Catholic Faithful 65, Fr. Jenkins 0


So far 65 Bishops of the 195 U.S. Dioceses have spoken out against Fr. Jenkins’. Every single one of them were critical of Jenkins’ decision to invite Obama to Notre Dame graduation commencement and to award him with an honorary degree.  In 65 different ways they’ve basically said “this was a bad/wrong decision that has brought scandal to the Church.”

65 (and still growing)!  And how many Bishops have spoken out in support of Fr. Jenkins’ decision?  ZERO.

And people still have the short-sightedness to refer to this scandal as politically driven or biased.  Wake up Catholics.  Every once in awhile we gotta actually stand up for what we believe.

Others have said that we are making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be.  They need to wake up too.  Since when is integrity, principle, and honor not a big deal?

Here’s a well done short video on the Notre Dame Response to this scandal.

41 comments Add comment

Joseph Olson May 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

Awesome video!! Let’s stand up for life! My prayers will be with the students and faculty of Notre Dame. Thank you for the post.

dianeski May 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

Our diocese (Charlotte, NC) published a scathing critique by an ND alum of the ND decision in the diocesan newspaper, along with a sidebar by the paper’s publisher, Bishop Peter Jugis. Does that count? :-)

Lazy Disciple May 5, 2009 at 8:44 am

Dear Matthew,

I was an early defender of Notre Dame.

ND authorities themselves made my early defense implausible, having repeatedly stated their desire to flaunt the bishops and take the unacceptable line of honoring the man, Barack Obama, who is the most radically pro-abortion person ever to stand in, let alone be elected to the White House.

That said, the bishops have been caught in a hate-fest that is uncharitable, imprudent and contrary to the true spirit of fraternal support and real episcopal collegiality.

Bishop D’Arcy has been clear, forthright and dignified throughout this whole affair. He stopped short of condemning Fr. Jenkins, and well short of questioning his good faith.

He corrected Fr. Jenkins in crystalline language, when Fr. Jenkins tried to float the absurd idea that the the bishops’ 2004 directives do not apply to non-Catholics, though the good bishop never once cast aspersions on Fr. Jenkins’ honor, character, or good faith – Bishop D’Arcy merely questioned the soundness of Fr. Jenkins’ judgment in this one particular case.

Ordinaries who are afraid to discipline Catholic politicians who present themselves for communion in those bishops’ own cathedrals on Sunday and then go blithely vote to fund infanticide on Monday, took cheap shots at a priest who is under none of their jurisdictions.

No one in this, with the exception of Bishop D’Arcy, has acquitted himself well in this sad episode – real damage has been done to the cause of life.


Leticia Velasquez May 5, 2009 at 8:50 am

My pastor recently said, “the white will be getting whiter and the black blacker”. It’s getting harder to remain neutral in the culture wars, and that’s a good thing, remember what Jesus said He’d do to the leukwarm; SPIT them out of his mouth!

Lazy Disciple May 5, 2009 at 8:59 am

Dear all,

Your desire for spirutal warfare makes me think of the foolowing quotation, which comes from Robert Bolt’s “A Man for all Seasons”:

God made the angels to show Him splendour, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity.
But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamour like champions, if we have the spittle for it.
But it’s God’s part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping…

The words are given to the martyr, St. Thomas More.

Brian Walsh May 5, 2009 at 9:17 am

Lazy Disciple – Yes much damage has been done to the cause of life… by ND honoring the most Pro Abortion President EVER!

And what are you suggesting? That the Bishops and us lay faithful sit by and do nothing when we see major sin/scandal in the works? That is actually cowardice or apathy… True charity is desiring the best (heaven) for Fr. Jenkins, President Obama and the millions of unborn babies aborted… and the soul of our nation. If we sit by and do nothing with the cop out of “only God judges” we are guilty of the sin of omission and will have to answer for that on OUR judgment day. Indeed there is already plenty I will have to answer for.

Abortion is a MAJOR evil… Honoring the biggest abortion facilitator by the premier CATHOLIC university in the US is a MAJOR evil… We CANNOT sit back and do nothing, that is not an option. True, we do not and should not try to judge souls, are they holy or going to heaven or… but God himself calls us to judge actions, this action is evil and if we sit back and do nothing evil wins.

Lazy Disciple May 5, 2009 at 9:48 am

Dear Brian Walsh,

Please, stop screaming. That is entirely unnecessary.

