Lest we forget, last year the Catholic Notre Dame University, to its lasting shame, undermined our Catholic identity and caused damaging scandal by honoring the most aggressively pro-abortion politician we have ever seen, President Obama.
They bestowed an honor on him, an honorary doctorate of law.
Notre Dame abandoned its Catholic identity for the sake of the crumbs flung from secular power set against the Church’s voice in the public square.
The University of Notre Shame did this despite the policies of the USCCB. Scores of U.S. bishops protested. To her credit Mary Ann Glendon, slated to receive another honor at that commencement event, declined to accept her award and would not attend.
Many people protested.
At the direction of the University, some protesters were arrested and prosecuted.
The University directed that an elderly priest be arrested and dragged away.
Now comes this, on the site of Notre Shame University with my emphases and comments.
Statement by Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., on the status of protesters arrested at Notre Dame in 2009
The following statement is from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, in regard to the status of protesters who were arrested on campus last spring:
“In the weeks leading up to Notre Dame’s Commencement on May 17, 2009, a number of people violated University policies on campus demonstrations. [Notre Dame violated, absolutely defied the policies of the USCCB.] They were given repeated warnings by law enforcement officials, and then, when they persisted, they were arrested and charged with Criminal Trespass. [Scores of bishops protested ND’s choice to honor the aggressively pro-abortion President.]
“The prosecution of the resulting cases is in the hands of St. Joseph County Prosecutor, Mike Dvorak. The University has been in conversation with Mr. Dvorak’s office about these cases, and he has informed us by letter about how he will proceed. We believe Mr. Dvorak’s decisions are balanced and lenient.
“For all those who are eligible, Mr. Dvorak is offering the Pre-Trial Diversion Program, which gives individuals the chance to avoid a trial and have their cases dismissed with no record of a criminal conviction. To be eligible, a person must waive the right to a trial; have no criminal record; and agree to obey local, state, and federal laws for one year. The program also includes the payment of a fee for costs, but in his letter Mr. Dvorak assures us that his office will work with those who demonstrate financial need to reduce or even waive the fees. [Isn’t this wonderful? What benevolence. Isn’t Notre Dame great for working with the County Prosecutor?] For those who successfully complete the program, the result will be as if the charges have been dropped. Those who have a criminal record are not eligible for this program and must either plead guilty or stand trial. While Notre Dame has in the past banned from campus those who have been arrested for trespass, the University will waive that penalty for those who complete the pre-trial diversion program, are acquitted of charges, or plead guilty. [Isn’t Fr. Jenkins fantastic? Aren’t they wonderful? Perhaps Notre Dame should simply pay the fees for everyone.]
“There has been significant interest in this case, so I would like to clarify two points. First, as I have made plain in my every public statement regarding Commencement, we at Notre Dame embrace the Catholic position on the sanctity of life. We oppose abortion, and support laws that protect life from conception to natural death. In this respect, we fully agree with the protestors. [You had them arrested. You had an elderly priest arrested and dragged away.]
“Second, some have incorrectly suggested that having the protestors arrested means we are hostile to the pro-life position. [You invited the most aggressively pro-abortion politician in the USA to receive an honor. You did this despite the policies of the USCCB and the objection of scores of bishops. You had protesters arrested.] But, the University cannot have one set of rules for causes we oppose, and another more lenient set of rules for causes we support. We have one consistent set of rules for demonstrations on campus – no matter what the cause. [So why did you compromise your Catholic identity when it came to honoring the pro-abortion President? Do you have a consistent stand on the policies established by the US bishops? What is your policy on Ex corde Ecclesiae?]
“We require that any campus demonstration, regardless of the issue, be organized by a student, faculty or staff member, receive approval from the University through the Office of Student Affairs, and be peaceful and orderly. [You honored a pro-abortion president.] Those who were arrested last spring met none of these criteria and, in particular, were led by individuals who threatened peace and order by promising upheaval on our campus. [You had an octogenarian priest arrested.] Several pro-life demonstrations that met our criteria were held on campus before and during Commencement. Those now charged with trespass could have joined these protests without interference or arrest. [Protest our way and you won’t be arrested.] They were highly publicized, easily accessible, and well attended. These included a demonstration on April 5 in front of the Main Building; a Eucharistic adoration from May 16 to May 17 in one of the residence hall chapels; and on Commencement day, a Mass, a rally, and a prayer vigil on South Quad and a Rosary and meditation at the Grotto. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the prayerful protest on the South Quad. Each of these events was open to the general public and none of the participants in any of these activities were arrested. [Isn’t that great? Segregated protests that conform to ND’s rules are okay! Protest where and how we say and you won’t be dragged away in handcuffs and prosecuted.]
“At Notre Dame, we welcome passionate debate of public issues. Indeed, we welcome protest, and we have great respect for people who engage in the long and noble tradition of civil disobedience and courageously accept the consequences to call attention to themselves and their message. [Weasel words?] Yet we must insist on maintaining the order that allows students, faculty, and staff to learn, inquire, and conduct the business of the University. [A University which defies the Catholic bishops, bestows an honor on a pro-abortion politician, and will not follow Ex corde Ecclesiae.] It is this dual commitment to free expression and public order that has guided us in this case.”
Fr. Jenkins, how about this: in an open letter ask the prosecutor to drop all the charges and then pay the protesters’ fees.
And for your penance, read Ex corde Ecclesiae.
Here is what I wrote about the event last year: My take on Sunday at Notre Dame
And be sure to review this, if you want to examine the hypocrisy of this move.