Bp. Campbell (D. Columbus) speak about Notre Dame

On the website of the Diocese of Columbus, His Excellency Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell has spoken about Notre Dame.

The Concern at the University of Notre Dame
By The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D.
Bishop of Columbus

Undoubtedly, you have heard or read about the controversy surrounding the decision of the administration at the University of Notre Dame to invite President Barack Obama to give the commencement address and to confer upon him an honorary degree.

It is important to understand why such a decision has occasioned such controversy. As a Catholic institution, Notre Dame lives its academic life within a particular context. It seeks to pursue truth, in its many and various disciplines, with the understanding that all truth ultimately derives from God and is oriented toward the enhancement of human dignity from conception to natural death and beyond. Every human person possesses a destiny that stretches into eternity.

President Obama, in his political career, has repeatedly voiced his support for abortion “rights” and for embryonic stem cell research, both offenses against human dignity. The Catholic Church opposes such offenses, not because of some special revelation or particular creed, but because these things are matters of basic natural justice. In 2004, the Catholic bishops of the United States agreed that no institution that claims the name Catholic should honor proponents of such activity by inviting them to speak on prestigious occasions or to confer upon them honorary degrees. President Obama was not invited to an academic seminar or a simple discussion on moral questions. [Which would not have been so bad.] The invitation to give a commencement address is often a privileged occasion to propose policy or to encourage certain principles. [Even that might be tolerated.] An honorary degree is given to individuals, not only to recognize their achievements, but also to indicate that their lives and work exemplify the ideals of the institution. [That is the crux of the problem more than anything else.]  

The Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, John D’Arcy, in whose diocese the University of Notre Dame lies, has cogently reminded the university of how its invitation to President Obama undermines its responsibility to its Catholic identity. [Catholic identity]  I believe that Bishop D’Arcy’s decision not to attend the commencement (for the first time in years) is a proper one and morally courageous. I pray that Our Blessed Lady, under whose patronage the University of Notre Dame was founded, will assist by her prayers the university’s more authentic understanding of its identity as a Catholic institution.

 

It’s all about our identity.

Bishop Campbell has had a lot going on.   I am glad he determined to be counted on the correct side of the issue.

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32 Responses to Bp. Campbell (D. Columbus) speak about Notre Dame

  1. Thomas Burk says:

    Commencement speakers typically are awarded honorary degrees as a sign of respect and appreciation. Arizona State officials, however, did not award any such degrees this year.

    “His body of work is yet to come…”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/14/AR2009051401052.html

    ASU did not have any compunction about refusing to offer an honorary degree last night.

  2. TJM says:

    Short and to the point. Well done, Bishop Campbell. Tom

  3. LCB says:

    The ASU event was televised live.

    I can only imagine how far and wide the media will push the pictures of “CATHOLIC CHURCH APPROVES OF OBAMA!”

  4. Jillian says:

    I’m glad Bishop Campbell has finally spoken up … off to write him a letter of appreciation.

  5. Banjo Pickin' Girl says:

    I love our bishop. He has been very sick and has still been able to produce this statement. Please send him appreciative mail.

  6. Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    He is not only on the right side of the issue: he has the right arguments and he strikes the right tone.

    This letter is proof positive that it is possible to be both pastoral and firm, clear and yet nuanced, strong and yet not strident.

    Bishop Campbell gets it.

    Best,
    C.

  7. Alleluia!

    I have never been so glad to be so wrong. I was positive that Bishop Campbell would not speak out on the Notre Dame scandal. Since he was installed as bishop of Columbus in 2005 we have had scandal after scandal of pro-abortion and/or dissident “Catholic” speakers at Ohio Dominican University – the local “Catholic” College. And on each occasion bishop Campbell declined to intervene (or even respond to the letters asking him to).

    Sr. Joan Chittister was the commencement speaker in March of 2006. http://www.ohiodominican.edu/about/news/2006/CommencementSpeaker.asp

    In October of 2007 Donna Brazile, a pro-choice “Catholic” was invited to speak as part of the University’s Presidential Lecture Series.
    http://www.ohiodominican.edu/about/news/2007/DonnaBrazile.asp

    In October of 2008 abortion proponent Elizabeth Edwards was the keynote speaker for the Presidential Lecture Series.
    http://www.ohiodominican.edu/about/news/2008/ElizabethEdwardsPLS.asp

    And this Saturday, May 16th, the fairly well known dissident priest Fr. Charles Bouchard will be giving the commencement address and will be awarded an honorary degree.
    http://www.ohiodominican.edu/about/news/2009/HonoraryDegrees.asp

    And these are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

    Hopefully Bishop Campbell’s stance on the Notre Shame fiasco is signalling a change in the lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) diocese of Columbus.

