By Sarah Rozman | April 24, 2009
American Papist reports that 46 bishops have responded to Notre Dame’s Obama invitation.
Bishop John D’Arcy (Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the diocese in which ND is located) has issued two further statements. One is on “Unseemly and Unhelpful Demonstrations at Notre Dame”.
The other statement offers a response to and correction of a letter that ND President Fr. John Jenkins sent to Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Phoenix), and which he also sent to Bishop D’Arcy. Here’s an excerpt from the statement. Look at the language Bishop D’Arcy uses (emphasis mine):
Recently, Father John Jenkins, CSC, 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, it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
It’s worth reading in its entirety. Bishop D’Arcy leaves no question as to his stance on Notre Dame’s decision.