The University of Notre Dame should rescind its invitation to President Obama to speak at the May graduation ceremony, Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa says.
Slattery asked school president Father John I. Jenkins in a letter dated Tuesday to cancel plans to honor Obama with a doctoral degree.
“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,” Slattery said in a statement. “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
Since taking office, Obama has lifted restrictions on overseas family planning groups that perform abortions and on stem cell research that destroys embryos.
Such decisions have ired the nation’s Catholic bishops and stoked both pride and anger at Notre Dame and nationwide.
“As you know, President Obama is aggressively promoting abortion on demand not only here in the United States but all over the world,” Slattery wrote in the letter. “In fact, he wants doctors to be required to perform an abortion whenever the mother asks.
“… For President Obama to be honored by Notre Dame is more than a disappointment, it is a scandal — especially to young adults.”
Most U.S. bishops have not spoken out on the matter, but a bishop in Indiana plans to boycott the ceremony and an Arizona bishop has sent a letter labeling the invitation to Obama “a public act of disobedience” to U.S. bishops.
Jenkins has said Obama will be honored as an “inspiring leader” facing challenges from the economy, two wars, health care, and immigration and health care reform. He also singled out Obama, the first African-American president, as a healer of racial wounds.