Bishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.
FARGO, ND (Catholic Diocese of Fargo) - The Catholic Diocese of Fargo Office of Communications, 5201 Bishops Blvd., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104 issued the following Press release:
Bishop of Fargo addresses “gravity of Notre Dame’s error” in inviting President Obama to speak at commencement exercises and receive honorary degree
In an April 5 letter to Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at their commencement exercises and to receive an honorary degree “diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.”
Bishop Aquila, who serves the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, N.D., wrote, “I was surprised and saddened when I learned about the invitation extended to President Obama to speak at Notre Dame’s commencement exercises and to receive an honorary degree. Your statements in defense of the award and invitation have only deepened my dismay.”
The Diocese of Fargo released the letter to the public on April 7 via its Web site, with this explanation from Bishop Aquila. “Because I have received inquires and concerns expressed about the invitation by Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, to President Barack Obama to receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement speech at the 2009 May graduation ceremonies, I have released publicly the letter to Father Jenkins expressing my dismay with this public action that has caused scandal to faithful Catholics.”
In the letter to Father Jenkins, Bishop Aquila wrote, “I know you are a man of integrity and believe in the Church’s witness. I also know as a priest and a president of a Catholic University, you are well acquainted with Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the 2004 statement of the Bishops of the United States on ‘Catholics in Political Life.’ Even though President Obama is not Catholic, he clearly rejects the truth about human dignity through his constant support of a so called ‘right to abortion.’ He also tolerates the inexcusable act of letting aborted children die who are born alive. He promotes an intrinsic evil which must always be resisted by a just and civil society.”
Quoting from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Bishop Aquila wrote, “Your judgment in this matter is seriously flawed, with damaging consequences, for ‘…you are not on the side of God, but of men’.” Diocese of Fargo