Statement of Support

For Notre Dame and Its President,
And For Catholic Educational Excellence

Recent headlines tell us that Catholic higher education is increasingly under attack.

Therefore, we the undersigned Catholics support Fr. John Jenkins and the University of Notre Dame in their decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the university’s 2009 Commencement address.

We further support all Catholic educational institutions as they thoughtfully engage students – and indeed all Catholics – to think critically about matters of faith and public policy.

We recognize Fr. Jenkins’s leadership in extending this invitation as a “catalyst for dialogue” and as a means of “positive engagement … on specific issues regarding the protection of human life.” Similarly, President Obama's leadership is moving the nation past the deep wounds of racial prejudice and advancing a spectrum of social and economic justice issues at the heart of our faith - including a new focus on strategies to reduce abortion.

Catholic education is one of Catholicism’s enduring legacies to our country, known for bringing faith and reason to bear on the moral issues facing our lives. As stated in Notre Dame’s mission, “The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”

Catholic universities, founded to meet the higher education needs of immigrant Catholics, are now among the nation’s most prestigious institutions, providing leadership in addressing the moral problems that affect us all. We the undersigned hope and pray that Catholic education will continue to champion fruitful engagement of diverse perspectives in pursuit of the common good.

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