Fr. Jenkins sent out the following e-mail to Notre Dame alumni yesterday:
Dear Members of the Notre Dame Family,
Coming out of the vigorous discussions surrounding President Obama’s visit last spring, I said we would look for ways to engage the Notre Dame community with the issues raised in a prayerful and meaningful way. As our nation continues to struggle with the morality and legality of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and related issues, we must seek steps to witness to the sanctity of life. I write to you today about some initiatives that we are undertaking.
Each year Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the March for Life is held in Washington D.C. to call on the nation to defend the right to life. I plan to participate in that march. I invite other members of the Notre Dame Family to join me and I hope we can gather for a Mass for Life at that event. We will announce details as that date approaches., the anniversary of the
On campus, I have recently formed the on Supporting the Choice for Life. It will be co-chaired by Professor Margaret Brinig, the Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law and Associate Dean for the Law School, and by Professor John Cavadini, the Chair of the Department of Theology and the McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life. My charge to the Task Force is to consider and recommend to me ways in which the University, informed by Catholic teaching, can support the sanctity of life. Possibilities the Task Force has begun to discuss include fostering serious and specific discussion about a reasonable conscience clause; the most effective ways to support pregnant women, especially the most vulnerable; and the best policies for facilitating adoptions. Such initiatives are in addition to the dedication, hard work and leadership shown by so many in the Notre Dame Family, both on the campus and beyond, and the Task Force may also be able to recommend ways we can support some of this work.
I also call to your attention the heroic and effective work of centers that provide care and support for women with unintended pregnancies. The Women’s Care Center, the nation’s largest Catholic-based pregnancy resource center, on whose Foundation Board I serve, is run by a Notre Dame graduate, Ann Murphy Manion (’77). The center has proven successful in offering professional, non-judgmental concern to women with unintended pregnancies, helping those women through their pregnancy and supporting them after the birth of their child. The Women’s Care Center and similar centers in other cities deserve the support of Notre Dame clubs and individuals.
Our Commencement last spring generated passionate discussion and also caused some divisions in the Notre Dame community. Regardless of what you think about that event, I hope that we can overcome divisions to foster constructive dialogue and work together for a cause that is at the heart of Notre Dame’s mission. We will keep you informed of our work, and we ask for your support, assistance and prayers. May Our Lady, Notre Dame, watch over our efforts.
In Notre Dame,
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
While I want to give Father Jenkins the benefit of the doubt, I cannot help but be skeptical, given his defiance up to this point.
My initial reaction to his message includes the following:
1. Too little too late
2. Why weren't these steps taken years ago
3. No apology for his role in the scandal
4. If this is a genuine change of heart, why is he refusing to drop the charges against the pro-life demonstrators arrested on campus? (Details here)
5. Do he move willingly or was he pressured into this?
All that said, this message is a start and demonstrates that the efforts of so many who have expressed their concern to the University are bearing some fruit.
I also cannot help but wonder whether he will be marching arm-in-arm at the March for Life with those whom he is currently having prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
On a more positive note, his attendance at the March for Life may open his heart to the damage he inflicted upon the pro-life cause this past Spring.