By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, April 7, 2009 ( – Seven more bishops have publicly spoken out against the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama to give the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree on May 17. In total 24 U.S. bishops have condemned the scandal . (LSN) today obtained Bishop William Higi’s statement in Sunday’s print edition of The Catholic Moment, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette, IN.

“Many people, including myself, who consider the University of Notre Dame the prestigious Catholic university in the United States, are most upset that the university has extended an invitation to President Obama to give its commencement address and receive an honorary degree,” wrote Bishop Higi.

“Others have explained why so many object to this action. It need not be repeated here. In simple fact, the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who stand in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. The sanctity of life from conception to natural death heads that list of fundamental principles.”

The bishop encouraged readers to file their protest at, where a petition launched by the Cardinal Newman Society has reached over 248,000 signatures.

Writing to Notre Dame’s Bishop John D’Arcy from the Texas diocese of San Antonio, Bishop José Gomez and auxiliary bishop Oscar Cantú said in a March 31 letter that they were “saddened by the circumstances that made you decide not to attend” commencement ceremonies, and expressed “total support” of the bishop’s action and motives.

“President Obama has made it clear that his policies on abortion and the general protection of innocent life are in dramatic opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” wrote the bishops. “At this critical time we cannot afford to send an ambiguous message to the leaders of our people.” (To view the letter:

On April 1, Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans wrote “with a heavy heart” to University president Fr. John Jenkins, saying he could not see how the invitation was in alignment with U.S. Bishops’ policy prohibiting honors for pro-abortion politicians.

While highlighting President Obama’s personal charisma and talent, Hughes added: “But dignity and equality belong also to our unborn brothers and sisters. We cannot compromise our Church’s clear and unflagging opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research by providing honors and a platform for those who deny the humanity and dignity of the most frail creatures in our midst. …

“The University of Notre Dame used to be the flagship Catholic University in the United States,” lamented Hughes. “I regret that we are not experiencing that leadership and integrity.” (to view Abp. Hughes’ full letter, go to:

In a column last Friday in the diocesan newspaper of Youngstown, Ohio, Bishop George Murry wrote: “In politics, one cannot functionally separate a politician from his polices. Mr. Obama’s policies of expanding the availability of abortion at home and exporting that availability overseas have demonstrated that he does not believe that the life of the unborn is very important. As a result, I cannot but be deeply disturbed by the decision made by the president and board of Notre Dame.” (To view Bishop Murry’s column:

In Saturday’s edition of the Fairfield County Catholic, Bishop William Lori of Connecticut’s Bridgeport Diocese said: “Notre Dame extended this invitation unilaterally, seemingly without regard for the consequences for the mission of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is contrary to the efforts of bishops, parish priests, and laity to resist the anti-life decisions, policies, and legislation promoted by the Obama administration.”

Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, AR in a Facebook note endorsed the position of U.S. Catholic Bishops’ policy against the Notre Dame invitation, and stated that he “fully support[s]” Notre Dame’s Bishop D’Arcy for repudiating the move and announcing his intent to boycott the graduation ceremony.