Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Archbp. Nienstedt writes to the Pres. of Notre Dame

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:

His Excellency Most Rev. John Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis, has issued a letter with comments about the invitation by the University of Notre Dame to Pres. Obama.

The following is the complete text of Archbishop Nienstedt’s letter to the President of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins.

My emphases and comments:

March 26, 2009

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

Dear Father Jenkins:

I have just learned that you, as President of the University of Notre Dame, have invited President Barack Obama to be the graduation commencement speaker at the University’s exercises on May 17, 2009. I was also informed that you will confer on the president an honorary doctor of laws degree, one of the highest honors bestowed by your institution.

I write to protest this egregious decision on your part. President Obama has been a pro-abortion legislator. He has indicated, especially since he took office, his deliberate disregard of the unborn by lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research, by promoting the FOCA agenda and by his open support for gay rights throughout this country. [In this paragraph he stressed Pres. Obama’s pro-abortion position.]

It is a travesty that the University of Notre Dame, considered by many to be a Catholic University, should give its public support to such an anti-Catholic politician. [In this terse paragraph, he underscores that Pres. Obama is not just pro-abortion, he is anti-Catholic.]

I hope that you are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future. [!]

Sincerely yours,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Two things impress me positively about this letter.

Very often when people proclaim their objections, their words ring like those of Captain Renault in Casablanca: they are empty. "I’m shocked that you would invite Pres. Obama! Shocked!". Big deal, right?

On the contrary, Archbishop Nienstedt says that he will do something if the decision isn’t reconsidered. He will not give them any support.

It is hard to say precisely what that future "support", or lack thereof, might involve, of course. But when a Catholic university as well-known as Notre Dame wins the public scorn of an American Archbishop,... that can’t be good for the school. Archbishops tend to talk to a lot of people, including well-healed alumi. They wind up on committees of the bishops’ conference. They are sometimes appointed as members of Vatican Congregations. They have platforms. They are asked for their opinions.

What really strikes me about Archbp. Nienstedt’s letter is that, as I mention, he describes Pres. Obama as being not just pro-abortion but also anti-Catholic.
Father John Zuhlsdorf
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