Almost 50 University of Notre Dame faculty members have urged Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill., to "renounce loudly and publicly" his recent comparison of President Barack Obama with Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.If he does not do so, they said, Notre Dame should seek the bishop's immediate resignation from the university's Board of Fellows.
The Notre Dame professors said Jenky's comparison of the HHS regulation to the attacks on the church by Bismarck, Clemenceau, Stalin and Hitler was "profoundly offensive.""Bishop Jenky's comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment," they wrote in the letter. "We accept that Bishop 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."The faculty members' letter, addressed to Notre Dame's president, Holy Cross Fr. John Jenkins and board president Richard Notebaert and released Friday, called for a university statement "that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky's incendiary statement.""Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Bishop Jenky resigned from the University's Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy," the letter states.