For Release :
Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers,
Archbishop of Newark,
On Notre Dame University’s Decision to Host and Honor President Obama at its Commencement Ceremony
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.
Not all people believe what the Church teaches, and in our society today we sometimes must work on issues of importance with people who do not agree with us on the primacy of the sanctity and dignity of life -- a moral issue on which there can be no compromise.
When we extend honors to people who do not share our respect and reverence for life in all stages, and give them a prominent stage in our parishes, schools and other institutions, we unfortunately create the perception that we endorse their public positions on these issues. We cannot justify such actions, and the Bishops have stated so clearly and strongly.
If the president of Notre Dame University truly wishes to show that his institution is rooted in Catholic teaching and tradition and committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he must underscore this message at commencement plainly and clearly, and invite everyone to embrace an immutable and all-inclusive reverence for life.