Move to oust Notre Dame’s president

While the chief goal of the more strident opponents of Obama’s scheduled appearance at Notre Dame’s commencement has been to get the president dis-invited, a new effort is being organized to fire university president Father John Jenkins, CSC. The campaign has a website,, and the initiative will be unveiled tomorrow (Thursday). The goal is to organize alums and donors until Jenkins is replaced by someone “who will uphold fundamental Catholic moral principles.” 

The groups has the usual disclaimers–that they are only doing what conscience requires, that they bear no ill will toward Jenkins or Obama, and that there is nothing political in their effort. And they are smart enough to know what really matters: They explain that donors can boycott Notre Dame’s General Fund but can give to two university-related pro-life funds that will apparently keep the donors eligible for football tickets. Whew!


Dan Gilgoff at US News breaks this story here. He reports that the effort is being led by a coalition of seven university alumni and financial backers, mostly based in Michigan. “When the Obama invitation happened, some of us said we have to draw a line in the sand,” David DiFranco, a Notre Dame alum who is helping lead the campaign, tells Gilgoff.

It is telling, I think, that DiFranco also says that conservative Catholics were already alarmed “by what they saw as the school’s liberal drift, including a school-sanctioned production of the Vagina Monologues and what he says is a shortage of orthodox professors in the theology department.” So it seems to be about more than Obama. And that rings true.


Will it work? They’d have to raise a lot of un-donations, and while outrage is deep in some quarters, it may not be broad. And will alums want to punish the whole university to get Jenkins’ head on a platter? I know nothing of the dynamics of Notre Dame’s administration, but I would think this kind of hardball would only stiffen the resolve of Jenkins and the Board of Trustees. But that’s just a guess.

Read the rest of Dan’s story… 

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posted April 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I’m a big Obama fan, but I have no idea why he was invited to speak at a major Catholic university. This outcry was entirely predictable. Now, of course, no one can back out. Sheesh.

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posted April 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm

In the words of Click & Clack, the Tappet Brothers, “Bo-oh-oh-GUS!”
Attempts at control like this makes it seem like Obama is making the greater gesture and the RCC hardcore just want to smack his hand like a caricature of a 1960’s nun in a classroom. Lighting and meteors did not fall on Georgetown, and I sincerely doubt the Halls Of Note-er Dame will collapse either. Someone may even get a chance to realize that people with differing perspectives might still get along and yet not agree.

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posted April 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

I feel so sad for these folks. This is such a hollow issue. I remember the election of JFK. He had to reassure people that once he was in office, he wouldn’t let the church run the nation.
I would be very reluctant to vote for a Catholic of the non-Biden stripe for national office. I don’t want the Roman Catholics imposing its so-called morals on this nation.

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Iris Alantiel

posted April 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm

As a Catholic, I’m troubled by the notion that we can’t even entertain any discussion with people who don’t hold the “right” opinions in the abortion debate. Not about abortion, and not about anything else. If I get too orthodox here, my Facebook list is going to really shrink a lot.
I feel sorry for the students who have the opportunity for a great honour – a genuine historical personality to listen to on the day of their commencement! They could tell their grandkids about this one. Instead, it’s all being eaten alive by politics . . . and he’s not even going to the campus to discuss the issues that raised the Church’s ire. Very sad for them.
I don’t want to live in a world where the Catholic Church ceases to be a relevant moral voice, but I don’t see how we can avoid it if they’re not even willing to listen to a single word spoken by those who disagree with them.

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posted April 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm

April 16, 2009 8:02 AM
This is such a hollow issue.
To you it is.
Iris Alantiel
I don’t want to live in a world where the Catholic Church ceases to be a relevant moral voice, but I don’t see how we can avoid it if they’re not even willing to listen to a single word spoken by those who disagree with them.
This is more then just disagreeing with us, he thinks its ok to let a child that survived an abortion be left to die. He wants us to pay for abortion and force doctors to participate in abortion. All his picks for top government positions are prochoice, he is even trying to have a ambassador to the Vatican be prochoice. President Obama has rescinded the Mexico Policy, there are 46 Million abortions worldwide EVERY YEAR, how many are we going to end up funding? Enough is enough. Supposed prochoicers are for choice but if anyone doesnt accept certain speakers we are wrong and should let them speak at a Catholic College even if they promote opposite in our beliefs.

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