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D’arcy speaks out against protests

Jenn Metz | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy released a statement April 10 urging Catholics to not participate “unseemly” or “unhelpful” demonstrations against President Barack Obama and University President Fr. John Jenkins.

He wrote: “The Notre Dame community is well-equipped to supervise and support discussions and prayer within their own campus.”

D’Arcy’s statement noted “a positive meeting” with Jenkins, indicating the bishop expects “further dialogue to continue” on this issue.

His short statement concluded with a request to “work towards a peaceful graduation experience for the class of 2009 at our ­beloved Notre Dame.”

D’Arcy’s last statement, issued March 29 and titled “Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame graduation, receiving honorary law degree,” announced the bishop would not be attending the 2009 Commencement exercises.

A number of national bishops, including D’Arcy, have spoken out against the University’s decision to invite the president to speak at Commencement and to confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree upon him.

Obama’s stance on the protection of life – including issues like abortion and stem-cell research – are seen by some to be in violation of a 2004 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document titled “Catholics in Political Life.”

In his March 29 statement, D’Arcy wrote: “President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.”

According to an April 11 South Bend Tribune report, a spokesperson for the diocese office named the anti-Notre Dame and anti-Obama protest scheduled for 10 a.m. Good Friday in Fort Wayne, which was organized by anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, as one of the demonstrations in question.

Although Terry’s efforts were not specifically mentioned in D’Arcy’s statement, Terry released a response on his Web site, stopobamanotredame.com, accusing the bishop of issuing contradictory statements on the Obama controversy.

According to the South Bend Tribune report, Terry’s Good Friday demonstration drew at least 10 participants.