Dear Fr. Jenkins,
I am adding my name to the list of bishops who are dismayed at your decision to invite President Obama to offer this year's commencement address and receive an honorary law degree on May 17. Given the position he has publicly taken pertaining to abortion, this invitation has more than sufficient potential to undermine Catholic teaching on the fundamental principle of right to life. As you should know well, those who take such positions are not to be provided platforms where they may espouse their views or be allowed a context by which the matter of abortion seems trivial. Until there is clarification, this decision will prevent me from advocating participation by members of this diocese at the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame's decision is particularly disturbing because it seems to be one in a series of decisions. These decisions have sent a shamefully ambiguous message concerning Notre Dame's fidelity to the Church's teaching on the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. As an example of this, one does not need to look further than Notre Dame's decision last year to ignore Bishop D'Arcy's call to cancel the lewd "V-Monologues" with its mockery of Catholic teaching on human sexuality.
It is my intent not to support Catholic formation programs offered at Notre Dame until its leadership discontinues making decisions that are inconsistent with the promotion of the Catholic Church's teachings on the sacredness of human life.
Yours in Christ,
Michael W. Warfel
Bishop of Great Falls-Billings
Thank you, Bishop Warfel