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By Kathleen Gilbert

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bishop Thomas Olmsted has written a letter to University of Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins condemning the invitation to President Obama to offer the school’s commencement address and receive an honorary law degree on May 17.

Olmsted’s letter follows a statement earlier this week by Notre Dame’s own Bishop John D’Arcy, in which the bishop criticized the decision and announced his intent to boycott the ceremony. 

American Papist blogger Thomas Peters broke the news of the letter from Bishop Olmsted, dated yesterday, in which Olmsted told Jenkins he was “saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University and even to receive an honorary degree” (See: www.americanpapist.com/blog).

“It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States,” said the bishop, who cited the U.S. bishops’ 2004 directive that pro-abortion politicians “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

“I pray that you come to see the grave mistake of your decision, and the way that it undercuts the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel of Life in our day,” Olmsted concluded.

Since news broke of the invitation to Obama late last Friday, Catholic leaders and Notre Dame alumni have unleashed a steady stream of protest and calls to reconsider the move.  A fast-moving online petition launched by the Cardinal Newman Society on a website formed immediately after the Friday announcement (https://www.notredamescandal.com/) has gathered over 165,000 signatures as of early Thursday afternoon.  Fr. Jenkins has said he would not rescind the offer despite protests.

To read the complete text of Bishop Olmsted’s letter, see: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032606.html

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage which contains contact information:

Notre Dame’s Bishop Will Not Attend Obama-Honoring Graduation, Criticizes University’s Decision
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032408.html

Notre Dame Faces Groundswell of Outrage after Announcing Plan to Honor Obama
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032312.html

Notre Dame President: School “Honored” by Obama’s Acceptance to Speak and Receive Honorary Degree
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032306.html

Catholic Notre Dame University to Give Obama Honorary Degree on May 17, Against USCCB Policy
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032005.html

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