By: Amy Jo Underwood
Joe Biden will not be speaking at the Notre Dame commencement ceremony this year. He will be the first president or vice president in over twenty years to break the tradition of speaking there during a first term. The stated reason is due to a scheduling conflict, but it also comes amid a petition of over 4,300 signatures from faculty and students asking Notre Dame not to award the president an honorary degree due to his pro-abortion policies, as well as others in conflict with the teaching of the Catholic church. Biden is the second U.S. President to self-identify as a Roman Catholic.
President Joe Biden will be the first president in over twenty years to not speak at the Notre Dame commencement ceremony during his first term. For the last two decades, the university has invited either the president or vice president to speak during the first year of a new presidency.
Biden is the second Roman Catholic president of the United States. However, President Biden also has policy stances that are in sharp opposition to Catholic doctrine, particularly in regard to abortion and marriage. Over 4,300 students and faculty at Notre Dame signed a petition asking the university to not give an honorary degree to Biden due to his rejection of Catholic doctrine.
The petition explains, “Biden...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, an action that alienated countless Catholics and brought upon Notre Dame the harsh criticism of 83 cardinals, archbishops and bishops.”
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has been a harsh critic of Biden, saying that the president “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic” since he has repeatedly supported policies in opposition to Catholic beliefs. “What he is doing now is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people,” Naumann stated. “He’s declaring that he’s Catholic, and is going to force people to support abortion through their tax dollars. The bishops need to correct him, as the president is acting contrary to the Catholic faith.”
“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us. It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?” - Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities