MARYSVILLE, PA (APRIL 2, 2009) – On this fourth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul the Great, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a national association of 600 priests and deacons, urges the University of Notre Dame to honor the memory and legacy of this faithful son of church by rescinding the invitation to President Obama to be Commencement Speaker for this year’s graduation.
As we eagerly await the day when, God willing, JP2 will be beatified and then canonized, we also unequivocally profess our support for his papal letter, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990) which requires Catholic colleges and universities to conform, defend and adhere to Magisterial teaching. The decision, however, to afford an openly pro-abortion politician the privilege of speaking to graduating seniors at the commencement violates every principle of Catholic education insofar as it violates both Divine and Natural Law. Pope John Paul II boldly, bravely and unambiguously challenged presidents and prime ministers, congresses and parliaments, capitalists and communists, to defend the inalienable right to life of the unborn and to permanently end the evils of abortion and euthanasia.
While the Confraternity is proud that the first African-American has been elected to the highest office in the land, we also regret and disavow his persistent pro-abortion policies and appointments. It is precisely because of his efforts to undo all the progress of pro-life legislation since the notorious Roe v. Wade decision that we strongly feel he has made himself ineligible for such an invitation as commencement speaker for a Catholic school. As President of the United States of America, he deserves every honor due his office and we totally respect him as our legitimate national civil leader. Nevertheless, the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Moral Law condemn the intentional killing of innocent human lives and therefore any and all politicians, regardless of their level of authority, are ethically obligated to defend the unborn who are the most vulnerable and immanently endangered by the evil of abortion.
We are therefore saddened and outrages that any Catholic institution, let alone a prestigious university like Notre Dame, would afford a public gesture of acceptance and endorsement to a politician who openly supports the so-called legal ‘right’ to ‘choose death’, i.e., the direct killing of an unborn human being. The argument that this invitation merely extends and continues dialogue with those who disagree is a non sequitur. Notre Dame approached President Obama, not vice versa. Speaking at Commencement is not an open debate, it is a monologue. Parents did not pay tuition for celebrities to speak at their son or daughter’s graduation, they paid it to ensure a Catholic education.
The CCC welcomes a respectful debate between opponents and proponents of alleged ‘abortion rights.’ A real disputation will allow logic and reason to demonstrate and prove that the pro-life position is the only moral, ethical and human choice citizens and governments truly have.
A Christian education is rooted in the Divine and Natural Laws as known by faith and reason, both of which affirm the right of the unborn to live after conception. It is an oxymoron at best and an outrageous insult at worst to ask a politician, even a president, who is openly pro-abortion to be Commencement Speaker at a graduation from a Catholic school. President Obama is not only ideologically but also legislatively and administratively proactive in perpetuating and proliferating abortion. Honor the office and respect the man but repudiate and denounce his policies and appointments which endorse and promote the injustice of abortion. Honor the memory of JP2 and keep Catholic colleges and universities faithful to the Magisterium.