Catholics outraged over Notre Dame hosting Obama
Opposition is mounting to the University of Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to be a commencement speaker in May.
Inviting the most pro-abortion president in history to speak at a Catholic school is not the only issue, according to David Castanzo is a spokesman for the Cardinal Newman Society. "For a Catholic institution to make a clear and decisive move to award a doctoral degree to an individual who is so opposed to the pro-life movement, that is where the primary conflict comes into play," he explains.
The Catholic League is taking no official position, believing it is a matter for the church to resolve internally. But spokeswoman Susan Fani does encourage people to go to NotreDameScandal.com to sign a petition drive launched by the Cardinal Newman Society.
"So that Notre Dame knows that there is a concern because a Catholic university has to be uncompromising in its position on abortion. And when you have a president, not only has he been pro-abortion in his legislative career and in his rhetoric, as president in just two months, he has advanced the abortion agenda," Fani notes.
The Cardinal Newman Society hopes to present a huge number of petition signatures to school officials, who have already said they will not withdraw the invitation to the president.
"We have been steadily generating multiple thousands of hits per day," Costanzo adds. "Within the first 15 hours, we had exceeded close to 15,000 signatures to the petition."
He hopes to convince university officials that what President Obama stands for is contrary to Catholic teaching.
Prestige over truth?
Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic bishop whose diocese includes Notre Dame says he will boycott Obama's May 17 graduation speech because of the president's support for abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research. Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend also criticized Notre Dame's plan to award Obama an honorary degree. He said Notre Dame should ask itself whether it has chosen prestige over truth.
Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown responded that the school regards Bishop D'Arcy as a friend and is "sorry that he won't be able to attend." He adds that Notre Dame doesn't support all of Obama's positions, but does not plan to withdraw the invitation.
The White House issued a statement on Tuesday saying the president welcomes the "spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues."
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