Comments on Notre Dame and Obama Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, May. 14, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Under the Gospel Book by Bishop Robert C. MorlinoDear Friends,

My great affection for the University of Notre Dame, growing out of the years that I spent there and my deep respect for the president, Father Jenkins, have, thus far, led me not to weigh in, in writing, on the whole matter of President Obama's coming to speak and receiving an honorary degree at this year's commencement. But, I think the time has come when I must, nonetheless, do so.

In the first place, let me say that were I the president of the University of Notre Dame, I would never have invited President Obama to speak at a commencement and to be honored with a Doctor of Laws Degree -- I would simply never have done that and anyone who knows me would know that.

Secondly, a Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Notre Dame would indicate to me that its recipient knew and understood the Natural Law. President Obama is not Catholic and not bound by the teaching of the Catholic Church on these matters; therefore his pro-abortion and pro-embryonic stem cell research positions are based either on an unawareness of or a rejection of the Natural Law (which is the law of reason, regardless of one's faith or lack thereof). No one who rejects or is unaware of the Natural Law should receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Notre Dame.

At the same time, I must admit that I frequently invite and instruct people with regard to the Natural Law and that I myself have not succeeded in getting certain Catholic political leaders to accept and live the Natural Law. Thus, it is hard for me to expect President Obama to accept the Natural Law in a relativistic culture, even though clearly the Natural Law can be known by reason alone. President Obama appears to be a victim of the relativism and secularism that are so deeply imbedded in the American culture and I pray for him on that account.

Thirdly, it distresses me that the students at the University of Notre Dame, some of the very best women and men in the whole world, might tend to believe that somehow the Church or the bishops do not love them. I would want them to know that despite the difficulties involved with the honoring of President Obama, the bishops of the United States love them very much and have the very highest hopes for their future, that it will be a future in promoting the Truth that Jesus Christ teaches through his Church and that the whole of society can know through the Natural Law.

These are the basic issues on my mind with regard to the present situation at the University of Notre Dame, which has attracted so much attention nationally.

Please join with me in prayer for the University of Notre Dame and for Father Jenkins in these difficult days. As we stand up for the Truth with regard to life issues, which we always must, we must equally stand up for the Truth of love and stand in loving affirmation of the Notre Dame students, especially this year's graduation class.

Thank you very much for reading this. God bless you. And may you have a wonderful and blessed and restful summer.

Praised be Jesus Christ!