CNA: U.S. bishops support for Bishop D’Arcy on Notre Dame

From CNA:

U.S. bishops express support for Bishop D’Arcy on Notre Dame

Bishop John D’Arcy

.- The latest gathering of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed “appreciation and support” for Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend John D’Arcy, a central figure in the controversy over the University of Notre Dame’s commencement invitation to President Barack Obama.

“We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd,” the bishops said at the USCCB’s spring General Assembly in San Antonio.

Bishop D’Arcy had boycotted the school’s official commencement activities, citing among other concerns President Obama’s “long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred.” The bishop instead spoke at a campus pro-life rally.

He had also lamented Notre Dame President Fr. John I. Jenkins’ failure to inform him and consult with him about the invitation to the U.S. president.

CNA contacted the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for a reaction to the bishops’ support but did not receive a reply.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. DJY says:


  2. Lubeltri says:

    Any actions behind the nice words?

  3. A Random Friar says:

    I personally would have liked this a bit closer to the actual date of the commencement.

  4. I am not Spartacus says:

    That was a bold and brave statement. When I read it I thought of this:

  5. I am not Spartacus says:


    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

  6. TJM says:

    “Words without action are meaningless.” Tom

  7. I am not Spartacus says:

    “We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd

    That sounds a lot less masculine than to Teach, Sanctify, and Rule.

    Baltimore Catechism:

    145. To whom did Christ give the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church?

    Christ gave the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church to the apostles, the first bishops of the Church.

    (a) That Christ gave His apostles the power to teach, to rule, and to sanctify is evident from the Gospels, the inspired account of Our Lord’s life written by Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Christ gave the apostles the power to bind and loose, to baptize, to forgive sin, and to offer the sacrifice of the Mass.

    (b) The power to teach and to rule is the power of jurisdiction; the power to sanctify is the power of orders. The power to sanctify sometimes requires jurisdiction, as in the sacrament of Penance.

    Even a Protestant like Elvis Presley knows “we need a little less talk and a lot more action.”

  8. irishgirl says:

    Okay, I’ll start this over again….

    A Bishop’s crosier resembles a shepherd’s crook…sometimes a shepherd has to give the sheep a WHOMP on the behind to keep them in line.

    Come on, Bishops of the US! Show some courage and some guts!

    Be Like Becket! Be Like Fisher!

    Be MEN!

    Spartacus-I thought that YouTube clip was going to be from ‘Becket’. ‘Monty Python’ instead….

  9. EJ says:

    I have to agree with DJY’s first comment above – my thoughts exactly “and????” …. As long as Father Jenkins et al. at Notre Dame can roll on the floor laughing at all these statements of “pastoral concern” from anyone and everyone like he’s probably doing, then what good are they?? This is the ecclesiastical equivalent of the UN’s search for WMD’s in Iraq before the recent war.

  10. TNCath says:

    Spartacus wrote, “Even a Protestant like Elvis Presley knows ‘we need a little less talk and a lot more action.’”

    Speaking from the land of Elvis, I second that comment. I think the bishops gave Notre Dame a huge pass on this issue. And I can’t help reflecting on the irony that, after some 80 bishops wrote detailed letters of rebuke to Notre Dame and Father John Jenkins, the USCCB issued a one line statement of support of Bishop D’Arcy and nothing more. Sorry, but as an English teacher, I can read between the lines. This is a nuanced to the point of being anemic, last-minute, face saving afterthought of a statement. This is embarrassing. I feel terrible for Bishop D’Arcy. Here is a man, on the verge of retirement, trying to fight the good fight for the Church, only to get a one line “atta boy” pat on the back from his confreres.

    Three steps forward, two steps back.

  11. mpm says:


    Yes, but pretty predictable, no?

    I’ll bet someone from Notre Dame wrote the one-liner.

    To get a better feel for the “tone” the bishops were seeking last week, read
    the 2 interviews of John Allen @NCROnline. “Well, on the one limp wrist, but
    on the other limp wrist…”

  12. Father Michael says:

    I was so very pleased to hear of this statement. Bishop D’Arcy has served so well as bishop, first in Boston and then in Fort Wayne-South Bend. The hardship he has certainly felt in these past months is perhaps alleviated a bit by the words of support and endorsement by his fellow bishops.

  13. TNCath says:

    Father Michael,

    I agree with what you say about Bishop D’Arcy. He has proven to be a brave defender of the Church and a loyal apostle of Christ, but don’t you think the statement was just about the least possible response the bishops could have offered short of saying nothing at all? Don’t you think Bishop D’Arcy would have wanted more than just a pat on the back? How about a statement of correction to Notre Dame and a warning to Catholic colleges and universities that the bishops are going to work to insure that these institutions operate within the teachings of the Church? Even better, how about the bishops simply stating that they are finally going to enforce Ex Corde Ecclesiae?


    Oh yes, I followed John Allen’s interviews. I can’t say I was surprised, but I was disappointed. After 80 bishops spoke out against Notre Dame, I was hoping and praying for something more than this. Immediately after President Obama’s address, Father Z wrote on this blog, “There will be consequences.”

    It has taken over 40 years to get better Mass translations, which have yet to be fully approved. How many more years are we going to have to wait to resolve this issue? And how many more years of poor catechesis are we going to have to endure? We’ve already lost 2-3 generations. Are we going to have to completely obliterate our educational heritage and start all over again? Needless to say, I’m thoroughly disheartened by the whole thing right now.

  14. I am not Spartacus says:

    I thought that YouTube clip was going to be from ‘Becket’

    Irishgirl. I think this is more like it – with lyrics modified to cast the situation in the light of reality.

