Clear correction from Bp. John D’Arcy (where Notre Shame is)

From the website of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

My emphases and comments.

Statement to the faithful

April 21, 2009

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recently, Father John Jenkins, CSC, [Pres. of Notre Dame… Shame] in a letter of response to Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, who had written him, critical of the decision to invite President Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree of law at Notre Dame, indicated that it was his conviction that the statement “Catholics in Political Life” (USCCB) did not apply in this matter. Father Jenkins kindly sent me a copy of his letter, and also at a later meeting, asked for a response.

In an April 15th letter to Father Jenkins, I responded to his letter.

Now the points made in his letter have been sent by Father Jenkins to the members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and have been publicized nationally, as well as locally in the South Bend Tribune. Since the matter is now public, [here it comes] it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and correct. [correct] I take up this responsibility with some sadness, but also with the conviction that if I did not do so, I would be remiss in my pastoral responsibility.

Rather than share my full letter, which I have shared with some in church leadership, I prefer to present some of the key points.

1. The meaning of the sentence in the USCCB document relative to Catholic institutions is clear. It places the responsibility on those institutions, and indeed, on the Catholic community itself.

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” — “Catholics in Political Life,” USCCB.

2. When there is a doubt concerning the meaning of a document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where does one find the authentic interpretation? A fundamental, canonical and theological principal states that it is found in the local bishop, who is the teacher and lawgiver in his diocese. — Canon 330, 375 §§ 1 & 2; 380; 381 § 1; 391 § 1; 392, & 394 §1.

3. I informed Father Jenkins that if there was any genuine questions or doubt about the meaning of the relevant sentence in the conference’s document, [Does anyone out there imagine that there wasn’t discussion amongst the leadership at Notre Shame.  Didn’t Fr. Jenkins say they had consulted?] any competent canonist with knowledge of the tradition and love for Christ’s church had the responsibility to inform Father Jenkins of the fundamental principle that the diocesan bishop alone bears the responsibility to provide an authoritative interpretation.  [Let us not forget that the University is within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.]

4. I reminded Father Jenkins that he indicated that he consulted presidents of other Catholic universities, and at least indirectly, consulted other bishops, since he asked those presidents to share with him those judgments of their own bishops. However, he chose not to consult his own bishop [ouch] who, as I made clear, is the teacher and lawgiver in his own diocese. I reminded Father Jenkins that I was not informed of the invitation until after it was accepted by the president. I mentioned again that it is at the heart of the diocesan bishop’s pastoral responsibility to teach as revealed in sacred Scripture and the tradition. (“Lumen Gentium,” 20; and “Christus Dominus,” 2.) I reminded him that it is also central to the university’s relationship to the church. [And here is the 900 lbs gorilla in Fr. Jenkins waiting room…]  (“Ex corde ecclesiae,” 27 & 28; Gen. Norm., Art. 5, §§ 1-3.)

5. Another key point. In his letter to Bishop Olmsted and in the widespread publicity, which has taken place as the points in the letter have been made public, Father Jenkins declared the invitation to President Obama does not “suggest support” for his actions, because he has expressed and continues to express disagreement with him on issues surrounding protection of life. I wrote that the outpouring of hundreds of thousands who are shocked by the invitation clearly demonstrates, that this invitation has, in fact, scandalized many Catholics and other people of goodwill. In my office alone, there have been over 3,300 messages of shock, dismay and outrage, and they are still coming in. It seems that the action in itself speaks so loudly that people have not been able to hear the words of Father Jenkins, and indeed, the action has suggested approval to many.

In the publicity surrounding the points Father Jenkins has made, he also says he is “following the document of the bishops” by “laying a basis for engagement with the president on this issue.” I indicated that I, like many others, will await to see what the follow up is on this issue between Notre Dame and President Obama[In the meantime, keep breathing regularly.]

6. As I have said in a recent interview and which I have said to Father Jenkins, it would be one thing to bring the president here for a discussion on healthcare or immigration, [even about abortion, I think… if it were an occasion for debate and engagement] and no person of goodwill could rightly oppose this. We have here, however, the granting of an honorary degree of law to someone whose activities both as president and previously, have been altogether supportive of laws against the dignity of the human person yet to be born.