I am not suggesting that bishops and lay faithful stand by and do nothing.

I am suggesting that the bishops support their brother, +John D’Arcy – by seconding his statements, not by drafting their own, impotent ones that go far beyond, and indeed run counter to the spirit of +D’Arcy’s own.

ND’s decision to invite the President was ill-advised; it was not sinful.

Their efforts to explain their decision were silly; they were not scandalous.

Yes, abortion is a major evil. You need not lecture me on that, CAPS or no caps.

Barack Obama is the most radically pro-abortion person ever elected President of the United States, which means he is the President of the United States.

His policies are sickening, truly revolting: precisely because of this we need to be engaged in the political process.

Someone in this thread mentioned lukewarmness; rather than your incandescent impotence, I would employ ice-cold prudential reason.

The US bishops’ behavior has made the task of preventing real people from dying more, not less difficult.


That is the truly scandalous thing in this whole sad episode.

Matthew Warner May 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

Great points, Brian!

Also, it seems like some people, in their excusing Fr. Jenkins actions, are willing to call out everyone else (including other BISHOPS!) as being uncharitable and participating in a “hate-fest” – which by their definition doesn’t seem very charitable to me (ironic).

But worse, at the same time they are unwilling to call out the dishonor, scandal, and ultimately “uncharity” that Jenkins himself is bringing to the school AND the greater Church (double standard).

Lazy Disciple May 5, 2009 at 10:06 am

Dear Matthew,

Did you actually read what I wrote? I am not excusing anyone.

Have you calmly compared the substance and tone of Bishop D’Arcy’s statements on the matter with those that have come from some of his brother bishops?

I suggest that you do so, if you have not. The exercise is unsettlingly revealing.

It is not enough to be on the right side of the issue – which is of course the side of life; we need also to think all the good we can of everyone, at all times, and we need to act accordingly.

It is, after all, the way we hope others will treat us.


dianeski May 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

If someone ever tries to commit grave moral evil against me (e.g., euthanasia a la Terri Schiavo, or whatever), then I sincerely hope my fellow Catholics will protest loudly and forcefully — and I don’t give a flip how stridently they do so. In the face of monstrous evil, we cannot afford to mince words.

Lazy Disciple May 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Dear dianeski,

If, God forbid, I should ever find myself in a situation similar to Terri Schiavo, then I, too, would hope for a powerful and numerous chorus of defenders. I would desire their behavior to be virtuous, and their arguments cogent. Anyone can make a great deal of noise – just look to the “gay marriage” lobby; I would want my defenders to think with the Church, and to behave like Christians.


Artie May 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Truth and Love must coexist. What I find is that some people in the public forums are sometimes afraid to speak the truth in fear of being judgmental (not showing love). Then there is another camp of people who are not afraid to speak the truth in the public forum and disregard love. I believe the 65 bishops used truth and love and that is what the gospel tells us to do.

As far as desiring spiritual warfare, it is not so much that Christians practicing their faith desire it, but people act in good faith in truth and love.

Here is the reality folks fighting temptation and living the gospel are themselves forms of spiritual warfare. Therefore, believe it or not we actually engage in this battle everyday. Further, do not forget that the prize is the most precious treasure we possess, human souls. Our own and those of others. St. Paul talks about this in Ephesians that our battle is not against human forces but against principalities and evil spirits.

Ian Nicholas Michael Koh May 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Perhaps it’s time Father Jenkins be faced with the inevitability of excommunication?

Brian Walsh May 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm

LD – Sorry for the CAPS… perhaps I should have used bold letters but that is not an option on these comments so CAPS is the only way to emphasis… no yelling intended… just emphasis!

But I see no lack of charity on part of the Bishops and the hundreds of thousands of lay faithful who have spoken up… When the merchants were abusing the temple and making it into a marketplace, Jesus got angry and started cracking skulls. That is what our church leaders, some of them, are doing now. It is time that our Church leaders, and the rest of us, start getting POed about where our Church and culture has gone and start kicking butt and taking names. We need more people to stand up and call a spade a spade, evil an evil. Lately the Church has not done that and we are a mess when it come to what the church teaches what the truth is.

The Devil is playing for keeps and fighting tooth and nail to destroy our Church and our souls. It is time we fight back hard…publicly and internally. EVERYTHING is on the line!

But you are wrong… this situation IS sinful, evil and scandalous. I don’t understand how you can say it is not.

