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Bishops Speaking Out Against Notre Dame Scandal

The Bishops' Reponse and List



“Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth… Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.”
Most Rev. John D’Arcy – Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Also Read 
'Statement to the faithful'

“So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, and didn't anticipate the kind of uproar that would be consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has happened.”
Most Rev. Francis Cardinal George – Archbishop of Chicago and USCCB President


“I find the invitation very disappointing. . . Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a ‘Teacher,’ in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.”
Most Rev. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo – Archbishop of Galveston - Houston

“[Fr. Jenkins, I] regret that [Bishop D’Arcy] must bear this personal affront from a university which he has so consistently and ardently supported this last quarter century.”
Most Rev. Edwin O’Brien – Archbishop of Baltimore


“They made a big mistake.”
Most Rev. Timothy Dolan – Archbishop of New York


"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 [Fr. Jenkins] are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future.”
Most Rev. John Nienstedt – Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis


“President Obama, by word and action, has approved of abortion and other atrocities against human life. Therefore he deserves no recognition at a Catholic institution.”
Most Rev. Eusebius Beltran – Archbishop of Oklahoma City


“It pained me to hear that one of the symbols of Catholic education in our nation, Notre Dame University, had extended an invitation to President Obama to speak at its commencement.”
Most Rev. John Myers – Archbishop of Newark


“The University of Notre Dame used to be the flagship Catholic university of the United States. I regret that we are not experiencing that leadership and integrity.”
Most Rev. Alfred Hughes – Archbishop of New Orleans


“The unfortunate message sent to the nation by the university’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at their graduation ceremony is compounded by their decision to provide him an honorary law degree.”
Most Rev. José Gomez and Most Rev. Oscar Cantú – Archbishop and Aux. Bishop of San Antonio


“You [Fr. Jenkins] dishonor the reputation of the University of Notre Dame and, in effect, abdicate your prestigious reputation among Catholic universities everywhere.”
Most Rev. Daniel Buechlein – Archbishop of Indianapolis

“[Archbishop Pilarczyk] supports the strong comments of Bishop D’Arcy of South Bend, in whose diocese Notre Dame is located.”
Mr. Dan Andriacco on behalf of
Most Rev. Daniel Pilarczyk – Archbishop of Cincinnati

“Given her Catholic identity, the University of Notre Dame’s receiving the President as the 2009 commencement speaker and her bestowing on him an honorary doctorate are truly shameful, a scandal to the Church and a major blow to hundreds of thousands who have sacrificed to bring forth a culture of life in our midst.”
Most Rev. Joseph Martino and Most Rev. John Dougherty – Bishop and Aux. Bishop of Scranton


Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin told the annual Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Chicago that he would have not invited Obama had he been making the decision about a commencement speaker.
Life News reporting on
Most Rev. Robert Morlino – Bishop of Madison


“I would ask that you rescind this unfortunate decision and so avoid dishonoring the practicing Catholics of the United States, including those of this Diocese. Failing that, please have the decency to change the name of the University to something like, ‘The Fighting Irish College’ or ‘Northwestern Indiana Humanist University.’”
Most Rev. Thomas Doran – Bishop of Rockford


“It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States.”
Most Rev. Thomas Olmsted – Bishop of Phoenix


“I support Bishop Thomas Olmsted's public stance on this matter, in calling this situation ‘a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States.’”
Most Rev. Robert Baker – Bishop of Birmingham


“In my opinion, it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support.”
Most Rev. Gregory Aymond – Bishop of Austin

“It is a very prestigious platform to offer a President who is leading the battle for an expansion of abortion rights which may ultimately end up being unparalleled in recent history.”
Most Rev. Robert Lynch – Bishop of St. Petersburg

“For President Obama to be honored by Notre Dame is more than a disappointment, it is a scandal – especially to young adults. His being honored by Notre Dame will make it easier for a woman who contemplates abortion to actually submit herself to this cruel and deadly procedure.”
Most Rev. Edward Slattery – Bishop of Tulsa


“Catholic institutions of higher learning must always be places where the Catholic values we hold so dearly will always be supported and promoted – not where the culture of death is allowed to be honored or valued.”
Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless – Bishop of Sioux City


“It is disheartening and distressing when an institution that is regarded as Catholic, such as Notre Dame, fails to follow the guidelines set forth by the Bishops of the Catholic Church, especially in these vital moral matters.”
Dr. Paul Schenck on behalf of
Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades – Bishop of Harrisburg

“Notre Dame extended this invitation unilaterally, seemingly without regard for the consequences for the mission of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is contrary to the efforts of bishops, parish priests, and laity to resist the anti-life decisions, policies, and legislation promoted by the Obama administration.”
Most Rev. William Lori – Bishop of Bridgeport

“Mr. Obama’s policies … have demonstrated that he does not believe that the life of the unborn is very important. As a result, I cannot but be deeply disturbed by the decision made by the president and board of Notre Dame.”
Most Rev. George Murry – Bishop of Youngstown

“Many people, including myself, who consider the University of Notre Dame the prestigious Catholic university in the United States, are most upset that the university has extended an invitation to President Obama to give its commencement address and receive an honorary degree.”
Most Rev. William Higi – Bishop of Lafayette

“I, along with other bishops throughout the country, fully support Bishop D’Arcy in this matter.”
Most Rev. Anthony Taylor – Bishop of Little Rock

“The decision of the President of Notre Dame to ignore the Bishops and to give both a platform and an honor to President Obama is indefensible. And so I raise my voice along with many of my brother Bishops, as well as the faithful who have been deeply scandalized.”
Most Rev. Jerome Listecki – Bishop of La Crosse

