Notre Dame Faculty Cabal Calls on Bishop Jenky to Step Down from Board

Posted by John Jansen (April 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm)

Bishop Daniel JenkyIn response to 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,” 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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31 Responses to “Notre Dame Faculty Cabal Calls on Bishop Jenky to Step Down from Board”

  1. Riley says:

    Notre Shame. Contact

    April 23rd, 2012 at 6:22 pm
  2. Philip Nachazel says:

    Let’s remember the good old days. May. 2009.
    “LET’S HONOR THE CONSCIENCE OF THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH ABORTION AND DRAFT A SENSIBLE CONSCIENCE CLAUSE…” What we didn’t know is it would be found in the H.H.S. mandate. Now what is truly incendairy is that good Catholics continue to go to Notre Dame. Let’s start with Notre Dames apology to Bishop Jenky. Then please remove the Blessed Sacrament from the Notre Dame property. Finally, remove Our Blessed Lady off the Dome. You can replace it with a likeness of Judas Iscariot. While pres. Obama was crafting his words to the graduates in 09′ a poor old retired priest was being led away to jail…taken off the property of notre dame while he prayed the sorrowful mysteries of his Holy Rosary. The good old days. Your in good company Bishop.

    April 23rd, 2012 at 7:31 pm
  3. greg scheuermann says:

    I’m extremely shocked, amazed and disappointed by what the Notre Dame faculty cabal is trying to do — calling for the removal of Bishop Jenky from the ND Board of Fellows. On the contrary, Notre Dame should commend the Bishop for speaking out in defense of the Church whose religious freedom is under serious attack by this Administration. More of our religious need to forcefully speak out because unless we stand up and fight for our rights, religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church, will continue to be marginalized. My reading of the Bishop’s homily (and I’ve read it a couple of times) is that his phrase “a similar path” relates to the various trends in history which his homily indicates were attacks through the centuries on religion in general and on our Church in particular, and that this is the direction our President is going with the Administration’s secular decisions that violate our religious liberties Constitutionally guaranteed I hope and pray that the University of Notre Dame will think this through thoughtfully and decide that the appropriate course of action is to keep Bishop Jenky a member of its Board of Fellows. Sincerely, Greg Scheuermann

    April 23rd, 2012 at 11:13 pm
  4. Nancy says:

    ND should fire all 50 faculty who signed that petition, a clear indication of who the real wolves are.

    April 23rd, 2012 at 11:46 pm
  5. Anthony says:

    Notre Dame mind as well not call themselves a Catholic school. Jenky said the right thing. Obama’s demands goes against the will of God. We must stand up for truth as Jesus tells us “I am the way, the truth, and the life..”

    April 24th, 2012 at 12:25 am
  6. jackie says:

    I found this hard to believe that a board from a Catholic school such as Notre Dame would make such a request but then we remember how they welcomed Mr Obama in the past. They like many in the church have taken up with the liberal Democratic side of government. In the wake of all that has transpired due to the HHS Mandate I find this very frightening. I applaud the Bishop today as I did the day he gave the homily.Many Bishops should follow his example. He has my prayers and good wishes.

    April 24th, 2012 at 6:10 am
  7. Terese Rachor Beste says:

    I think ALL of the board of leadership of Notre Dame should step down, because obviously they have no idea what a Bishop is supposed to do, what a Magisterium IS, what is intrinsic evil and they are destroying Notre Dame. They have no clue what is really going on. AGAIN, shame on them.

    April 24th, 2012 at 6:42 am
  8. Tan says:

    Amen! I am fully supporting the Bishop and ALL bishops!
    We need start a campaign to ask those faculty staffs resign!

    April 24th, 2012 at 9:13 am
  9. Nancy says:

    I am a proud member of the Diocese of Peoria under Bishop Daniel Jenky. Yes his words were strong. They may or may not have been “politically correct”….but that does not make them any less true. Unfortunately, the secular press and left-wing liberals will pounce on this opportunity to blur the issue of what is happening to religion in this great country. Only time will tell if the human race has really learned anything from history. Again.

    April 24th, 2012 at 11:28 am
  10. Pat Lynch says:

    Unconscionable ND…at a time when we should all be uniting, you make this derogatory clam??? Where are your morals…where are our Catholic Universities???
    AT one time they stood out and shined like stained glass windows, I am not so sure about a couple schools in present times. I will pray for Bishop Jenke, he really did do the right thing!!!

    April 24th, 2012 at 11:50 am
  11. Doug Indeap says:

    The health law does not force employers to provide coverage for contraception, as Wenski suggests. The Bishops’ arguments on this have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    First, the Constitution. Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the courts have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them.

    When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions for conscientious objectors.

    The real question here then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need to exempt some employers in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences.

    Second, no need for an exemption. While some may well oppose the policy of promoting the availability of medical services they find objectionable, the law does not put employers in the moral bind some suppose. Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead paying assessments. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved.

