Joe Biden is breaking from tradition and will not speak at the Notre Dame Commencement after 4,300 staff and alumni signed a petition demanding that he not be invited.
The White House claims that Biden will not be attending due to a “scheduling conflict.”
Biden claims to be the second Catholic president, but has faced severe backlash for his stance on abortion that contradicts the church’s teachings.
The petition said that Biden should not speak at their commencement nor be given an honorary degree, because they are “dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden.”
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“He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history. The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama, an action that alienated countless Catholics and brought upon Notre Dame the harsh criticism of 83 cardinals, archbishops and bishops,” the petition stated.
The well-written petition concluded by asserting, “Notre Dame has long prided itself on its preeminent position in the educational world of the Church. We suggest that its responsibility as such is to guard Church teachings that are crucially important in today’s society by conferring its honors upon those who support them rather than upon those who oppose them, especially the one person above all who has the will and the power to undermine them.”
Fox News reports that “for the last three presidencies, either the president or vice president has attended the Notre Dame commencement their first year in office. President George W. Bush gave the commencement address in 2001, President Barack Obama gave the address in 2009 and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the ceremony in 2017. Obama’s attendance drew backlash for similar reasons.”
Finance executive and trustee of the university Jimmy Dunne will be addressing the graduates instead.