by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In spite of widespread criticism of his role in inviting pro-abortion President Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at Notre Dame’s commencement last year, the Notre Dame Board of Trustees has re-elected Fr. John Jenkins to a second five-year term as president of the university.
According to a report by LifeSiteNews.com, the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame and the Fellows of the University issued resolutions last Friday in support of Fr. Jenkins, praising him for his commitment to the Catholic faith and for making Notre Dame a place where “the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition are celebrated and lived.”
The Fellows of the University also praised Fr. Jenkins’ commitment to the “Catholic character of the University.”
Responding to his re-election, Fr. Jenkins said that he was humbled to have the confidence of the board and said that he would ensure “that our Catholic character informs all that we do.”
However, these glowing words ring hollow to the more than 80 bishops and 300,000 faithful who were outraged by poor decisions made by Fr. Jenkins last year that caused great scandal to the University and the Church at large.
“Notre Dame has suffered terribly in recent years because of a lack of leadership and commitment to its Catholic identity,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society.
“The Board of Trustees has once again neglected their responsibility to uphold Notre Dame’s Catholic mission by reelecting a president who has displayed public disrespect for the bishops and has permitted repeated scandals including the honors to President Obama and performances of The Vagina Monologues.”
“The Vagina Monologues,” a play that many call pornographic, casts promiscuity and lesbian activity in a positive light. Bishop John D’Arcy, whose diocese contains Notre Dame University, has criticized Fr. Jenkin’s continuing refusal to prevent the showing of “The Vagina Monologues” at Notre Dame, which he called a “sad and immoral play, offensive to the dignity of women.”
Bishop D’Arcy also opposed President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame. He recently asked in a public letter if Notre Dame has given up its responsibility to “give public witness to the truths revealed by God and taught by the church?”
Particularly disappointed by the re-election is a group of alumni who launched a website devoted entirely to ensuring that Jenkins was replaced as president of the University. The founders of replacejenkins.com said that “Although we love Notre Dame, our conscience requires that we withhold all financial support from our University until such time as Father Jenkins is replaced as Notre Dame’s President with someone who will be more loyal to the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
The group’s efforts resulted in a loss of $8.2 million in funding lost by the University because of the Obama scandal alone.
Also disappointed are the 88 pro-life demonstrators who were arrested last spring for protesting the president’s visit.
To date, Fr. Jenkins has refused to drop the charges against them, even though he has launched a new pro-life task force and plans to attend the March for Life in Washington in 2010, an announcement that Notre Dame law professor emeritus, Charles Rice, called “a mockery.”
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