    Minstrel: [singing] Brave Bishops ran away…

    Sir Bishops: *No!*

    Minstrel: [singing] bravely ran away away…

    Sir Bishops: *We wrote…*

    Minstrel: [singing] When danger reared its ugly head, they bravely turned their tails and fled.

    Sir Bishops: *A letter.*

    Minstrel: [singing] Yes, brave Sir Bishops turned about, and valiantly, they chickened out.

    Sir Bishops: * A letter.

    Minstrel: [singing] Bravely taking to their feet, they beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Bishops.

  15. TJM says:

    The timidity of the bishops only continues this scandal. If I were a young, unmarried Catholic girl and was pregnant, I might become confused and
    consider abortion not a very big deal since the bishops, who have it in their power to squish Father Jenkins like a bug, just issue meaningless, pious
    statements with no action. I’m not a canonist but I think this is the real scandal for which the bishops themselves should be held accountable. Tom

  16. Rancher says:

    Not only should the Bishops’ statement have been stronger but they should publicly and loudly take Jenkins to task for insisting on the prosecution of Catholic clergy for trespassing on the NDU campus when all the clergy did was enter the grounds of a “catholic’ university to recite the rosary.

    The Bishops had better wake up to the fact that they are (or should be) in a serious battle for the future of the Catholic Church in the USA. Obama is skillfully dismembering it and the Bisops, because they live in a world different than reality, have not a clue. They still resort to the pastorally nice language of “let’s don’t offend anybody” while their enemies are like terrorists with a knife to the Bishops’ throats. I fear that by the time they wake up to reality it will be way too late.

  17. Fr. AJ says:

    That’s it…? Why would any “Catholic” school in the country ever pay much attention to any teaching or directive from the Conference if there is no punishment for ignoring it?

  18. I am not Spartacus says:

    It has taken over 40 years to get better Mass translations, which have yet to be fully approved. How many more years are we going to have to wait to resolve this issue? And how many more years of poor catechesis are we going to have to endure? We’ve already lost 2-3 generations.

    Face it. We have been abandoned. We are alone. If we do not do it ourselves, it will not be done. As an institution, the Church in America has been dead – DED – dead, for a long time.

    Far too many times, the Church acts like our Government in its application of Anarcho-tyranny.

    Anarcho-tyranny describes our political system.

    Sam Francis coined the apt phrase Anarcho-tyranny; “…we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).

    In Ecclesial governance,the Church refuses to control heretics and those who compromise with and honor those who are enemies of The Faith (Notre Dame/Neo-Calgary; the place where truth goes to die); The Church refuses to correct,discipline, or punish the innumerable Mass-Killers (that is the anarchy) while The Church punishes those who want The Indult/The EF Mass/Gregorian Chant/ Communion on the tongue kneeling at the rail etc etc etc (that’s the tyranny.

    The Homosexual Prelate, Abp Weakland, stomped all over THE single most important act on this Planet – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – and used money from the poor to buy the silence of his homosexual paramour and rerouted homosexual priests to different Parishes where there was a new crop of adolescent males to prey upon and then, when THEY were caught red-handed, the Bishops turned around and demanded intrusive back-ground checks on faithful men and women volunteering to serve the Church.

    As far as I can tell, the sole recourse is to find a FSSP Church. Were I not able to make it to the FSSP’s EF form of Mass 2x’s a month, I would prolly just go to the sspx mass.

    I can no longer take the demoralising temporising and the demoralising compromising. And I can no longer pretend that things really are getting better.

    “Keep Despair Alive” will be the new realist bumper sticker

    I won’t write anything else on this thread. I have hogged far too much space already. I am just one more Catholic man who has, finally, reached his limit.

    I no longer get angry at my Bishops because I can so easily and accurately predict (as I did in here) that they will never take action.

    I do, however, laugh at my Bishops. That is far worse.

  19. Maureen says:

    “squish Father Jenkins like a bug”?!?

    With what, pray tell? The vast archdiocesan paramilitary forces of St. Louis? The Jesuit regiment of black helicopter artillery? A detached Magical Consecrated Girl unit of the Swiss Guard Ninja Death Squad Elite?

    Criminently, people… The US bishops have powers, yes. They do not have +5 Cudgels of St. Cuthbert of Greyhawk.

  20. TJM says:

    I assume you understand I was speaking metaphorically. There are appropriate ecclesiastical penalties that could be employed. If they don’t do it now,
    then I think I will just stop listening to these amiable gentlemen altogether. It’s gotten tiresome. Tom

  21. Jacques says:

    Sad to say, the US bishops have spoken… to say they will do nothing.
    But anyone has heard from the Vatican? Or am I deaf?

  22. @markomalley says:

    This would have been a fine statement had Bishop D’Arcy not deferred to the USCCB (during his interview with Raymond Arroyo the week after the Obama commencement address). If I understand correctly, as the Diocesan Bishop, it is his responsibility to deal with what happens in his diocese (to include institutes of religion providing education to the Catholic laity at large — but not those that serve only members of the order), so the onus falls on him to act in response to this violation. The fact that the remainder of the bishops support him in doing that is a good thing and is also appropriate…

    …had he only not deferred to them immediately after the incident in question…

    I pray that, strengthened with the solidarity of his brother bishops, he displays the courage to act firmly.

  23. little gal says:

    “Any actions behind the nice words?”

    Per the Chicago Tribune:

    “What the bishops’ statement did not address is that conversations have been under way between them and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to tweak the 2004 document protesters used to defend their opposition to Obama’s invitation: “Catholics in Political Life.”

    See link:

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