CNS to Fr. Jenkins: “Drop criminal charges against those who, through peaceful and civil disobedience, protested last May’s commencement ceremony…”
The Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly issued the following statement today in response to an announcement of new pro-life initiatives at the University of Notre Dame:
Yesterday the president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., announced a new Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life to “consider and recommend to me ways in which the University, informed by Catholic teaching, can support the sanctity of life.” Father Jenkins also pledged to attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 22.
These are welcome steps in the right direction—the sort of activities that Catholics should expect from any Catholic college or university—but there are serious steps that Notre Dame should take immediately to atone for its shocking betrayal of the U.S. bishops and the Catholic Church last spring:
– 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.
– Drop criminal charges against those who, through peaceful and civil disobedience, protested last May’s commencement ceremony.
– 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.
– 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.
There is much more that should be done to renew and strengthen Notre Dame’s Catholic identity—ensuring fidelity to Catholic teaching in the classroom, increasing Catholic faculty, and restoring authentic academic freedom—but the above actions would help indicate the seriousness of Father Jenkins and the Notre Dame trustees in upholding the mission of “Our Lady’s University.”
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