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TN and FL Bishops Speak About ND

April 15, 2009

Since I have family, friends, and colleagues in both TN and FL, among other places, I try to bring news from those two states to your attention. If you want information about other states, please let me know so that I can keep an eye out for those locations, too! And  please always feel free to send news tips.

Bishops of Knoxville and Palm Beach
Continue String of ND Scandal Condemnations

By Kathleen Gilbert

April 14, 2009 ( – Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Ten. and Bishop Gerald Barbarito of Palm Beach, Fl. have joined the ranks of U.S. bishops publicly opposing the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at its May 17 commencement.

In his column in last week’s East Tennessee Catholic, Bishop Stika said, “As a Catholic, I am embarrassed by this gesture of the University of Notre Dame.

“It is fine to honor an individual because of his accomplishments, but can one seriously believe that it is in keeping with the teachings of Jesus to honor someone who is so powerful and influential that innocent and pure human life is in danger of death?”

“The president’s approach to abortion rights, embryonic-stem-cell research, and other issues is not in keeping with the teachings of our Catholic faith,” he continued. “It seems that the University of Notre Dame has abandoned its Catholic identity in this matter.

“I feel that it is embarrassing and shameful.”

Bishop Gerald Barbarito of Palm Beach, FL, published an April 3 letter he wrote to University president Fr. John Jenkins.

“I wish personally to express my disappointment in solidarity with the other expressions of disappointment you have received,” Barbarito wrote.

While previous University decisions “have tarnished the clarity of the University’s Catholic identity,” said Barbarito, “the present one gives rise to grave concern as to what message the University is giving to the Catholics of our nation when it honors a public figure who, regardless of his office as President and the good work he wishes to accomplish, stands so strongly against and has already acted contrary to the Church’s moral teaching on the right to life of the unborn.

“If Notre Dame does not alter its present course, it will be difficult for me to offer support for the University on any level,” he said.

In closing, the bishop wrote: “I fully realize the difficult decisions which you must make as the administrator of the University in this day and age. However, the invitation to President Obama was not necessary and extremely disappointing.”

33 U.S. bishops and over a quarter million signers of an online petition by the Cardinal Newman Society ( have condemned the scandal.

The bishops who have so far publicly criticized Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:

1. Bishop John D’Arcy – Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
2. Bishop Samuel Aquila – Fargo, ND
3. Bishop Gregory Aymond – Austin, TX
4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito – Palm Beach, FL
5. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein – Indianapolis, IN
6. Bishop Robert Baker – Birmingham, AL
7. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, NE
8. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran – Oklahoma City, OK
9. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú – San Antonio, TX
10. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
11. Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
12. Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
13. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
14. Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
15. Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
16. Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
17. Archbishop Alfred Hughs – New Orleans, LA
18. Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
19. Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
20. Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
21. Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
22. Bishop Charles Morlino – Madison, WI
23. Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
24. Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
25. Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
26. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – MN
27. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
28. Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
29. Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg
30. Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
31. Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
32. Bishop Richard Stika – Knoxville, TN
33. Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR

See related coverage:

Notre Dame Bishop Urges Pro-Lifers: Keep Protests Respectful

Canon Lawyer: Notre Dame Prez Reasoning “Too Bizarre for Words”

Bishops Bruskewitz, Aquila Issue Stinging Condemnations to “Formerly Catholic” Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s Bishop on Obama’s Pro-Abortion Views: “No One Is Allowed to Say Who Sits at Table of Life” 

Source for article above:

If your bishop is not yet included in the list of 33 who have already spoken out about the University’s plan to give the President an honorary degree, consider asking him to do so.

And please keep praying the 40-day rosary novena. (See
.) Perhaps the power of prayer will move either the U.S. President or the N.D. President to change plans before May 17. Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us and the university with your name!

P.S. for non-Catholic visitors to this site:

  • Please know that this blog is intended for readers of all faiths — especially for anyone who cares about the unborn and their parents, the sanctity of marriage, and the nurturing of family life — so you are always encouraged to keep visiting. Yes, the site presents information from a Catholic perspective, since the blogger and initial readers are all Catholic. But we hope that you won’t let differences (between your beliefs and ours) prevent you from seeking information about how you can help promote the Culture of Life through civic action.
  • And if you ever have questions about what the Catholic Church really teaches, please ask, rather than just hold onto the possible misunderstandings/misinformation you’ve received in the past. Catholicism is quite beautiful, so we pray that you are open to learning the truth about it and would be happy to help you. May God bless you!
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