Notre Dame admin bldg tripadvisorcomFor past posts on the 2009 Notre Dame commencement protests, click here.

On May 17, 2009, 90 people were arrested for protesting at the University of Notre Dame.  They are pro-life Americans objecting to the University’s granting an honorary degree to President Obama, who has voiced ambivalent opinions regarding abortion. 

The Revd John I Jenkins, CSC, the University’s president, has made no move to have charges dropped against the arrested protesters.  Whilst it is true that the St Joseph County prosecutor is dealing with the cases, the University is the complainant and could ask for charges to be dropped.

In June, the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center president, Thomas Brejcha, joined the case to help attorney Tom Dixon.  On September 4, LifeSiteNews reported that Brejcha wrote an open letter to Fr Jenkins asking that charges against the 88 people be dropped.  The letter reads in part:

With respect, Father, the future of these cases – if they must go on – is squarely in your hands.  Notre Dame is the complainant. Its security personnel directed and/or conducted the arrests, pointing out those who would be arrested (pro-lifers) and those who would not (those carrying pro-Obama signs and/or taunting the pro-lifers).  

Brejcha noted that, in the Society’s long legal battle against the National Organization for Women that ended in the Supreme Court, Notre Dame’s then-president Fr. Ted Hesburgh and other Notre Dame affiliates helped with the case. 

‘Now the “Notre Dame 88” have asked us to take the lead in their defense,’ said Brejcha.  ‘Not to spite Notre Dame but because we love it, we have agreed. America’s civil rights movement is ongoing, and the pro-life movement is its next phase. 
 
‘Notre Dame should not only support this new civil rights movement but lead it.  It should honor all who dare to speak out for the dignity of all human beings – born or unborn, wanted or unwanted, humble or exalted – not prosecute them!’

He plans to set up a new website FreeTheND88.org which will give more information about the situation.

Updates to follow as they happen.

An afterthought: How Christian is it for Fr Jenkins to act as if he just doesn’t care about sincere protesters?  Why doesn’t he just do the decent thing and drop charges? Why not invite all 88 people to Notre Dame for a roundtable discussion?  He’s a member of the elite like so many in academia and politics today.  Does he care?  Do we want to know the real answer to that question?