    Some nonetheless continued complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed, seemingly missing that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

    April 25th, 2012 at 12:57 am
  12. Peggy Hagen says:

    Doug, you’re right: the thought of paying $2000 per employee per year (when you have over 50 employees, so $100,000 per year at minimum for those companies), and then not providing your employees any health insurance at all, isn’t all that reassuring. You’re also right that employers would be complicit in the insurance coverage – since it is their company’s plan, with their company’s name and implicit approval; and also since many employers act as their own insurer. You’re wrong, though, that there is anything in any of that to solve the initial problem.

    April 25th, 2012 at 6:07 am
  13. Doug Indeap says:


    The assessment of $2,000 per year per employee is less than an employer would pay for each employee’s health insurance plan–which is why some employers are considering that option for economic, not religious reasons. It seems, perhaps, the assessment has been set too low; at current levels, it offers employers an incentive to drop health plans.

    April 25th, 2012 at 9:18 am
  14. Philip Nachazel says:

    Doug I disagree.
    Check out abortion premium mandate. This is a mandate within the HHS mandate that amounts to a accounting arrangement to fund for abortions. Abortions provided by enrollees, that may want 90 percent of the coverages.but they are opposed to funding someone eleses abortion. No less than a dollar a month will be placed into this death pool per insured.

    Doug. Don’t ask us to partake in killing more innocents.
    Over 55 million is way too many already.
    Thank you.

    April 25th, 2012 at 10:27 am
  15. larry feldt says:

    Time to strip Notre Dame of Catholic status.

    April 25th, 2012 at 7:15 pm
  16. Phil says:

    Doug, what about the specific situation of those who self-insure? If that’s not the most blatant possible case of forcing a religious institution to directly fund these actions then I don’t know what would be.

    April 25th, 2012 at 11:37 pm
  17. Dr. C. R. Williams says:

    These professors should be PURGED from notre dame and now!

    Locate them, name them, protest them at their homes, offices, and classes.

    WE must no longer tolerate their wasting funds (as their salaries) while good faculty and good academics languish in unemployment while these traitors prosper on ND campus.

    ALL faculty like this are tools of Satan and rebelliuon.

    They must be fired and expunged from ND now!

    April 26th, 2012 at 7:05 am
  18. Joseph DuPOnt says:

    Dear Editor,
    Through good fortune I came across a recent homily by the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, Bishop of Peoria . In it Bishop Jenky reminded me of the miracle of Christianity and how it’s fabric is now under attack by Barack Hussein Obama II and his radical appointees. Obama’s assault on Christian places of warship, healing and learning are unconscionable. But the truth is that this same president has also placed the homeland of the Jewish people in a desperate situation. It matters not what Obama’s motivation is. Regardless of whether his actions are from ignorance, arrogance or part of a sinister agenda, we can’t afford 4 more years of this. If America is going to survive economically, or culturally, we must vote with our God given Constitutional rights in mind. We must vote for someone whose parents loved this country.
    Too many people have died protecting our inalienably , God given rights to let Obama or anyone else ignore them. Despite Obama’s statements to the contrary, America is a Judeo-Christian society.

    April 27th, 2012 at 11:24 pm
  19. Doug Indeap says:


    As I understand it, the health law does not make you or an employer any more complicit in paying for someone’s abortion than you or the employer were complicit in killing the latest death-row inmate by paying taxes.

    April 28th, 2012 at 6:58 pm
  20. Philip Nachazel says:

    Thanks for your honesty. Understanding is key. R U 486 is one type of abortifacient. It shrinks the wall of the womb, making the newly fertilized egg unable to adhere to its source of nutrients. The new life dies.
    Many people do not want to contribute to this activity. If I had taken all the risks to go into business for myself, paid my taxes, and

    April 28th, 2012 at 10:22 pm
  21. Philip Nachazel says:

    ….decided that our company will self-insure our employees.
    Suddenly I must offer these “preventive benefits,” Benefits that in my view are starving to death a new life.
    If I don’t, I will be financially penalized by the same government I’m helping to fund through my payroll taxes ect.

    Doug. This is unconstitutional.
    This is UnAmerican.

    April 28th, 2012 at 10:40 pm
  22. Doug Indeap says:


    The health law affords you the option of not doing or paying for anything you find contrary to your conscience. It does not afford you the option of dropping out of society by not paying your taxes, assessments, and such based on choices you made. That the government uses that money to do things not to your liking puts you in no worse position than every other taxpayer who disapproves of one or another thing the government does with “his” or “her” tax dollars.

    April 28th, 2012 at 11:09 pm
  23. Philip Nachazel says:

    Please note the sponsorship of these plans comes through the owners business. Show me where the conscience clause is for Christian institutions that do not wish to sponsor,in any form the benefits being discussed. This is The Issue!
    Obamacare HHS mandate Fact Sheet can be found here in this site.

