Northwestern Indiana Humanist University


Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Illinois pulls no punches in his letter to Jenkins regarding the homage to Obama day scheduled for May 17, 2009 at the college currently known as Notre Dame.

Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear President Jenkins:

I wish to express in my own name and on behalf of the Catholic community of this Diocese, my dismay and outrage at your decision to invite the current President of the United States to address the 2009 graduates of the University of Notre Dame and to receive an honorary degree.

This decision of yours  flies in the face of the expressed directive of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the year 2004, that Catholic institutions not so honor those who profess opposition to the Church’s doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

I would ask that you rescind this unfortunate decision and so avoid dishonoring the practicing Catholics of the United States, including those of this Diocese. Failing that, please have the decency to change the name of the University to something like, “The Fighting Irish College” or “Northwestern Indiana Humanist University.” Though promotion of the obscene is not foreign to you, I would point out that it is truly obscene for you to take such decisions as you have done in a university named for our Blessed Lady, whom the Second Vatican Council called the Mother of the Church.

I sign myself

Very truly yours,

The Most Reverend Thomas G. Doran, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop of Rockford

In the midst of all this furor, it is important to recall that none of this would have taken place but for the misbegotten decision of Jenkins and the powers that be at Notre Dame to honor our pro-abort President.  They could end it tomorrow by rescinding the invitation.  They will not because being in sync with the academic zeitgeist is much more important to them than the teaching of the Church that abortion is an abomination.  I am glad that so many bishops in this country are finally, finally engaging in some straight talk in the face of this latest attempt to ignore clear Catholic teaching at a university dedicated to the Mother of God.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. “Please have the decency to change the name of the University… it is truly obscene for you to take such decisions as you have done in a university named for our Blessed Lady.”

    Well, Bishop Doran certainly minces no words. It reminds me of the time about six or seven years ago when Bishop Jenky of Peoria got equally outraged about the fact that a bar owner in Moline was going to name his establishment the “Hail Mary Sports Bar and Grill,” or something like that, referring to the “Hail Mary” pass. He actually wrote a letter to the local newspaper calling the name “blasphemous.” At the time, I thought maybe he was going a little bit overboard but his basic desire to defend the honor of Our Lady was admirable.

    Which makes it seem all the more odd to me that I have yet to find any public statement by Bishop Jenky on the Obama unpleasantness, since he is, after all, a Holy Cross priest, a member of the Notre Dame board of trustees and was the rector of the Sacred Heart Basilica for many years! I have checked the Peoria Diocese website and all the recent online issues of The Catholic Post and have yet to find anything. A Google search on “Bishop Jenky” and “Notre Dame commencement” turns up nothing either.

    I realize this might be an awkward situation for him given that he is a CSC himself and likely personally knows Fr. Jenkins; but I would think he would have said SOMETHING by now, even if it was just a 2- or 3-sentence press release expressing “regret” or “sorrow” at the situation, etc. Did I miss something or am I not looking in the right places?

  2. I have been disappointed in the fact that Bishop Jenky, my Bishop, has not yet commented on the Notre Dame situation. I agree that his position is awkward no doubt in regard to Notre Dame but his duty as a Bishop I think is clear. I also think he is one Bishop who might carry weight with the powers that be at Notre Dame. We are of course quite a way yet from May 17. It is possible that he is working quietly to convince the administration at Notre Dame to rescind the invitation with the clear implication that he will go public with his opposition if they do not. We shall see.

  3. Reading stories like this, part of me wants to say: if you find Obama and what he stands for so objectionable, why did you say so before the election? You know, when it actually might have made a difference.

    Not entirely fair, I know. But that’s my reaction.

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