Rev. John C. Nienstedt, Catholic archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, has joined a growing list of US bishops in opposition to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor and host President Barack Obama at commencement in May. According to a media release, a petition organized by The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) urging Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins to rescind the invitation has grown to more than 220,000 signatures.
“The faithful owe a debt of prayerful thanks to Archbishop Nienstedt for his statement calling on Notre Dame to reconsider its planned honor for President Obama,” said Patrick Reilly, President of CNS.
In his letter dated March 26, and since provided to The Cardinal Newman Society, Archbishop Nienstedt wrote to Rev. Jenkins to “protest this egregious decision on your part,” calling the bestowal of an honor to President Obama a “travesty.” Nienstedt wrote that President Obama is an “anti-Catholic politician” and whose “deliberate disregard of the unborn” does not deserve Notre Dame’s “public support.”
The following is the complete text of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt’s letter to Notre Dame President Rev. Jenkins:
March 26, 2009
Rev. John Jenkins
President, University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Dear Father Jenkins:
I have just learned that you, as President of the University of Notre Dame, have invited President Barack Obama to be the graduation commencement speaker at the University’s exercises on May 17, 2009. I was also informed that you will confer on the president an honorary doctor of laws degree, one of the highest honors bestowed by your institution.
I write to protest this egregious decision on your part. President Obama has been a pro-abortion legislator. He has indicated, especially since he took office, his deliberate disregard of the unborn by lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research, by promoting the FOCA agenda and by his open support for gay rights throughout this country.
It is a travesty that the University of Notre Dame, considered by many to be a Catholic University, should give its public support to such an anti-Catholic politician.
I hope that you are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future.
The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis