Monday, April 20, 2009

Bishop Finn on Notre Dame

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., in his recent comments posted at the Catholic Key, (also posted by Fr. Z) commented on the Notre Dame scandal.
In my first U.S. Bishops’ Conference meeting – June of 2004 – the bishops passed what seemed to me to be a compromise statement as a result of our lengthy debate on politicians and Communion. There we stated that pro-choice leaders (and specifically, Catholic leaders were mentioned) should not be given public platforms or honors. As we all know the eminent American Catholic University, Notre Dame, is poised to bestow such an opportunity and honor on President Obama, who is, of course, not Catholic. But it doesn’t take another Bishops’ Conference statement to know this is wrong: scandalous, discouraging and confusing to many Catholics.

God knows what all motivates such a decision. I suspect that, since Notre Dame will need a scapegoat for this debacle, and Fr. Jenkins will probably lose his job, at this point perhaps he ought to determine to lose it for doing something right instead of something wrong. He ought to disinvite the President, who I believe would graciously accept the decision. Notre Dame, instead, ought to give the honorary degree to Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who has supported and tried to guide the University, despite their too frequent waywardness, faithfully for 25 years.
I am not as convinced that Fr. Jenkins will be fired over this. His superior doesn't see anything wrong with this. The trustees don't see anything wrong with this. Further, they don't seem to care that Bishops care. Would that the rancor be such that his job would be in jeopardy! I can agree on this point: Bishop D'Arcy would be a great replacement choice, and that would be seen by history as a turning point for this University.

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