Cardinal George: ‘Notre Dame Didn't Understand What It Means to Be Catholic’ When They Invited Obama

March 31, 2009 - 11:51 PM
Cardinal George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the University of Notre Dame had "brought extreme embarrassment" to Catholics by inviting pro-abortion President Barack Obama to speak at the university's commencement.
(CNSNews.com) - Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of Chicago, said on Saturday that the University of Notre Dame had “brought extreme embarrassment” to Catholics by inviting pro-abortion President Barack Obama to speak at the university’s commencement and that the school “didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation."

His remarks were reported by LifeSiteNews.com.

Cardinal George exhorted the group of Catholics he was speaking with to keep the pressure on Notre Dame, calling on them to “do what you are supposed to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what’s in your heart about this: the embarrassment, the difficulties."

But the cardinal warned that he did not expect Notre Dame to cancel an invitation to the president of the United States, because “you just don't do that."

"You have to sit back and get past the immediate moral outrage and say, ‘Now what’s the best thing to do in these circumstances?’” said the cardinal. “I can assure you the bishops are doing that.”

The cardinal made these remarks at the Chicago archdiocese’s annual “Gospel of Life” conference that was held Saturday. The conference focused on bioethics, infertility and parish “Respect Life” ministries. The cardinal’s talk focused on the Vatican document “Dignitas Personae,” the Dignity of the Person.

"Whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation," said George, according to LifeSiteNews.com.

LifeSiteNews.com also reported that Cardinal George said he had discussed the invitation with the U.S.C.C.B’s administrative committee as well as with Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president. The cardinal said the “conversation” will continue and indicated that it was an effort to communicate to Notre Dame the U.S.C.C.B.’s understanding of what it means to be Catholic.

"So quite apart from the president's own positions, which are well known, the problem is in that you have a Catholic university--the flagship Catholic university--do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic,” he said.

"So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, and didn't anticipate the kind of uproar that would be consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has happened," said George.