Letter from Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
April 8, 2009
Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Dear Father Jenkins:
It was with great distress that I learned of the invitation from the University
of Notre Dame to President Barack Obama to speak at this year’s commencement and
to be given an honorary degree. While one may understand an invitation to
President Obama to engage him in conversation on creating a culture of life, it
is not appropriate for him to speak at the commencement exercises of a Catholic
university, nor should he receive an honorary degree. Such actions cause
confusion among faithful Catholics and send a mixed message regarding the clear
Magisterium of the Catholic Church on life issues.
It is my hope and prayer that the University of Notre Dame will rescind the
invitation to President Obama to speak at the commencement and withhold the
conferral of an honorary degree to him or to anyone who so blatantly disregards
the basic moral principles upon which the United States of America was founded.
Please be assured of a special remembrance in my thoughts and prayers for you
and all at the University of Notre Dame. May Mary our Mother guide you as you
strive to provide the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church to the students
at Notre Dame.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia