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Jenkins: No decision yet on Trump as Commencement speaker

| Friday, December 2, 2016

Three weeks ago, students crowded around TV screens, watching as votes trickled in from around the country.

Some cheered. Some cried. Across campus, emotions ran high as one of the most divisive election seasons in American history drew to a close.

Now, the country is starting to look forward and examine the implications of Donald Trump’s victory — and for University President Fr. John Jenkins, that means pondering what the election means for Notre Dame.

jenkins_webJoseph Han, Chris Collins

In an interview with The Observer on Thursday, Jenkins said he is considering inviting the President-elect to speak at this year’s Commencement ceremony.

“I do think the elected leader of the nation should be listened to. And it would be good to have that person on the campus — whoever they are, whatever their views,” he said. “At the same time, the 2009 Commencement was a bit of a political circus, and I think I’m conscious that that day is for graduates and their parents — and I don’t want to make the focus something else.”

Traditionally, the University has invited presidents to speak at graduation during their first year in White House. In 2009, President Barack Obama was the sixth president to deliver the Commencement address, following in the steps of Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Jenkins said he plans to select a Commencement speaker sometime during the spring semester. Right now, he’s still weighing the different factors involved.

“My concern a little bit is that, should the new president come, it may be even more of a circus,” he said.

This election spurred levels political acrimony higher than Jenkins said he remembers in the past.

“I think it’s fair to say the election reveals deep divides in this nation — divides on political views, on economic prospects, educational differences, differences in opportunities,” he said. “And they run deep in the country.”

During this time, Jenkins said Notre Dame has a role as an educational institution to be a place of discussion that brings people together.

“I think being president of Notre Dame gives me a certain soapbox. You can say things that people will pay attention to what you say because of that. I take that seriously,” he said. “I try to use that soapbox that I have as well as I can to serve those ideas and not kind of advance a personal agenda.”

In a prayer service hosted six days after the election, Jenkins told undocumented students that the University would continue to support them, even if Trump were to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, as he promised to do during his campaign.

The DACA Program was the result of an executive order issued by Obama and allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to gain work authorization and, in many cases, financial aid to attend universities. Last week, Jenkins signed a public statement in support of DACA, joining more than 400 other college and university presidents.

“These people were brought here as minors and are highly talented people, are valuable to this country,” Jenkins said. “So, if an administration would make changes, I would think trying to deport these talented young people would be among the most ill-advised moves they could make.”

“If there should be an effort to do that, we would do everything we can to fight that, whatever way we can,” he added. “Not only for these young people who are Notre Dame students, but for the good of the nation.”

In the past, the University has refused to give information on the immigration status of its students when asked by the state of Indiana. As a general policy, Notre Dame is guarded about giving any information about individual students to government agencies or other organizations, Jenkins said.

But it’s difficult to plan for the future at this point in time, he added, because no one can do more than speculate what policies the Trump administration will institute after the inauguration ceremony in January.

“I think it’s important at this stage to wait and to see and to listen,” he said.

Jenkins said, in the past, elections and other current events have created divisions within the campus political environment. But he called the demonstrations in the days following Trump’s victory the largest he’s seen during his time as University president.

“I think with the degree of animosity, the meanness of the rhetoric in the election, there was a lack of real discussion between the two opposing parties,” he said. “It does seem we have hit a peak or a sort of high point in terms of that animosity, that vitriol in public discussion.”

Jenkins said it’s the first time since the election of Abraham Lincoln that riots broke out in cities across the U.S. in reaction to a presidential election; now, America faces the challenge of finding ways to foster constructive conversations.

“The fact is we’re a democracy,” he said. “We can only move forward by addressing those divisions and trying to find a path forward that would address the concerns and needs of many people of this nation.”

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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  • Annette Magjuka

    I am a social justice Catholic who wants the changes made at Vatican II to become a reality. Fr. Hesburgh is one of my heroes, and the picture of him walking arm and arm with Martin Luther King is one of the inspirational images of my life. I am a staunch supporter of President Obama, and I was an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton. I was proud of ND when we invited President Obama, Biden, and Boehner on campus. I abhor many of the things President elect Trump has said and done. I abhor the philosophies of many he has chosen to surround him in positions of power. But I support his coming to campus. I support this 100%. What is a university for if not for the free exchange of ideas?! What is a university for if it shies away from controversy for the goal of “propriety”? Bring Trump to campus. He may see some respectful protest from some involved students, faculty, and administrators. He will see some support, too. This is a time for all of us to stand up and be counted. I do not shy away from this, and neither should Notre Dame.

    • And I would add, Annette, that if we foment that a “circus” will happen before it does, then we are pre-destining that a circus will happen. Why do this? This, perhaps, is the most short-sighted and ill-reasoned aspect of everything quoted in this article.

      • Annette Magjuka

        Totally agree

    • Morgan23

      So much for intelligent students at ND.

    • G. Thomas

      Annette, being a staunch and enthusiastic supporter of abortion, sodomy, and infanticide isn’t helping you with the “eye of a needle”… Remember eternity is a long, long time. I pray that you allow the Holy Spirit some space in your soul to begin letting the light of truth in…I recommend reading a sermon from St. Leonard of Port Maurice – “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved”

      • Annette Magjuka

        G. Thomas, thank you for your well wishes. I wish the same for you.

    • drPC

      I am an orthodox Roman Catholic. Clearly, Annette, you have swallowed whole all the lies the left spouts about Mr. Trump and his supporters, which is sad. Nonetheless, I applaud your willingness to have Mr. Trump speak on campus, although I wonder if you will even hear a word he says.

