By lifting the restrictions on federal funding for organizations that promote and provide abortions overseas, as well as lifting the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and the promise to implement the Freedom of Choice Act, President Obama has established himself as the most pro-abortion president in history.
The move, by University of Notre Dame officials has alumni, pro-life, groups and the local bishop sharply responding.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established a written policy in 2004 that says pro-abortion politicians “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions” from any Catholic organization. At least one bishop tends to honor that.
The local ranking ecclesiastic, Bishop John D’Arcy, will not be in attendance at the graduation ceremony this year. "President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred," D'Arcy said. "While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life."
Alumnus and D.C. attorney William Newton wrote the university to say he is deeply offended at the university's decision and vividly portrayed the image of Obama giving the address against the backdrop of things of a much different nature: “This is the person that you feel is worthy to address the students and faculty of Notre Dame, in the shadow of Our Lady atop the Golden Dome, with the spires of the Basilica in the background?”
The Cardinal Newman Society launched www.notredamescandal.com and has already gathered over 60,000 petition signatures, from a posting only 4 days ago, opposing Obama’s appearance.
But the White House sees this as an opportunity, and probably feather in their cap, and issued this statement: "While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, including Catholics with their rich tradition of recognizing the dignity of people, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position," the White House said. "[T]he spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country."
University President Rev. John I. Jenkins said in a written statement that the invitation to the president does not necessarily mean that the university agrees with all of Obama’s positions. But the university also plans to given Obama an honorary doctor of law degree; this would certainly lead to the notion that at least the university officials must be personally in favor of Obama’s policies.
Jenkins further added that the appearance could be used as a “basis for further positive engagement.” In a bit of a non sequitur he added, "It is of special significance that we will hear from our first African-American president, a person who has spoken eloquently and movingly about race in this nation. Racial prejudice has been a deep wound in America, and Mr. Obama has been a healer."