Monthly Archives: March 2009

Save the Honors for Scholars

On the general outlines of the Obama-honored-by-Notre-Dame fraucus, there can be little question. It’s fairly obvious that this was a bad move on the part of the Notre Dame University leadership, especially when they already had a precedent to follow in that they had not had Clinton — another pro-abortion non-Catholic president who had been a law school hot-shot — as a commencement speaker. It’s fairly obvious this will be seen, not as an opportunity for dialogue, but as the Catholic intellectual establishment endorsing Obama. It’s fairly obvious that Notre Dame will not back down at this point, and to be honest this is very much in keeping with the general tenor of Notre Dame over the last 30 years or so, so that’s hardly a surprise either. It’s generally agreed that Notre Dame is the most elite Catholic college in the US, and also generally understood that the question of whether it is its Catholicism or its elite status that is its controlling characteristic is undecided.

However, there’s a wider question at play here which is, I think, worth considering as regards what academia is and ought to be. It’s become quite common for colleges and universities to bring in commencement speakers who have been successful in the wider world: politicans, CEOs, actors, people well known for their work at non-profits, etc.

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Cardinal DiNardo Critiques Notre Dame Invite

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Daniel Cardinal DiNardo has become the latest in a series of bishops questioning the appropriateness of the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to invite President Barack Obama to address the commencement ceremony as well as to receive an Honorary Law degree.  One distinguishes Cardinal DiNardo from the previous three bishops is that he is the highest ranking prelate in the United States to voice his “disappointment” to the invitation.  The following is an excerpt from the Texas Catholic Herald, the mouthpiece of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (separation of paragraphs and emphasis mine):

“I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning. The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.”

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Third Bishop Reproach's Notre Dame Decision

Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin has reproached the decision rendered by the University of Notre Dame to allow President Obama to do the 2009 commencement address and receive an honorary law degree.  In an E-Pistle issued earlier today, Bishop Aymond had this to say:

“I, along with many other Catholics, express great disappointment and sadness that a Catholic university would honor someone who is pro-choice and who holds many values contrary to our Catholic belief.”

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TOTUS DEMANDS RESPECT

It is hard bearing the awesome responsibility of being TOTUS (Teleprompter Of The United States) and having the fate of the world resting upon your screens.  TOTUS deserves the best of working conditions.  Courtesy of Iowahawk, the world can now watch a private message between TOTUS and the guy who reads his screens.  Caution, the language is a bit rough as it often can be in political circles.

AIG Bonus Recipient Quits via NY Times Editorial

Over the last week the news cycle has been enjoying a Five Minutes of Hate over the bonuses being given out to a number of individuals in the AIG Financial Product division, with some going to so far as to say that at a minimum they should all get jail time, and since that’s not possible they should see all their earnings taxed away.  Given the, “our problems are all the result of Wall Street greed” narrative which many have applied to our current financial crisis, and that as fallen human beings we are all prone to envy, this can hardly be surprising.

For those wanting to know about the reality behind the fracas, this editorial in yesterday’s New York Times is illuminating.  It is an open resignation letter from Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit (and a recipient of one of the infamous bonuses), to AIG’s CEO.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-25-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. The great Cardinal Pell offered his thoughts on the future of liturgical development by stating that ad orientem will be mandatory so as to move away the priest as the center of worship back to Jesus Himself, ie, both the priest and the congregation should be facing towards God.  In addition, when the priest turns away towards the congregation, there should be a crucifix in between he and the congregation so as to maintain the center of worship God and not the priest.  What a wonderful and great Cardinal that Australia has!  Let us pray for more such strong leaders of the Church worldwide and especially here in America.  Ora pro nobis!

For the article click here.

2. Sister Janet Ferns, a nun who has worked in Nigeria and Zambia, has explained what most condoms are used for by the locals in Africa… to fish with.

For the link click here.

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Red Ink

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A look at the federal budget since 2000, with projections, for what little they are worth, by the White House and the Congressional Budget Office to 2019.  By CBO estimates last week, the budget deficits between now and 2019 would total $9, 300, 000, 000, 000.00.  The entire cost of WW2 for the US in 2008 dollars was 3.6 trillion.  This year the budget deficit will total 13% of our gross domestic product.  This isn’t economic policy, it is lunacy.  These type of deficits are completely unsustainable, and we are running towards national bankruptcy.  It is impossible to borrow these type of funds from abroad.  We will simply create the funds out of thin air.  The long term impact on our children and their children can be easily imagined.  As the Heritage Foundation points out, this is a completely bi-partisan disaster.  Politicians have acted like teen-agers with stolen credit cards for far too long.  However, this will stop.  It will stop either by voters throwing out of office the fiscally irresponsible, or, much more likely in my estimation, the economy will simply hit a brick wall.  This will not, cannot, go on.  How it is stopped is up to us.

