The Notre Dame Response: Don't Show Up!
Fr. Frank Pavone
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This Sunday I will have the privilege of being with many of the pro-life
students of Notre Dame University. Seniors who have decided not to take
part in their graduation have invited me to lead them in prayer, in an
alternate ceremony on another part of the campus, at the very hour that
pro-abortion President Obama will speak and be honored by the
In standing with these students, I am standing with the true spirit of
Notre Dame: a pro-life spirit, in harmony with human reason and Catholic
Faith. The scandal that has been generated does not represent what Notre
Dame is all about; it represents a radical betrayal of what Notre Dame
is all about. I am encouraged by the pro-life activities of so many
student groups on this campus – activities that are carried out all year
Hundreds of thousands of Catholics, hundreds of priests, and dozens of
bishops have called upon Notre Dame to end this scandal by withdrawing
its invitation to President Obama. The result of that demand is not in
our control. But one final response to this scandal is fully in the
control of each graduating senior: don’t show up.
Don’t participate in an event which will only serve to obscure rather
than highlight the Church's pro-life teaching and the true spirit of
Notre Dame. Instead, come to the Class of 2009 Vigil for Life. The
seniors who do this are manifesting the real meaning of
commencement: they are carrying out the witness to truth
and service that their hard-earned degrees have prepared them to give in
We shouldn't at all be surprised that many others will fail to
understand not only the courageous actions of these students, but also
the concern voiced by so many across our nation. After all, the fact
that many don't have a problem with Barack Obama sitting in a place of
honor at a Catholic Commencement is simply a corollary of the underlying
problem that so many don't have a problem with Barack Obama sitting in
the White House. Our concern is not just that he is at odds with
Catholic teaching. Our concern is that he is at odds with
American teaching, and the very meaning of public service
– which requires being able to tell the difference between serving the
public and killing the public. He should neither be at Notre Dame nor in
the White House.
Nearly a thousand priests and deacons have joined their voices to a
statement that Priests for Life has written, and we invite more to sign
www.priestsforlife.org/statement/notredame.aspx. Meanwhile, we
invite all the faithful to join the Notre Dame students in a Rosary
Campaign for reparation for this scandal, and for the conversion of the
President and all who support legal child-killing. Please let us and the
students know how many rosaries you pledge to pray this week; go to
And finally – let every commencement ceremony include a prayer for those
who would have graduated had they not been killed by abortion. It’s the
least we can do!
See Fr. Frank’s YouTube posting today about this situation at his
Related Press Release: Fr.
Pavone Invited to Notre Dame Commencement by Students Holding Alternate Ceremony