The University of Notre Dame on Thursday distanced itself from comments former football coach Lou Holtz made during an appearance at this week’s Republican National Convention.
Holtz on Wednesday criticized the Catholic faith of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying he was “Catholic in name only.” Holtz, who also accused Biden of being “radically pro-abortion,” led into his statement by mentioning he was the former Fighting Irish football coach and that the university has a statue of him on campus.
“One of the important reasons (President Donald Trump) has my trust is because nobody is but a stronger advocate for the unborn than President Trump,” Holtz said. “The Biden-Harris ticket is the most radically pro-abortion campaign in history. They and other politicians are Catholics in name only and abandon innocent lives. President Trump protects those lives. I trust President Trump.”
Biden, considered by many to be a devout Catholic, described faith as “the bedrock foundation” of his life, something which he relied on heavily following the death of his son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015.
Notre Dame president the Rev. John I. Jenkins on Thursday rejected Holtz’s comments, saying “we must never question the sincerity of another’s faith.”
His statement in full:
“While Coach Lou Holtz is a former coach at Notre Dame, his use of the University’s name at the Republican National Convention must not be taken to imply that the University endorses his views, any candidate or any political party. Moreover, we Catholics should remind ourselves that while we may judge the objective moral quality of another’s actions, we must never question the sincerity of another’s faith, which is due to the mysterious working of grace in that person’s heart. In this fractious time, let us remember that our highest calling is to love.”
This is not the first time Holtz has made outlandish, heavily criticized statements. The former 33-year college football coach — who coached Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996 and led the team to the 1988 national championship — recently compared college football’s COVID-19 risk to soldiers storming Normandy in World War II, saying, “They knew there were going to be casualties.”