A letter to the President of the University of Notre Dame
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President of the University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Dear Father Jenkins:
Thank you for your loyal service to our Alma Mater. You encouraged me with your January 23rd, 2006 speech where you emphasized the importance of Catholic character at the University of Notre Dame. I am a loyal alumnus, a donor since 1995, and a member of the Edward Frederick Sorin Society who believes Notre Dame ought to be first and foremost a Catholic university.
It was disappointing to learn of your plan to offer an honorary law degree to President Barack Obama. It appears that gaining prestige in the secular world is more important to the University’s leadership than promoting Catholic values.
You no doubt have heard all of the arguments for and against your proposal to honor President Obama. I will not belabor them here except to say that the operative issue is scandal. The most prominent Catholic university in America honoring the most pro-choice President in history will serve to legitimize pro-choice policies in the eyes of the Catholic faithful. No nuanced explanation about honoring the President for his other accomplishments will mitigate the scandal. The University is sending a clear signal that the right to life of the unborn is secondary to other concerns. If the Fighting Irish will not fight for the most fundamental of human rights, then I can no longer support their efforts.
I am, therefore, halting my undesignated donations to the University and I am dropping my membership in the Sorin Society. Instead, I will donate to pro-life organizations that intend to protest the University’s ill- conceived decision. Please reconsider your decision, reverse the University’s present course, and restore Notre Dame’s Catholic character. You and the University we love will always have my prayers, but, until Catholic character is your top priority, you will not have my financial support.
Class of 1995