USCCB VP: No push to punish Notre Dame for Obama invite [NCRep]

Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, VP (and likely the next Pres) of the USCCB gave a very interesting interview on the Obama/Notre Dame issue. Some of the quotes I found interesting:

Will there also be discussion about what the bishops should do when a university doesn’t follow your policies?

It may be that there was some lack of clarity about the statement itself. It did refer to ‘Catholic politicians’ in the title. Certainly, most bishops probably understood it in a broader context, but there could have been some misunderstanding of that. Again, there’s a need for more conversation with presidents of universities to help clarify what the bishops’ concerns are and if some accord could be reached.

If that conversation does not bear fruit, do you reach a point where punitive measures have to be on the table?

I think the local bishop has to make some decision about an institution that calls itself Catholic in his own diocese. We have to approach that carefully, sensitively, more in a spirit of conversation. I don’t think anyone feels that President [John] Jenkins [the Holy Cross priest who heads Notre Dame] is a person of bad intention. He’s a good man. He’s deeply committed to the faith, as is the university. But we need to have dialogue and that’s what Bishop D’Arcy was expressing … the desire for some consultation.

If there was a Catholic university in my diocese, I would want to be in regular and continual dialogue [with its leadership], and to be present on the campus. The university community is a significant community in a diocese.

So far as you’re aware, there’s no push among the bishops to punish Notre Dame in some way?

I haven’t heard that. There could be a bishop who would say that, but I haven’t heard it.

You know this is a question many ardently pro-life Catholics are asking: If a university deliberately defies the bishops’ guidelines, don’t there have to be consequences? Otherwise, what’s the point of issuing the statements?

You used the phrase ‘deliberately defied.’ I think that’s a pretty harsh statement. If that’s actually what they did, I think Bishop D’Arcy would feel affronted.

I ask the question because the argument often made in favor of inviting pro-choice politicians to speak is that if we want to win hearts and minds, we have to engage the other side in dialogue.

It depends on what form the dialogue takes. I’m totally supportive of the idea. Cardinal George, the president of our conference, has spoken with President Obama. I think it was a helpful gathering, and I hope there will be other opportunities. There is a need for dialogue. Certainly President Obama invited dialogue, asked for dialogue. So again, this is a strategic question – we shouldn’t turn our back on these opportunities for dialogue, we ought to pursue them. The teaching of the church is understandable, it’s able to be convincing, but we have to engage in those conversations.

So the tension is between dialogue and clarity?

The teaching of the church does go contrary to the grain, and we can’t be afraid to speak up about issues that are not popular. On the other hand, we have to engage. We have to dialogue, we have to interact. We have to make our arguments and present them in convincing ways, and that takes interaction.

Many commentators, myself included, have drawn attention to the rather strikingly positive tone from the Vatican vis-à-vis the Obama administration. Have you been concerned about a contrast between the American bishops and the Vatican?

As within the conference itself, or between different episcopal conferences, there’s sometimes a difference in approach. Again, that’s not a difference in principle, but certainly in how one interacts with or engages political figures. There are differences, within the conference the in the larger church. The Vatican has always been open to engagement and his consistently pursued that effort. They certainly have a long history of experience in how to operate in complex situations. President Obama is involved on a wide front of issues, and many of them commendable.

The whole thing is worth reading: (printer friendly)

I realize this is somewhat related to the “Why can’t Father Jenkins be fired?” thread, but thought it was worth starting a new thread.

No push from Kicanas for sure. The guy’s a dud.

Seems like a valid assesment of what to expect from USCCB, too. No push at all - just blather, on and on, most likely. Time will tell.

meh, no biggie.

Is it any wonder that so many Catholics voted for the most pro abortion candidate in the history of the country.

It is not surprising, with this kind of leadership, why you can’t distinguish the Catholic Church in the US from society at large.

And another thing, have any of these people studied history? Why are they so supportive of Obama’s socialist views. Isn’t there enough evidence throughout history that central planning doesn’t work, especially on a scale the size of the US government.