“…it is unconscionable to me that a Catholic university would bestow such an honor upon an individual who is so completely out of step with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the need to protect innocent human life in its most vulnerable forms, even if that individual holds the highest office in the land.”
Most Rev. Alexander Sample – Bishop of Marquette

“[Fr. Jenkins,] Your actions and that of the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame do real harm to the mission of Catholic education in this country and further splinters Catholic witness in the public square.”
Most Rev. Samuel Aquila – Bishop of Fargo

“[Fr. Jenkins,] I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.”
Most. Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz – Bishop of Lincoln


“It seems that the University of Notre Dame has abandoned its Catholic identity in this matter. I feel that it is embarrassing and shameful.”
Most Rev. Richard Stika – Bishop of Knoxville


“If Notre Dame does not alter its present course, it will be difficult for me to offer support for the University on any level.”
Most Rev. Gerald Barbarito – Bishop of Palm Beach


“I suspect that, since Notre Dame will need a scapegoat for this debacle, and Fr. Jenkins will probably lose his job, at this point perhaps he ought to determine to lose it for doing something right instead of something wrong. He ought to disinvite the President, who I believe would graciously accept the decision.”
Most Rev.Robert W. Finn – Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

“[Pope Benedict] said ‘to justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission.’ Father Jenkins, Notre-Dame’s president, must have nodded off during the Pope’s speech”
Most Rev. Thomas Wenski – Bishop of Orlando


"The University's invitation undermines the Catholic identity and mission of the institution."
Most Rev. Paul Coakley – Bishop of Salina

“For some this may be one political issue among many. For Catholics it is a matter of worshiping God by the proclamation of the truth. Many students and faculty at Notre Dame know this. The university's administration thinks it knows better.”
Most Rev. George Lucas – Bishop of Springfield

"This is just one more sign of the failure of Catholic Institutions to stand up for and support a higher ethical standard."
Most Rev. Robert Vasa – Bishop of Baker


“[T]he decision by a few administrators to give him a platform and honor on Commencement Day will be damaging to the Church, to the pro-life cause and, ultimately, to the university itself.”
Most Rev. Paul Loverde – Bishop of Arlington


“The decision of the University of Notre Dame makes it much more difficult for the Church to carry out her vital mission to transform our culture into a culture of life and love.”
Most Rev. John Le Voir – Bishop of New Ulm

“Coupled with the performance of… 'The Vagina Monologues'… this most recent decision raises serious doubts about Fr. Jenkins' qualifications for continuing to serve as president of one of the foremost Catholic universities in the nation.”
Most Rev. Victor Galeone – Bishop of St. Augustine

“This is Our Lady’s university choosing to give an honorary degree to the single most outspoken pro-abortion president since the issue was foisted upon the country by the Supreme Court. It must, indeed, embarrass Our Lady.”
Most Rev. David Zubik – Diocese of Pittsburgh


“In reality, Notre Dame’s invitation signals to President Obama that there is no need to dialogue. Why should the president feel a need to dialogue when he is honored by our nation’s most prestigious Catholic university no matter how extreme his policies and actions supporting legalized abortion?”
Most Rev. Joseph Naumann – Diocese of Kansas City


“I share the consternation of my brother bishops and of many Notre Dame alumni who have already voiced their objections. I am in complete agreement with them. Appeals to “academic freedom” or engagement should not prompt an indifference to what our actions imply.”
Most Rev. Glen Provost – Diocese of Lake Charles


Most Rev. Peter Jugis – Diocese of Charlotte


Most Rev. William Murphy – Diocese of Rockville Center


The bishops who have so far expressed disapproval of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D'Arcy - Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila - Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond - Austin, TX
4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito - Palm Beach, FL
5. Bishop Leonard Blair - Toledo, OH
6. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein - Indianapolis, IN
7. Bishop Robert Baker - Birmingham, AL
8. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - Lincoln, NE
9. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran - Oklahoma City, OK
10. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú - San Antonio, TX
11. Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS
12. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Houston, TX
13. Archbishop Timothy Dolan - New York, NY
14. Bishop Thomas Doran - Rockford, IL
15. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty - Scranton, PA
16. Bishop Robert Finn - Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
17. Cardinal Francis George - Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
18. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Evansville, IN
19. Archbishop José Gomez - San Antonio, TX
20. Bishop William Higi - Lafayette, IN
21. Archbishop Alfred Hughs - New Orleans, LA
22. Bishop Joseph Latino - Jackson, MS
23. Bishop Jerome Listecki - La Crosse, WI
24. Bishop William E. Lori - Bridgeport, CT
25. Bishop George Lucas - Springfield, IL
26. Bishop Robert Lynch - St. Petersburg, FL
27. Bishop Joseph Martino - Scranton, PA
28. Bishop Charles Morlino - Madison, WI
29. Bishop George Murry - Youngstown, OH
30. Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ
31. Bishop R. Walker Nickless - Sioux City, IA
32. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt - St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
33. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien - Baltimore, MD
34. Bishop Thomas Olmsted - Phoenix, AZ
35. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk - Cincinnati, OH
36. Bishop Kevin Rhoades - Harrisburg, PA
37. Bishop Alexander Sample - Marquette, MI
38. Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, OK
39. Bishop Richard Stika - Knoxville, TN
40. Bishop Anthony Taylor - Little Rock, AR
41. Bishop Robert Vasa - Baker, OR
42. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Orlando, FL


Bishops statements from -


Bishops List from -


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Taking Aim at the Tough Issues  

Sex, Abortion, War and Capital Punishment

by: Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.


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