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The Deacon's Bench

The head of the order which founded Notre Dame has penned a letter to President Obama, and CNS has details from Rome:

U.S. Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, said that when Obama receives an honorary degree from the Indiana university and delivers the commencement address in May, he should take to heart the objections of Catholics who have been scandalized by the invitation.

Father Cleary asked the president to use the occasion to “give your conscience a fresh opportunity to be formed anew in a holy awe and reverence before human life in every form at every stage — from conception to natural death.”

The 13-page letter, dated March 22, was made available to Catholic News Service in Rome. Father Cleary also prepared an abridged version of the text as an “open letter” to the president, which was expected to be published on the Web site of America magazine.

Father Cleary’s letter began by congratulating Obama on being awarded an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame, and said the university was honored to have him deliver the commencement address.

The visit should be a “teachable moment” for all involved, Father Cleary said.

He asked the president to take advantage of the occasion to “rethink, through prayerful wrestling with your own conscience, your stated positions on the vital ‘life issues’ of our day, particularly in regard to abortion, embryonic forms of stem-cell research and your position on the Freedom of Choice Act.”

Visit CNS link for more. If a full text becomes available, I’ll link.

UPDATE: America has now posted the Cleary letter, and commentary from Archbishop John Quinn. You can read it all right here.

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