Bishops Continue to Speak

Bishops Bruskewitz, Aquila Issue Stinging Condemnations to “Formerly Catholic” Notre Dame


By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, April 9, 2009 ( – Two more bishops have written and made public strongly-worded letters to University president Fr. John Jenkins, bringing the number of U.S. bishops to 31 protesting the school’s invitation to President Obama to speak at commencement and receive an honorary law degree May 17.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Lincoln Diocese supplied his letter, addressed to University president Fr. John Jenkins, today to the Cardinal Newman Society, which is hosting a petition against the scandal, now bearing well over a quarter million signatures (

“Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled at your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the United States,” reads the brief letter, dated April 3.

“The fact that you have some sort of past connection with the State of Nebraska makes it all the more painful that the Catholic people here have to see your betrayal of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” Bruskewitz wrote.  “I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.”

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND wrote an April 5 letter to Fr. Jenkins published on the diocesan website saying he was “surprised and saddened” to learn of the invitation, and adding that Jenkins’ defense of the honors has “only deepened” his dismay.

Expressing confidence that Jenkins is “a man of integrity” who believes in “the Church’s witness,” Aquila mentioned the papal encyclical Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the U.S. Bishops Conference directive, “Catholics in Political Life,” which respectively urge Catholic schools to witness to Catholic teaching and forbid them from honoring pro-abortion politicians.

“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,'” wrote Aquila.  “Inviting President Obama to award him a degree and to speak at a Catholic University implicitly extends legitimacy to his views on these issues in the minds of the average onlooker.

“Your actions and that of the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame do real harm to the mission of Catholic education in this country and further splinters Catholic witness in the public square,” he continued. 

Providing a forum for an abortion advocate at a school that teaches the truths of the Faith, wrote the bishop, “places commitment to these truths on an equal plane with a commitment to an intrinsic evil which destroys innocent human life.”

“Your judgment in this matter is seriously flawed, with damaging consequences, for ‘…you are not on the side of God, but of men’ (Mt 16:23).”

Noting the fidelity of many among the Notre Dame community, Aquila said, “Unfortunately, your action and that of your Board diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.”

The bishops who have so far publicly criticized Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D’Arcy – Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila – Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond – Austin, TX
4. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein – Indianapolis, IN
5. Bishop Robert Baker – Birmingham, AL
6. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, NE
7. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran – Oklahoma City, OK
8. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú – San Antonio, TX
9. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
10. Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
11. Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
12. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
13. Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
14. Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
15. Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
16. Archbishop Alfred Hughs – New Orleans, LA
17. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
18. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
19. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
20. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
21. Bishop Charles Morlino – Madison, WI
22. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
23. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
24. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
25. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul-Minneapolis, MD
26. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
27. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
28. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg
29. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
30. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
31. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR


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About becomewhatyouare

Catholic, Middle-Aged, Knitting-Addicted, Wife, Homeschooler, Mom of 6, Mom-in-Law to 1, Mother of 11 little saints, Grandma to 1, Godmother to 12, Foster Mom to 5, Army mom, Happily living in Texas!
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