SOUTH BEND, Indiana, April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—Notre Dame students will join Bishop Kevin Rhoades in his condemnation of Notre Dame's award of their highest honor to Vice President Joe Biden by hosting an on-campus prayer service at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.
The student groups Notre Dame Right to Life, the Identity Project of Notre Dame, the Irish Rover student newspaper, Militia of the Immaculata, Jus Vitae, the St. Thomas More Society, and the Catholic Graduate Community are sponsoring the event, during which prayers will be offered “for a greater respect for human life, and especially for Notre Dame's commitment to its Catholic identity and to protecting the sanctity of life at all stages.”
The prayer service will begin in front of the Main Building and conclude with a procession to the Grotto. The students invite those who cannot join to pray with them from afar.
According to the University, The Laetare Medal is presented annually to an American Catholic in recognition of “outstanding service to the Church and society.”
As vice president, Biden is one of the nation’s most visible Catholics and has used his position to advocate for same-sex “marriage,” abortion on demand, and the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate.
Rhoades said bestowing the Laetare Award on Biden could “provoke scandal” by giving the impression “that one can be ‘a good Catholic’ while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings.”
“I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage,” Rhoades said. “The Church has continually urged public officials, especially Catholics, of the grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that supports or facilitates abortion or that undermines the authentic meaning of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for ‘outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation.”
“One scarcely knows what to say. One does know that one should pray,” wrote the Sycamore Trust, an alumni group formed out of concern over Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, in an email about the prayer service responding to the scandal.
The university has a long history of scandal under its current president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, including honoring pro-abortion President Barack Obama by hosting him as their graduation speaker and awarding him an honorary degree in 2009.