Bp. Trautman on Notre Dame and Pres. Obama

WDTPRS has been hard on the liturgical translation views His Excellent Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, Bishop of Erie.

Here is his statement on the scandal at Notre Dame.  It is posted on the site of the Diocese of Erie.

Keep in mind that Bp. Trautman is probably in part trying to bolster the authority of the bishops conference.  Nevertheless, his statement is good.

My emphases and comments.

TO: Media Outlets
FROM: Most Reverend Donald W. Trautman, STD, SSL, Bishop of Erie
RE: Notre Dame University’s Invitation to President Obama
DATE: May 12, 2009

ERIE, Pa. – The Golden Dome of Notre Dame, the long revered symbol of a Catholic university, will be disgraced and dishonored [!] on this coming May 17th, the commencement day of the university. On that day the leaders of the university are giving a platform and honorary degree to an individual who is a relentless advocate of unrestricted abortion: President Obama. On his fourth day in the White House he approved federal funding to perform private abortions in other countries (the overturning of the Mexico City Policy). He restored to the United Nations Population Fund monies to support abortions, while opposing federal funding for pro-life pregnancy help centers. He authorized funding to conduct human embryonic stem cell research.

In the words of Mary Ann Glendon, professor of law at Harvard University who turned down
the prestigious Laetare Medal from Notre Dame University, President Obama is “an uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles
of justice.” May 17th will mark not just a bad decision by university officials, it will mark a day
of shame and blemish for the Catholic record and reputation of Notre Dame University
. Its
relationship to the Catholic hierarchy and to the fundamental principles of the Church has been fractured and will take new leadership to rebuild.

Many loyal alumni, students, and faculty will continually pray the rosary in reparation at the
Notre Dame Grotto during the graduation. They will give witness of what the real Notre Dame is
all about. What should be a day of joyous celebration for graduates and their families will be a
day of shame and dilemma as the university leadership moves away from its rich Catholic

Now must begin the work of bringing new luster to the Golden Dome. Now is the time for
recommitment to being once again a great Catholic university.


Again,  WDTPRS has been hard on the liturgical translation views His Excellent Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman.

Kudos, Your Excellency!  Well done.

I like the way that some of the more recent (read: later) statements of bishops are suggesting that concrete changes have to be made.

That is the next step.

It is up to the bishops.

I suppose they will speak about Notre Dame at the next plenary of the USCCB.

Again, it seems to me that Bp. Trautman may be in part making this statement because he wants to defend the influence and power of the USCCB. 

We do not need a stronger bishops conference – which the Holy See has very clearly curtailed. 

We need an implementation of Ex corde Ecclesiae.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Chris H. says:

    Just an FYI to all readers, the media spin on this whole issue is the displeasure of President Obama giving the speech — it seems from their view that he isn’t even receiving the honorary degree. So when it comes up in conversation, keep that in mind… the issue is the honor to staunch pro-abortionists, not the speech.

    Also, Keith Olbermann pointed out tonight that the Vatican has been quiet on the issue and ‘praised’ Obama at the end of the 100 days. The president of the Catholic Democrats group said that the Vatican was seemingly ‘very pleased’ with the political atmosphere in America right now. Just a heads up on these things.

  2. Margaret says:

    What a delightful surprise from Bishop Trautman. Good for him!

  3. Jim of Bowie says:

    Thank You, Bishop Trautman. I never thought I would say that.

  4. There is no greater time to stop and pray for our bishops than now. Over these next few months, our prayers will bring them the graces they need to make the necessary, concrete changes. Without changes, only more people – especially young people, will be led into terrible scandal by wolves masquerading as shepherds and sheep.

  5. magdalene says:

    Amazing; would not expect this from Bp. Troutman.

    I think he is nearing retirement?

  6. Watch this statement by Trautman unleash more statements from the less than orthodox wing of the Church.

  7. Athelstane says:


    I had not expected such a statement from Bishop Trautman.

    Perhaps all of us ought to send him missives of encouragement. To show that traditional-minded Catholics can be as ready with praise as criticism (speaking as one who has been critical of His Excellency in the past).

