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What Jenky actually said

Ryan Larson | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I have no difficulty recognizing the fact that history books and newspapers show us that a great number of foolish and even evil men have held the office of Catholic bishop. And following St. Paul’s example, when these men speak foolishly or evilly, they should be opposed because of the condemnation their words deserve (see Galatians 2:11).

I feel no need to defend a statement merely because the man who made it is a Catholic bishop.

However, I feel the faculty members who signed the letter asking for Bishop Daniel Jenky’s resignation from Notre Dame’s Board of Fellows show the very “ignorance of history” and “absence of judgment” of which they accuse Jenky.

Those who take the time to read Jenky’s actual statements (and seeing as we live in the age of Google, that is not too difficult of a task to accomplish) would see that he was not in any way comparing the actions of President Obama or any other current American political figure to the genocidal activities of the Nazi and Soviet regimes.

He spoke about ways the current administration has sought to restrict religious freedom in the United States. He compared this to the efforts of a number of political leaders throughout history to restrict the political, social and cultural influence of Christianity. He made a very narrow argument about how there are similarities between particular policies of this administration and the particular policies of a number of regimes that history now views negatively.

I understand that there are those who would disagree with the arguments that Jenky is making. But I would hope that individuals who possess the intelligence necessary to teach at this great university would have the intellectual integrity to respond to the argument that Jenky actually made.

I would hope that they would not feel the need to distort his argument in order to fight against an inflammatory and offensive straw man argument that he never put forward.

Ryan Larson

law student

off campus

April 24