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ND Faculty Cabal Calls on Bp. Jenky to Step Down from Board

Posted by John Jansen (April 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm)

The Pro-Life Action League reported last week about the stunningly powerful homily recently given by Bishop Daniel Jenky, CSC in which he excoriated President Obama’s “radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda.”

In response to Bishop Jenky’s homily, some faculty members of the University of Notre Dame are calling on him to step down from the University’s Board of Fellows.


Because in his homily, Bishop Jenky said the following:

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his “Kulturkampf,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.

Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the instrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry – and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries – can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

Clarifying Remarks Fail to Satisfy Notre Dame Faculty Cabal

In response to some complaints about Bishop Jenky’s homily, Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Peoria Diocese, issued some clarifying remarks last week:

“Based upon the current government’s threatened infringement upon the Church’s religious exercise of its ministry, Bishop Jenky offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions,” said Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Peoria Diocese.

“Bishop Jenky gave several examples of times in history in which religious groups were persecuted because of what they believed,” Gibson said. “We certainly have not reached the same level of persecution. However, history teaches us to be cautious once we start down the path of limiting religious liberty.”

In her remarks, Gibson reiterates the bleeding obvious: Bishop Jenky never said that the current situation in the United States is as bad as Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, but nonetheless, you’d be a fool to think that once a government starts curtailing religious freedom that it will soon stop.

Still, the Notre Dame faculty cabal wants Jenky out. Their letter reads as follows:

Dear Father Jenkins and Mr Notebaert,

As you will be aware, the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Fellows, has been widely quoted for a homily in which he described President Obama as “seem[ing] intent on following a similar path” to Hitler and Stalin. Bishop Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment. We accept that Bishop Jenky’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, but we find it profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved university’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the President’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews, and other minorities for their faith. We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement. Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Bishop Jenky resigned from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.

Misplaced Outrage

This may well be the best example of misplaced outrage you’ll come across today.

Who is the one demonstrating “absence of judgment” and making “incendiary statements” — the president, whose HHS Mandate is a naked assault on fundamental religious freedom, or the bishop who, in the course of exercising his duty to guide and instruct the Catholics in his diocese, speaks out in opposition?

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7 Responses to “ND Faculty Cabal Calls on Bp. Jenky to Step Down from Board”

Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. Jenny says:

    Abortion is genocide on our youngest most innocent citizens. I do not see a problem with the bishop’s comparison. Hasn’t there been over 53 million abortions in America since Roe v Wade? That is more deaths than the estimates for Hitler and Stalin combined.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm
  2. James Oliver says:

    The point is not that Obama is being compared to Hitler. The point is the at first seemingly innocuous and eventually insidious nature of government interference with the Church. The Church in Nazi Germany

    The Church in Nazi Germany was subjected to as much pressure as any other organization in Germany. Any perceived threat to Hitler could not be tolerated – and the churches of Germany potentially presented the Nazis with numerous threats.

    In 1933, the Catholic Church had viewed the Nazis as a barrier to the spread of communism from Russia. In this year, Hitler and the Catholic Church signed an agreement that he would not interfere with the Catholic Church while the Church would not comment on politics.

    However, this only lasted until 1937, when Hitler started a concerted attack on the Catholic Church arresting priests etc.

    In 1937, the pope, Pius XI, issued his “Mit brennender Sorge” statement (“With burning anxiety”) over what was going on in Germany. However, there was never a total clampdown on the Catholic Church in Germany. It was a world-wide movement with much international support.

    The Protestant Church was really a collection of a number of churches – hence they were easier to deal with. The Protestants themselves were split. The “German Christians” were lead by Ludwig Muller who believed that any member of the church who had Jewish ancestry should be sacked from the church. Muller supported Hitler and in 1933 he was given the title of “Reich Bishop”.

    Those who opposed the views of Muller were called the “Confessing Church”. This was led by Martin Niemoller. He was famous in Germany as he had been a World War One U-boat captain. Therefore, he was potentially an embarrassing foe to the Nazis. Regardless of this, he was not safe from the Gestapo who arrested him for opposing Hitler. Niemoller was sent to a concentration camp for 7 years where he was kept in solitary confinement. Many other Confessional Church members suffered the same fate.

    In 1936, the Reich Church was created. This did not have the Christian cross as its symbol but the swastika. The Bible was replaced by “Mein Kampf” which was placed on the altar. By it was a sword. Only invited Nazis were allowed to give sermons in a Reich Church.

    In 1941, a secret report compiled by Protestants stated that children in Germany were being brought up minus a Christian education. It stated that the Nazis confiscated vast areas of church property and that the Catholic Church in Germany was suffering from the same fate.

    So what started out as some simple agreements evolved into a very slippery slope. Anyone who can not see the parallels needs to study the history of the Church in it’s relationship to any world government.

    We live in a paradigm that say it can’t happen here. It happened in England, Ireland, Mexico, France, Germany, Poland, Russia and many other countries in the last few centuries. It happened innocuously and than insidiously. When the horror of of it all finally reared it’s ugly head it was too late.

    Thanks God for Bishop Jenky. Notre Dame is already lost. My Our Lady pray for that university and it’s fallen leadership.

    April 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm
  3. Sad says:

    It’s sad that 130 faculty members at Notre Dame have such poor reading comprehension.

    Bishop Jenky said: “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, BUT WOULD NOT TOLERATE ANY COMPETITION WITH THE STATE IN EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICES, AND HEALTH CARE. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, NOW SEEMS INTENT ON FOLLOWING A SIMILAR PATH.”

    He wasn’t referring to Hitler and Stalin’s genocidal policies. He was referring to their policies of keeping control of areas where the Church typically ministers.

    One of my sons wants more than anything to go to Notre Dame for college. There is no way I’ll send him there, when 20% of the faculty are so completely ridiculous. He’s going to be heartbroken, but why would I send him there to be “educated” by these people?

    April 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm
  4. Jerry Vilt says:

    “There is no way I’ll send him there, when 20% of the faculty are so completely ridiculous.”


    Why is it that only a small minority (20%—1/5th), “rules the day”???

    April 30, 2012 at 4:28 am
  5. Sad says:

    Why is it that only a small minority (20%—1/5th), “rules the day”???

    I don’t consider 20% to be a “small minority”.

    May 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm
  6. Jerry Vilt says:

    What I meant is: Why doesn’t the 80% have 4 times the effect in combating the ridiculousnes of the 20%?

    A case of evil winning because the good do nothing?

    May 6, 2012 at 11:01 am
  7. Chris McIntyre says:

    “…our beloved university’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows” , Notre Dame is still a Catholic University isn’t it? That would make their beloved university’s highest authority GOD, if I’m not mistaken.
    Thank God for brave souls like Bishop Jenky.

    September 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

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