By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, April 27, 2009 ( – Two more archbishops have expressed disapproval of the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to offer the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree May 17.

In his column in The Leaven, the Kansas City diocesan newspaper, Archbishop Joseph Naumann said he was “dismayed” to learn of the honor, saying he does “not fault the president for accepting this invitation, but the university for offering it.”

“Notre Dame’s action is inconsistent with its Catholic identity and harmful to the efforts of the church to advocate for the protection of innocent, preborn human life,” wrote Naumann.  The archbishop cited the 2004 directive by the U.S. Bishops Conference (USCCB) forbidding Catholic institutions from honoring pro-abortion politicians.

“Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama reveals that the leadership of the university is either incredibly naëve or just does not care about the impact of its actions on the church’s efforts to protect the lives of innocent, vulnerable unborn children,” he said.

“Father John Jenkins, CSC, the president of Notre Dame, has attempted to posture Notre Dame’s honoring President Obama as a vehicle for engaging the president in dialogue. In reality, Notre Dame’s invitation signals to President Obama that there is no need to dialogue. Why should the president feel a need to dialogue when he is honored by our nation’s most prestigious Catholic university no matter how extreme his policies and actions supporting legalized abortion?”

Citing Obama’s “abysmal” pro-abortion record, Naumann said: “Perhaps, if President Obama’s record on legalized abortion was somewhat mixed or he was showing some evidence, since becoming president, of moderating his radical pro-abortion position, one could understand the university’s mistaken judgment. Yet, this is certainly not the case with President Obama.”

Archbishop Naumann noted Obama’s long list of staunchly anti-life appointments, including the “particularly offensive” choice of pro-abortion Catholics such as Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius.  Naumann, who is Sebelius’ bishop, instructed the governor to cease presenting herself for Communion last year based on her consistent hostility to laws protecting the unborn. 

“Seeking out pro-abortion Catholics to preside over the implementation of this administration’s policy on embryonic stem-cell research and its proposed health care reform was compared by one commentator to finding a renegade rabbi to bless the pork at a banquet,” noted Naumann.

“It goes without saying that the Catholic community must be willing to work with the president and this administration for the good of our country,” said Naumann.  “Yet, a Catholic university should not honor this president and provide him with the backdrop of a Catholic institution to make appear palatable his radical agenda in support of legalized abortion.”

Naumann encouraged scandalized Catholics to write to Fr. Jenkins to express disapproval of the University for ignoring the USCCB policy.

(To see Archbishop Naumann’s original column in the Leaven:

In the archdiocese of Washington, spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said Archbishop Donald Wuerl has expressed disapproval of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama.  However, Gibbs said the archbishop was not in favor of rescinding the invitation.

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. Bishop Paul Coakley – Salina, KS
12. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
13. Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
14. Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
15. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
16. Bishop Robert Finn – Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
17. Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, FL
18. Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
19. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger – Evansville, IN
20. Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
21. Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
22. Archbishop Alfred Hughs – New Orleans, LA
23. Bishop Joseph Latino – Jackson, MS
24. Bishop John LeVoir – New Ulm, MN
25. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
26. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
27. Bishop Paul Loverde – Arlington, VA
28. Bishop George Lucas – Springfield, IL
29. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
30. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
31. Bishop Charles Morlino – Madison, WI
32. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
33. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
34. Archbishop Joseph Naumann – Kansas City, KS
35. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
36. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
37. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
38. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
39. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk – Cincinnati, OH
40. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg, PA
41. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
42. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
43. Bishop Richard Stika – Knoxville, TN
44. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR
45. Bishop Robert Vasa – Baker, OR
46. Bishop Thomas Wenski – Orlando, FL
47. Archbishop Donald Wuerl – Washington, D.C.
48. Bishop David Zubick – Pittsburgh, PA

For a list of contact information regarding the Notre Dame scandal, go to:

See related coverage:

Bishops Zubik, Loverde, LeVoir Make 46 Bishops Against ND Scandal

“Fr. Jenkins Will Probably Lose His Job”: Nine More Bishops Make 42 against ND Scandal