For being only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, it doesn’t appear as if President Joe Biden has the level of support he’d like to see within the Catholic community.
According to Fox News, Biden will not be attending the University of Notre Dame’s 2021 commencement event, one that has been attended by either a president or vice president of the past three administrations. The White House said that Biden was, in fact, invited, but his planned absence is a result of a scheduling conflict.
The news comes in the wake of mass backlash from 4,300 “members of the Notre Dame community” who signed a petition demanding that Notre Dame University President Fr. John Jenkins not invite Biden to the ceremony given his pro-abortion policies and overall failure to protect the sanctity of life.
Those who signed the open-letter petition to Fr. Jenkins made crystal clear that they aren’t fond of Biden’s stance on abortion and his seeming disinterest in protecting religious liberty in the United States.
“We, the undersigned members of the Notre Dame community and others dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden,” the letter read.
“He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty,” it added. “He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history.”
Those who signed the letter also insisted that the “case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama,” which was highly controversial at the time and resulted in harsh condemnation from dozens of high-level Catholic leaders, given Obama’s similar stances on abortion and religious liberty.
University officials told the Catholic News Agency that not only do they not reveal who they’ve invited for a commencement speech, but that it’s not unusual for a president not to attend during their first year in the White House.
“A bad situation worse”
Those who signed the letter warned Fr. Jenkins that inviting Biden to the ceremony and awarding an honorary degree, a long-held custom, would only serve to make it appear as if Catholics aren’t concerned about Biden’s support of taxpayer-funded abortion and other progressive ideologies that firmly go against the teachings of the faith.
“By honoring Biden, Notre Dame would make a bad situation worse,” they said. “The University would be seen as little troubled by Biden’s actions, the voice of a more ‘progressive’ Catholic Church. Catholics – including especially Catholic politicians — and others who share Biden’s views would be confirmed in their ruinous error while others would be newly led astray.”
Most recently, Biden’s administration has initiated the process of reversing restrictions on federal funding that abortion providers experienced during the Trump administration. His administration has also said it will enforce updated LGBTQ protections, revealing that doctors who refuse to perform gender-related surgeries out of religious or safety concerns will be punished.
While it appears as if Fr. Jenkins didn’t grant the petitioners their wish — as Biden was reportedly invited anyway — it’s not a stretch to speculate that the White House came up with the “scheduling conflict” excuse to avoid the inevitable backlash that would have followed had he attended the event.