In my letter, I have also asked Father Jenkins to correct, and if possible, withdraw the erroneous talking points, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune and in other media outlets across the country. The statements which Father Jenkins has made are simply wrong and give a flawed justification for his actions.

[NB:] I consider it now settled — that the USCCB document, “Catholics in Public Life,” does indeed apply in this matter.

The failure to consult the local bishop who, whatever his unworthiness, is the teacher and lawgiver in the diocese, is a serious mistake. Proper consultation could have prevented an action, which has caused such painful division between Notre Dame and many bishops — and a large number of the faithful.

That division must be addressed through prayer and [yes] action, and I pledge to work with Father Jenkins and all at Notre Dame to heal the terrible breach, which has taken place between Notre Dame and the church. It cannot be allowed to continue[If that is the case, then there will have to be consequences of Fr. Jenkins does not take the steps indicated by Bp. D’Arcy.  Could Fr. Jenkins alleged trip to Washingtion DC allegedly to the White House have anything to do with this?]

I ask all to pray that this healing will take place in a way that is substantial and true, and not illusory. Notre Dame and Father Jenkins must do their part if this healing is to take place. I will do my part.

Sincerely yours in our Lord,
Most Reverend
John M. D’Arcy

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Indelible Inkstain says:

    Glorious! and indeed more prayers are needed

  2. Rancher says:

    As I noted in another post on a different subject it is all about a lack of respect for rules and authority…something which is common in our society and reflected in the Church. Rather than Church leadership setting the standards and insisting that they be met our Church leaders in the USA over the past 4 decades have allowed the lax secular attitude to be modeled within the Church structure. Whereas the Church should have led, it followed. And, now, we are paying the price in the form of an outright flaunting of disrespect by NDU and so called leading Catholic politicians. It took 40 + years for this mistake to grow and prosper and it may take 40 years to correct. Pray that the leadership required to correct it continues to grow spine.

  3. John 6:54 says:

    Let’s see, the Pope comes last April 17 to the United States and gives a talk to Catholic educators about what it means to be a “Catholic Educator”. In less than one year two of our higher institutions of Catholic education have brought scandal upon the faithful by their actions. Notre Dame & Georgetown.

    At what point does the Pope/Vatican take action? The Catholic administrators who fostered these scandals cannot claim ignorance and if they do they shouldn’t be in their positions. The only thing more scandalous than what has occurred at these institutions is that nothing of substance has occurred. I do not consider a few “statements” by a few Bishops as substantial action. I’m all for forgiving those who made the mistakes but you don’t leave them in power and if no example is made, these errors will continue and become worse.

    God Help Us!

  4. His Excellency has finally put his foot down and
    told Fr. Jenkins that he was in direct violation
    of the USCCB document as so many of us believed
    all along. Not only this, but I hope that this
    public censure by the local ordinary forces
    Notre Shame to come to its senses once and for
    all. It will be a painful process, I am sure, but
    it is one that is necessary as this most recent
    scandal has proved.

    On reading that Fr. Jenkins had directly violated
    Canon Law by NOT consulting his local ordinary
    (Bishop D’Arcy), I have begun to wonder whether
    an ecclesiastical censure such as suspension
    would do him any good. The breach that Fr.
    Jenkins has caused is tremendous and now is the
    time for healing.

    Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

  5. TJM says:

    A very well written and reasoned letter. That ends it. By the way, Father Jenkins, if in fact he consulted bishops other than his own, comes across
    as shifty and unmanly. I am appalled that he did not have the guts to call Bishop D’Arcy himself. By the way, I am a double-Domer who will not
    be attending his law reunion this year. I have also withheld my annual donation and will do so as long as Father Jenkins continues down
    this path. Tom

  6. RJSciurus says:

    Wonderfully done. Now, will the alumni begin to ask why Fr. Jenkins deemed it necessary to take a private jet to Washington DC this week? I’m not sure I would want my donated funds being used for that. Congress certainly seems to have an issue with automakers taking private jets.

  7. DavidJ says:

    Praise God when a bishop decides to defend his flock!

  8. Ron says:


    Good for you! It’s great you’re taking a stance. Have you written to Notre Dame to inform them the reason you’re withholding your annual donation? I’d think it’d be good for them to know you are and why. Just a thought.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  9. Virgil says:

    Excellent! I agree that this is a fine message, a welcome relief from the mean invective thrown about in the past.

