US Prelates Express Support for Bishop D'Arcy

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, JUNE 22, 2009 ( The U.S. bishops are expressing support for the prelate who found himself in the spotlight when the University of Notre Dame invited Barack Obama to speak at their commencement last month.

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Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, became the center of national attention in March when he voiced disagreement with the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor the president with an invitation to speak at commencement, and an honorary degree. Obama is a known advocate for abortion rights, which goes against core principles of the Catholic faith.

The bishop notified Father John Jenkins, the university’s president, that he would not attend the ceremony. More than 80 bishops and 367,000 Catholics echoed his concerns, saying the university’s president was compromising the school’s Catholic identity.

“The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D’Arcy,” the bishops wrote in a statement published today. “We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.”

Father Jenkin’s critics said he disregarded the 2004 guidelines from the U.S. bishops that state: “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” with “awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

The U.S. bishops met for their spring meeting last week in San Antonio.

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