      • Annette Magjuka

        I am willing to listen. But I will not capitulate with bigotry, misogyny, or discrimination. I am concerned by Mr. Trump’s words and many of the people with whom he surrounds himself. It surprises me that you think it is so clear what I believe. Do we know each other? I don’t think we’ve ever met.

    • Margaret McNulty

      Annette, voting Democratic is a deadly mortal sin. Voting Democratic is voting for abortion.

    • jimbo3298

      “He may see some RESPECTFUL protest from some involved students, faculty, and administrators.”

      No, never in a million years would he see this.

    • DebraBrunsberg

      I believe that social justice Catholic simply means someone who was baptized Catholic and has no actual formation as to what the faith is or teaches. Anyone who states they are an enthusiastic supporter of someone who believes you can murder a child in the womb even as it is coming down the birth canal isn’t Catholic, nor could they really be considered Christian. Those labels would be as false as Notre Dame calling itself a Catholic University. Jesus Christ is God and God creates all life. Every child in the womb was created by God. How one could ever believe that Jesus Christ is rejoicing over abortion is truly following the world and the enemy. Everyone will stand before the Lord. You might want to spend some time learning your proclaimed faith and the four Last Things.

    • Dan Wynne

      How about you treat him with RESPECT simply because he is the President. Judging by the “peaceful” protests that have occurred so far do you really think there would be a “respectful protest” Annette? Reality says differently.

      • Annette Magjuka

        Yes, I think ND students are respectful and if some wish to protest I am sure they would do it in a non-violent, respectful manner.

  • Buddy Puddy

    If Notre Dame sees itself as any type of moral beacon, then inviting Trump to be a commencement speaker would be hypocrisy at best. Hard to imagine a darker day than that.

    • Annette Magjuka

      Buddy, I have been in mourning since election night. I am actually terrified what America will look like once Trump and his far right appointees start legislating. However, he is the President elect of the United States. Presidents should be asked to universities. Our students are young adults, and are independent thinkers. If they are Catholic, they have almost 20 years of conscience formation under their belts. They can listen and then decide what they think. Maybe we can engage in some dialogue about how Catholics voted for Trump in such high numbers. Why did so many bishops preach against Hillary Clinton but in favor of Trump? Why has there been institutional silence from the church regarding the bigotry, misogyny, the Muslim-bashing, the Mexican-bashing, the disrespect for the physically challenged? I would welcome these conversations. I want to hear the rationale of the Young Republicans at Notre Dame who “supported but did not endorse” Trump. These are exactly the conversations we should be having at Notre Dame and in our parishes. Presidents have always been invited on campus. Trump should be invited.

      • Buddy Puddy

        Thanks for that, Annette. A healthy dosage of eloquence is not a bad way to start the day. <3

      • DebraBrunsberg

        I can only imagine that your sources of Trump’s words, deeds and actions came form the secular media, which has shown itself to be unbiased and truthful. So, as as a faithful Catholic, by stating that you are terrified of Trump being involved in legislation, are you stating that you had no problem with what has taken place in the last eight years or what could have taken place if Clinton had been elected? I don’t think there is a faithful (and formed) Catholic around who finds gay marriage, men in women’s bathrooms and the unchecked murder of the unborn as something that should be allowed to continue. So many Bishops preached against Clinton because the woman’s goal was to promote even greater access to murdering God’s creations in the womb and the further persecuting of Christians who did not toe the party line, that would be the Culture of Death party line. I think that there is a problem with presuming that Catholic students actually know and understand the teachings of Christ and the teachings of the Church because as it is already known, many who call themselves Catholics, are anything but…….

  • Dan Wynne

    You phonies! You invite so called Catholics who are pro abortion but don’t want Trump who is pro life. What terrible “leadership” you college students are force fed.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      Um, abortion isn’t the only issue important to Catholics.

      • Dan Wynne

        How secular and open minded of you Randall. I’m sure your Professors agree 100% with you that ABORTION doesn’t ranked in the top 10 anymore correct????

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          What about war, immigration, giving to the poor (easier for a camel to go through they eye of a needle that for a rich man to get into heaven?) divorce (Donald has been twice)…

          • Kevin McCormick

            Randall, I think the idea is that when the merciless slaughter of 1.2 million people is occurring every year in our country, that perhaps the other issues are of somewhat secondary importance. If you say that you love the poor and then at the same time turn a blind eye, or worse encourage them as Obama and Clinton would, as they consider murdering their newly created life, you are falling into a pharisaical mindset–a self-congatulatory approach which denies the obvious fact that it is rather difficult to offer a helping hand to the needy when they are dead.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            A fetus can’t force a woman, just like I can’t force you, to give up their body against their will.

          • Can’t have a war if you abort all the soldiers. Can’t have immigration if you abort all the children in the third world. There would be no poor if you aborted them all, right?

            Genocidal mania solves everything!

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            What a dumb response. No chance that 100% of women will abort all of their fetuses.

          • Phil19034

            None of those are as evil as butchering babies in the womb, and killing the sick and elderly.

            Btw – don’t judge Trump on charity. We don’t know what God sees. Also, Trump has personally donated millions of dollars to charity. Taking care of the poor is extremly important, but it should be done by individuals and non-profits. Not via taxes.

            When you give alms and help with the poor, you are commiting an act of mercy. When you pay taxes, you are not… Even if lots of tax money helps the poor, you are still not committing acts of mercy.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            What is evil is forcing someone to give up their body against their will. I can’t force you or a dead body to do it, so why does a fetus get to?

          • Kevin McCormick

            Every act of intercourse is an invitation by the couple to be blessed with a new life. This is basic biology and it is sign of a healthy couple. The newly created human being isn’t doing the action, God is, in response to the invitation of the couple. This is basic theology. The newly created person is the natural fruit of the act of intercourse and is utterly innocent of any action. The problem is, as is suggested by your post, that contraception has destroyed in many people the capacity of seeing the obvious facts of the matter. That you would see a new life, utterly innocent and dependent upon his mother, as a criminal worthy of the death sentence is testament to that.

          • Michaela

            We can legitimately argue as Catholics over the best method of giving to the poor (whether it is a personal obligation or a governmental obligation). We can legitimately argue as Catholics over whether a war is a just war or not. We can legitimately argue as Catholics as to whether the best way to assist the displaced is to allow them to immigrate to the US or whether it is to enact polices that will bolster their status in their home countries.

            What we cannot legitimately argue and still call ourselves Catholic is whether a child has a non-negotiable right to be born.

          • mel35

            You are absolutely correct, Michaela. Killing defenseless innocence is an intrinsic evil. It cannot be offset by other good works. It is a mortal sin.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            A child, just like you and me, do not have the right to take over the body of someone else without their consent.

      • Mary Ann Sweeney

        I’m a single issue voter – pro-life in every aspect of living. If we don’t view abortion as the most important issue, we may as well give up everything else we stand for.

        • Peter Clark

          I’ve been saying the same thing for over 40 years. What issue is paramount to life?

        • Sandy Daze

          I think this most excellent Homily for October 2, 2016 by Fr John Lankeit at the Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix is exceptional, and most strongly recommend it: https://youtu.be/881aDDE5qFY

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          You don’t get to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. I have a right not to control all aspects of my body, just like you do.

      • Margaret McNulty

        Randall, being pro-life is the fundamental teaching of our Faith!

      • chilitom

        In America it is the prime one.

    • trish05

      D.Wynne…. when I saw this, I was extremely angry. How can a Catholic University that bears the Blessed Virgin’s name, not invite President-elect Trump to speak at the university? They allow these pro-abortion speakers, like Biden come there and spout their drivel. A president we will have, that will put pro-life justices on the Supreme Court, It looks to me like N.D. is just too into the world, to wear the banner of Catholic! That university should give up their status of being Catholic. and, I’m thinking Catholic University, here in Washington. They have gotten too liberal to be called Catholic. I will not leave the Catholic church because of a few universities, being in cahoots with the likes of Biden, Pelosi, Kaine, and all the others who claim to be their own kind of Catholic. They really make me sick!!

      • Kate

        Another question one could ask is “How can a Catholic University that bears the Blessed Virgin’s name choose a graduation speaker who has joked and bragged about sexually assaulting women?” Trump may be pro-life (then again he may not), but that doesn’t singularly qualify him to be honored by a Catholic university. Catholics revere women. Trump denigrates them.

        • Dan Wynne

          Was he EVER charged and convicted of these serious crimes. Are you still beating your Mother ?

        • Gerry Costa

          You are right Kate —- they revere women and just love little boys !!!!!!!!

      • Dan Wynne

        Thanks so much Trish for being so articulate. You brought tears to this “old” man’s eyes. The future is brighter with you in it. Merry Christmas!

      • Phil19034

        Catholic University of America is still very much in line with the Church (even if some students might not be).

        CUA has come a long way and improved big time since the coup back in the 1960s.

        As long as the Cardinal Newman Society has them listed on their list of faithful Catholic colleges, I’m happy.

        God Bless

  • Bob Cumbers

    Fr. Jenkins laid the ground work for
    this 8 years ago when he wanted to start the “discussion/conversation”
    with Obama due to his favoring abortion. Any updates on how that
    discussion is going? If he disagrees with Trump’s positions, then another
    great way to start conversations. The circus comment is pure BS and
    backpeddling. As Annette eloquently and rightly stated, bring him
    on. Jenkins is a total hypocrite if he doesn’t invite him, but that
    wouldn’t surprise me. Over 50% of the faculty is non-catholic.
    Aside from the students upholding the traditions of Catholicism, is the
    Administration? Doubtful at best with its liberal bent and embracing many
    anti-Church positions. But Annette – it is not “muslim-bashing and
    ‘Mexican bashing”. What does anyone not understand about the prefix
    to the word immigrant that is “illegal”? If you are not here legally, go through the
    process, its not that complicated or wrong. Get out. My grandparents came over from Italy in 1906
    and there was a process back then. Why do people not have to follow that
    now? Where is the silent majority of peaceful Muslims not calling out their
    violent faction? Why are they silent? Are the scared? Do they
    not care? Why can Mr. Trump not call out the radical sect, isolate and
    restrict them. That’s not bigotry or hatred, its just logical. Let
    him have his day.