Update I:  The President of the EU slams current US economic policy as a road to hell.  I never thought I would live to see the day when a President of the EU would have more economic sense than a President of the US.

UpdateII:  Hattip to Instapundit.  A sign of things to come.  Stocks slide after a lack-lustre sale of T bills and notes: 

“Bond prices fell after the auction of $34 billion in 5-year Treasury notes. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, jumped to 2.77 percent from 2.71 percent late Tuesday. The yield on the three-month T-bill rose to 0.19 percent from 0.17 percent Tuesday.

Investors gave an unexpectedly cool response to the note sale just a day after a $40 billion auction of 2-year notes suggested strong demand. The government is running up huge deficits in order to fund an array of plans to provide stimulus to the economy and support to the ailing financial system. Any suggestion that demand for U.S. government debt is weakening is a negative for stocks, simply because Wall Street has been relying so heavily on the government’s rescue plans.

The surge of worry over the debt auction wiped out the market’s early optimism in response to durable goods and home sales data.”

Father of the United States Navy

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1745 was a busy year in the history of the misnamed British Isles, with Bonnie Prince Charlie doing his best to end the reign of the Hanover Dynasty in England, so I guess it is excusable that no note was taken of the birth date of John Barry in Tacumshane, County Wexford, Ireland.  During his childhood John received, along with all the other excellent reasons given to Irish Catholics over the centuries to love Britannia, good reason to look askance at the British when his father was evicted from his poor little farm by their British landlord, and the family went to live in the village of Rosslare.

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The Bishop Speaks

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Hattip to Dale Price.  Bishop John M. D’Arcy has made his statement:

“Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame
graduation, receiving honorary law degree

March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

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Obama's "Ban on Cloning"

As arguments raged over Obama’s executive order to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research a few weeks ago, the administration’s pro-life defenders emphasized that this was only a small incremental step beyond the Bush administration policy and that the Obama administration would be very careful in examining the ethical issues and most especially would not allow the production of cloned embryos.

The problem is that, as shown by an extended debate between Doug Kmiec and Robert P. George on the US News “God & Country” blog, current policy far from banning cloning, will encourage it. (HT: Mary Meets Dolly, one of the best resources for serious Catholics on genetics related ethical and scientific issues.)

Obama’s statement was:

And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.

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The Bishop and the President

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Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is planning to release a statement tomorrow, March 24, on the intention of Notre Dame to pay homage to Obama on May 17, 2009.  Assuming that the Bishop condemns the visit this would not be his first clash with the powers that be at Notre Dame.  On February 24, 2004 he condemned the annual presentation at Notre Dame of the Vagina Monologues.  Notre Dame ignored him, and, under President Jenkins, the department sponsored Vagina Monologues performances continue, with his about face on that issue indicating Jenkins’ complete lack of willingness to defend Catholic teaching and morality.  On  April 30, 2006 and again on March 2008, Bishop D’Arcy released statements about the ongoing performances of the Vagina Monologues, highlighting his intense disagreement with Jenkins.    The Bishop has also condemned the “Queer Film Festival” sponsored by Notre Dame.

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Fraud, Folly or Probability

As the government continues to pump money into AIG, the foundering insurance giant which found itself at the center of the real estate and financial crashes, I’ve seen increasing numbers of commentators demand to know why no one is calling for the jailing of AIG executives on charges of fraud. How, the argument goes, was their selling of financial insurance products any different from the sort of fraud Maddoff carried out? They sold insurance policies they couldn’t cover! They took money and gave nothing in return!

I think this tends to underline that people don’t actually understand insurance and how it works very well. This is doubly concerning in that insurance has become increasingly central to people’s ideas of economic security in the last few decades. Indeed, we’ve reached a point where lacking health insurance is itself considered a health problem, regardless of whether this actually results in someone failing to receive needed treatement.

What is insurance? Basically, insurance is a way of extending your savings for unlikely but high cost eventualities.

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Notre Shame

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The pic above certainly sums up the damage this scandal by the president of the University of Notre Dame Fr. John Jenkins has caused.

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Seems the President of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, comprimised everything he lives and stands for for a few pieces of silver.

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You've Seen One Frenchman, You've Seen Them All

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Apparently, hattip to Gateway Pundit, our President isn’t sure who the President of France is since he sent a note to former French President Chirac, and Sumo I do hope you are fully recovered, with this sentiment in it:   ‘I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.’  The current President of France is not amused.

For the benefit of any Obama staffer who may come across this, the current President of France is Sarkozy.  Your boss has had his picture taken with him.  He has a supermodel new wife.  There are no poodle bite mark scars on him.  There, never let it be said that I am unwilling to help the new administration!

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