Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo wrote to Fr. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame on April 5, expressing his thoughts on President Obama’s invitation to speak and receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame in the next few days. I would like to quote a section of the letter I found particularly incisive. Please log on to the Diocese of Fargo’s website to read the letter in its entirety.
“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. Your actions provide a forum for an advocate of abortion, in a university which is committed to teaching truths known to reason and science, and most of all to our faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church. This 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)”