  8. TJM says:

    Ineffable! I cannot believe what I am about to say: this is by far the most straightforward and to the jugular statement I have seen from any bishop. “Disgraced and dishonored.” I think even Father Jenkins will understand those words. Tom

  9. priest up north says:

    Fr. Z.,

    At the risk of being censored, I offer this:
    Hopefully our bishops (like Bishop Trautman) who are finally speaking up on this matter of Notre Dame and how it undermines their leadership, unity, and authority will begin to see how their lack of cooperation with the Holy See on translations, among other liturgical realities, also undermines Church unity and the authority of the Holy See on matters of liturgical life.

  10. LCB says:

    Bp. Trautman should be roundly and widely lauded for such a clear and powerful statement. Let no man say that Bp. Trautman does not stand with Christ and His Church when the support matters most.

  11. Scranton Catholic says:

    They arrested a priest at Notre Dame for carrying a cross to protest abortion. This is a disgrace. A disgusting disgrace.

  12. LCB says:

    I’m rather interested in the reports saying the Fr. Jenkins is on the board of a pro-abortion organization.

  13. Jonathan says:

    For those of you surprised by Bishop Trautman’s statement, here is an excerpt from an article in the Erie Times-News:

    “This isn’t the first time he’s issued this kind of protest.

    In 2008, Trautman announced he would not attend May commencement at Mercyhurst College in his own diocese after the school announced that then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., would speak there in April.

    Trautman said he was “disappointed in Mercyhurst College for not reflecting the pro-life stance of the Catholic Church.”

    In 1995, after a private meeting with the bishop, then-Gov. Tom Ridge decided to decline an honorary law degree from Gannon University, also in Trautman’s diocese. Ridge, an Erie Catholic who publicly supports abortion rights, did deliver the commencement address.”

    Bishop Trautman is not afraid to speak out about this type of thing. The issue with Hillary Clinton was not that Mercyhurst was just going to have her speak, they allowed her to hold a campaign rally.
    I am very happy that he spoke out about Obama and Notre Dame also.

  14. Londiniensis says:

    I am not surprised that Bishop Trautman should have spoken out strongly – after all, that is what one expects of a bishop who is in Canon Law “bound to teach and illustrate to the faithful the truths of faith which are to be believed and applied to behaviour.” Bp Trautman may have a low opinion of “John and Mary Catholic’s” ability to understand, or learn, unfamiliar words – but one doesn’t need to be a philologist, or even literate, to see the symbolism of the (popularly understood) premier Catholic universtity in the United States jumping feet first into the zeitgeist and bestowing a doctorate honoris causa on the most outspokenly pro-abortion President that there has been up to now.

  15. emily says:

    Thank you Jonathan for sharing those previous occurrences with Bishop Trautman. I formerly resided in the Diocese of Erie and have not often found myself saying “well done, Bishop Trautman.” Yet now I have found two such occasions and I am grateful for that.

  16. RichR says:

    Keep in mind that Bp. Trautman is probably in part trying to bolster the authority of the bishops conference.

    According to law, isn’t the “authority” of the conference over an individual American bishop (and his diocese) fairly limited?

  17. Brother Ass says:

    It’s not hard to speak against Obama when there is no risk and there will be no changes or consequences. The nature of religious orders makes them, in practice, immune from the bishop’s displeasure.

    Look at Bp. Aquila who torpedoed Jodie Brown’s pro-life legislation not six weeks ago. He’s against Obama at Notre Dame however.

  18. michigancatholic says:

    Yes, and Obama has a pattern of missing on the first shot. He doesn’t understand the Catholic Church at all. So he chose the ONLY thing Catholics agree on. Trust me, it won’t happen again. He’ll hit us dead on next time.

  19. MAJ Tony says:

    michigancatholic: excellent point. Hopefully this first shot has been the “shot heard ’round the US Catholic world.” First battles are galvanizing experiences on both sides (reference the Kasserine Pass where US forces came out bloodied, but learned valuable lessons.). I pray that faithful Catholics learn the right lessons. Just remember, whatever happens in this life, we win in the end, but none should use that as an excuse to sit idly by. March to the sound of the guns.

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