An Open Letter to Fr. John Jenkins
University of Notre Dame
Dear Fr. Jenkins,We are writing this letter to you in hopes that you can clear something up for us.
We are two Catholic women who reside in the State of Colorado. We made tragic mistakes in our younger years by having abortions. We came to the University of Notre Dame last Friday, May 8, to witness to the harm caused to us by our “choice.” We held signs that say “I Regret My Abortion”. We also gave our testimonies and prayed the Rosary with other Catholics who supported us.
We did this in hopes of saving young women years of pain, shame and guilt. We did this because college aged women have the most abortions. We did this because we wanted these young women to know that women deserve better than abortion and that women can achieve the things that they want without having their babies killed. We did this because we believe in the fundamental right to life of all human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God which is a dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church.
We have both attended Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard retreats – both Catholic healing programs for those suffering from abortion. We then joined “The Silent No More Awareness campaign”, a program sponsored by a Catholic Priest – Fr. Frank Pavone.
In all of these programs we were taught about the acceptance and mercy of God and our fellow Catholics. Also, in these programs we were encouraged to seek the counsel of a Catholic Priest – that they would help us to find redemption in the sacrament of reconciliation. We were also encouraged to share our stories so that the Catholic community and the greater community at large could hear first hand of the devastating effects of abortion.
While speaking these truths on Friday we were issued a Trespass Notice by security officers hired by the University that in part states “The University has the right to tell us that we are not wanted on University property.”
Imagine our shock after receiving this notice and being barred from speaking further, we were arrested and thrown in jail. We spent the day in a holding cell until we posted a $250 bond. As we now understand things, we are awaiting news as to whether the charges against us will be misdemeanor trespassing or a felony. This happened all because we wanted the students to know through our stories how devastating abortion is to women.
We are confused, Fr. Jenkins. Why would a Catholic University bar Catholic women from speaking the truth about a fundamental Catholic teaching, under the signage of a healing program that is sponsored by a Catholic priest, while praying the Rosary? Yet, the University would welcome, honor and have a person speak at Commencement who is virulently opposed to this same fundamental Catholic teaching?
Fr. Jenkins can you please explain this to us?
We look forward to your response.
Jane Brennan, MS