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Bishop Samuel Aquila speaks out on Obama honorary degree on TV news show

Bishop Samuel Aquila

Samuel Aquila, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, spoke up Thursday against the University of Notre Dame's decision to award an honorary degree to President Barack Obama on the Fox News TV show "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

In a brief interview with the host, Aquila said the move by the Catholic university sends the wrong message about support for abortion.

"It certainly is perceived by the average layperson as condoning or giving an appearance of supporting his ideas on human life and the unborn child," Aquila said, adding a number of concerned Notre Dame alumni in the Fargo diocese had contacted him.

Last month, Aquila wrote a letter to Notre Dame President John Jenkins criticizing the university's decision to award the degree to the pro-choice president and invite Obama to speak at this year's graduation. He told Van Susteren he hadn't received a response.

"Certainly NARAL or Planned Parenthood would never invite (Pope) Benedict XVI, much less extend an award to him," Aquila said. "Essentially, Notre Dame is ignoring their Catholic identity and who they are."