Susan Smith May 7, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I think we’re going about this all wrong. I agree with our position on abortion as a Catholic Community. However, I think its an extreme over reaction to dismiss Obama from speaking to the students and faculty. That’s like saying you won’t speak to your co-workers, neighbor, or even non-catholic family member because he or she has a different belief from your own. Why not use this as an opportunity to invite a fruitful discursive exchange? Invite Obama to an open forum where you can talk about issues like abortion, same sex marriage, etc. etc. You shouldn’t shut him out because you disagree with him. In summary, your voice might be more powerful if you just go about this in a different way.

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 3:45 am

Dear Susan,

I think that, had president (or anyone with his views) been invited to a debate on the subject at ND, no one would have batted an eyelash.

As Ambassador Glendon made abundantly clear in her most excellent letter explaining her decision to decline the Laetare medal, a Commencement exercise is not the proper setting for the kind of engagement you are suggesting.

Also, whether you agree with them or not – and I share their sentiments even though I cannot approve all their declarations on the subject – the bishops and the scores of thousands of lay faithful who have voiced their outrage, have been stirred by ND’s decision to honor the man, Barack Obama, who is the most radically pro-abortion person ever to stand in, let alone be elected to the Oval Office.

That decision is at loggerheads with the purpose of the USCCB’s 2004 statement on Catholics in political life. ND authorities did themselves no favors when it tried to explain its decision to honor the man who holds the office of President by claiming canon lawyers they consulted had told them the directive does not apply to the President, insofar as he is not a Catholic. The claim is belied by the plain language of the 2004 directive: the claim is false on its face.

So, the concern over ND’s decision is legitimate; ND’s response to the reaction in the Catholic community was seriously flawed. It does not follow, however, that the Catholic community’s response has been edifying or praiseworthy. -More to follow-

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 3:52 am

cont’d from above…

65 bishops (as of the start of this thread) have criticized Fr. Jenkins publicly. 64 of those public letters were written by bishops who have no jurisdiction over Fr. Jenkins, whatsoever. The first letter published was written by Bishop John D’Arcy of Forte Wayne-South Bend, the bishop with ordinary jurisdiction over the diocese in which Notre Dame is located.

I have no doubt but that the 64 bishops who published letters subsequent to the one by the hand of the local ordinary intended, among other things, to show fraternal support, i.e. to confirm their solidarity with a brother bishop. In order to measure the success with which they actually succeeded in carrying out this intention, we need to compare the 64 bishops’ letters with the letter of Bishop D’Arcy (to date, +D’Arcy has published two letters, though this is something we shall address below).

Now, Mr. Warner notes that each of the 65 letters is critical of ND. I do not dispute this. This measure, this standard of analysis, however, is not sufficient. There are, after all, many different types of criticism and many different ways to be critical.

In order truly to be in solidarity with their brother, in order to be truly collegial, if you will, the 64 bishops ought not to have gone beyond the substance of Bishop D’Arcy’s criticism, nor ought they to have expressed themselves in tones more strident than those in which Bishop D’Arcy expressed himself.

-More to follow-

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 4:16 am


Bishop D’Arcy’s letter, while critical of ND’s decision, did not go so far as to accuse the university authorities of scandal.

In his letter, Bishop D’Arcy called on Fr. Jenkins to examine his conscience; the bishop most emphatically did not accuse Fr. Jenkins of wrongdoing, nor did he impugn the good faith of either Fr. Jenkins or the university he directs.

Bishop D’Arcy was very careful to explain that his decision not to attend the ND graduation was not to be construed as indicative of, much less as an expression of disrespect toward the POTUS; with equal care, Bishop D’Arcy made it clear that he did not consider the university’s Catholic character to be impeached by the decision.

The 64 bishops who have issued letters of their own might just as easily shown support for their brother in one or a combination of several different ways, e.g.: publishing +D’Arcy’s letter in their diocesan papers; issuing press releases professing support for him; offering prayers for the continued strength of ND’s Catholic character; praying, meditating, considering and then writing letters reflecting in a general way on the idea of a Catholic university and its mission in troubled times. These are just a few of the constructive things the 64 bishops might have done.

Sadly, they opted to vent their anger and frustration, giving expression to sentiments and judgments not only far in excess of +D’Arcy’s own, but contrary to the substance and the spirit of the original.


Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 4:19 am

Dear Brian Walsh,

I hope the above comments, directed to Susan, can serve to clarify my reasons and support the claims you have challenged.


