Two More Catholic Bishops Speak Out against Notre Dame Honoring Pro-Abortion Obama
Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Texas, issued a statement on Friday, and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston expressed his views in a column published Sunday in his archdiocese’s newspaper.
Bishop Aymond and Cardinal DiNardo became the third and fourth American bishops to make public statements critical of Notre Dame’s decision to honor Obama.
Last Tuesday, Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend—where Notre Dame is located—announced that he would boycott Notre Dame’s graduation for the first time in his 25 years as the local bishop. On Wednesday, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Ariz., sent a letter to Fr. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, telling him that Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama was “a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States.”
In his critique of Notre Dame's decision, Cardinal DiNardo (like Bishop Olmsted and Bishop D’Arcy) expressly referred to a 2004 document published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that says Catholic institutions should not honor or give platforms to people who act in defiance of fundamental Catholic moral principles.
In the statement he released Friday, Bishop Aymond said that in honoring President Obama Notre Dame was not living “up to its Catholic identity.”
“I, along with many other Catholics, express great disappointment and sadness that a Catholic university would honor someone who is pro-choice and who holds many values contrary to our Catholic belief,” said Bishop Aymond.
“In the midst of such a sad situation, as Catholics we must continue to be pro-life and to proclaim with even greater strength the values of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Aymond. “In my opinion, it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support.”
Cardinal DiNardo said Notre Dame's move was "very disappointing" and that the awarding of a law degree to Obama was "particularly troubling."
“I find the invitation very disappointing,” wrote Cardinal DiNardo. “Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning. The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.
“The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life,” wrote Cardinal DiNardo. “Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views. Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a ‘Teacher,’ in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.”
Cardinal DiNardo, a native of Steubenville, Ohio, became archbishop of Galveston-Houston in 2006, and was made a Cardinal in 2007. Bishop Aymond is a native of New Orleans, La. He has been bishop of Austin since 2001. He has previously served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education.