of what it means to be a Catholic institution isn’t.

President of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George, issued a statement today
on the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama
to deliver the commencement address this year and receive the honorary
degree of doctorate of laws.

The Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, has
said that the University of Notre Dame’s decision to host and honor
President Obama at their commencement ceremony this year was an
“extreme embarrassment” to Catholics.

“Whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t
understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this
invitation,” George told the crowd at a conference Saturday on the
Vatican document Dignitatis Personae… 

In a video obtained by LifeSiteNews.com today, Cardinal George
prefaced his remarks by noting that as USCCB president he does not have
jurisdiction or authority over other bishops, but nonetheless has “some
moral authority, without any kind of jurisdiction or any sort of real
authority.”

“So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t
understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this
invitation, and didn’t anticipate the kind of uproar that would be
consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has
happened,” said George.

The Cardinal urged concerned Catholics “to do what you are supposed
to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what’s in
your heart about this: the embarrassment, the difficulties.”

But this is also important to Cardinal George’s teaching.

However, Cardinal George emphasized that the U.S.
presidency “is an office that deserves some respect, no matter who is
holding it,” and said that Notre Dame would not disinvite the
president, since “you just don’t do that (disinvite the president of
the United States).” According to the cardinal requests to revoke the
invitation would fall on deaf ears, but he also observed that there is
legitimate potential to organize some form of protest at the ceremony.

“You have to sit back and get past the immediate moral outrage and
say, ‘Now what’s the best thing to do in these circumstances?’” said
the Cardinal. 

“I can assure you the bishops are doing that.”

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....