Bishop Rhoades responds to statement and principles on life

by Julie Hail Flory

Bishop Kevin Rhoades

Saying he is “encouraged by the steps being taken by the University of Notre Dame,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend offered his support for the University’s recently adopted institutional statement on life and principles for charitable giving.

Bishop Rhoades’ statement is published in the April 18 issue of Today’s Catholic, the weekly newspaper serving the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

“In his great encyclical, ‘The Gospel of Life,’ Pope John Paul II wrote about the dramatic struggle between the ‘culture of life’ and the ‘culture of death’ in our present social context,” Bishop Rhoades wrote. “He called for ‘the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities themselves’ and wrote of the specific contribution that Catholic Universities should make in building a new ‘culture of life.’ I believe that the efforts that the University of Notre Dame is making in this regard are important for the Church and for society.”

The institutional statement released by Notre Dame last week affirms the University’s commitment to the defense of human life in all its stages. The principles of charitable giving provide standards for the University and its representatives in making determinations on giving in a way consonant with institutional beliefs. The creation and adoption of both the statement and principles were recommendations of the University’s Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.

“Our Catholic universities are in a unique position to promote the renewal of a culture of life in our society,” Bishop Rhoades added. “Being actively pro-life in teaching and research, pastoral ministry and service, Catholic universities indeed contribute to the renewal of our society and to the promotion of the common good. I am grateful to Father (John) Jenkins (the University’s president) and to the Notre Dame Task Force on Life for the efforts they are making to serve the Gospel of Life. I pray that their work will bear much good fruit.”

The task force was convened by Father Jenkins last September to consider and recommend ways in which the University can support the sanctity of life. The task force is co-chaired by Margaret Brinig, Fritz Duda Family Professor of Law, and John Cavadini, chair of the Department of Theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life. Its other members are Ann Astell, professor of theology; Kathleen Kelley, student; Mary Ellen Konieczny, assistant professor of sociology; Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., executive director of the Center for Social Concerns; and Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C., vice president for student affairs. Frances Shavers, chief of staff and special assistant to the president, and Todd Woodward, associate vice president for marketing communications, serve as task force liaisons.