    • Älter und weiser

      I refused to consider any “Catholic” university for my children. IMHO, their faith was safer at a secular university than in a place was CINO. Jenkins is your typical SJW. All feelings no brains. He cozies up to Catholic haters like Obama and shuns Trump. This behaviour has caused me to withdraw all but the most nominal financial support for the Church. My charity can do more good elsewhere.

      • Mike

        If you’re looking for good Catholic colleges for your kids, you may want to consider this list from the Cardinal Newman Society:
        From their website: “The mission of The Cardinal Newman Society is to promote and defend faithful Catholic education. The Society seeks to fulfill its mission in numerous ways, including
        supporting education that is faithful to the teaching and tradition of
        the Catholic Church; producing and disseminating research and
        publications on developments and best practices in Catholic education;
        and keeping Catholic leaders and families informed.”

      • Phil19034

        There are still a handful of good Catholic colleges, and a number of the good ones are affordable

        Visit the https://cardinalnewmansociety.org for their great list.

        Also, you can refer to the National Catholic Register’s annual list of faithful Catholic colleges: http://m.ncregister.com/site/article/catholic-identity-college-guide-2016#.WEbLBfQ8KnM

        The sad thing though is there are not many Catholic colleges on these two lists

      • Sandy Daze

        Hillsdale is rather Catholic for a non-denominational college…

        • Phil19034

          There are also some public colleges with AWESOME Catholic Campus ministries, like Texas A&M

    • Clanci45

      TOTALLY….. play with the LIBERAL. All day long. But give no platform to the conservative!!
      Obviously they have not been listening closely!!! Secure the Border. Deport the CRIMINALS!!!! Those who have commented crimes need deported. THEN evaluate where we are????! Eventually everyone needs to be here LEGALLY we need Visas,,… Citizenship. BUT give him a chance !!!

  • Mainman12

    Under Jenkins Notre Dame has become less and less Catholic such that I would not choose that school for any of my children. How disappoint for a school named after Our Lady to vier so far from the truth taught by our Church founded by Christ himself.

  • keystonepipe

    Obama the liar =Good…..Trump tells it like it is = Bad……ND faculty hiding in safe space

    • Kate

      So, If I were to say that the fact that you DON’T think Trump is a liar and the fact that you think this issue is simple enough to boil down to one sentence makes you a complete moron, that would be A-OK because I’m telling it like it is? Because that’s what Trump does? Just checking.

  • Ed Pilwallis

    Trump is one of the most disgusting persons in the world today. He has the morals of an alley cat. Notre Dame should not invite him. To do so would only endorse bad behavior. I am 76 years old and have been a supporter of ND all my life. If Trump is allowed to spew his venom and desecrate ND, I can no longer support them I have always admired the high standards of ND football until recently. Unfortunately, ND has lowered its standards. I am dismayed. The appearance of Trump would only add its woes. I am a graduate of a college run by the Holy Cross fathers who will always have my admiration and support.

    • G. Thomas

      Gee Ed how would you describe the ND invite to abortion/infanticide, sodomy supporting Obama? Talk about disgusting person…

    • Phil19034

      Would you have been fine with anti-Catholic Hillary speaking there?

      • Ed Pilwallis

        Hillary is not anti-Catholic. She was instrumental in helping Mother Teresa set up her houses in the US. Hillary is a Methodist with someBbible upbringing. It is true that she is pro choice, but Trump is anti-humanity.

        • Phil19034

          No. Hillary is against the Catholic Church and against what the Catechism teaches.

          She has publicly stated that religious beliefs must change (referring 100% to the Catholic Church).

          She has NOT distanced herself from the “Catholic Spring” comments and is a disciple of Saul Alinsky who used to dupe Catholic priest (esp Jesuits) into his communist/militant form of “community organizing” in the name of “social justice”

          Hillary is very pro-dissent Catholic, but very anti orthodox Catholic.

          Hillary would force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions; make Little Sisters of the Poor pay for abortions & birth control; make Catholic schools, colleges & other ministries pay for abortions & birth control; make Catholic schools and colleges have “co-Ed” bathrooms for transgender, etc

          She would out law praying the rosary (and other prayers) in front of abortion clinics; she would attempt to force the Church to provide gay marriage, etc.

          Finally, I do not for one minute believe that Hillary is a Bible reading Christian. I think she only reads the Bible to pull quotes to use. From what I’ve read from Secret Service people who were on her detail over the years, she is a disgusting human being.

          Plus, even her own campaign stated as much in the Wikileaks emails.

          Trump is no saint. But like my spiritual advisor (a Monsignior) said to me, God often uses flawed men (like King David) to do His will. I believe (like my spiritual advisor) that God will use Trump to restore religious liberty, to fight abortion, and to end the anti-Christian undertones in the country.

          God Bless

    • Dan Wynne

      How you been following closely current events Ed?

      • Ed Pilwallis


  • Buddha22

    Once again, Notre Dame, like many other “Catholic” universities, shows its true colors. I agree with what Fulton Sheen said, “I recommend that my relatives send their college-bound children to secular colleges where they will have to fight for their faith, rather than to Catholic colleges where it will be stolen from them.” There are only a handful of faithful Catholic colleges and universities, and Notre Dame is definitely not one of them.

    • Phil19034

      There are still a handful of good Catholic colleges, and a number of the good ones are affordable

      Visit the https://cardinalnewmansociety…. for their great list.