  8. Donald Casadonte says:

    Dear James Straight,

    You wrote,

    Hopefully Bishop Campbell’s stance on the Notre Shame fiasco is signalling a change in the lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) diocese of Columbus.

    Please,do not commit the fallacy of composition by your statement. Simply because Ohio Dominican University is a part of the Columbus Diocese does not make the entire Columbus Diocese lukewarm. This borders on hasty generalization and rash judgment.

    I live in Columbus and I can tell you that the diocese is pretty well mixed with both very orthodox and not-so-orthodox components, as many cities are.

    You may comment on ODU as you see fit, but jumping from that to making comments on Columbus as a whole is going overboard – way overboard. If you want to know about some of the non-lukewarm things going on in Columbus, just ask. I am sure that people in the combox can respond.

    Also, Bishop Campbell is seriously ill and who knows how this has affected his ability to do some of the things he might want to do. It is a signal of how serious the Notre Dame scandal is that Bishop Campbell decided to issue a statement.

    Donald Casadonte

  9. Tim Lang says:

    James,

    The heterodox speaker tradition at ODU was establihed before Bishop Campbell came to Columbus. Church bashing pro-abort Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman was the heasdliner at the ’04 presidential lecture and Thomas Gumbleton was the commencement speaker that same year or the next.

    I was hoping to see a change in practice by now also.

  10. I live in Columbus and I can tell you that the diocese is pretty well mixed with both very orthodox and not-so-orthodox components, as many cities are.

    Yes. As a whole neither hot nor cold. The orthodox priests and people are for the most part left alone. But, for many years (long before bishop Campbell came to Columbus) the heterodox were allowed to continue doing the things they do.

    Several priests of the diocese have referred to ODU as the “tower of wicca” for several years. Some of these are the same priests who refer to our diocese (and most of the dioceses of Ohio) as “lukewarm”. Heck, our former bishop was the Interim President at ODU during several of more blatantly anti-Catholic speakers being given a voice.

    Nothing I said is untrue. And in no way did I even imply that there is nothing orthodox in the diocese. I’m aware of plenty of things. I’m probably present for a good deal of them. Don’t try to start an argument over things I never said.

    Also, Bishop Campbell is seriously ill and who knows how this has affected his ability to do some of the things he might want to do. It is a signal of how serious the Notre Dame scandal is that Bishop Campbell decided to issue a statement.

    As I said I did not think that he would make a statement about Notre Shame. And this is not just because of ODU. No one could fault bishop Campbell for sitting back and doing absolutely nothing at all but recover right now. But, he seems determined to get back to work as soon as possible.

    Again, I am overjoyed that he proved me wrong.

  11. The heterodox speaker tradition at ODU was establihed before Bishop Campbell came to Columbus. Church bashing pro-abort Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman was the heasdliner at the ‘04 presidential lecture and Thomas Gumbleton was the commencement speaker that same year or the next.

    Yes. Thank you. I was aware that dissidents have long been given the stage at ODU. I just for the life of me could not remember any but the few I mentioned before – all fairly recent.

    I was hoping to see a change in practice by now also.

    Maybe we are seeing the start of it now.

  12. Jillian says:

    As a former ODU student (I protested “Sister” Joan Chittister coming to ODU the year before I graduated), who wrote several letters to former President Jack Calareso, Bishop Campbell, and sat down with Bishop Griffin, I can sympathize with James on several accounts.

    I am overjoyed that Bishop Campbell has spoken out about Notre Dame. Bishop Campbell is a brilliant man. Our diocese needs him to speak out like this more often, especially regarding Ohio Dominican University. I hope this is a sign of things to come from Bishop Campbell.

  13. Donald Casadonte says:

    Dear James Straight,

    The original issue was about Bishop Campbell’s letter to Obama, not the state of affairs in Columbus. Could we, please, stay on topic. ODU, whatever its faults, is a separate issue for another day. You and I should not be arguing about logic and peripheral issues in a post that was, largely complimentary of Bishop Campbell. I suppose there would be a better time and place to discuss Columbus, itself, and with the proper detail such a discussion would deserve.

    Donald Casadonte

  14. John6:54 says:

    Sounds like the people of Columbus have some Thank You letters to write. Don’t let the good deeds go un praised.