Matthew Warner May 8, 2009 at 7:02 am

FYI, 68 bishops have now spoken out critically. The latest included “the responsibility for the situation lies with the Bishop within whose jurisdiction the university is located”…but, “he should not have been invited.”

LD – thanks for the thoughtful response. And you bring up some excellent points. But I ultimately disagree.

You are wrong that D’Arcy did not accuse Jenkins of wrongdoing. He CLEARLY said that what jenkins did was WRONG and should not have been done.

But this has caused a larger, public scandal occurring in every American diocese and possibly some abroad. A premier Catholic university is supporting, honoring, and giving platform to the most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had. There is CLEARLY scandal. And Bishops wherever this scandal is affecting Catholics (everywhere), THOSE bishops have an obligation to speak out about it to inform and instruct their own faithful.

D’Arcy is being pastoral to Jenkins – and did so very wisely. And he did so in a way that addresses Jenkins. But because of the nature of this issue, there is a much larger, public and far-reaching issue that needs to be addressed in every diocese where it exists. Every bishop should make a clear statement of THEIR OWN that speaks to their unique flock in order to clarify to their faithful the right and wrong of the situation. You’re right that other bishops should not speak pastorally to jenkins, but they should speak pastorally to their own about this scandal. That’s what they’re doing.

I don’t see any of them “venting frustration or anger.” And I think it’s just shy of very disrespectful to those bishops when you call it that. I’ve found no inappropriate statements from any Bishops on this matter. They have an obligation to speak out and make a public statement to the Catholics in their own jurisdiction who this scandal is affecting and confusing in order to clarify the wrongdoing. Further, in doing so, they lend that solidarity you speak of and work together to get the message across to Americans that this type of behavior is inconsistent with being Catholic.

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 7:19 am

Dear Matthew,

Could you please be so kind as to furnish me with a citation of the text of the letter (either one) in which +D’Arcy “clearly” makes the statements you attribute to him.

I have been over both letters and it is not clear to me.


Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 7:20 am

I mean to say +D’Arcy does not appear to me to accuse Fr. Jenkins of deliberate wrongdoing.


Brian Walsh May 8, 2009 at 8:51 am

LD – not really… but I do understand your position. But I feel the time for being politically correct and beating around the bush needs to come to an end. My position is that it is time to stand up for Christ, his church and the truth, not to mince words and be bold in our faith. Of course charity and prayer trump but we need to be fighters as well and we need to speak the truth.

dianeski May 8, 2009 at 9:07 am

Brian, I could not agree more.

Just read what the Church Fathers and Saints said and wrote in opposition to great evil. They did not mince words — and this did not mean they were being uncharitable.

It’s about time our shepherds started speaking out this way. May they continue to speak out forcefully, and may we support them with our prayers and words.

Artie May 8, 2009 at 9:10 am

Brian I am with you 100%!

Tolerance is not always a virtue. I find that people have bought into the western ideology of respect others beliefs and be willing to not speak about your own beliefs… and if you do… it could be considered a “hate crime”. Not saying that some that have chimed in on this discussion believe that, but to some degree extent you do.

Notre Dame is more worried about prestige verses their Catholic identity. People say that this is a great forum for Notre Dame to discuss Catholic issues with Mr. Obama.

I am just wondering how making a commencement speech is the same as having a fruitful discussion on the issue of abortion? It simply is not.

I am all for fruitful discussion, but I have to question and perhaps even condemn Notre Dame’s decision of inviting the most pro abortion politician in US History to speak at their commencement.

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 9:15 am

Dear Brian,

I agree with your assessment of the times. I admire and I think I share your fighting spirit.

For a moment, now, suppose Fr. Jenkins to be undeserving of (at least the very worst of) the criticism that he has received; suppose for a moment he deserves only to be censured, but not condemned.

Then, those who condemned him would have done so unjustly, right?

So, let me ask you: have you read all the criticism published against Fr. Jenkins by the bishops and by Catholic public intellectuals? If so, do you have a knowledge of the situation sufficient to warrant moral certitude with respect to Fr. Jenkins’ deserts in this regard? I mean to say: do you really consider yourself so well-informed about the pertinent facts of the case, to be able to say, “Yes, Fr. Jenkins deserves it all.”?

Do you think all 67 bishops beside +D’Arcy have the information, the familiarity with the situation and the actors necessary and sufficient for each of them to have reached moral certainty regarding the same?


