120 Million-Smacker Smackdown

Some folks appeared utterly surprised when the news emerged that contributions to the now infamous University of Notre Dame fell by $120 million during the fiscal year during which President Barack Obama gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree. One has to wonder why there isn’t more ecstatic jubilation instead of worrisome excuses such as the economy and a recession.

Father Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, exhibited a fundamental flaw in judgment and now the University has paid the price. Such a turn of events is, to say the least, downright heartwarming. In truth, Jenkins did not heed the gentle, loving admonitions publicly stated by more than 80 of the shepherds of the Catholic Church. In addition, more than 367,000 Catholics protested the Obama appearance, yet still Jenkins remained intransigent—intentionally choosing to ignore them.

The thing most feared among those who protested the Obama appearance was the compromising of the school’s Catholic identity. And indeed it would seem that donors to the University concur.

For me, as the leader of the first pro-life Catholic organization to become totally immersed in this debacle—sending staff to the campus and ginning up support among local and national pro-life activists to voice their opposition to the Obama appearance—I can tell you that we broke out the non-alcoholic champagne immediately.

During these times of financial peril, when organizations like American Life League are struggling to maintain our work, it is heartening to know that there are people with checkbooks who can express their disdain when something as horrific as the Notre Dame/Obama affair occurs.

But perhaps the most interesting details in all—ones that have somehow failed to grab any media coverage—are the actions the University took in the aftermath of the Obama protests.

The first was to press charges against 88 pro-lifers who physically stood up for truth on the Notre Dame campus on the day that Obama delivered his address and received his reward for compromising Catholic identity once again. Known as the ND 88, these folks have continued to be oppressed by the University—while homosexual rights activists or anti-ROTC activists were given a free pass. Oh yes, the University fired William Kirk, former associate vice president for residential life, but the charges against the pro-lifers are still in force. And face it, Kirk was not the president of the University, Father Jenkins is—and he remains at his post.

The second action that received little to no attention was the announcement that Father Jenkins would, for the first time ever, lead 400 students at the 2010 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Where was Jenkins all those other years when he apparently gave himself a pass and did not attend the March for Life? Is this an example of opportunism or just plain political maneuvering? You decide.

Did Jenkins actually believe that his symbolic gesture of attending the March for Life would somehow erase the brazen wrong done to Catholic credibility in the United States by his absolute commitment to have his student body listen to a man who is, beyond doubt, the most pro-abortion president this country has ever elected? I cannot answer that question, but it should be on everyone’s mind because Jenkins is, above all else, a Catholic priest who represents the Church.

Some will continue to say the recession caused the enormous fall in donations. Yes, it was most certainly a recession—a recession of a moral and ethical type, not a financial one.

For our money, we at American Life League continue to praise God and celebrate the justice of Notre Dame’s 120 million smacker smackdown.