    Please show us where “the conscience clause,” resides. There is one very narrow exemption, so narrow in fact that as one freedom fighter put it; “even Jesus and his apostles wouldn’t pass the test for the narrow exemption.”

    Please inform us of your conscience clause in this HHS mandate

    April 29th, 2012 at 9:19 am
  24. Doug Indeap says:


    I do not speak of the conscientious objector exemption. The law affords every employer the option I describe.

    April 29th, 2012 at 12:31 pm
  25. John Jansen says:

    Doug Indeap said: “As I understand it, the health law does not make you or an employer any more complicit in paying for someone’s abortion than you or the employer were complicit in killing the latest death-row inmate by paying taxes.”


    You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Under the HHS Mandate, Catholic institutions would be forced to participate in — to use a term from Catholic moral theology — “material cooperation with evil”.

    In response to the argument you’re making — essentially, that this is really No Big Deal — several heavy hitters in the American Catholic intellectual world offer insights here on “The HHS Mandate, Cooperation with Evil, and Coercion”.

    More importantly, those to whom the teaching of the Church has been trusted — our bishops — have shown no ambiguity on this question.

    For decades, our nation has respected the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of religious institutions by not forcing them to provide their employees with insurance coverage for services those institutions believe are immoral.

    And now — since, historically speaking, five minutes ago — the Obama Administration has decided that religious institutions should no longer have this freedom. That’s patently absurd.

    To upend the status quo as President Obama, Secretary Sebelius, et al. have attempted to do, they would have to make a thoroughly compelling case that it was wrong all along for federal law to allow, from time immemorial, religious institutions to not provide their employees with insurance coverage for services those institutions believe are immoral.

    And they’re not making a very compelling case.

    April 30th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
  26. Sara Muirhead says:

    I just sent an email to Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame ( ND’s response to Bishop Jenky’s honorable and truthful homily is nothing short of outrageous. I encourage others to do the same. Can’t wait to see everyone at the next rally!!

    April 30th, 2012 at 8:54 pm
  27. Mel C says:

    Hi, Doug’s right with his interpretation. The state/nation we live in may have many actions, paid for through our taxes, which may be against our religious beliefs.
    Bishop Jenky’s also right. It is up to Catholics to come out, to influence the existing governance and cast their vote accordingly.
    Doug, please do read/study (in some detail & official documents preferably), the Catholic Church stand on abortion being the cessation of a life. Then you may agree why we say that abortion is not health care and our opposition to it is not just based on religious ‘belief’, but value of human life. Take care & may God bless us all.

    May 1st, 2012 at 2:32 pm
  28. Deacon Pete Gummere says:

    If the Faculty Cabal prevails and the Notre Dame decides to ostracize Bishop Jenky for his comments, it seems that academic freedom would truly be dead at Notre Dame.

    Bishop Jenky, as a member of the greater university community, should be accorded the same freedom to speak and to advance his perspective that a newly hired junior faculty member.

    Or does the new standard of academic freedom at Notre Dame protect liberal ideology but censorage for conservative ideas.

    May 3rd, 2012 at 9:26 pm
  29. Doug Indeap says:


    Thank you for the references. I reviewed them.
    I gather that the bishops object to any requirement that entails “material cooperation with evil.” The explanation offered suggests that drawing that line depends on particulars, circumstances, and such. In other words, it is open to interpretation depending on the situation.

    I suggest that we turn the question around and challenge you (and the bishops) to come up with a solution that accomplishes the following:

    1. Assures that all employees can obtain health care plans covering the full choice of services afforded them under the law.

    2. Assures that employers have options that enable them to avoid materially cooperating with evil.
    I understand that the bishops consider some of the services the law affords to be “evil.” The point here, though, is not to enable the bishops to thwart or limit the law (so any “solution” that would do that is a non-starter), but rather to enable the law to be implemented while, at the same time, avoid requiring any employer to materially cooperate with evil. Any ideas?

    President Obama has tried more than once to accommodate the bishops concerns. The bishops have rejected those ideas, but (as far as I have heard) haven’t suggested any of their own–other than to just reiterate that they don’t like the law itself. One begins to suspect that they are not interested in an accommodation that frees employers of a moral bind, but rather prefer to use complaints about religious liberty as part of a political effort to revise the law to render services they dislike unavailable or at least less readily available to anyone.

    May 6th, 2012 at 9:00 pm
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  31. Jennifer Herrera says:

    It is shocking to see how fast Americans are leaving all churches. The Roman Catholic church has had the best schools in the nation for many years. A religious school has the right to hire only faculty supportive of the school’s religion. Perhaps hiring too many liberals has affected Notre Dame’s faculty loyalties. The faculty at Notre Dame should, at all costs, support the church and her goals first. More liberalism will affect the Christian population overall. I am extremely affronted thinking when a President says, “Change is needed…” he meant religion should be eliminated.

    June 17th, 2012 at 9:27 pm