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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Cardinal(s) Wrong

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Cardinal George is wrong on his stance of Obama addressing this year’s graduating class at Notre Dame University.

Ten priests in the Roman Catholic order that helps run the University of Notre Dame want the school to reconsider having President Barack Obama deliver this year’s commencement address. They’re wrong, too.

Why? Because it’s not their graduation. It’s the students’ graduation. And what do the seniors who will be graduating from Notre Dame think: They appear to strongly back the university’s invitation to Obama. The campus newspaper reports that 97 percent of the letters that have come in on the subject from graduating seniors are supportive.

So why does the American Life League, a Catholic pro-life organization, want to remove Notre Dame from future Catholic foundation funding? Because they don’t think the students at the school are Catholic enough and, frankly, they likely disapprove of many of President Obama’s policies.

This "political" and theological stunt by poorly advised cardinals and priests comes down to the disapproval of one’s, in this case Obama’s, political ideologies and they’re turning a joyous occasion for many hard-working seniors into a publicity stunt, unfairly stealing the attention that should be focused squarely on the graduating class and the President’s upcoming appearance.

However, this isn’t the first time the Catholic church has had its priorities out of whack. Look at what took place in Fresno last week, as Bishop John T. Steinbock felt vindicated by a Fresno’s jury verdict: Jurors unanimously agreed that Monsignor Anthony Herdegen molested two brothers from 1959 to 1972 while Herdegen was a priest at St. John’s Catholic Church in Wasco. The jurors didn’t find the church liable.

In a statement, Bishop Steinbock expressed regret that Herdegen had abused the Santillans, "even though the diocese learned that they were abused years after it occurred [FLAT OUT LIE]."

"Bishop Steinbock emphasized that if even one child is sexually abused, that is one child too many," the statement said. "Child sexual abuse afflicts all of society, and no community or institution is free from its effects — even the church [SECOND FLAT OUT LIE]."

Steinbock’s position on sexually abused children is sadly disingenuous: A little over two years ago, a Fresno jury found Father Eric Swearingen guilty (9-3) of molesting a former altar boy, however, Bishop John J. Steinbock has continued to allow this man to work with children at the Holy Spirit Parish in Fresno, California.

If this is the best the Catholic church has, when it comes to its leaders and rank and file members throughout the country, I’m unimpressed.

However, kudos to Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, who said in a statement last month that the invitation does not mean the university supports all of Obama’s positions but that he will be honored as an "inspiring leader."