      Also, you can refer to the National Catholic Register’s annual list of faithful Catholic colleges: http://m.ncregister.com/site/a

      Spread this info. We need our kids attending the faithful Catholic colleges. If they can grow in size and demand, then maybe some of these heretical administrations will see the light

  • Morgan23

    Another Jesuit. now I know why the Benedictines hate the jevies. Maybe if he was a Catholic that condoned and supported Abortion he (Trump) would be invited. It’s time for this heretic to retire to some ”Non-Denominational” Church where he can minister to gays and all of the other dregs of society.

  • I am BT

    The rationalizing that allows Fr. Jenkins to consider not inviting Donald Trump is sad.
    Notre Dame intends to take sides in a political battle precisely when Notre Dame should be leading.
    And, by the way, football is in the crapper.

  • DebraBrunsberg

    I am sure the school could not handle having a speaker (for any event) that is not solidly in the camp of abortion and all other aspects of the Culture of Death and immorality. Jenkins would not want to give the impression that this was a Catholic school or that they in any way live out the teachings of Christ.

    • Kate

      Is anyone farther from living out the teachings of Christ than Donald Trump? Why are you so sure he’s even pro-life? And even if he is, his grave amoral character makes him unfit to be honored by any Catholic university.

      • DebraBrunsberg

        Is anyone farther from living out the teachings of Christ than Donald Trump? well, offhand, if we are talking about those who haven’t just spoke, but who have been honored at this school, VP Biden comes to mind. He has been supportive of abortion his entire political life and I believe also got a special license so he could marry two gay men, in the White House. So, yea, just one example. President Obama comes to mind, trying to force The Little Sisters of the poor to pay for abortifacients? My point being Jenkins is a hypocritical weasel. He would have had no problem bringing in President Hillary Clinton, you can bet your life on that. Notre Dame is Catholic in name only so it is all moot.

        • Kate

          I agree with you on all. None of them should have been honored by ND. But why add Trump to the list of people who were undeservingly honored by a Catholic university?

          • Phil19034

            Here’s the truth… If they want to not invite Trump, then they better not invite any Democrats either.

            If they stop inviting all politicians except for ones that are 100% in line with Catholic teaching, than great.

            But you can’t object to Trump if you don’t object to Obama, Biden & Hillary. Those 3 are at least equally (if not more) offensive to Catholics across America.

            Point Trump is viewed unfavorablely by more than 1/2 the Catholics (yet 52% of Catholics voted for him).

            And Hillary is viewed unfavorably by the same number of Catholics. Plus, the truth is that Hillary’s views are what is prominent in the Democratic leadership today… And those views are directly hostile towards the Catholic faith.

            NOTE: the views that Trump has that are not in line with the Church are NOT directly targeted towards to Church. So there is a major difference.

      • liar’s poltergeist

        You really need to do some homework. ND has had terrific speakers, in fact many were great women. However, in addition to obama and biden; kofi annan spoke there and he too was plagued by sexual issues; brian adams, the newscaster who lied and fired; there were a few catholic cardinals too and while on their watch quite a few pedophile incidents occurred that are still reeling. Reminds me of a saying: “when the tide comes in, boats with holes don’t refloat”. ND is a boat with holes, slowly sinking. The current Admin and Board are an insult to their great past – shame on them.

      • liar’s poltergeist

        You really need to do some homework. ND has had terrific speakers, in fact many were great women. However, in addition to obama and biden; kofi annan spoke there and he too was plagued by sexual issues; brian adams, the newscaster who lied and fired; there were a few catholic cardinals too and while on their watch quite a few pedophile incidents occurred that are still reeling. Reminds me of a saying: “when the tide comes in, boats with holes don’t refloat”. ND is a boat with holes, slowly sinking. The current Admin and Board are an insult to their great past – shame on them.

  • Frank DiSalle

    Don’t invite him! Follow your left wing, gutless, politically correct instincts! We know you would have invited HR “It ain’t a human being until you get it home from the hospital” Clinton, but Trump is just too controversial! You make me sick!

  • D O’Neill

    If Notre Dame decides to invite President-elect Trump to their commencement exercise, I believe that Trump should decline the invitation, because the insult to the office of the President of the United States, and to the people he will serve, has already been made public in the press. However, as an alternative, Notre Dame should consider inviting Hillary Clinton, or her VP running mate Caine, as they are, clearly, more aligned with the spirit and traditions of Notre Dame, and surely are less controversial public figures. And, depending on one’s moral orientation, they could be considered inspirations and role models for Notre Dames graduates. Lastly, the Clinton Foundation may make a contribution to Notre Dame! It’s all good.

    • Dan Wynne

      Well put Mr or Mrs O’Neill.

  • I believe we are entering an era, in fact, have been in an era for 40 years, where it is not appropriate to ask “democratically elected” leaders of any stripe to speak at a Catholic Institution.

    The culture is way too anti-Catholic for that.

  • chilitom

    Fr. Jenkins is making the same mistake the fourth estate has made; subtly since the New Deal; now blatantly. He’s taking sides.

  • TheresaCamoriano

    I graduated ND in 1976 and 1977 and am very disappointed that Fr. Jenkins is hesitating to invite Trump to speak at Commencement, especially after conferring their highest honor on abortion-promoting Obama. I think Fr. Jenkins is more attracted to leftism than to Christianity.

  • Burton Pauly

    To whom it may concern. It would be a grave error not to ask our newly elected Potus to speak at Notre Dame . Especially since a huge number of members of the Catholic Faith voted for him. And illegals in our nation are law breakers so they should be treated as such.. Try going to most nations and reneging on the visa you entered with. You will be prosecuted by most.

