Pro-Life Response to Obama’s Anticipated Speech

Bishop John M. D’Arcy
114 W. Wayne St.
South Bend, IN 46601

Re: President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame Graduation

Dear Bishop D’Arcy:

I am writing you as one of many concerned, Catholic lay Faithful about the decision to allow President Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame’s upcoming graduation proceedings. While I join those voices that have articulated concern with the decision to allow this most ardent of pro-abortion presidents to speak at a Catholic institution from a political perspective and with those that are concerned about this decision from the perspective of diminishing the authority of the Church when speaking on issues of morality and ethics, these are not my only concerns. I write you out of concern for your Soul and the Souls of those who might convince themselves that abortion is an acceptable “choice” in light of the obvious ambiguity and confusion that will be created by giving President Obama the honor of a platform at this Nation’s alleged “premier” Catholic University.

There cannot be any argument with the conclusion that the culture of death is on the rise and that President Obama is a leading spokesman for that culture in the form of his pro-abortion positions.

As I am sure you know, President Obama led the effort to kill an Illinois state ban on partial birth abortions while in the Illinois State Legislature. As president, Mr. Obama has ended restrictions that prevented tax payer dollars from funding abortions overseas. He has also opened a path for using tax payer dollars to encourage the destruction of embryos for research. He has taken aim at the “conscience clause” designed to protect doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers from being forced to participate in procedures (including abortions) that violate their consciences. Most recently, a Federal Judge has ruled that the Bush Administration’s age limit on the “morning after pill” was without reason and, in the process, has opened its use to minors.

I have read your letter of March 24, 2009 concerning Barack Obama’s speech at Notre Dame posted on the Fort Wayne - South Bend Diocese’s website. Obviously, I appreciate the fact that you recognize that the invitation by Notre Dame to the President is inappropriate under the circumstances. However, I do not believe that simply refusing to attend the speech and ceremonies is sufficient. As you well know, your Office carries with it the obligation and authority to act, when appropriate. On the Last Day, you will be asked whether you appropriately exercised the authority of your Office to prevent this abomination from occurring. Will you be held accountable for whatever Souls are lost through any misunderstanding of the Catholic Church’s position on this issue and brought about by your failure to act?

As you know, section 886 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides, as follows:

The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular churches. As such, they exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the people of God assigned to them, assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the Episcopal College, each bishop shares in the concerns for all the churches. The bishops exercise this care first “by ruling well their own churches as portions of the universal church,” and so contributing to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a Corporate Body of Churches.

Section 938 of the Catechism provides that the bishops, established by the Holy Spirit, succeed the apostles. They are “the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular churches.”

Section 2050 of the Catechism provides that the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, as authentic teachers, preach to the people of God the faith which is to be believed and applied in moral life. It is also incumbent on them to pronounce on moral questions that fall within the natural law and reason.

Aren’t you concerned that the failure to take a firm, purposeful stance in denouncing and requiring the retraction of the invitation of this speaker, constitutes a weak or effeminate pronouncement on this important moral question? If you believe that something as subtle as posting a letter on a website is a sufficient pronouncement, perhaps it would be worthwhile to revisit the actions of your predecessors, the apostles, and what they gave up for Truth.

Section 939 of the Catechism discusses the duty of the bishops to authentically teach the faith. Is teaching limited to letters?

Section 2068 of the Catechism teaches us that the bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through Faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.

Have you done enough? Do you believe that your letter fulfills the spirit of your obligation to work so that all men may attain salvation?

In Evangelium Vitae, John Paul The Great wrote, “To Claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom . . .” In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: The U.S. Bishops’ Reflection on Catholic Teaching and Political Life the Bishops, in Conference, remind us of the obligation to teach the moral values that should shape our lives, including our public lives, and that such obligation is central to the mission given to the church by Jesus Christ. While this document was directed to lay Faithful, doesn’t it also apply to you?

Do you believe that this issue provides you with an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Life? Frankly, I wonder if the Holy Spirit is providing you this opportunity and that you are ignoring the Call.

In Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict the XVI wrote, in pertinent part, that forming consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice requires a readiness to act.

It is clear that as a Bishop you have the authority and obligation to act. I do not believe that your authority and obligation ends with a letter published on a Diocesan web page. If Father John Jenkins does not understand the gravity of his actions on his soul and the souls of others, then as a successor to the Apostles you have a duty to act. If even one person aborts a child due to the creation of confusion caused by the actions of Notre Dame’s President in allowing this president to speak at its graduation, are you prepared to respond to your Lord and Savior on the Last Day for your Soul and that Soul?

Vivat Jesus!

J. Kevin Carey

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