Artie May 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

Lazy Disciple,

I looked up the word censure and condemn and their appear to be synonymous.

~~~~If so, do you have a knowledge of the situation sufficient to warrant moral certitude with respect to Fr. Jenkins’ deserts in this regard?~~~~

I know this is not my question to answer, however I believe inviting the most pro abortion politician in US history is all the information 1 individual needs educated or not. It is a scandal. It is what it is.

Here is the point, when you invite the most pro abortion politician in US history to a “Catholic in name University” (Notre Dame) people have to not only question it, but condemn/censure the *ACTION*. Perhaps Fr. Jenkins intents are indeed innocent, but the action itself is not.

Could you imagine Notre Dame inviting Hitler to their commencement. ABORTION IS A SILENT HOLOCAUST! If you don’t believe abortion is a silent holocaust then there is no way you could make the connection.

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 9:56 am

Dear Artie,

Censure is different from condemnation. It is analogous to the difference between a building code inspector citing a builder/proprietor for code violations, and the same, well, condemning the building.

That said, I think we are actually saying the same thing.

I am not defending now, nor have I ever defended Fr. Jenkins’ actions.

I am not now, nor have I ever objected to expressing concern, dismay, sadness, even disapproval of Fr. Jenkins’ actions.

I have, since the word go (if you go back and visit my blog, The Lazy Disciple, you will find this to be the case), i.e., since the story broke, maintained that I would have “forgotten” to renew ND’s standing invitation to newly elected PsOTUS, were I the president of ND.

I have also said that ND’s handling of the backlash has made manifest a serious failure, on the part of ND authorities, in their duty ‘to think-feel-judge with the Chruch (sentire cum ecclesia)’.

I do not think Fr. Jenkins was in bad faith. There is woefully insufficient evidence of that – not even enough to rouse suspicion in a person who is trained in and used to thinking all the good he can of others (the fathers and saints write in clearest terms about this duty, as well).

Fr. Jenkins did a poor job of witnessing ND’s Catholic identity, the Catholic character of ND’s mission. He betrayed neither.

Fr. Jenkins has been accused of bad faith and betrayal, and these accusations are unjust.


Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

I think you agree that we do not serve Christ by speaking ill of people unnecessarily, and that we certainly do not serve Him by speaking falsely.



Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 10:05 am

Artie, I have tried to incorporate html code into my missives, with no luck. How did you do it?


Brian Walsh May 8, 2009 at 10:34 am

We are all on the same page here when it comes to the fact that this is sad times for the Church b/c of Notre Dame. But we disagree on 1) the severity of the issue and 2) the response. I don’t think any amount of debating is going to change that…

No, I have not read all of the letters from the Bishops… I don’t have the time, I have 3 kids 2yo and under and run my own business. But I have been following it on blogs and news sites…But I have to trust in the Church and its leadership over that of just one priest who’s apparent judgment is flawed (at least on this issue). I don’t have evidence on hand but has not ND been pushing the limits on its Catholic identity with.

I mean come on… he had to have known that he was going to get backlash for this, I just don’t think he thought it was going to be so severe.

Brian Walsh May 8, 2009 at 10:35 am

Also, what familiarity do you need? This is wrong…

Artie May 8, 2009 at 11:37 am

Lazy Disciple,

What is Fr. Jenkins really trying to convey by inviting BHO? Has that *really* been answered truthfully even by himself.

In regards to Fr. Jenkins being accused of bad faith and betrayal, and these accusations being unjust…

It is one thing to invite Obama in private to discuss the issue of abortion at your house, but to have him publicly be able to make a commencement speech at Notre Dame? I would say that is a sign of betrayal and bad faith on Fr. Jenkins part.

Side note… user firefox not ie for linkage!

Lazy Disciple May 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Dear Brian, Dear Artie,

Thanks very much for engaging me in this discussion. I think that our conversation has shown it is possible to have civil conversation in blog a blog com-box, and this is not a trifling matter. I have a family and a job, too. I shall try to respond to you tomorrow.

I hope it is clear that I am not debating, though, if debating means stating a position and defending it with a view to carrying a point. I am exploring an issue, by candidly sharing thoughts and asking questions of my interlocutors.

Thanks again to Matthew Warner for hosting this discussion.


Brian Walsh May 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm

LD – Thanks. I am not really sure what else to say on the matter. I have stated my position and I understand yours but we just disagree. I think Matt summed it up best when he pointed out why it is necessary for other bishops to comment publicly. Other than that we just have to keep fighting the good fight, stand up for truth and “do not be afraid.”



Artie Catalano May 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

Me and Father Corapi are on the same page.