  • Michaela

    Jenkins: “The fact is we’re a democracy,” he
    said. “We can only move forward by addressing those divisions and trying
    to find a path forward that would address the concerns and needs of
    many people of this nation.”

    Uh, the fact is actually that the US is NOT a democracy and never has been, Father.

    • 7kidchaos

      Also, it’s not in Jenkins’ job description to be concerned with the “needs of many people of this nation.” Is he nuts? His concern has to be with the students, faculty and accomplishments of Notre Dame as a Catholic University. That means pro-life. Absolutely shocking the hubris of this priest.

  • Susan Pace

    it seems that if notre dame can have barack obama speak at the university, covering all religious statues with black cloth per his administration’s request, then it can have donald trump who supports religious freedom speak at the commencement. the students should exhibit good manners and acceptance of something that is not quite what they wanted or expected, which is really what life is all about. what would be in very bad taste and the worse form of disrespect, is not inviting the new president to speak at the commencement just because students are upset at the election outcome. this is life. life is full of disappointments. take a deep breath, children, grow up, and look for good things to happen.

    • Kate

      Susan, did you know that more than one sexual assault has been reported at ND this year? Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. Students victimized by people like Donald Trump may end up having him as their graduation speaker. I think that goes a little farther than “not quite what they wanted or expected” or “upset at the election outcome.”

      • liar’s poltergeist

        Kate, would you “know” if ND supports abortions ; or perhaps support any of their catholic students, faculty, or admin to have or condone abortion ?

        • Kate

          What on earth does that have to do with my comment?

          • liar’s poltergeist

            My reply was sarcastic which I expected the reader to understand.
            The ND admin invited obama, an avid abortion supporter to speak at ND and he accepted. In my opinion, this was obama slapping ND in the face.
            And if you review the past 8 years of obama, you will note a very narcissistic persona, which ND did not see when they invited the man.
            At that time, the ND admin did not care about the student, faculty, alum, friends objections, disappointment, and thousands of requets to the ND admin to withdrawal the obama invite

            Why should ND care about sexual assault anymore than abortion ?

            Furthermore, I think you need to honestly research Trump’s entire personal and professional relations with women.
            Here is a good start:


  • NDaniels

    “America faces the challenge of finding ways to foster constructive conversations.”

    A conversation that denies The Truth of Love cannot serve to foster constructive conversations. Our call to Holiness, has always been a call to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds. No doubt, “we have hit a high point in terms of vitriol in public discussion”. Rioting does not foster constructive conversations; it serves to foster violent uncivilized disorder.

    Father Jenkins is capable of responding to the deep divides in our Nation, in the light of our Catholic Faith. I hope he will use this opportunity to rise to the challenge of President Trump’s Commencement speech, affirming that when we deny that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, we deny The Divinity of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, and thus we deny Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.


  • Publius

    Father Jenkins mentions riots that broke out in cities across America. In not too distant Chicago was one of the largest. The riots were not started by supporters of Donald Trump, they were hired by Democrat Party operatives to disrupt what should have been a peacefully rally. These same Democrat operatives also have aimed to destroy the values and the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. During the campaign, the values express by Trump & Pence were much more aligned with the church than any Democrat candidate.

    As for protecting the “undocumented”, it is misguided. If the University is willing to house, feed and provide medical expenses for them at their own charity, that is their decision. However, if any institution, religious or otherwise demands that money to be taken from others (i.e. taxes) is demanding that the government take (steal) from others to give to those who they deem worthy. The problem with Fr. Jenkins way of thinking that it discourages charitable giving, because people expect that government to take from others (not themselves of course) to give to the needy.

  • OrlandoRican

    And yet he invited pro-abortion and gay marriage supporter Obama. Of course, Obama is a liberal so he fitted right in. I stopped donating to the catholic college I graduated from because they started embracing all these convoluted liberal positions which were not espoused by them when I attended.

  • Clare

    Fr. Jenkins’ actions are not ‘Catholic’. Disgusted by his leadership (or lack thereof). He had the pro-abortion/pro-gay marriage president without hesitation. Our oldest graduated from Notre Dame and we hope to persuade our youngest daughter not to apply to Notre Dame.

  • Beachbound

    Jenkins should turn in his collar. I stopped contributing to ND eight years ago. I hope they lose every game, I hope their graduates can’t find work, I hope their policies become a universal anathema.

  • rufous

    Jenkins is a disgrace. He’s an old radical leftover of the Alinsky/Bernardin era. He’s a heretical, poisonous traitor to the faith. As long as he has anything to do with Notre Dame no faithful Catholic should let their kids anywhere near the campus.

    Trump will be more than welcome at any real Catholic university. If they aren’t on the Cardinal Newman list they aren’t really Catholic.

  • I don’t think there is a solid line one can draw in time, to mark when Notre Dame ceased being a Catholic University. But it hasn’t been one for quite some time.

    • Phil19034

      The obvious line is when they promoted and signed the Land o Lakes Conference.

      At least Catholic University of America has backed away from it and endorsed St John Paul II’s teachings regarding the role of a Catholic college.