  15. mfg says:

    Another bishop being heard from is most welcome. IMHO the offering of a platform for a commencement address AS WELL AS the conferring of the degree fly in the face of the Bishops’ statement.Both proclaim to the graduates in effect: This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him. Why else would the university put so much thought and time and energy into the selection of the one honored, and why would they so arrogantly defend their selection in the face of overwhelming disapproval like a bulldog with a favorite bone? And on what other occasion does the university have the opportunity to display its wares to the largest number (benefactors, parents, underwriters, relatives of grads and students, and aspiring students). Why else is there such an outcry from orthodox Catholics?

    If Pres Obama were invited to a panel or seminar at ND for the entire day during which there were presentation and development of ideas, and debate and open forum with student participation on firmly held positons on abortion with e.g. he and Nancy Pelosi vs Mary Ann Glendon and Fr. Tom Etenauer (sp?), in other words actual engagement and dialogue I would have no problem with it. However, in the present circumstance wherein the grads do not dare raise their hands, and have only the right to watch Obama watching his teleprompter, in the present circumstance where their mother (the university) is saying: “This is the one. He’s the man. He’s the example of a life well lived. Pay attention to what he has to say” (as opposed to all others, and with no one to offer a contrary opinion), yes, I have a big problem with it. And so IMHO the crux of the problem (Fr. Z’s red ink) is very much indeed to be found in both the commencement speech and the degree.

  16. Tom R. says:

    For a “lukewarm” diocese, there sure are a lot of WDTPRS readers here in Columbus, Ohio… I am another one. Bp. Campbell is a saintly man, who has a very difficult job. He also has a lot of health problems and in spite of them is doing a lot of good things. And let’s be clear about this – Bp. Campbell’s job is not easy. That’s why he’s the bishop and we’re not. (As an aside to Mr. Straight, if you really want to send your blood pressure skyrocketing, go attend one of the Masses over at The Ohio State University Newman Center – They make ODU look positively orthodox.)

    What is it that Fr. Z likes to say? Tick. Tick. Tick…

  17. Frank H. says:

    As another Columbus, Ohio reader, I would also like to commend Bishop Campbell on his public stance on this issue.

    And, Tom R., you have me curious. I’ll have to get over to the OSU Newman Center. [As a transplanted Wolverine, I usually try to avoid the campus. :-)]

  18. jersuza says:

    Be aware and understand that Obama is charismatic and can easily turn the tables on the ones who know his faults. At Arizona State, he easily parried the fact the University did not award him an honorary degree.

    Be prepared for the fact that he may decline the ND honorary degree as a symbolic gesture, and political move!, to put himself as being most magnanimous.

    And to cover it by promoting the “don’t get pregnant crowd”.

    Understand the Evil he is.

  19. Tom says:

    Monkey see, monkey do.

    Praise them well they do good. Get well soon, Bishop Campbell!

  20. Matt Q says:

    In the end, what of the all these bishops who are speaking up like Campbell, D’Arcy, etc.? It’s edifying for the Faithful, of course, and we are glad, but in the end, it matters not to the offenders of the Faith and the nonsense continues. Also, what is it with this rumor flying around the ‘Net Bishop D’Arcy suspended Jenkins’ faculties while in FW-SB diocese? Any truth to this or more wishful urban legend?

    What’s scary about all this is that with the growing list of bishops and clergy ( not to mention alumni and the average Faithful ) pointing out Fr Jenkins’ silliness, he continues to dig in his heels and further spins his justification for the invitation. He further hardens his heart against the remonstrations to correct his error. I dread what state his soul may be in–objectively speaking, of course.

  21. Boko says:

    The “(D. Columbus)” is evocative. I get what you’re saying. He’s the bishop of the Diocese of Columbus. But there was a time when most if not all of our bishops could have been termed, accurately, “(D, State).” Just like the Democratic politicians they were. Many of them seem to be moving, finally, past that. About time. We wouldn’t be in this mess if our bishops hadn’t remained loyal D’s for so long after the national Democratic Party made abortion its litmus test. For a long time we’ll be paying the price for the “born Democrat, baptized Catholic” pedigree of our hierarchy.

    And yeah, I know, the R’s aren’t perfect. But apparently it was too much to ask even for a couple I’s during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Way to shepherd, hacks.

  22. Veritas says:

    The University of Cambridge confers doctorates on those who have made an original contribution to the sum of knowledge or have thrown new and original light on existing knowledge. Other institutions of higher education presumably do likewise.

    It is therefore rather shocking that such degrees should be conferred on politicians merely for being elected. The whole system of honorary degrees should be scrapped.