UGH!!! So maddening! It does state that the University must act acording to Catholic teaching and principles!! Of course they defied Bishop D’Arcy! He refused to go to the Commencement entirely for goodness sake!!! If that’s not proof of feeling “affronted” I don’t know what is!!!


Why do we not look at this from another point of view. Why does the government have the power and the authority to put people of faith into this position?

If the government wants to provide abortion services, it has the law and fiancial resources on its side. It does not need to involve itself in the Church or such suck the Church into this issue.

As the bishop says, we do have to be engaging. Screeming and hollering about the immorality of abortion is not going to engage too many people. No one likes anyone who is in their face.

There is also a valid point in his statement that each bishop has to decide how he handles the title of schools who call themselves Catholic. That’s not an issue that the conference deals with. Each bishop decides whether the university can use the title or not.

He is also right about pespectives. The Vatican’s perspective can be very different from that of the local bishops.


JR :slight_smile:

Notre Dame disregarded the advise of about 80 bishops, including the local ordinary, not to “engage” the President in this way. Simple fact is that the USSCB cannot simply ignore what happened at Notre Dame without looking weak, irrelevant. Simple fact is that Notre Dame ought not to have chosen to honor the President, but did. So what are the bishops going to do about what was surely an act of defiance? Nothing. It is like their handling of the priest crisis. Or maybe it is that they have decided that the time for action has past, that the major Catholic colleges are beyond their power to control. Once again, we have been disappointed.

Yes, I am very disappointed also. BUT the fact is, the Catholic Church does not OWN NDU. See their Land O Lakes policy statement of 1967. NDU made its break with Catholic jurisdiction then. My question would be why weren’t they disowned by the Church then? As I understand it, Bishop D’Arcy would be the one to strip them of their Catholic name/identity. Go figure. Everything isn’t tied into a perfect knot within the Church any longer.

EXACTLY!! This was pointed out by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’s “The World Over”. Bishop D’Arcy it would seem, does have the authority to do this, but now seems to be silent.:frowning: So disheartening!!! Does no one take any kind of a **strong **stand on Catholic principles anymore? Seems to me that God’s soldiers have lost their way.

Stripping Notre Dame of its Catholic identity would be ridiculous and Bishop D’Arcy understands this. Maybe he understands the situation a bit better than you do since he actually knows the full situation at Notre Dame?

I recently read an artcle about this by Archbishop Burke. Tried to find the article, but no luck yet. What he said was that NDU had made a terrible mistake, but that Bishop D’Arcy says there is still a strong contingent of faithful Catholics attending NDU. That attendence at Mass and the Sacraments is strong. Therefore he wants to build (I would read, not lose the remaining students) on that.

I don’t know how strong these students are as I “think” only about 40 and their families physically opposed bo’s address by refusing to attend the commencement address. Yes, there were some graduates who had pro life signs on the top of their mortar ? boards. But then could you see them unless one was looking?

The whole thing is a disgrace.

Since Notre Dame has stripped itself of its Catholic identity it WOULD be redundant for Bishop D’Arcy to do the same. See the Land O Lakes policy of Notre Dame, 1967, I think.

Bishop D’Arcy did not encourage students to miss their own graduation simply because they disagreed with the University’s invitation to Obama.

Didn’t say he did, but he supported those who did choose to do so, calling them strong Catholics.

Oh I see. It’s better to let the rest of the U.S. think that Notre Dame is Catholic. That way the kids can go watch “Vagina Monologues”, and see Homosexuals give speeches on their agendas. And of course be involved in the award and honor of Baby Killers who take their agendas worldwide. Give them the highest degree a university can offer. Give them honors. Give them Degrees. And when you protest, get sent to jail. Then when your lawyers ask Fr. Jenkins for leniancy, he says NO, no leniancy, off to jail you go for years.

Ya sure why should a Catholic priest offer forgiveness anyways. Just let those 80 or so protesters go to Jail for a few years and teach em a lesson for daring to speak out. Forgiven? What? What are we thinking of?

Yo, so why in the world should ND be punished? hhhmmm, I guess not a much of a reason, at least not in todays “Culture of Death”.

Sometimes we have to think from different angles and then decide what is the best choice to make.