    Best point? PROCESS! That’s why we have canon law and not canon “guidelines”. That’s why bishops are not only teachers, but interpreters of the law.

  10. TJM says:


    Yes I have. Thanks for your support. It’s my understanding ND is having a rough time getting pledges this year!


  11. Timbot says:

    Sadly, and this is a most scandalous fact about ND, between their NBC football game money and federal grants gained since 1967 by breaking with the Church, ND has little need of alumni donations. I suspect the board of trustees considers faithful Catholics nothing but “useful idiots”.

  12. jarhead462 says:

    Well done.
    Let’s keep it going!
    Another brick laid.

    Semper Fi!

  13. Ben says:

    I love my bishop.

  14. Ron says:

    That is great Tom! They would get a lot more support if they would strengthen their Catholic identity, obviously.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  15. chironomo says:

    It seems that, at long last, someone in charge has begun to assert that “Catholic Identity” we have so oft spoken of…

  16. LCB says:

    Uh, wow.

    My chair. I just fell out of it.

    He has laid down the law very clearly. A USCCB document is only effective in a diocese if the Bishop decides it is. Bishop D’Arcy has made clear through the years that the document is indeed effective in his diocese.

    And he has made clear the meaning of the document, within his diocese.

    D’Arcy writes, “That division must be addressed through prayer and action, and I pledge to work with Father Jenkins and all at Notre Dame to heal the terrible breach, which has taken place between Notre Dame and the church. It cannot be allowed to continue.”

    There is only one appropriate analogy: “Jenkins, I re-raise you all in.”

    Does Jenkins call, or does he fold?

  17. EJ says:

    Gary, that’s a priest you’re calling an idiot. I’d think carefully before aiming ad hominem insults at a man consecrated to God. He also has far more Catholic education and formation than, I suspect, 99% of the readers of this blog:

  18. LCB says:

    ND does rely on alumni donations. They recently had to issue 150 million + in bonds because of stock market losses. They need about another 4 billion before they can operate entirely off endowment, if I recall correctly.

    Most NBC revenues are earmarked to the general scholarship fund, if I recall correctly.

  19. LCB: “There is only one appropriate analogy: “Jenkins, I re-raise you all in.”

    I submit another acceptable reply: “Jenkins, I triple dog-dare you!”

  20. Father Michael says:

    I am grateful for this well-written, clear, and direct letter. But also, I am appreciative that it has a tone of care and concern, unlike some of the comments posted here and in other blogs.

    As someone who was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop D’Arcy and served four years in his diocese, I trust the sense I have that this letter was written as a father to a child who has taken a misstep. The correction is firm and direct, but it is done out of a deep love. He always refers to the university as “Notre Dame”. He doesn’t dismiss the university. He knows what tremendous good it has done since it was founded in 1842 and he knows the tremendous good it can continue to do. No, the bishop’s concern is too deep to allow himself to be dismissive or give-in to name calling.

    I am so very, very grateful for his letter and I will continue to join my prayers with his for a “substantial and true” healing.

  21. Cavaliere says:

    He also has far more Catholic education and formation than, I suspect, 99% of the readers of this blog:

    EJ, I would say that one shouldn’t be making insults against anyone, priest or not. However the comment you make above rather than absolving Fr. Jenkins rather condems him I would think. On a side not I would bet that more saints and blesseds come from the ranks of the “less educated” than the “more educated.”

  22. Matt Q says:

    Bishop D’Arcy wrote:

    “That division must be addressed through prayer and [yes] action, and I pledge to work with Father Jenkins and all at Notre Dame to heal the terrible breach, which has taken place between Notre Dame and the church. It cannot be allowed to continue. [If that is the case, then there will have to be consequences if Fr. Jenkins does not take the steps indicated by Bp. D’Arcy. Could Fr. Jenkins alleged trip to Washington DC allegedly to the White House have anything to do with this?]

    I ask all to pray that this healing will take place in a way that is substantial and true, and not illusory. Notre Dame and Father Jenkins must do their part if this healing is to take place. I will do my part.


    I think Jenkins’ trip is to finalize preparations for the visit. We will continue to pray, but then what? With prayer is there not also effort? Most Catholics nowadays just stand around thinking that’s all they have to do.