  23. John D. Enright says:

    Catholic identity is very important. Bravo for the Bishop.

  24. Nana says:

    And my hair grows grayer waiting for the shepherd of our archdiocese to speak out re N.D. Sadly, his silence speaks volumes.

  25. Tomas says:

    Here’s a letter to the editor I just sent in to the student newspaper at Notre Dame, “The Observer”:

    I am responding to Father Jenkins’ letter to the Graduating Class of 2009. It is a scandal to state that Notre Dame is “unequivocally committed to the sanctity of human life and to its protection from conception to natural death,” while at the same time honoring someone whose career has hinged upon and advanced the very opposite of the sanctity of human life: infanticide. It is a scandal and a grave hypocrisy to teach students to “ask the larger questions” about the “ethical and spiritual dimensions of pressing issues,” while at the same time willfully ignoring and dissembling about those same dimensions. It is a scandal to state that Notre Dame alumni must “engage the culture,” while at the same time abandoning one’s Catholic principles by stooping to the barbarism of that culture. Finally, it is a scandal to claim to be devoted to serving Christ and His Church by honoring debased darkness, and to justify this schizophrenia as a “long custom.”

    St. Paul taught us that there can be no communion between light and darkness. St. John taught us that darkness cannot comprehend the light that shines in it. It has become apparent that your President, Father Jenkins, is so enveloped in the darkness of “dialogue” and human respect that he can no longer comprehend the teachings of his own faith, even as he mouths them.

    I entreat the souls of the Notre Dame community to heed closely Father Jenkins’ words while rejecting his actions. That is, may you “stand apart and be different, illuminating issues with the moral and spiritual wisdom of the Catholic tradition.” God bless the Graduating Class of 2009!

  26. Latekate says:

    Great letter, Tomas. It is so disheartening to see ND students, usually female, interviewed gushing about how “amazing” Obama is. I fail to see it. He is a political hack from Chicago spouting Marxist rhetoric. I expected more from students of such an acclaimed university. You students who stand against this fawning to the culture of death have my admiration and gratitude.

  27. Tomas says:

    Thanks, Latekate, but I just got an email from The Observer that they are on summer hiatus! Good thing I posted it here….

  28. Lorenz says:

    What is even more surprising is that Notre Dame is still even accountable to Catholic standards.

    For the last 45 years Fr. Ted Hesburgh has been undermining the Catholic faith with his dubious alliances with John D. Rockefeller on contraception, his Land O’ Lakes policy where Catholic universities are independent of church authority, honourary degrees and invitations to Mario Cuomo, etc. etc. and etc.

    5, 10, 15 years from now Notre Dame will be doing the same but the real damage is to the souls who attend there under the impression that they are going to a Catholic university and will be educated according to the Catholic faith. What happens is the likes of Hesburgh, Jenkins, McBrien and company leading them right by the nose out of the Catholic church and to embrace secular humanism.

    It is long time to officially cut ties with Notre Dame and recognize that Hesburgh, Jenkins, McBrien and their ilk are no more then walking mockeries to the priesthood.

  29. Emily says:

    Another Columbus Diocese reader here!
    Great to see this letter. I think a thank you note might also be in order.
    Our bishop is truly brilliant and I’m so glad we have him.

  30. misscomments says:

    How could you possibly imply that OSU’s Newman Center is not Catholic enough?

    (As an aside to Mr. Straight, if you really want to send your blood pressure skyrocketing, go attend one of the Masses over at The Ohio State University Newman Center – They make ODU look positively orthodox.)

    Have you ever gone to mass there?

  31. MaryAnn Titus says:

    I’ve not been to this site before however I am troubled by the many comments that seem to be saying there is only one way to “be Catholic” and that is “our” way. I am old enough to remember the discord, the finger-pointing and divisive thinking that scarred the church in the 1950″s. I remember too the atmosphere in this country during those years.

    These comments about Ohio Dominican and the Newman Center are counter to the spirit of the gospels. There are derisive and mean spirited. Where is the Christian heart that reaches out as Jesus reached out?

    St. Paul also writes about the Body of Christ of which we are all a part.

    It might benefit all Catholics, including our bishops, to reread Gaudium at Spes, the constitution on the church’s relationship with the world, and by “world,” I mean those people and institutions within the folds of Catholicism and outside it.

    As for the “darkness of dialogue” where would the Christian church be now if dialogue had not occurred in the early church. Read Acts.

  32. misscomments says:

    MaryAnn Titus – THANK YOU!! AMEN!!