"Rather than honor this president and condone his life-denigrating
policies, we Catholics should stand firmly in opposition and call him to task on his ethical transgressions."
Dear Father Jenkins,
Please rescind the invitation that has been accepted by President Obama to speak at commencement on May 17, and reverse the university's intent to confer on him the honorary doctor of laws degree.
Called the "abortion president" by pro-life activists, Mr. Obama’s appearance at the university would contradict the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ policy against honoring pro-abortion politicians. In 2004, the USCCB approved a policy statement regarding "Catholics in Political Life," which states, with reference to pro-abortion politicians, "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
It is an insult to all Catholics; and it would be a lasting disgrace for Notre Dame, as one of our country's leading Catholic universities, and an unwanted complicity for Catholics of conscience everywhere, to have a legacy of hosting and commiserating with this president, who in the first months of his term has done unprecedented moral damage to implicate all taxpayers in funding abortions at home and abroad.
Additionally, this president has supported abortionists’ leaving viable babies – survivors of botched abortion procedures -- to die, thereby compromising the life-protecting and preserving oaths of health care workers in our nation’s hospitals.
Now the Obama administration intends to rescind health service regulations that would result in health care workers being forced to provide such services as abortions in violation of their beliefs and consciences. USCCB President Cardinal Francis George states: "No government should come between an individual person and God—that’s what America is supposed to be about.” Indeed, Mr. Obama’s proposed rescission of these protective regulations amounts to government oppression and threatens the inalienable rights to freedom of religion and conscience and speech that are protected under the First Amendment.
Furthermore, Mr. Obama has promised to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which further would violate and suppress constitutional rights to exercise freedoms of religion, conscience, and speech, and would enforce the taxpayer-funded genocide of unborn infants in America. As a result, Catholic practitioners of conscience could lose their livelihoods, and Catholic health facilities would close. The light of our society’s strongest bastion of reason – the Catholic Church -- would be extinguished, and its voice would be strangulated, in a legalized culture of death in America.
Mr. Obama’s embryonic stem cell research policies, as well -- unnecessary in the light of advances made in adult stem cell research -- are contrary to a respect for the dignity of created life, and they fly in the face of every conscionable Catholic.
Catholic teachings state that “the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person” (USCCB “Themes of Catholic Social Teaching,” 2005). Mr. Obama’s policies regarding abortion, conscientious objection, and stem cell research threaten the life and dignity of the human person. Rather than honor this president and condone his life-denigrating policies, we Catholics should stand firmly in opposition and call him to task on his ethical transgressions.
Please don't support or honor this president and his problematic policies. He is not a model to raise up before your students, or before Catholics anywhere, to admire or to emulate. Only further harm to our nation’s damaged moral fabric, and to our historic Catholic values, ideals, and identity would come of it.
Please rescind the invitation. Please reverse the decision.
Many prayers for you, your students, and for our country,
Nancy E. Thoerig and Mary W. Thoerig
Mount Savage, MD 21545
cc: Patrick McCartan (fellow and board chairman emeritas), Cardinal Francis George (USCCB president), Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien (Baltimore)
mailed copies to: Bishop John M. D'Arcy (Fort Wayne-South Bend), Richard C. Notebaert (board chairman)