Thomas Gallatin / May 24, 2021

‘Very Catholic’ Biden Rejects Notre Dame Invite

Why he declined to give the commencement address at the famous Catholic university.

Despite being just the second Catholic president, Joe Biden didn’t give the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday. Biden’s decline of the invitation breaks a recent tradition that saw the past three presidents or vice presidents deliver commencement addresses at the Catholic school during their first year in office. It doesn’t appear that Kamala Harris received an invitation, as the university tabbed trustee and finance executive Jimmy Dunne to give the commencement speech instead. Given how Biden’s supposed deep Catholic faith has received fawning accolades from the secular media, what gives?

A university spokesman dismissed any significance to it, observing, “While Notre Dame has had more presidents serve as commencement speakers than any university other than the military academies, we have not always hosted a president in his first year in office — or at all.” He’s got a point. In the modern era, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump all did not address the school’s students. Of course, Kennedy was the nation’s first Catholic president, and he may have addressed the school if his presidency had not been tragically cut short. Yet that makes Biden’s break with recent tradition all the more significant. So, why did he reject the invitation?

The answer appears to have everything to do with Biden’s very uncatholic policy positions.

Indeed, a petition was launched by Notre Dame alumni and students, garnering over 4,300 signatures, calling on university President Fr. John Jenkins to not invite Biden as commencement speaker or grant him an honorary degree. The petition pointedly reasoned, “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is likewise pondering how to handle politicians like Biden, who at once claim the mantle and benefits of the Catholic Church while blatantly defying its teachings.

As for Notre Dame, the petition signees state they are “dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden.” For example, “He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history. The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama.” The petition also observes that the Biden administration is “providing direct federal funding to abortions.”

The great irony of Biden is, again, his distinction as being America’s second-ever Catholic president while holding and promoting one of the most anti-Catholic agendas in the history of the U.S. presidency. Is it any wonder people question his faith commitment?

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