By Kathleen Gilbert

DENVER, Colorado, April 29, 2009 ( – Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has weighed in on the controversy at Notre Dame, criticizing the school’s defense of its decision to honor President Obama and praising former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon’s refusal to accept the Laetare Medal at the same ceremony.

53 bishops and over 340,000 Catholics have protested against Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to give the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree on May 17.

In an email to, Archbishop Chaput confirmed that he had advised concerned Catholics to make their “disappointment known to Father Jenkins, respectfully and also firmly.”

“I very much admire Mary Ann Glendon’s decision to decline the Laetare Medal, as well as Bishop John D’Arcy’s excellent leadership in this matter,” said the Archbishop.  “I’m glad so many bishops have expressed their concern.” 

Chaput also lauded ND alumnus and Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn’s recent comments criticizing the school’s “route to incoherence” in a campus event sponsored by Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture.  (To view McGurn’s speech, go to:

Chaput said it was “difficult to imagine any way” the Obama invitation could be justified in light of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life.”  The directive states:  “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

“Notre Dame didn’t need to do this to show its openness to ‘dialogue,’” Chaput continued.  “And candidly, very few Notre Dame faculty members would accept from their students the kind of creative reasoning now being used to defend the invitation.”

Asked whether he believes that Notre Dame should disinvite President Obama, Chaput replied, “I think the leadership of Bishop D’Arcy is what counts in this matter, as well as that of Cardinal George.  I’m happy to follow their counsel.”

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 William Higi – Lafayette, IN
24. Archbishop Alfred Hughes – New Orleans, LA
25. Bishop Peter Jugis – Charlotte, NC
26. Bishop Joseph Latino – Jackson, MS
27. Bishop John LeVoir – New Ulm, MN
28. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
29. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
30. Bishop Paul Loverde – Arlington, VA
31. Bishop George Lucas – Springfield, IL
32. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
33. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
34. Bishop Robert Morlino – Madison, WI
35. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
36. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
37. Archbishop Joseph Naumann – Kansas City, KS
38. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
39. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
40. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
41. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
42. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk – Cincinnati, OH
43. Bishop Glen Provost – Lake Charles, LA
44. Cardinal Justin Rigali – Philadelphia, PA; Chairman, USCCB Pro-Life Committee
45. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg, PA
46. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
47. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
48. Bishop Richard Stika – Knoxville, TN
49. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR
50. Bishop Robert Vasa – Baker, OR
51. Bishop Thomas Wenski – Orlando, FL
52. Archbishop Donald Wuerl – Washington, D.C.
53. Bishop David Zubick – Pittsburgh, PA