By Kathleen Gilbert

AUSTIN, Texas, March 27, 2009 ( – A third bishop has publicly condemned an invitation to President Barack Obama by the Catholic University of Notre Dame to receive an honorary law degree and offer the commencement address on May 17.

In the latest issue of the Austin diocese’s “E-pistle,” Bishop Gregory Aymond states, regarding the scandal: “I, along with many other Catholics, express great disappointment and sadness that a Catholic university would honor someone who is pro-choice and who holds many values contrary to our Catholic belief.

“In the midst of such a sad situation, as Catholics we must continue to be pro-life and to proclaim with even greater strength the values of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“In my opinion, it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support,” said Bishop Aymond.

Bishop Aymond’s words follow a Wednesday letter by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix to University president Fr. John Jenkins, in which Olmsted decried the honor as a “public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States.”  Prior to that, Notre Dame’s Bishop D’Arcy issued his own criticism of the invitation and stated he would not attend the ceremony.

An online petition launched by the Cardinal Newman Society immediately after the invitation was revealed last Friday has topped 185,000 signatures (to sign the petition, go to:

Fr. Jenkins and University spokesmen have said they do not plan to rescind the invitation despite the wave of protests.

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