If we stand for nothing we fall for everything…
Prestige over Principiles and Popularity over Morality

John May 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

Just a question for everyone,

It was mentioned above that we should be engaging in conversation and debate with President Obama, and obviously this, coupled with prayer is the only way we could hope to change his views that we disagree with.

But at the same time, in the age where he is reaching out to people of all parts of the world, political views, and religious affiliations, why have we not reached back? If some of the most hostile regimes in the world are taking part in conversation with their biggest enemy, than why can’t we, as Catholic Americans, not reach out to our own president and begin a simple dialog, that he has obviously shown he would be open to?

LD mentioned that if Notre Dame was hosting a debate with President Obama, then no one would have batten an eyelash. However, I’m not sure if that is true. Open forums with the president are something we should be striving for, but are not taking place. A true conversation or debate with the president, perhaps done by some of the leading bishops in the US, I feel would be much more effective than bickering, online petitions, and protests. Something like that would be a big deal and many people would be interested in the outcome, as that would potentially put President Obama on the spot to answer to his moral critics.

I am just saying that for such an important issue, we all seem to be beating around the bush, and not taking advantage of some of the more obvious opportunities that we have.

Matthew Warner May 11, 2009 at 6:16 am

John – we have to do both…and we can. People use an argument like yours to first suggest that we shouldn’t be getting all worked up about standing up for our principles (ie not honoring the most pro-abortion president in our history as is clearly against what the Bishops have asked us to do) and to second, imply that we are NOT reaching out to the president in these other ways – which we are.

Read every statement from every bishop (including the pope) in their response to Obama’s presidential election. All were open to dialogue and looked forward to it. And there is no question that any one of them would sit down with the man and talk if they had the opportunity.

Standing up for our principles is not “beating around the bush” – it’s called having integrity. And I agree that we should be taking advantage of opportunities, but I don’t see that the Bishops are really missing one. They’ve indicated over and over again their willingness to dialogue with the president. But he likely won’t because Obama knows it would put him on the spot with where he differs greatly with Christ’s Church. And he’s much too savvy to do something like that.

So while we’re waiting for him to dialogue with us, the least we can do is NOT honor with a law degree a man who refuses to support laws that protect the lives of the most innocent among us. There are no excuses.

Matthew Warner May 11, 2009 at 6:27 am

LD – I think another difference here is that Bishops are not condemning Jenkins himself – and most certainly not as a priest. As you rightly noted, this is the job for his bishop and is largely a private matter.

But what they have condemned are the actions of the president of a premier catholic university that have clearly gone directly against the guidelines of the Bishops of the Church. They have every right and obligation to do this.

Nobody is judging the intentions of Jenkins (even though it is quite obvious since he has not shown any remorse for his decision even AFTER so many bishops have pointed out his error). But it’s proper to judge the action, which we all must call what it is – a mistake, a shame, a scandal to the Church and then work to correct it.

I thank you all for your comments and the great discussion. I think you’re exactly right, LD – it’s no small thing to be able to respectfully discuss these topics for which I know we are all very passionate. But it’s an excellent example of the kinds of things that SHOULD be discussed among Catholics and others…as there is room for it!

Thanks again, all.

Lazy Disciple May 12, 2009 at 5:44 am

Dear Matthew,

I think I can come with you, at least so far as to agree that most of the bishops did not intend to attack Fr. Jenkins personally.

What is at stake, though, is not the bishops’ intentions: it is the statements they made in their public letters.

I can only go on the basis of the language they used. I think, for example, of the language of the bishop of Indianoplis, In., Daniel Buechelin OSB. On April 10th, he wrote, “There isn’t a single reason that would justify Catholic sponsorship of the president of our country, who is blatantly opposed to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.”

Bishop Buechlein went on to say, “You dishonor the reputation of the University of Notre Dame and, in effect, abdicate your prestigious reputation among Catholic universities everywhere.”

So, according to +Buechlein, his brother, +D’Arcy, is not only materially wrong, but wrong-headed in his careful avoidance of anything that might have been disrespectful to the Obama qua present holder of the office of POTUS.

Indianapolis’ language goes beyond far beyond professional censure, and is, on the face of it, not reconcilable with the language of +D’Arcy’s two letters.

This is just one example. There are others.




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