Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Notre Dame Students Select Father Frank Pavone to Lead Obama-Free Graduation

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 11, 2009

South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) -- Notre Dame students who don't want to attend a graduation ceremony involving pro-abortion President Barack Obama put together alternate plans. Today, they announced that Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, will lead prayer at a pro-life prayer vigil.

The Class of 2009 Vigil for Life will be celebrated at Sunday's commencement ceremony at the same time as the graduation event.

“In standing with these students, I am standing with the true spirit of Notre Dame: a pro-life spirit, in harmony with human reason and Catholic Faith," Father Pavone told LifeNews.com on Monday.

"The scandal that has been generated does not represent what Notre Dame is all about," Pavone added. "It represents a radical betrayal of what Notre Dame is all about."

Pavone said the scandal has resulted in pro-life Catholics standing up for the teachings of the Catholic Church and wanting to hold the university accountable to them.

“Hundreds of thousands of Catholics, hundreds of priests, and dozens of bishops have called upon Notre Dame to end this scandal by withdrawing its invitation to President Obama," he said. "The result of that demand is not in our control."

Pavone told LifeNews.com he thinks pro-life students should exercise their right not to attend the graduation ceremony, where President Obama will give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

"One final response to this scandal is fully in the control of each graduating senior: don't show up. Don't participate in an event which will only serve to obscure rather than highlight the Church’s pro-life teaching and the true spirit of Notre Dame," Pavone continued.

"The seniors who do this are manifesting the real meaning of commencement: they are carrying out the witness to truth and service that their hard-earned degrees have prepared them to give in the world," he added.

Some pro-life students plan to join Pavone for the alternative event, but others plan to conduct their own protest during the graduation ceremonies, ND Response, the pro-life collection of student groups, told LifeNews.com last week.

"It certainly appears obvious from these announced plans that a large or perhaps the sole focus of that response is a boycott," ND Response indicated. "There also may be other small groups or individuals amongst the 2009 graduates and their guests who have their own ideas about raising the pro-life issue to Mr. Obama inside the Joyce Center."

The students say they want a focus on peaceful and respectful opposition, especially in light of some of the more in-your-face opposition appearing at their campus in recent days along with the arrest of some pro-life advocates.

Related web sites:
Priests for Life - http://www.PriestsforLife.org
Notre Dame response - http://www.ndresponse.com

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