President Joe Biden did not speak at the Notre Dame 2021 commencement, breaking a 20-year tradition at the university after a petition opposing his invitation due to his pro-abortion policies.
Biden, a Roman Catholic, was invited but did not attend due to an alleged scheduling conflict according to the Catholic News Agency. The appearance would have included an honorary degree from Notre Dame.
The change may have been in part due to a petition of more than 4,300 people affiliated with the university who signed a petition that said students and alumni were “dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden.”
The petition noted, “He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty,” the petition says of the president. “He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history.”
José Horacio Gomez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke against Biden’s views on abortion in January.
“I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” Gomez wrote.
“Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences,” he added.
Notre Dame has long supported the nation’s presidents, but the current Catholic president has instead received much criticism from the historic college.