Catholics United Welcomes Notre Dame's Decision to Host President Barack Obama

Posted March 25, 2009

Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen issued the following statement today in response to recent efforts to tarnish the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to give this year's commencement address:

“As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the knee-jerk opposition to Notre Dame’s decision to confer an honorary degree on President Obama and invite him to give the 2009 commencement address. President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame will be nothing short of an honor for all Catholics.

President Obama’s historic election as the first African-American president and his commitment to policies that promote the common good resonate strongly Catholics of all political and ethnic backgrounds. Attacking Notre Dame is simply disingenuous and reflects a larger pattern of manipulation of the Catholic faith for political advantage.

Regrettably, the individuals leading the charge against Notre Dame are partisan operatives who routinely use a single-issue analysis to divorce the Catholic faith from its longstanding commitment to social justice and the sanctity of all human life. Many of those attacking Notre Dame are notably silent when others who hold positions contrary to Catholic doctrine speak at Catholic colleges and universities.

Catholic institutions of higher learning enjoy a long tradition of promoting open and honest dialogue about contemporary political and theological issues. Catholics United applauds Notre Dame for its fidelity to this tradition and welcomes its decision to host President Obama.

In anticipation of Easter, we ask Former Speaker Gingrich and the Cardinal Newman Society to refrain from selectively applying the Catholic faith in service of their partisan agendas and to join us in building a more constructive conversation on Catholic moral priorities in public life.”

For more information:

Media Matters report on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments: “It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values [sic]” - http://mediamatters.org/countyfair/200903240011.