More than a hundred University of Notre Dame professors have demanded that Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky renounce comments he made criticizing President Barack Obama’s stance on religious liberty that compared him to dictators Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

“Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide and absence of judgment,” said the letter addressed this week to the leadership of the renowned Catholic university in Indiana and signed by 131 professors from various fields.

The letter urged the school to distance itself from Jenky’s “incendiary statement,” and called for Jenky, 65, a Notre Dame graduate who has led a Catholic diocese in Peoria, Illinois, since 2002, to “renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy” – or resign from the university’s Board of Fellows and board of trustees.

Jenky, along with other U.S. Catholic bishops and social conservatives, condemned the Obama administration’s requirement that church-affiliated institutions provide insurance that covers contraception.

But his April 14 homily singled out Obama and the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, saying “The Church will survive … the calculated disdain of the President of the United States … and of the current (Democratic) majority of the federal Senate.”

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