The highest-ranking Roman Catholic leaders in Oklahoma are calling for the cancellation of President Barack Obama’s upcoming commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame. The Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery, Tulsa bishop, and the Most Rev. Eusebius Beltran, Oklahoma City archbishop, have joined reportedly thousands of Catholic clergy and lay people who have sent letters and e-mails to the university expressing outrage at Obama being graduation speaker. His support of abortion rights is the source of the anger. Slattery said he sent a letter to the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame president, urging him to cancel his invitation to Obama and drop plans to honor him with a doctorate. "For President Obama to be honored by Notre Dame is more than a disappointment, it is a scandal,” Slattery said in his letter dated Tuesday. "His being honored by Notre Dame will make it easier for a woman who contemplates abortion to submit herself to this cruel and deadly procedure. At the same time, the University of Notre Dame will have distanced itself from the bishops of the country who unanimously have asked that no politician promoting abortion be honored by any of our institutions.” Beltran said he sent a similar letter. "President Obama, by word and action, has approved of abortion and other atrocities against human life. Therefore he deserves no recognition at a Catholic institution,” Beltran said in a statement. Beltran said his comments on the matter will be included in the April 5 edition of the Sooner Catholic, the archdiocese’s official news journal. Slattery cited a 2007 statement approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the basis for his opposition to Obama’s planned May 17 commencement speech and doctoral degree award presentation.
• Religion News Service last week reported the Catholic Newman Society, a watchdog for Catholic orthodoxy on college campuses, launched an online petition to stop President Barack Obama from speaking at Notre Dame. The petition has reportedly gathered more than 100,000 signatures.
• A spokesman for Notre Dame recently told Catholic News Service he could not foresee the university in South Bend, Ind., rescinding the invitation.