Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., released a message to the University of Notre Dame family outlining two pro-life initiatives to recompense for the scandal of awarding President Obama an honorary degree.
1. Father Jenkins plans to attend the March for Life Anniversary of Roe v. Wade event in Washington D.C.
2. Establish a Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.
These two initiatives are a good first start in adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church established by Jesus Himself.
The Cardinal Newman Society, an organization dedicated to renewing and strengthening the Catholic identity at America’s Catholic colleges and universities, responded positively to this new development with suggestions to how the University of Notre Dame can atone for their refusal to listen to American bishops and the Catholic Church:
1. Acknowledge the scandal of publicly honoring a staunchly pro-abortion public official as commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree, and apologize to the U.S. bishops, the 2009 Notre Dame graduates, and all faithful Catholics.
2. Drop criminal charges against those who, through peaceful and civil disobedience, protested last May’s commencement ceremony.
3. Develop firm policies to prevent such scandal in the future, by ensuring that honorees are not public opponents of Catholic teaching on key moral issues, and favoring campus speakers who uphold Catholic teaching with regard to the topic of their address and also in their public life.
4. Support the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life, already established by the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and excluded from mention in Father Jenkins’ announcement of new pro-life efforts.
My opinion on the Cardinal Newman Society’s requests are that the first three I like very much, especially number 2.
Rick Garnett, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, still has not equivocated from his stance that it was wrong for the University of Notre Dame to invite and honor President Obama. He does welcome these initiatives, but they aren’t enough.
I would like to echo both Professor Garnett and the Cardinal Newman Society that more needs to be done to reflect the teachings of the Church on pro-life issues.
In addition a more sweeping change needs to be done as far as cultivating a more faithful Catholic culture on campus. But that is for another time.
For now baby steps.
To read the full text of these initiatives by Father Jenkins click here.
To read the full text of the Cardinal Newman Society’s statement click here.
To read the full response by Rick Garnett from the Mirror of Justice website click here.
To learn more about the Cardinal Newman Society click here.