    While Bishop D’Arcy’s reply is straightforward and should be complemented, what action thereof? What is his “part?” Shouldn’t the action consist of, e.g., “Rescind the invitation or your faculties **will** **be**.” Yeah, right.

    We just have to wait and see what the bishop will actually DO.

    Are we just looking forward to more blabbage? For the most part, that’s all bishops do nowadays. Flap the yap. Just like telling pro-abort politicians not to receive Communion although do NOTHING actually to stop them. Here they are coming up in line… one more person… uuuhhh… hand them Communion anyway.

    Is our Clergy really that coward?

  23. TJM says:

    EJ, the fact that Father Jenkins has “far more Catholic education and formation, etc” makes the scandal all the worse and his actions far more serious
    for which he is culpable. If one has the Faith, and is trained in the Faith, one has a higher obligation to defend the Faith, particularly an alleged “educator.”
    Sorry, Tom

  24. Paul Haley says:

    The local bishop has spoken clearly and the onus is on Fr. Jenkins to respond. Will he? Methinks not, although I hope he does. Intellectual pride can do funny things to a man, even a priest. The matter of him flying to Washington, DC, in a private jet has my suspicions working overtime. Could it be that there is some collusion ‘tween him and Obama? I hope not.

  25. tertullian says:

    Reading between the lines, I get the impression the issue of “Bishop shopping” really irked Bp. D’Arcy. It’s one thing to get a fact wrong,it can be corrected. It’s a travesty to seek out substantiation for what is known to be erroneous.It’s hubris of a grand scale to think this Bishop wasn’t going to respond forcefully.

  26. stb says:

    I want all bishops to be like His Excellency Bp. D’Arcy! Please, can I get one in my diocese?

    This is so long overdue – as an average faithful in the pew, I want to hear such clear,
    unambiguous statements from bishops and priests in N. America (and elsewhere)
    more often.

    Beatus vir, qui non abiit in consilio impiorum, et in via pecattorum non stetit !

  27. mpm says:

    Bishop D’Arcy’s letter is quite clear. I was looking at some of the passages
    he refers to, and I thought this paragraph illustrates exactly what he is pointing
    to as the problem here. I call particular attention to the first sentence.

    28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”. (Ex corde Ecclesiae, #28).

  28. DarkKnight says:

    Re Fr. Jenkins formation/education:

    “He earned his master of divinity degree and licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 1988.”

    This does indicate proper formation, rather deformation. That school is a heretical looney bin.

    Furthermore, I wasn’t aware that Oxford was renowned for its orthodox Catholic formation either.

    It appears that we have someone who was suckled on the teat of the golden calf and the experience is being played out in the press.

  29. fr. pb says:

    What a wonderful response! This bishop is firm, clear, and kind, while being humble above all. There is nothing more to add; this guy is awesome.

  30. Audeamus.Fiat says:

    Fr. Z (or anyone else who may know),

    I’ve always been confused about this… What does the bishop have available to him to reprimand/punish/impose consequences (depending on how you look at it) upon Fr. Jenkins? Since he is a religious and not bound by a geographic territory (right?), does he report to his superior or the bishop where he is currently located? I guess my question is… what can the bishop do to enforce his reprimands? What control does he exercise over Fr. Jenkins and, alternately, over Notre Dame as a Catholic institution within his diocese?

    And secondly… what do you think he might do and would not do?

  31. therese b says:

    Please, please remember that Fr Jenkins is not only a priest, he is a human being. I have made some terrible mistakes in my life which seemed quite justified at the time. I’m not criticising the Bishop – he is doing his sacred duty. I’m adding Fr Jenkins to my prayers tonight – not in a “make him see the error of his ways” sort of prayer, but just to ask God and Our Lady to be with him.
    I fear that elements within the US Administration will twist the situation to make the Church look biased and racist – in fact, from previous posts, it looks as though they are laying the groundwork for this – in the event that the visit does not take place.

  32. TNCath says:

    Deo gratias! Thank you, Bishop D’Arcy!

    And now, we wait to see what happens. By the tone of this letter, even if Obama withdraws from speaking on his own accord, Notre Dame won’t be out of the woodshed.

  33. EJ says:

    Cavaliere and TJM – my comment was a reply to a now-deleted comment that accused Jenkins of not having any Catholic education or formation. I didn’t mean it as a judgment in either direction.