It is true that the admin at ND made a serious mistake. I won’t argue that with anyone, except maybe someone who says that they did not.

But I would make other comments from another perspective and that’s a spritual one.

  1. ND is part of a religious congregation that has given much to the Church, not just at the university but in its missions around the world. The Brothers of the Holy Cross put their heart and soul into building that university for the immigrant Irish and their children. They changed their constitution of their congregation and allowed brothers to be ordained to meet the sacramental needs of students, because in those days diocesan priests would not set foot in schools that did not belong to a diocese. That’s the only reason that they have priests today, to serve where diocesan priests cannot. Fr. Jenkins is not the garden variety priest. He is really a brother who happens to be ordained, because they needed someone to say mass and hear confessons. The Congregation made big sacrifices to provide these services to the people to whom they minister around the world.

  2. The Congregation of the Holy Cross is not just Fr. Jenkins. This begs the question, is it fair to the Congregation to take away the Catholic title from the university, when the congregation has proven to be a loyal Catholic religious community? Is it better to deal with Fr. Jenkins privately? Should the brothers leavae the university? If ND loses it’s Catholic title, the brothers will have to leave.

  3. As Bishop D’Arcy said, there are Catholic students at the university and they deserve to attend a Catholic school. There is a sacramental life and prayer life at the university. Certainly the scramental life would be gone if the name Catholic were taken away.

  4. It’s not just a matter of bishops getting tough. They have to work together with these religious communities.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

A Catholic identity for ND seems at this point a little hypocritical don’t you think? Like apples and oranges. A “Catholic” University that supports the most pro abortion President in history? I don’t see anything ridiculous about it. You either adhere to and profess Catholic doctrine or you DON’T!! That was the most UNCATHOLIC action coming from a so called Catholic institution, I have ever seen!!! Notre Dame is not any longer run by Catholics, but by a secular progressive board. How on earth can you attach “Catholic” to that???

Funny how they brush this all aside. But as soon as the word SSPX comes up there all over how to exercise their authority on the society!. But not ND, their special!. Makes me wish I had a time machine. I would go back to the Middle Ages and bring back some real Catholic Bishops to deal with this matter.

:thumbsup: Time to bring back some “black and white” to Catholicism. Grey is Satan’s favorite color!! Hmmm…don’t think the Gospel paints any grey. Seems to me, it’s pretty black and white.

I have to respectfully ask this question. Which Middle Ages are we talking about here, England, Italy, Spain, France, other?

It took St. Bonaventure three years to help the College of Cardinals elect a pope because of the politcal corruption.

Pope Innocent III convoked the Lateran Council to deal with corruption among the laity, bishops and the clergy.

St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure, St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Dominic had to reform the seminaries of the time, because the bishops could not do it.

St. Anthony of Pauda and St. Bonaventure decided to teach theology to the Franciscans and St. Dominic and St. Thomas to the Dominicans to enable them to preach, because the secular clergy had very little theological education. Some had none. The secular clergy was rule by the bishops. St. Bernard, renewed the Benedictine tradition, because the Benedictine monks had to leave their cloister to minister to the secular clergy and the laity, because the bishops and the clergy of the time could not do it. They lacked theological training. Some lacked motivation. Other were more interested in power. There were very few bishops who were well educated and holy men.

Today, we still have problems, but at least we have intelligent and holy bishops. The lose canons are a minority compared to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

If we look at a book like Butler’s Lives of the Saints, we find that most of the saints of the Middle Ages were friars, monks, nuns and secular religious. Unlike previous centuries, there are very few bishops of that era who have earned a place on the canon of saints. There is a reason for that.

I don’t disagree with you. We need discipline and holiness. But let’s not dream about an age that never existed. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance were a terrible time for bishops and the secular clergy.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Well let me see. The continent of Europe, and the UK was entirely Roman Catholic. There was hundreds of Monasteries, mendecant orders, etcc all over the UK and Europe. The laity were very pious. We had a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury and York. No female priests roaming the high altars of Exeter or Salisbury Cathedrals. And churches and Cathedrals back in those days were built properly. I think the Middle Ages weren’t to bad. No worse than today. :thumbsup:

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