My Day at Notre Dame – by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life

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May 18, 2009

Dear Friends,

Sunday was a great day for Priests for Life at Notre Dame. At the same time that the President spoke and was honored by the University, I was speaking to and honoring the seniors who refused to attend their commencement ceremony, and instead invited me to lead them in the “Class of 2009 Vigil for Life.”

My reflections on the day are below, and we are preparing audio and video clips to post on our website.

The students are asking that you continue praying rosaries of reparation. You can show solidarity with these students by signing up for your prayer pledge at www.PrayerCampaign.org.

Also, did you hear about the Gallup poll showing more Americans than ever (and more than half) saying they are pro-life? See more details at www.priestsforlife.org/statistics. The ongoing daily prayer campaign that many of you carry out with us is part of the reason for this. Prayer really does work! Please keep it up, and thanks for all your support of Priests for Life.

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

My Day at Notre Dame

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

There was an eerie stillness and silence across the Notre Dame campus as my colleagues, a few of the seniors and I walked across the campus very early on the morning of Commencement Day. It was the calm before the storm of what we knew was an historic day.

I started with a national Foxnews interview along with Fr. Richard McBrien. We were asked our views of the Commencement. My message was: Everyone can imagine people they would protest speaking at a commencement: an avowed racist, anti-Semite, or advocate of terrorism. So the failure to object to one who is unwilling to call for an end to abortion is the failure to see that abortion is as bad or worse than those other evils. We have to stop trivializing abortion.

Moreover, the university gave the President an honorary law degree. Law exists to protect human rights; but this president has admitted that he doesn’t know when a child receives human rights. How can he defend human rights when he doesn’t know who has them?

After speaking to various media, I greeted people on campus who were coming from all over the country to stand with the courageous students who boycotted their own commencement and invited me to lead them in an alternate ceremony.

After I greeted and blessed the demonstrators who were at the campus entrance, and concelebrated a special Mass for Life, I led the Class of 2009 Vigil for Life. We meditated on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, on the victory of life over death, and on the fact that Jesus is King over every nation, over the courts, the Congress, and the White House. As I gave the students and their families reflections on these truths, the current occupant of the White House was calling the graduates to have “open minds, open hearts” and a spirit of dialogue.

Now dialogue with our opponents on this issue is something we at Priests for Life specialize in. I maintain friendships with abortion advocates and practicing abortionists. The clarity of our own convictions never means we despise, demonize, or shut out other people. And yes, we are willing to collaborate with others in morally legitimate ways to reduce the numbers of abortions.

But the President’s remarks had a glaring omission. While willing to dialogue and to promote adoption, he gave no indication of any willingness to protect the children in the womb. And that’s the crux of the issue. In his remarks, he referred to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Certainly, his call for open minds does not include openness to reconsider the segregation issue. There’s a right answer to it, period.

So it is with the protection of the unborn. And as quiet again descended on campus at the end of the day, I reflected… Open minds, yes, but for the purpose of eventually firmly closing upon the truth! And isn’t that supposed to be the purpose of Catholic universities? 

Fr. Frank’s columns are podcast, see www.priestsforlife.org/podcast

Seniors from Notre Dame announce they will not be attending their commencement ceremony

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.- This week, several seniors from the University of Notre Dame announced they will not be attending their commencement ceremony, and called on others to show “one final response” to President Obama’s invitation by not showing up. An alternative vigil representing the “true spirit of Notre Dame,” will take place at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and will be presided over by Fr. Frank Pavone.

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ND President Jenkins: “We Are Tremendously Proud” to Honor Obama at Notre Dame

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By Kathleen Gilbert

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, April 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – University of Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins heaped fuel on the fire yesterday by gushing that President Obama’s highly controversial platform at the school’s commencement would be a “tremendous event” for Notre Dame.

“We are very proud and honored to welcome the first African-American President of the United States in a few weeks as our commencement speaker,” said Fr. Jenkins at a town hall meeting celebrating 60 years of black student-athletes at Notre Dame, according to the South Bend Tribune.  Obama will also be receiving an honorary law degree from the school during the May 17 commencement exercises. 

The audience received Jenkins’ remarks with cheers.

“This is a tremendous event for us.  We’re tremendously proud,” said the Notre Dame president.  “President Obama clearly could have chosen any university in the country to give a commencement address, and they would have been just delighted to have him, but he’s coming to Notre Dame, and we’re exceptionally proud.”

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