Just as Washington began to build a nation, Father Hesburgh showed "an understanding of what a country should be," Cardinal McCarrick said. Just as Lincoln showed his concern for the poor, Father Hesburgh showed how the poor "should be a concern for all of us," he added. And as Jefferson knew what freedom of religion was, Father Hesburgh, the cardinal noted, "has tackled the whole question of human relations."Below is a full report from Catholic World News
Biden, Cardinal McCarrick pay tribute to Notre Dame’s Father Hesburgh
Vice President Joe Biden joined Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and political figures from both parties in paying tribute to Father Theodore Hesburgh, who served as the president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987. “In 1972 I ran for public office as a 29-year-old kid because of your passion for civil rights,” Vice President Biden told Hesburgh, now 96, at a Capitol Hill reception in honor of the seventieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. “You're one of the reasons I've been so proud to be a Catholic.” Cardinal McCarrick called Hesburgh one of “four great Americans,” along with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Father Hesburgh, known for his support for the civil rights movement in the 1960s, was a principal organizer and signatory of the Land O' Lakes Statement, in which Catholic university presidents declared their “true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical.” The priest also faced criticism for his role as board member and chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, a staunch advocate for population control. (Hesburgh retired as chairman in 1982.)
In 2008, Father Hesburgh told the Wall Street Journal that he had no objection to the ordination of women.