ND President’s Religious Superior Says Jenkins “Fulfilling Responsibilities” of President

By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, March 27, 2009 ( - Fr. David Tyson, C.S.C., Provencial of the University of Notre Dame and religious superior of ND president Fr. John Jenkins, today responded to questions about Jenkins’ decision to back the invitation of Obama to speak at Notre Dame, saying that Jenkins is "fulfilling his responsibilities" as president of Notre Dame. 

Fr. Tyson is Fr. Jenkins’ superior in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, a Rome-based order of priests and brothers who answer directly to the Pope, rather than the local prelate.

Fr. Jenkins has been at the center of intense controversy after it was announced last Friday that Notre Dame extended an invitation to President Obama to offer the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree May 17.  Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame spokesmen have said the invitation would stand despite enormous protest from Catholic leaders and Notre Dame alumni (to sign the Cardinal Newman Society’s petition protesting the invite:

While declining an interview on the matter, Fr. Tyson issued a statement to LSN emphasizing that Holy Cross does not control Notre Dame governance and policy.

Fr. Tyson said his relationship with Fr. Jenkins as religious superior is "not an employment relationship, as some might think," but added that, "Father Jenkins is a good priest and is fulfilling the responsibilities for which he was chosen by the Board of Trustees."

As provincial superior, Tyson oversees the spiritual welfare of the order’s local members.

Notre Dame’s Bishop John D’Arcy issued a statement Tuesday condemning the invitation and announcing his intention to boycott the ceremony. Two other U.S. bishops so far have also condemned the invitation.

To contact Fr. Tyson’s office: [email protected]

For more contact information, go to:

See related coverage:

Bishop Olmsted: Notre Dame’s Obama Honor "Public Act of Disobedience to U.S. Bishops"

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