...Along with two of Notre Dame’s most prominent donors and former Board members (Raymond G. Chambers and Donald R. Keogh), Father Jenkins serves on the board of a major international anti-poverty organization, Millennium Promise. Its policies include the promotion of abortion and artificial contraception.
Thus, it aims “to expand access to safe abortions (where permitted by law)," and instructs that where there is “no district center for safe abortion practices...abortion services can be offered at the village level.” Further, it declares that “contraceptive services are critical to allow women to choose family size,” and it aspires to provide “pharmacologic contraceptives including IUDs. (See Millennium Development Goals and Millennium Villages Handbook)
These goals are not merely peripheral. The organization’s head, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, is reported to be “committed to expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and services,” and a Columbia University spokesperson declared that this was “the only condition” under which it would have joined the program.
When Father Jenkins's role was discovered during the Obama controversy, criticism in the pro-life community came swiftly (see Cardinal Newman Society, Pew Sitter and Life Site News). A representative editorial in The Washington Times (Booing Notre Dame) linked the two actions.
In his response to our letter asking about this matter, Father Jenkins acknowledged that he was aware of these policies when he joined the board, but quoted from a letter in which he had advised the organization that he would not participate in matters involving artificial contraception or abortion.
Still, Father Jenkins did not dismiss our concern out of hand. Rather, he added:
We are currently in the process of reviewing all my and Notre Dame’s associations to assure that they accord with our Catholic mission. After that review, we will make a decision about this and any other commitment.
We responded by saying we were “encouraged” to learn of this review, but we continued:
We are frank to say that we do not understand how advising the Millennium Promise Board that you would not participate in matters relating to abortion or artificial contraception solves, or even mitigates, the problem. The organization’s fund-raising projects surely do not mention your disclaimer, and accordingly your membership amounts to a Notre Dame stamp of approval for the organization’s fund-raising efforts. The abortion and contraception program are among the beneficiaries. Thus the Board has the advantages of your membership without the disadvantages of your unsympathetic participation in matters relating to abortion and contraception.
We added this about the impact on Notre Dame:
Moreover, now that Millennium Promise’s abortion and contraception policies are becoming well known in connection with your board membership, especially in the pro-life Catholic community, Notre Dame’s reputation on life issues specifically, and as a robustly Catholic institution more generally, is suffering.
Both Father Jenkins’s stance on the “Notre Dame 88” and his service on the Millennium Promise board are likely to cloud the participation of the Notre Dame students and faculty in the March for Life if these situations continue until then and he leads the contingent, for feelings run high in the pro-life community...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Notre Dame President Continues to Sit on Board of Pro-Abortion Group
From the latest news bulletin of the Sycamore Trust: