In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.’s invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principal commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages. Further, the University’s decision runs counter to the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians. We cannot sit by idly while the University honors someone who believes that an entire class of human beings is undeserving of the most basic of all legal rights, the right to live.
Additionally, Fr. Jenkins has put some of his students into a position of moral dilemma as to whether they should attend their own graduation. Many pro-life seniors, along with their families, now feel personally conflicted about participating in the commencement. The lack of concern for these devoted sons and daughters of Notre Dame, who love this University and the Catholic principles on which it was built, is shameful.
An ad hoc committee sponsored by a coalition of University-sponsored student groups has been organized to lead student responses. These groups include:
- Notre Dame Right to Life
- Notre Dame Knights of Columbus Council 1477
- Jus Vitae (Notre Dame Law School Right to Life)
- The Irish Rover independent student newspaper
- Notre Dame College Republicans
- The University of Notre Dame Anscombe Society
- The Identity Project of Notre Dame
- Notre Dame Militia Immaculata
- Notre Dame Children of Mary
- The Orestes Brownson Council
- Notre Dame Law St. Thomas More Society