to him an invitation which – despite the University’s statements to the contrary – undoubtedly will be viewed by many as approbation of his policies.

If Notre Dame were hosting the President as a participant in a dialogue that included a full presentation of the Church’s position regarding the primacy of life, then the University’s action would be more understandable. However, given the unique national prominence of Notre Dame among Catholic universities, the decision by a few administrators to give him a platform and honor on Commencement Day will be damaging to the Church, to the pro-life cause and, ultimately, to the university itself.

This situation underscores the need for Catholics to be united and speak with one voice in our respect for all human life; otherwise, we project confusion and uncertainty on this most basic of issues.


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