Last week, Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky sparked national outrage when he compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. In response to this indefensible statement, a large group of Notre Dame professors called for Jenky to either apologize to Obama or resign from the Catholic university’s board. As of this writing, 84 professors are listed as signatories to the letter:
As you will be aware, the Bishop Daniel Jenky, a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Fellows, has been widely quoted for a homily in which he described President Obama as “seem[ing] intent on following a similar path” to Hitler and Stalin. Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide and absence of judgment.
We accept that Jenky’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, but we find it profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved University’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the president’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews and other minorities for their faith.
We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Jenky’s incendiary statement. Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Jenky resigned from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.
A public petition calling for Jenky to apologize has also received nearly 14,000 signatures. You can sign that petition here.