  34. Tominellay says:

    I think that Fr. Jenkins has fired himself, and that Obama is a one-term president.

  35. Romulus says:

    I fear that elements within the US Administration will twist the situation to make the Church look biased and racist

    Where are the black bishops? In particular, where is Archbishop Gregory? I wish the world worked otherwise, but their voices would carry a lot of weight.

  36. Brian says:

    “Notre Dame and Father Jenkins must do their part if this healing is to take place. I will do my part.”

    I hope Father Jenkins reads those two sentences carefully.

  37. TJM says:

    EJ, thanks for the clarification. Tom

  38. Michael says:

    Can anyone else see Bishop D’Arcy writing this while wearing his Mitre and Crosier? The level and grandeur of the authority that he wields is tremendous and awe-inspiring.

    Following Ben’s lead, I, too, love my Bishop.

  39. taad says:

    The very act of Fr. Jenkins asking another bishop, but not his own bishop, proves he
    knew that he was doing something wrong. He acted much like a child who goes to mom
    when he knows dad is going to say no. How sad. The other sad fact is that maybe another
    bishop(s) gave him advice, and did not tell him to ask his own bishop. Whoever the bishop(s)
    were are very wrong and responsible to God for this.

  40. Jacques says:

    The problem isn’t with Fr Jenkins education, so polished and learned be it.
    The problem is with those who entrusted him with ND’s Presidency without foreseeing the consequences.
    Sometimes it is better having a well built mind than a twisted one.
    Fr Jenkins long ago has convinced himself that he was right even if the Pope himself says he is wrong, something like his colleague Fr Raymond Gravel (

  41. Aaron says:

    Just to be clear, Bp. D’Arcy doesn’t say Fr. Jenkins explicitly hopped – he says that asking other universities what _their_ bishops have said amounts to the same. The overall observation is, however, quite true: Fr. Jenkins showed he knew he was doing something shady to begin with, which is why he didn’t notify the local ordinary until the invitation had already been accepted, and he further showed his true colors by looking for other bishops’ opinions on the USCCB document without ever asking his own.

  42. Anthony says:

    Fr. Z.. you have been looking for good news, and I see this as good news. It is very sad that this situation has happened, I agree, but I do see a positive in the statements of Bishop D’Arcy and so many others. Would we have seen a statement so strong 10 or even 5 years ago? Personally I think not. I believe Pope Benedict has given so many bishops courage to charitably defend the faith.

    Ecce Sacerdos Magnus D’Arcy!

  43. The letter is very good in that it shows reason and how it applies in this particular matter of faith and obedience. Dissidents really despise such clear logic since they thrive on fuzziness and confusion. So we wait to see what consequences will occur.

  44. Charivari Rob says:

    Thinking about Bishop D\’Arcy\’s purview as \”teacher and lawgiver\” and the 40 or so other bishops who have spoken out on the issue.

    Most of the other bishop\’s statements on the issue that I recall reading seem to comment generally on the issue (\”generally\” meaning \”indicating clear disapproval/disappointment in the invitation but doesn\’t have the purview to speak out as specifically as Bishop D\’Arcy\”). Does anyone recall reading a statement from any bishop saying to Father Jenkins and the University leadership anything along the lines of \”Hey! You\’ve got young people from my diocese studying there! What are you teaching them?\”

    Just curious.

  45. Dino says:

    “Dear Fr. J,
    I am still the bishop of this diocese, and the statement of the bishops still applies to everyone.
    Yours in Xto,
    Bp. D.”

    Like others here, I am pleased that the local ordinary has taken a firm but friendly stand. And like someone else here, I have been hoping that Archbishop Gregory would join others of the hierarchy in responding to this disgusting situation.

  46. Supertradmom says:

    As am alum who was at ND when Bishop D’Arcy became bishop, I am truly happy he published this clear statement. As to the scandal, it is not over yet. We all need to pray for a resolution-the rescinding of the invitation-to close this painful chapter in ND history. The alumni are much more pro-life and conservative than the present student body. But, who pays the bills? I sincerely hope for a miracle.

