The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. (Catholics in Political Life – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 2004)
A Catholic university draws its basic inspiration from Jesus Christ as the source of wisdom and from the conviction that in him all things can be brought to their completion. As a Catholic university, Notre Dame wishes to contribute to this educational mission. (University of Notre Dame Mission Statement from their website, 2009)
On Sunday, in defiance of the United States bishops’ direction, abortion supporter Barack Obama will receive an honorary award from the University of Notre Dame. University President Fr. John Jenkins , who declined interview requests, has said Notre Dame does not support Obama’s positions on issues regarding the protection of human life but that his appearance provides “a basis for further positive engagement.”
I ask you to look at the above statement by the USCCB, especially the part which states “They should be not given awards…” Now look at the Notre Dame Mission statement which states, “A Catholic university draws its basic inspiration from Jesus Christ as the source of wisdom…” Is it just me, or is there a contradiction here?
Over 70 Catholic bishops have spoken out against Notre Dame’s decision and Fr. Jenkins still feels “confident in his decision”. Somehow I don’t think that the “wisdom of Jesus Christ” (which Notre Dame claims as its inspiration) would support opposing the teaching of the successors to the Apostles (the Bishops). Would Our Lord really approve of this type of defiance?
Over the next few days, we’ll be hearing a lot about this story. Don’t let the media “spin” distract you from the true issue here – disobedience to Christ and His Church. Please pray for Fr. Jenkins… he is out on a very shaky limb right now and would have a difficult time explaining his decision to Jesus if necessary.