NOTRE DAME, HOW FAR YOU'VE FALLEN. Pray for the intercession of the school's founder, Fr. Edward Sorin, and for Our Blessed Mother's in whose name she stands.
True friends of Notre Dame --I thank you for your presence.
I want to thank especially our treasured students in ND Response for inviting me to be with you. It is a great privilege and honor. As I look out on the good and decent people gathered here, I know one thing: There is no place I would rather be.
I have been a teacher at Notre Dame for more than two decades. But today I come before you primarily as a Holy Cross priest – a member of the Religious Order that founded Notre Dame more than a century and half ago.
On November 26, 1842, an extraordinary French priest named Edward Sorin and a small band of Holy Cross brothers arrived at this site – a place where French missionaries had once ministered to the Potawatomi Indians. Fr. Sorin christened the place Notre Dame du Lac. He and his Holy Cross confreres began the work of building a college with a small log chapel as their point of departure. They aimed to serve Christ here. And they sought to evangelize in His name under the patronage of the Blessed Mother. When the young priest wrote home to his superior – Fr. Basil Moreau, the founder of the Holy Cross Order – he put it this way: Here in northern Indiana, he said, he hoped to establish “one of the most powerful means for good in this country.” Since then, the university has prospered....
Now friends, jump ahead to today. The formal leadership of the University still proclaims its fidelity to this vision.
--University leaders assert that Notre Dame is and will be different, so that it can make a difference;
--University leaders assure the parents of incoming freshmen that Notre Dame won’t be like those ‘other’ schools that merely associate themselves with a Catholic or Jesuit ‘tradition’. NO! – to the contrary – here at Notre Dame, their children will find an institution unashamedly Catholic and willing to embrace all the tenets of our faith. Notre Dame will instruct its students in the Church’s moral truths and in its foundational beliefs and principles.
Of late, that rhetoric seems to ring rather hollow. The words have not been matched by deeds. Instead of fostering the moral development of its students Notre Dame’s leaders have planted the damaging seeds of moral confusion.
By honoring President Obama, the Notre Dame Administration has let the students and their parents down. And it has betrayed the loyal and faith-filled alumni who rely on Notre Dame to stand firm on matters of fundamental Catholic teaching – and so to affirm the sanctity of life....
Friends, just ask yourselves whether anyone – regardless of their other accomplishments
– would be honored here at ND if they held racist or anti-Semitic sentiments. They would not – and rightly so! Yet Notre Dame honors at this Commencement a politician who readily proclaims his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and who is clearly the most radically pro-abortion president in this great nation’s history.
As you know well, Notre Dame undertook this sad action in the face of the 2004 instruction of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” In so doing, the administration has distanced the University from the Church that is its lifeblood – the ultimate source of its identity.
A number of my fellow Holy Cross priests and I believe that such a “distancing puts at risk the true soul of Notre Dame.” Regrettably, this distancing also puts Notre Dame in the service of those who seek to damage the teaching authority of our Bishops. What a sad circumstance for an institution that should stand at the very heart of the Church.
Read Father's complete address.