"You dishonor the reputation of the University of Notre Dame"


Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein sends a sharp note to Jenkins at Notre Dame about Obama Day on May 17, 2009:

Dear Father Jenkins:

I join my voice to the chorus of thousands of faithful Catholics around the United States, and those of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in particular, who are appalled and embarrassed by your recent invitation to President Obama to address the 2009 graduates of Notre Dame.

I was stunned and angered upon hearing the news of the invitation; in the end, I am among the thousands of good people who are profoundly saddened by it.

There isn’t a single reason that would justify Catholic sponsorship of the president of our country, who is blatantly opposed to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

You dishonor the reputation of the University of Notre Dame and, in effect, abdicate your prestigious reputation among Catholic universities everywhere.

Like other people of good faith, I await some action that indicates your regret concerning a truly wrong decision.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B.
Archbishop of Indianapolis

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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. As Cathleen Kaveny has said in other contexts, “we would all do well to beware of prophets whose prophesies cost them little.”

  2. 30 plus bishops have thus far denounced the decision of Jenkins to prostrate Notre Dame in homage to Obama. The Archbishop’s statement as to Jenkin’s dishonoring the reputation of Notre Dame isn’t a prediction, merely an accurate observation.

  3. Ms. Kaveny’s statement is one of those dazzling pseudo-profundities whose emptiness becomes apparent very quickly.

    So, unless one has something at risk, one should shut up on an injustice that does not directly affect them?

    I never figured you and Mr. Iafrate as pray, pay and obey advocates, Mr. DeFrancisis, but people usually have surprising facets.

  4. OK, yes, that was snarky on my part. But Kaveny’s formulation is a zinger meant to discredit both the speaker and the cause for which he/she is speaking, and can be applied to anyone whose particular ox is not being gored at the moment.

    It boils down to “‘Shut up,’ he explained.”

    Applied to the teaching office of the Church, it is especially dubious.

  5. A particularly nasty version of the strawman fallacy is to mock someone for saying he is something he doesn’t say he is.

    In this instance, Bishop Buechlein says or implies that he is speaking as a faithful Catholic of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as a good person, and as a person of good faith.

    He does not say or imply that he is speaking as a prophet.

  6. Thank you, Archbishop, for standing up for all of us who oppose Father Jenkins’ invitation to President Obama. I am a Notre Dame graduate and a member of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as well. I sent Fr. Jenkins an e-mail urging him to change his mind, but I’m sure he will never see it. I pray that your words will be heard and will make a difference.

    Again, thank you.

  7. As a graduate of the University of Notre Dame I just emailed Father Jenkins my unqualfied support of his invitation to President Barak H. Obama to attend and speak at ths year’s commencement.

    Why haven’t our bishops spoke out about many of the other right to life issues such as: pre-emptive war, ethnic cleansing, denial of human rights, rendition, and torture–and, yes pedophilia? It seems to me that President Obama has made some significant strides in these areas of the right to life issues.

    I have held signs at right to life parades. Have I ever seen a bishop? No. I worked in a Catholic soup kitchen for many years. Only a couple of times did I see a priest, but never a bishop.

    However, I have seen a Bishop Gumbleton not only talk the talk but walk the walk–literally. I have never seen him in princely garb.

    Charles J. Collet

  8. “Why haven’t our bishops spoke out about many of the other right to life issues such as: pre-emptive war, ethnic cleansing, denial of human rights, rendition, and torture–and, yes pedophilia?”

    I’ve heard bishops speak out on all those issues.

    “Have I ever seen a bishop? No.”

    You must not have been looking hard. I see them constantly at right to life parades. Here is an article which details the presence at March for Life in January of a Cardinal and four bishops from Philadelphia alone.


    I hope that when President Obama speaks at Notre Dame on May 17, 2009 there will be several bishops there to protest the honor that Notre Dame is paying to the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history.

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