ND president defends Obama as commencement speaker

Plenty of people have been debating Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement.

Protests have popped up here in Michiana and even in Chicago, and Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese says he is not attending graduation.

In a letter to trustees, Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins explained his decision.

He says there is an agreement among University officials not to honor Catholics whose actions are not in line with the Church's moral principles. But Obama is a Protestant.

"This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of church teaching can act in 'defiance' of it," wrote Jenkins. "Moreover, fellow university presidents have told me that their bishops have told them that in fact it is only Catholic politicians who are referred to in this document."

Meanwhile, conservative political activist Alan Keyes is planning a visit to South Bend on Thursday to join controversial protester Randall Terry's efforts to convince Notre Dame to rescind the President's invitation to speak.

Keyes will speak at an event at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday.