Phoenix Bishop admonishes Notre Dame PresidentOn March 25, 2009, the Feast of the Annunciation, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, sent an email to Notre Dame President, John Jenkins, expressing his sadness and dismay over his decision to invite Barack Obama to speak at the university and to receive an honorary degree.
The Bishop authorized the Respect Life Office to release the contents of the email to the public.
The email to Fr. Jenkins makes the following statement:
I am saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University and even to receive an honorary degree.
It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States. Our USCCB June 2004 Statement "Catholics in Political Life" states: "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." No one could not know of the public stands and actions of the president on key issues opposed to the vulnerable human beings (emphasis in original).
John Paul II said, "Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination." (emphasis in original)
I pray you will come to see the grave mistake of your decision, and how it undercuts the Church's proclamation of the Gospel of Life in our day.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
Diocese of Phoenix