President Biden, a self-described 'devout Catholic,' will become the first US official in two decades not to attend Notre Dame's commencement ceremony, citing a 'scheduling conflict' according to the Catholic News Agency.
The news comes after 4,600 "members of the Notre Dame community" signed a petition urging college president Fr. John Jenkins not to invite Biden - the second Roman Catholic president, over his stance on abortion, according to Fox News. Of note, Biden was told in February by US Archbishop Joseph Naumann to stop calling himself a 'devout catholic' over his pro-abortion views.
Biden during the week delivered a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy and spoke virtually at the commencement for Syracuse University, his law school alma mater.
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. -Fox News
According to the petition, Biden should neither speak at the commencement, nor be given an honorary degree. The signatories say they are "dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden," adding "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."
According to CNA, a university spokesperson said that officials won't comment on potential invitees, and that it wasn't abnormal for a president to miss out on addressing Notre Dame their first year in office.
"While Notre Dame has had more presidents serve as commencement speakers than any university other than the military academies, we have not always hosted a president in his first year in office – or at all," said the spokesperson.
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