Archbishop Raymond Burke gave the expected screed at this morning’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, including on Notre Dame. His words on the subject to the National Catholic Register last night were:
“What it should do is have Notre Dame come clean. Is it Catholic or
isn’t it? A Catholic institution, a Catholic university, cannot give
honors to someone who is a promoter of things that are opposed to the
most fundamental beliefs of Catholics, and so that’s what needs to
This view is not shared by all Catholic hierarchs, at least according to the recently retired Bishop of Monterey, Sylvester Ryan. In a letter to the editor of America, Ryan insisted:
I, for one, strongly support the president of Notre Dame, and
although retired, know many active bishops who hold to the same
position, precisely because we understand that holding a strong
conviction about abortion (which I do) even as a fundamental moral
imperative does not abrogate the need for cooperation with and
recognition of our current U.S. president, especially considering the
multiplicity of issues in our complex world.
To honor President Obama for what he represents simply as the
president, and especially as the first African-American president, is a
genuine and deserved action from and by the University of Notre Dame.
One is entitled to ask why no none of those active bishops have themselves spoken up. Lack of guts or omertà? Whatever the explanation, it is impossible to doubt that even as Notre Dame’s president, John Jenkins, C.S.C., appears to be twisting in the wind, he is hearing words of support not only from Catholic progressives (including at America), but also from within the USCCB.