Another Catholic disinvite effort is afoot. Notre Dame faculty want a retraction or the boot for Bishop Jenky. Other foot, shoe, and all.

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.

I think this is balanced. The faculty invites the bishop to renounce–and this is an appropriate course of action.

The analogy was lazy, silly, and narcissistic.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Disinvite

  1. David D, says:

    More trouble at South Bend State U,

  2. S. Westberg says:

    Bishop Jenky was right. How often do we hear that the clergy did not speak out early on in 1930’s Germany.

  3. Neil says:

    I don’t think that the “disinvite effort” will lead to much in itself. But it will draw a bit more scrutiny to Bishop Jenky’s homily. Even if one thinks that the Obama administration poses a very real threat, the Bishop’s homily is problematic for two reasons:

    1. Just like with Cardinal George’s comparison of gays to the KKK, Bishop Jenky probably didn’t realize the effect of his language. (Whether one thinks that the language is justifiable or not is here irrelevant. It just isn’t an effective speech-act.) How isolated are our bishops?

    2. There is an odd contrast between the Bishop’s claim that we must love our enemies and what we might call his disciplinary style. He quickly likens Obama to Hitler to Bismarck to Clemenceau to Hollywood to jihads on the vague basis that they all threatened the church. Instead of any sort of discernment (or even detailed description), he leaps to “war” and a “heroic Catholicism” – the camaraderie of a “men’s march” and a fascination with fighting.

    This disciplinary style means that it’s at least somewhat impossible for the Bishop to eventually negotiate, compromise, etc. Should a leader limit his options this way? Without accomplishing anything to justify the cost?

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    I think that his last name is constantly misspelled. Isn’t it Jerky?

  5. masonicstudent says:

    Every time I think the Catholic Church is a decent organization, a bishop speaks. I’m grateful to God no longer to be Catholic.

  6. Bill Wilson says:

    The Notre Dame faculty got it right. If this guy weren’t a bishop, his egregious ignorance of history would be laughable. He ought to look at how comfortable the Catholic church has been with Nazism. Many high-ranking Nazis, including Hitler himself, were baptized Catholics. Yet not a single one was excommunicated. Pius XII of happy memory, however, subjected any Italian who so much as voted for a Communist to automatic excommunication. Read Jim Carroll’s Constantine’s Sword.

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