The Common Good

Be Not Afraid: Faith and Reason in the Notre Dame 'Scandal'

Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins is facing furious backlash after inviting President Barack Obama to give the university's commencement address next month.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a watchdog group for perceived breaches of orthodoxy on Catholic campuses, calls it an "outrage and a scandal" and has circulated a petition admonishing Notre Dame to "halt this travesty." Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, warns that the commencement would represent the "cultural rape of true Catholicity." These stark responses betray a rich Catholic intellectual tradition revered for centuries for promoting the values of civil debate, prudence, and reasoned engagement.

In response, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has drafted a petition we hope you consider signing here to show your support for Fr. Jenkins and the virtues of civility and engagement.

The Catholic university is not a defensive fortress walled off from diverse ideas that flourish in a pluralistic democracy. As Fr. Jenkins eloquently articulated in his 2006 statement, Academic Freedom and Catholic Character:

We are committed to a wide-open, unconstrained search for truth, and we are convinced that Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture

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