President Joe Biden, the second Catholic president, did not address Notre Dame’s 2021 commencement.
The question is…why?
Notre Dame said it invited Biden. The White House said Biden did not attend because of a scheduling conflict.
Biden spent the weekend with the First Lady at Camp David.
Biden broke with recent tradition and didn’t speak at Notre Dame’s commencement today. There had been outrage over his pro-abortion policies.
The White House said it was a “scheduling conflict.”
Below is Biden’s schedule for the weekend. Where’s the conflict? pic.twitter.com/IcTA09TkpV
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) May 23, 2021
Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins received an open letter signed by 4300 people urging him not to invite Biden due to his policies on abortion:
In brief, to begin with abortion, Biden’s actions already taken and those promised will result in the killing of countless innocent unborn both here and abroad through federal funding of abortions and abortion organizations.
This is not hyperbole. It is demonstrable fact because of Biden’s lifting the bar against the flow of federal funds to both domestic and international Planned Parenthood and similar organizations. The calamity will assume truly harrowing proportions if Biden achieves his goal of providing direct federal funding of abortions.
In terms of Notre Dame’s honoring Biden, matters are made still worse by Biden’s repeated profession of his Catholicism, and one who, as you have acknowledged, believes abortion to be morally wrong.
His is not the familiar “personally opposed but will not impose” dodge of too many Catholic politicians. Rather, his is an inscrutable “personally opposed but nevertheless will promote and enable” stance. It is singularly blameworthy to help people do what one knows to be wrong.
The letter also mentioned Biden’s policies on sex, marriage, and gender not aligning with Catholic teaching.
Notre Dame came under fire in 2009 when President Barack Obama gave the address and acquired an honorary law degree:
Obama’s address in 2009 drew controversy due to his ardent support of legal abortion. Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix sent a letter to Notre Dame’s president Fr. John Jenkins, CSC, saying that the invitation of Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at Notre Dame’s commencement is a violation of the USCCB’s 2004 statement “Catholics in Political Life.”
Bishop John M. D’Arcy, who served as the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend until his retirement in November 2009, issued a statement at the time that Jenkins gave a “flawed justification” for the university’s commencement invitation to President Obama, and should have consulted with his bishop before extending the invitation.
It’s tradition for presidents or vice-presidents to speak at the Notre Dame commencement. It doesn’t always happen, though:
- John F. Kennedy (our first Catholic president)
- Lyndon Johnson
- Richard Nixon
- Bill Clinton
- Donald Trump
Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush gave their addresses in the last year of their administrations.DONATE
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