  47. Chris says:

    I agree with Father Michael that we ought not to dismiss Notre Dame wholesale because of this. We cannot define the university by the poor decisions made by one of her presidents. Bishop D’Arcy, in many ways, seems to be pouring forth both the perfect justice and mercy of Almighty God. Without compromising the seriousness of the situation, the authentic teaching of Holy Mother Church, his own authority, or anything of the like, he firmly chastises with love. In my estimation, here is a man who understands what it means to stand in the place of Jesus Christ, head and shepherd.

    In respect for the history of the university and her patron, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would humbly ask that this blog cease referring to the University of Notre Dame by any other name than its proper name. And lest we forget, above all- pray.

  48. Brendan says:

    I am very pleased that His Excellency is affirming the role of the bishop towards the end of his run as bishop of that diocese. Bishop D’Arcy turned 75 in August of 2007 and so the diocese will soon be assigned a new bishop.

    God Bless Bishop D’Arcy for proving his worthiness as a successor to the Apostles.

  49. Father,

    When Bishop D’Arcy says, “Rather than share my full letter, which I have shared with some in church leadership….”, I thought he was perhaps saying he was in communication with some fellow bishops here in the US. However, on second thought, is he referring possibly to some key people in the Holy See?

  50. holyfamilyparishoner says:

    I’m glad to see Bishop D’Arcy acting forcefully in this matter. When I was at ND (mid-80s), we had gotten his approval for a TLM on the ND campus. We had one of the Holy Cross Priests agree to say the mass for us. He was the one who was working through the bishop’s office. The administration decided to put some pressure on the bishop and he eventually withdrew permission. We ended up doing a novus ordo in latin.

    Glad to see that he’s not backing down on this matter.

  51. Mary says:

    A question, who is the proprietor of Notre Dame University, why can’t Fr Jenkins be replaced with someone who will follow the Bishops teachings?

  52. TJM says:


    The University of Notre Dame is no longer controlled from a legal perspective by the
    Holy Cross Order as it was prior to 1967. However, by its statutes, a Holy Cross priest of the Indiana province must serve as President. The Order could remove Father Jenkins and replace him with another Holy Cross priest. I assume they will at some point. He’s proven to be a lightweight, both intellectually and spiritually. I can’t even imagine we would even have had this debate 30 years ago.


  53. r7blue1pink says:

    his Excellency confirmed my boys in the EF last evening. You could clearly tell his love for the church and her sacraments.
    Kudos to him, he has a heavy cross to bear, and I know he will gladly bear it..

  54. Steve says:

    A couple of posters have questioned the lack of a response from bishop Gregory and other black bishops. While I understand the idea that a response from bishops having similar skin color to the president (I don’t believe Bp. Gregory & Pres. Obama are the same race) may lend more credibility for the criticism to the secular world, I think Catholicism rises above the issue of race or skin color.

    It shouldn’t matter what the skin color is of those bishops who are criticizing ND, Jenkins, etc.

  55. Athanasius says:

    it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and correct. [correct] I take up this responsibility with some sadness, but also with the conviction that if I did not do so, I would be remiss in my pastoral responsibility.

    What the heck? Where has he been all these years while McBrien has spewed his heresy and worked diligently to undermine the authority of the Bishop, of the Pope, or for that matter of priests themselves? Where has he been while McBrien comes on national media shows saying the Pope is an old fogie and a fool for not allowing abortion and gay marriage? McBrien’s attacks on the Church through his books and articles have been no less public than Jenkin’s action. If this Bishop means what he says he would subject McBrien to the same treatment.

  56. Romulus says:

    It shouldn’t matter what the skin color is of those bishops who are criticizing ND, Jenkins, etc.

    It shouldn’t Steve, but it does. This is not just faith; it’s also politics — an arena in which prelates must intervene from time to time, and always have. No thinking person believes the Church is racist, but that’ll not stop her enemies from using that angle of attack if they think they can score with it.

