The University of Notre Dame has invited former Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, to give this year’s commencement address on May 21, 2023. Fr. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. announced that Santos will receive an honorary degree at the 178th Commencement Ceremony.
Why does Notre Dame insist on honoring public figures who attack family values, support sinful causes, and favor the enemies of Christ and His Church?
Who is Juan Manuel Santos?
The former Colombian president received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for brokering a dubious agreement between the Colombian government and narco Marxist-Leninist terrorist group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
The agreement was widely criticized for its leniency towards terrorists, allowing communist guerillas back into society, legalizing narco-traffic, socialist land reforms, pro-homosexual concessions, and disregarding the majority of Colombians who voted NO in a referendum against the proposed peace agreement in October 2016.
Moreover, the current leftist Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, a former FARC guerilla, would likely not be in power had this agreement failed.
Santos Supports the Sin of Abortion
Santos’ support for abortion goes against Catholic Church teaching. In February 2022, he backed the Colombian Constitutional Court’s decision to decriminalize abortion during the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy. He stated: “I agree with what the Constitutional Court did in Colombia, expanding the weeks where abortion is allowed,” and, “I think it [expanding abortion] was a correct move, and I support it.”
President Santos explicitly favored the gradual erosion of moral values in Colombia, a nation that is 68.9% Catholic, reported The Harvard Crimson. “We are a very conservative society and conservative country,” he said, “I think this gradualism is a correct way to proceed.”
Santos Supports Homosexuality
The Santos government fueled the homosexual revolution in Colombia by granting homosexual couples the right to adopt children, and legalizing same-sex “marriage.”
During his 2014 reelection campaign, Santos said:
“Marriage between homosexuals seems to me perfectly acceptable, and what's more I defend unions between two people of the same sex with the same rights and all the same privileges that this union should have.” (El Tiempo, 05/20/14)
Eroding Catholic Identity
This is not the first time Notre Dame has given a public platform to a politician who undermines Catholic teaching. The university’s decision to honor President Barack Obama in 2009 caused grave scandal among the faithful. More than 70 Catholic bishops, including the local ordinary, condemned Notre Dame’s decision to honor the pro-abortion president at that time.
More recently, in 2016, Notre Dame honored another pro-abortion politician, then vice-president Joe Biden. The university rebuffed the voice of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in whose jurisdiction the university operates.
“I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any 'pro-choice' public official with the Laetare Medal […], bishop Rhodes stated. “I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage.”
Notre Dame Can’t Serve Both God and Caesar
Whose side is Notre Dame on, God’s or Caesar’s? The sexual revolution is at odds with the Catholic Faith. In recent years, we’ve witnessed a tide of laws, decrees, regulations, and judicial decisions that favor homosexuality and punish those who oppose unnatural vice for reasons of faith and conscience.
As Prof. David R. Carlin states, “The Christian moral system is no minor part of Christianity, any more than the heart or lungs are minor parts of the human body. Overthrow the Christian moral system and you will have overthrown Christianity itself. Therefore, those who are pushing for the institution of same-sex marriage are ipso facto pushing for the elimination of the Christian religion.”
Good is incompatible with evil. Truth is incompatible with error. The Church is incompatible with liberalism.
“The centerpiece of Notre Dame’s golden dome is a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary, a model of purity,” observed TFP Student Action director John Ritchie. “But Notre Dame’s commencement speaker insults the holy purity of the Mother of God with his support for the sexual revolution. It’s impossible to serve God faithfully and, at the same time, wave the rainbow flag.”
Therefore, faithful Catholics must oppose Juan Manuel Santos’ visit to the university named after the Blessed Virgin Mary. For it is impossible to honor the Virgin of Virgins and at the same time honor politicians such as Santos, who facilitate the destruction of the sacred institution of the family.
Photo credit: OECD/Herve Cortinat Juan Manuel Santos Calderon President de la Colombie.