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15 / 05 / 2009 - White House Downplays Catholic Opposition to ND Honor, Claims Only "One Group" Boycotting
See also: Fr. Frank Pavone to go to Notre Dame
Citizens for a Pro-life Society will Protest Notre Dame's Honoring of Obama
Responding to the uproar from U.S. Catholic bishops and laity protesting the honor of President Obama at the University of Notre Dame, the White House Tuesday downplayed the degree of opposition, claiming that only one Notre Dame student group opposed the invitation and that "the majority of Catholics are supportive of the invitation."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that only one student group at Notre Dame is boycotting the decision, as opposed to 23 in support, reports ABC News.
"I think there's one group organizing a boycott, and, as best I can understand it, there are 23 groups that have formed in support of the president's invitation," said Gibbs.
ND Response, the force organizing Sunday's prayer vigil and peaceful pro-life rally against the Obama invite, is actually a coalition of 11 different student groups.
Two weeks ago, 23 student groups, including the College Democrats, Feminist Voice, NAACP, Progressive Student Alliance and the Black Cultural Arts Council met with Fr. Jenkins to express approval of the Obama invitation and hand over a letter of support with about 1,000 signatures from the ND community. Jenkins had rescinded an invitation to dialogue with representatives of ND Response.
Gibbs also said, "I think I saw a figure that 97 percent of the students are supportive."
According to an Associated Press report, 97 percent of the 95 Notre Dame seniors who wrote to the student newspaper The Observer supported the invitation. 2,001 undergraduate seniors will graduate on Sunday.
"The president understands the right of anybody in this country to disagree and to exercise their disagreement in that way," Gibbs continued.
"I think it's important to understand it appears as if the vast majority of students and the majority of Catholics are supportive of the invitation the president accepted. And I know he's greatly looking forward to seeing them."
A Pew Forum poll last month showed that 50% of Catholics agreed with the decision to invite President Obama to Notre Dame, while 23% opposed it. Among Catholics who attend Mass on Sundays, 37% agreed, while 45% disapproved.
However, the statistics were drastically different on whether the president ought to be awarded an honorary degree, despite a 2004 directive by U.S. bishops forbidding Catholic schools from honoring pro-abortion politicians.
A Rasmussen Reports survey last week found that 60% of Catholics agree Notre Dame should obey U.S. bishop's guidelines and refrain from awarding an honorary degree to the president, with only 25% disagreeing. 52% of all Americans agreed with the statement, while 25% disagreed.
An unprecedented backlash from 75 U.S. bishops and over 360,000 petitioners to date has erupted following the announcement that Notre Dame would honor to the deeply pro-abortion president.
However, University president Fr. John Jenkins has dug in his heels over the invitation, telling graduates in a letter this week that "there is much to admire and celebrate in the life and work of President Obama," and that he looks forward to welcoming him.
To see the list of bishops who have been confirmed as opposing the Notre Dame scandal:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Fr. Jenkins to Graduating ND Students: "There is Much to Admire and Celebrate in the Work of Obama"
Notre Dame President Sits on Board of Directors of Pro-Abortion, Pro-Contraception Organization
Leading Vatican Official Cites ND Honor for Obama as 'Greatest Scandal'
Source: Kathleen Gilbert - LifeSiteNews.com
Fr. Frank Pavone to go to Notre Dame
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has been invited by Notre Dame graduates to join them in prayer on Sunday as they boycott their own commencement and instead have a prayer vigil for life.
Source: Priests For Life
Citizens for a Pro-life Society will Protest Notre Dame`s Honoring of Obama
On Sunday, May 17th, 2009 (Notre Dame Commencement day), Citizens for a Pro-Life Society will hold a protest with the signs of the victims of abortion and signs that call Obama and Notre Dame to responsibility...