After a petition urging President Joe Biden be “disinvited” to Notre Dame University’s commencement because of his pro-abortion views was signed by some 4,300 members of the school’s community, the president did not appear at the graduation ceremony this weekend—a strong break with tradition.
The petition said the Democratic president—only the second Catholic to hold the office—should neither speak at Notre Dame’s commencement nor be given an honorary degree by the school.
The signers said they were “dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden,” as Fox News and other outlets reported.
“He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history. The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama,” the petition also said.
Signers of the petition—which also said Biden had a goal of “providing direct federal funding to abortions”—included students, alumni, and other members of the community.
See these tweets about it:
During the prior three administrations, either the president or the vice president attended the Notre Dame commencement, as Fox News noted—and during the individual’s first year in office as well. President George W. Bush gave the commencement address in 2001; President Barack Obama gave the address in 2009; and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the ceremony in 2017.
Biden has been called a “devout” Catholic by some—and in the past, he said that he accepts the church’s teaching that life begins at conception but that he would not and cannot “impose” that belief on anyone else.
Here’s what Biden said publicly in 2012 during his vice-presidential debate with then-Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), according to a transcript of the event: “My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who—who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.”
Then he said, “With regard to—with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a—what we call—[doctrine]. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and—I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.”
Biden went on, “I—I do not believe that—that we have a right to tell other people that women, they—they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court—I’m not going to interfere with that.”
A spokesman for Notre Dame told the Catholic News Agency that Biden’s absence was not particularly irregular.
The White House, for its part, said Biden did not attend due to a scheduling conflict.
See these additional tweets with more information and reaction to the Notre Dame community’s rejection of Biden.
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—By CNJ Staff