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

By John Gehring 4-09-2009

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