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(Editor’s note: Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein sent the following letter to Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, to express his disappointment and concern about the school’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at the university’s commencement on May 17.)
Dear Father Jenkins:
I join my voice to the chorus of thousands of faithful Catholics around the United States, and those of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in particular, who are appalled and embarrassed by your recent invitation to President Obama to address the 2009 graduates of Notre Dame.
I was stunned and angered upon hearing the news of the invitation; in the end, I am among the thousands of good people who are profoundly saddened by it.
There isn’t a single reason that would justify Catholic sponsorship of the president of our country, who is blatantly opposed to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.
You dishonor the reputation of the University of Notre Dame and, in effect, abdicate your prestigious reputation among Catholic universities everywhere.
Like other people of good faith, I await some action that indicates your regret concerning a truly wrong decision.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B.
Archbishop of Indianapolis