      Notre Dame on the other hand seems to be doubling down on Land o Lakes

  • Mike Crognale

    Perhaps Father Jenkins might reflect on the first and only requirement for Notre Dame. That being the need to teach young minds how to think and learn to be grown-ups. There is no room in our universities for baby sitting. These kids need to get slapped in the face with a cold, dead fish. Reality sucks and they need to learn that before they get fired from their first jobs for being idiots.
    Trump should be invited. The school should also make abundantly clear that any disruptions during the speech will result in the offenders being summarily ejected. They can pick up their diplomas at the office or have them mailed to them. It’s time to end the BS.

  • Franie

    I never thought I would call a priest a hypocrite, but if it was Fr. Jenkins who invited Obama, who by the way had the audacity to have the crucifix covered with a black cloth at another catholic university, why wouldn’t he invite Trump?? Obama is THE epitome of evil as he avows abortion and partial birth abortion. Why wouldn’t he allow Trump to speak? Obama bows to our enemies and has great disdain for Israel. Why wouldn’t he allow Trump to speak? Obama brings in tens of thousands of unvetted Muslims who are commanded by their Qur’an to kill the infidel. Just why wouldn’t Fr. Jenkins allow Trump to speak at the upcoming Commencement ceremony? I was appalled that NOTRE DAME had the audacity at my niece’s commencement to have Obama even step foot on that campus. If Fr. Jenkins does not graciously invite Trump to speak at the upcoming Commencement ceremony, he will have shown the Church just what kind of liberal coward he truly is.

    • Kate

      Yes. So cowardly to hesitate to force an audience half-comprised of women to listen to a speech from a man who brags about sexually assaulting women. Truly shameful.

      • liar’s poltergeist

        Why should ND care about sexual assault anymore than abortion ?

      • Franie

        Yes, and you have just shown your true snow flake millennial colors, Kate. Apparently you approve of Obama giving a commencement speech even though he and his beliefs are an abomination in God’s eyes, especially at a catholic college, but you fail at understanding the male species and their inflated desire to brag about their male virility. It’s called “locker room braggadocio” and he said it to a deceitful so called friend who underhandedly recorded him. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Hillary had put that DISPICABLE and deceitful piece of human debris up to recording Trump saying something like that to have future “dirt” on someone who could get in her way. It’s just like the democrats to stoop to dirty shenanigans to maintain power and control. Wake up deary!

  • 7kidchaos

    Based upon this story and the destructive, unnecessary behavior of Fr. Jenkins toward our new president-elect, I’ve decided never again to donate a dime to Notre Dame. I’m done. Money has corrupted ND’s administration badly. The “build a new stadium” mentality powers them. Brawny bricks and building. Arrest those pro-lifers for being on private property. All morals are gone at ND. Pathetic.

  • Father Jenkins is a rude discriminator of persons in this matter. He rethinks his position when it suits his political ideology, not having Trump is discriminatory! There needs be a new orthodox leader at Our Lady’s university, NOW!!!

  • Chi_Town_Hustler

    No wonder Notre Dame is no longer listed as, Not only a Top Christian Collage but not a choice as a Top “Catholic” University! You not only invite a LEADING SUPPORTER OF MURDER(ABORTION) but cater to his agenda and bestow the Honor of a Degree to him. You have allowed non Catholic viewpoints to be taught in your classrooms, the ‘Vigina Mona Logs’ to be preformed as a form of “Art” and approved of discriminatory ‘Clubs’ to be formed. SHAME ON YOU!!

  • Gerry Costa

    Hey father —- take notre dame and stick it where it will give you the most constipation !!!!!!!!!!!! You sound like one of the problems with this country and definitely not part of the cure. STICK YOUR SCHOOL

  • Clanci45

    You are able to invite OBAMA who believes in abortions same Sexm

  • mel35

    Notre Dame is a faux Catholic institution. It sold its soul when it decided not to follow the Church’s guidelines in “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”; when it rejected its obedience to the local Bishop; when it dedicated itself to academic secularism in order to be accepted in the arrogant group of non-religious leaders; and when it hired a majority of non-catholic professors, many of whom are openly teaching an anti-catholic curriculum and are opposed to Catholic dogmatic teachings. I am one who once respected the university but no longer care what it does. Trump would be wise to ignore the University of Notre Dame. (It should really change its name to reflect its irreligious orientation.)

  • Susan

    So Notre Dame is worrying about the effect Trump’s presence would have on “undocumented students” but had no qualms about inviting the most pro-Planned Parenthood, the most anti-Christian president in the history of America. Jenkins is a leftist, yes, before his commitment to his faith. He has married his Catholicism to Marxism, the old classic Liberation Theology.

  • Ed of Ct.

    Odd ND had NO such hesitation when a Pro Abortion, Homosexual Transgender and force Little sisters of the poor -fund Contraceptives etc. and Biden ,Pres. Obama etc. to speak there. Founders of ND and St. Mary’s of South Bend must be Spinning in their graves or in Heaven at the sorry excuses for clergy running both Apostate colleges.

  • NewtonMinnow

    Jenkins didn’t have misgivings about inviting a radical, pro-abortion politician in Obama, but he does have misgivings about inviting Trump. My dad was class of 1955. He calls Jenkins “Jenkins.” To him, Jenkins doesn’t even deserve to be called a priest let alone ND president.

  • JIm Kress

    “The fact is we’re a democracy,” Jenkins said.

    In addition to being a complete hypocrite, Jenkins is ignorant regarding the American history and government. We are a Constitutionally Limited Republic, NOT a “Democracy”. This was a deliberate decision by the Founders who rejected “Democracy” as a form of mob rule.