  57. Pete says:

    I’m really glad that the bishop has sent the letter that he did. However I also REALLY want to see some concrete ACTION. Words are great up to a point. And I’m really glad that 40 or 50 bishops (or however many it is) have spoken out. That’s great that they are FINALLY speaking up, but where the heck are the other 400+/- American bishops.
    At some point SOMEONE has to actually DO something. Where has there been any real action against “Catholics” who: promote things like the Vagina Monologues, advocate women’s “ordination”, promote: abortion, same-sex “marriage”, homosexuality, embryonic stemm cell research, euthanasia, allow “theologians” like McBrien to ridicule Church teaching, allow so-called “Catholic” politicians to snub their noses at the Church and cause grave scandal, etc., etc., etc. Yeah a few bishops have spoken out this time, and yeah there are more now than usual. But these people know it will blow over and it will be back to the same old routine – talk with no real action. They know they can stand a little heat – sure this is more than usual – but it will pass.
    I hope I am wrong this time – hope springs eternal. And I don’t claim to know exactly what can be done, but I gotta believe that more can be done than has been done in the past and I fear that will be actually done this time. Sorry to be so cynical, but past performance is an indicator.

  58. Ricky Vines says:

    In an interview, Fr. Jenkin’s religious superior, Fr. Tyson, pointed out that Fr. Jenkins is “fulfilling his responsibilities” in his current assignment and that it is the board of trustees that controls Notre Dame governance and policy.

    Maybe so, but I think that Fr. Jenkins as president is a decision-maker and not a rubber stamp. So, he can overrule whatever the board decides. They can fire him, but he’ll go down fighting for the Lord and his children.

    Fr. Jenkin’s is not an independent layman. He is a member of a religious order that is there to serve the Church in America and not vice-versa. Their exempt status was not meant to justify their defiance but rather to facilitate their service to the local Church. If their ultimate superior, the bishop of Rome were to get into the act, guess what his direction will be.

    Even if we assume that theoretically Fr. Jenkin’s has the right to award the honorary degree in law to a proponent of abortion laws, are there other factors that come in the big picture that makes his right, wrong? In other words, a moral act is not evaluated in a vacuum but is considered along with the circumstances and consequences. Forty-two bishops have pointed out his error and the scandal that it causes. Is it not unconscionable for a religious to ignore their pastoral concerns?

    More details at:

  59. Would it be inappropriate for the bishop to threaten the University with interdict?

  60. mfg says:

    Did I read that Fr.Jenkins was (educated?) by the Jesuits at Berkeley?
    Did I read that Fr. Jenkins flew to Washington in his private jet?
    This just gets weirder and weirder!
    Why, again, did Rome fall?

  61. Charivari Rob says:

    I’ll disagree on a couple of points, Romulus.

    This is much more a matter of faith than politics. It’s a question of claiming an identity of being Catholic, yet not living up to some of the tenets of that faith. Worse yet – contradicting some of them.

    This is not an issue that calls for the ‘black bishops’ to speak out more than any other bishops. Frankly, as I started to allude to earlier in this thread, I would like to see all bishops speak out. Not ‘merely’ expressing their dismay on a critical matter of the value of human life and professing Catholic identity. Speak on some of the points of connection of this scandal to their dioceses – affirming that Catholic universities and colleges in their dioceses better live up to the Catholic name and asking Father Jenkins what he thinks he is doing as ‘guardian’ to the faithful (especially the young faithful) from their diocese who attend Notre Dame.

    As a point of fact, by the way, a little quick Googling will show that at least one of the black bishops has indeed spoken out – Murry of Youngstown.

  62. Ricky Vines says:

    Does the racial demographic of the archdiocese influence if the bishop speaks out? If the bishop is afraid of offending African-Americans with the truth, then better put an African-American bishop who can tell it like it is. If the bishop likes to only preach to the choir, then he needs to become a choirmaster instead. We need someone with the courage and temerity of the apostles specially when confronting the pro-abortion feminists, politicians and lawyers in the nation’s capitol. Specially in this center of global power, we need prophets who would stand against all forms of crimes against humanity, whether it be torture or abortion. So whether it is about withholding communion or withholding an honorary degree to abortion promoters, the bishop must have the boldness to witness to the faith because his archdiocese is watching and people are taking cue from his actions or lack thereof.

  63. Matt Q says:

    Father Z, can you possibly clarify the news floating around regarding Father Jenkins? I’m hearing Bishop D’Arcy has suspended his faculties, that he can no longer celebrate Mass publicly or privately in the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, nor can any of the Faithful seek anything remedial from him unless in immanent death.

    Is this the “my part” Bishop D’Arcy had in mind when he made that statement in his most recent letter, or possibly wishful thinking?

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