By Kathleen Gilbert

LONG ISLAND, New York, May 1, 2008 ( – Two more bishops have publicly condemned the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at their May 17 commencement exercises. This brings the number of U.S. bishops known to have spoken against the honor up to 59.

At the closing Mass of the Rockville Centre diocese’s Catholic Men’s Conference Saturday, Bishop William Murphy exhorted men to renew the Church by standing up for the principles of their faith, and lamented Notre Dame’s lack of such witness in honoring the strongly pro-abortion president.

“Notre Dame tarnished its image and its capacity to witness,” Bishop Murphy said. He also indicated that he has sent a letter to University president Fr. John Jenkins conveying his dismay.

The bishop contrasted Notre Dame’s actions with the example of Mother Teresa, who, when invited to speak at Harvard University’s commencement, “said very clearly and unambiguously that a society and a culture that approves the killing of children in the womb is a society bent on its own destruction.”

“That,” said the bishop, “is clear witness!”

In the diocese of Wichita, KS, Bishop Michael Jackels has published an April 3 letter to Fr. Jenkins stating his solidarity with his fellow bishops who have condemned the honor, which he called “an embarrassment.”

“It would no doubt be considered a coup by the University of Notre Dame to have the President of the United States speak at its commencement exercises, and by the President to be invited by a university widely regarded as prestigious,” wrote Bishop Jackels. “All that looks much different when it is a Catholic university and the President is outspoken on the wrong side of life issues.”

The bishop quoted a Notre Dame statement in which the school said it is “delighted that President Obama will follow in this long tradition of speaking from Notre Dame on issues of substance and significance.”

“What issues are of greater substance and significance than those touching upon the sacredness of human life?” Bishop Jackels queried. “What might he say that would inspire delight?

Giving Obama an honorary law degree on top of the commencement speech, said Bishop Jackels, “only adds insult to injury.”

“It is impossible to defend this invitation to the Catholic faithful who ask; it is an embarrassment,” the bishop said. “The President would surely understand if you were with all courtesy to disinvite him; he is an intelligent person.

“Please do so.”

(To view Bp. Jackels’ full letter, go to:

The bishops who have so far expressed disapproval of Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D’Arcy – Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila – Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond – Austin, TX
4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito – Palm Beach, FL
5. Bishop Leonard Blair – Toledo, OH
6. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein – Indianapolis, IN
7. Bishop Robert Baker – Birmingham, AL
8. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, NE
9. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran – Oklahoma City, OK
10. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú – San Antonio, TX
11. Archbishop Charles Chaput – Denver, CO
12. Bishop Paul Coakley – Salina, KS
13. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
14. Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
15. Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
16. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
17. Bishop Robert Finn – Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
18. Bishop Joseph Galante – Camden, NJ
19. Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, FL
20. Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
21. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger – Evansville, IN
22. Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
23. Bishop Bernard Harrington – Winona, MN
24. Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
25. Archbishop Alfred Hughes – New Orleans, LA
26. Bishop Michael O. Jackels – Wichita, KS
27. Bishop James V. Johnston – Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO
28. Bishop Peter Jugis – Charlotte, NC
29. Bishop Joseph Latino – Jackson, MS
30. Bishop John LeVoir – New Ulm, MN
31. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
32. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
33. Bishop Paul Loverde – Arlington, VA
34. Bishop George Lucas – Springfield, IL
35. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
36. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
37. Bishop John McCormack – Manchester, NH
38. Bishop Robert Morlino – Madison, WI
39. Bishop William Murphy – Rockville Centre, NY
40. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
41. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
42. Archbishop Joseph Naumann – Kansas City, KS
43. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
44. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
45. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
46. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
47. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk – Cincinnati, OH
48. Bishop Glen Provost – Lake Charles, LA
49. Cardinal Justin Rigali – Philadelphia, PA; Chairman, USCCB Pro-Life Committee
50. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg, PA
51. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
52. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
53. Bishop Richard Stika – Knoxville, TN
54. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR
55. Bishop Robert Vasa – Baker, OR
56. Bishop Michael Warfel – Great Falls-Billings, MT
57. Bishop Thomas Wenski – Orlando, FL
58. Archbishop Donald Wuerl – Washington, D.C.
59. Bishop David Zubick – Pittsburgh, PA