    Jenkins is a far Left Globalist who worships government as god. 0bama was his choice since they shared world views. Jenkins statement regarding Trump is a clear indication of his far Left agenda and a manifestation of his intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy and hatred for American values.

  • Michaela

    I don’t think any comment here defended Trump as a model Catholic. He is (1) not Catholic at all and (2) deeply flawed.

    But as ND gave Obama — a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage president who instructed his justice dept the go-ahead to go after the Little Sisters of the Poor when they did not wish to be complicit in sin — their highest honor, it is utterly clear that their posturing about not inviting Trump is hypocritical. One could argue that as a Catholic university they should have invited neither, but there is no legitimate argument to be made that the policies Trump has propsed are nearly as anti-Catholic as those of Obama.

    • Anna

      From another perspective, if the purpose of a commencement speaker is to give a congratulatory statement and future advice, what in the world is Trump going to say? During Obama’s 30 minutes on stage, he addressed the issue of abortion and the controversy of him being there wonderfully. He spoke about maturity and disagreement in a way that is constructive, not divisive. He spoke about lifting others up and contributing to society with the education we’ve been given. In truth, not everybody is going to fully agree on a single matter. Not even abortion. Like Obama said, we have to work to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and ease the adoption process. The legality of abortion doesn’t solve the core issue here and bandaids never stay on forever.

      I’ve yet to see Trump speak without being insulting and rude. And if somebody doesn’t find him insulting, I encourage them to have a conversation with the students here that don’t come from your typical ND background. The ones who came from broken homes without food on the table, the ones who were brought by their parents from other countries at a young age for a better life or to flee persecution. These students and their families (some of whom will be visiting campus for the first time ever due to the cost being too high) legitimately fear Trump and his presidency. They, and many other students, don’t identify with him or see him as a figure to look up to.

      Obama’s presence may have gone against the stance of pro-life students and guests, but Trump’s beliefs are against the students themselves. Their very lives that they have worked so hard to build from nothing are at risk, and I don’t believe that the person who has that power over them should be speaking on the proudest and happiest day of their lives.

      I do agree that maybe inviting both would cause more problems than it’s worth. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

      • Michaela

        Two huge errors: (1) You are arguing from feelings and not facts and (2) Obama’s stance is not a problem because it goes against “pro life students.” It is a problem because it goes against one of the bedrock principals of the Catholic Church and is one of the few positions that you are duty-bound NOT to accept if you are a Catholic in good standing. A Catholic institution who gives pro-abortion politicians a platform is both engaging in scandal (as defined by the Church) and leading its students away from the faith it pretends to shroud itself.

  • giant33

    You know if he was a baby killer he would be invited. This college is not Catholic.

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    You cannot force someone to give up their body against their will. I cannot force you to give me blood or bone marrow.

    • Phil19034

      First, Happy Feast Day! Make sure to get to mass today, if you haven’t already (today is a Holy Day of Obligation, in case any readers forgot).

      In regard to your post, a person’s bone marrow and blood contain the same DNA as the mother. My bone marrow is my bone marrow. I have rights to my DNA.

      HOWEVER, a fetus has his/her own DNA. The fetus (whether recienty fertilized or hours from birth) has his or her own DNA which is distinct from the Mother’s.

      Just as the mother has the right to her own life, so does the baby.

      This is Catholic social teaching and is doctrine.

      To view otherwise is in direct conflict with the Catholic Church and as the Church teaches, it is mortal sin to to be pro Choice.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        No, the fetus does not get rights if they infringe on the rights of the woman. If fetuses were granted the same rights as everyone else, then it still would not be able to use a body without consent to stay alive, just like you and I can’t force someone to give up their body to us for any reason. I have distinct DNA from you, does that mean I can take your blood or organs without consent?

  • mel35

    Notre Dame takes in large numbers of non-Catholic students and has a majority of non-Catholic faculty. It produces more Catholic students who, by graduation day, reject their religion than do secular institutions and converts very few of the non-Catholic students. It says by its actions that that makes very little difference insofar as Notre Dame is concerned. It besmirches Our Lady, for whom it is named. If it were honest (a characteristic uncommon at that institution) it would declare itself a secular institution not affiliated with any religion and change its name. But the institution is HYPOCRITICAL and cowardly. It gives scandal, and Christ had very harsh words for those who lead others astray.

  • Phil19034

    Well.. Notre Dame is a Catholic college and the Catholic Faith should take precedence at a Catholic institution. Non-Catholics can attend and work there, but should have zero say campus culture and policy. The Catholic faith should be pushed 100%.

    The fact that it hasn’t been is why we have problems

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      You don’t get to decide who is or isn’t Catholic

  • Maria Jukic

    I applaud you, Kate and Anna, for your courage to speak up in this comments section! Yikes. Donald Trump should not be invited to Notre Dame to speak at Commencement. He has joked about sexual assault and likely committed it; spouted very un-Christian things about many groups of people; and incited hate and violence. Jesus would likely not approve. He can come another time and share his policy views. Leave Commencement to the graduates and their families. And Notre Dame is doing great, by the way. Keep up the good work, Fr. Jenkins!

  • Seamus Sullivan

    pathetic you weak little man, go ahead and play politics by not inviting him and I’ll gladly burn my ND gear and stop following and supporting the school