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