Notre Dame 88

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

By Charles E. Rice

Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., at the complaint of Notre Dame, was arrested in May 2009 and charged as a criminal for peacefully entering the Notre Dame campus to offer his prayer of reparation for Notre Dame’s conferral of its highest honor on President Obama, the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world.  The University refuses to ask the St. Joseph County prosecutor to drop the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others arrested, still known as the ND 88 although one, Linda Schmidt, died of cancer this past March.  Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, of St. Joseph Superior Court, recently issued two important orders in this case.

The first order denied the State’s motion to consolidate the cases of multiple defendants.  That motion would have denied each separate defendant his right to a separate jury trial.  The order did permit consolidation of the trials of twice-charged defendants on the separate offenses with which that defendant was charged; a defendant charged, for example, with trespass and disorderly conduct would therefore not have to appear for two trials.  Judge Scopelitis also denied the prosecution’s attempt to force each defendant to return to South Bend for each proceeding in the case, which would have coerced the defendants to abandon their defense.  Instead, the Judge permitted the defendants to participate by telephone in pre-trial conferences.

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38 Responses to Notre Dame 88

  • Pingback: Notre Dame 88 Update by Charles E. Rice « Deacon John's Space
  • What an outstanding article!! It would be nice if Catholic Universities actually lived up to “being Catholic” or that they lived out Catholic principles which are in line with Church teaching. Even those that are Traditional or conservative Catholic colleges find it very hard in some cases to actually walk-the-walk and not just talk-the-talk when it really counts (I know this from personal experience). I guess human nature takes over or something.

    The charges should have been dropped a long time ago. Shame on Notre Dame!

  • Catholic in name only.

    “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher, statement on sentencing by a saxon court.

    Matthew 12:34: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

  • “Notre Dame appears to be governed by academic ruling class wannabes. The operative religion of the academic and political establishments, however, is political correctness. Activist opponents of ROTC and activist advocates of “gay rights” are politically correct. Activist pro-lifers, such as Fr. Weslin and the ND88, are not. For Notre Dame’s leaders to show respect for the ND88, let alone apologize to them and seek an end to their prosecution, as they ought, would be to touch a third rail of academic respectability. It would not play well in the ruling academic circles. What would they think of us at Harvard, Yale, etc?”

    Bingo! The powers that be at Notre Dame are defending their faith against the heretics of the Notre Dame 88, and that faith has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is a disgrace that every bishop in this country has not condemned this.

  • Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.

    ND’s “inconsistent” treatment is also not shocking. Given the history of trespassing and the fact that past light treatment did not stop it, ND may be sending a stronger message to protect the safety and security of its community.

    Mr. Rice should also know, as a lawyer, that Fr. Weslin’s health or his past deeds are irrelevant as to whether he broke the law. Surely, they are great rhetorical flourishes, but they are just that, a trick used to distract you from the fact that a law was willfully and knowingly ignored.

    Finally, Mr. Rice also should know, as a lawyer, that clients discourage employees from being deposed for all sorts of reasons — not necessarily related to whether they are “hiding” something. This is libelous.

  • This is libelous.

    An easy stone to throw for someone hiding behind the veil of anonymity.

  • “The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.”

    Yeah, you can never know when an 80 year old priest peacefully praying will turn violent.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/08/father-norman-weslin-champion-of-the-unborn/

  • I was there, on campus for the mass and rosary. My daughter is one of the ND88. I walked out and joined the protesters for much of the day. The activities were all available on youtube. Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.

  • What about the 87 other people? Did ND and the police know the intentions of each of them? Frankly, I think it’s despicable that you use Fr. Weslin as your shield. Also, I missed the memo where we excuse the aged and people who have done otherwise good things in their lives for breaking the law. These people made conscious decisions to trespass. They could have stayed outside the university and gotten their point across. Rather, they wanted to make a spectable and get on TV, which they succeeded in doing. They now need to be adults and accept responsibility for their transgressions.

    Also, just because a person is 80, just because someone is a preist, just because someone is praying, doesn’t mean they can’t be violent. People pray to their god all the time before committing acts of violence — that cannot be denied. People who are 80 commit acts of violence, and we certainly have learned that priests are not above committing acts of violence. I would also point out that Fr. Weslin was just one person — there were many more.

    To an objective observer, and clearly you are not, these people trespassed. They were arrested. End of story. Any excuse you want to make is a consequence of your relgious and political views–which, of course, is your right and fine. Just don’t pretend it’s anything other than that.

    That day was supposed to be about the graduates celebrating their accomplishment. These clowns made it about their cause, which is a shame.

  • ” Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.”

    As our anonymous commenter is amply demonstrating. The Notre Dame 88 are being persecuted because they are a standing rebuke to the Notre Dame administration honoring the most pro-abortion president in our history. All the obfuscation in the world cannot disguise that very simple fact. My congratulations Larry on the fine job you obviously did in raising your daughter.

  • Anonymous, how long have you been a member of the Notre Dame administration?

  • In case Mr. McClarey does not have acces to a dictionary, please see the definition of “mob” and “dishonest.”

    Definition of MOB
    1: a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
    2: the lower classes of a community : masses, rabble
    3chiefly Australian : a flock, drove, or herd of animals
    4: a criminal set : gang; especially often capitalized
    5: a group of people : crowd

    Definition of DISHONEST
    Characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness : unfair, deceptive

    Here is an entry on ad hominem attacks — often resorted to by those who cannot win an argument on the mertis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    If you can, deep in your heart say that you would be defending, with the same zealousness, people who were protesting the “right to choose” or Islamic protestors, then, maybe I would believe you.

    It is sad that people turned a day of celebration for the graduates into a political side show. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • a group of 88 religious zealots

    Thank God Notre Dame is doing its damnedest stamp out religious zeal.

    Then again, it’s been doing that since the Land O’ Lakes Statement, so I guess it’s consistent.

    Oh, and nice job of hiding behind “the graduates,” anonymous ND admin guy.

    It’s this sort of mindset that reminds me why I’m recommending that my children go to an avowedly secular college as opposed to a Land O’ Lakes one. Sure, they’ll hate your faith at a state university, but at least they won’t wear a cloak of Catholic sanctimony while doing it.

    Better to be stabbed in the chest than the back.

  • Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    There are over 11,000 students at Notre Dame. Add the faculty and the staff and you have 15,000 people on the campus as a matter of course. Then you add in any visitors that day. The ’88 religious zealots’ will increase the size of the campus population by 0.6%. The rathskellar at the campus I know best will have that many people present around noontime, and that particular institution is one-quarter the size of Notre Dame.

    You might also note that his primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their resons for so doing.

  • Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk. He hides behind the institution. Let us make an analogy – he is hiding behind the skirts of Our Lady.

  • I looked up your ip address anonymous, and I really hope that you are not an attorney at the law firm you are e-mailing from, because you are not very good at arguing in comboxes and I truly would hate to be paying you to do so in court. The firm that you are e-mailing from seems to have quite a few contacts with Notre Dame. I wonder if you are doing this on your own time, or if someone at Notre Dame is actually foolish enough to pay you to mount this type of sophistical defense of the indefensible?

  • It’s a pretty large firm – I interviewed with them a while back and have friends that work there. In the DC office alone, there are fourteen Domers. It’s unlikely that the commenter above is billing time for arguing on blogs, but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.

  • “but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.”

    Quite true. I hope for anonymous that he wasn’t doing this on a firm computer equipped with tracking software. If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours. Ah, the advantages of being a self-employed attorney!

  • If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours.

    um…yeah…I agree…no junior associate should ever waste time on blogs during office hours…right on. Who are these people? 😉

    In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.” Another benefit of being self-employed, I suppose.

  • “In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.””

    That is precisely one of the main reasons I became self-employed John Henry. I wanted to have a family life and not work on weekends, and too many firms seemed to think that associates lived only to practice law, and to be the handy target of the ire of dyspeptic partners.

  • “Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk.”

    bingo. Fr. Jenkins is doing all he can do to stay in the good graces of his liberal friends. chump.

  • I believe Professor Rice’s general thesis is unquestionably correct: Notre Dame craves the approval of the Princes of this World.

    But from the belly of the beast, a few qualifications may be appropriate.

    I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.

    As Professor Rice documents, previous instances of this sort had been handled quietly by the university itself.This time the South Bend and St. Joseph county police were brought in, and I suspect that everyone in the administration now sees this was a blunder. Part of the reason for deposing Mr. Kirk may be to determine just how this decision came to be made.

    Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants. Plead guilty, accept some kind of nominal or suspended punishment, and put the whole thing behind us. The university is in the position of the poor Roman magistrate judging the typical virgin and martyr: Cut me some slack–just genuflect to that damned idol over there and we can all go home. Such blandishments were generally rejected; and I suspect the current ones will be as well.

  • I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass

    No kidding. If I am not mistaken, under New York law, an act of trespass does not qualify as criminal trespass unless (at a minimum) there is a fence or wall around the property which excludes intruders.

  • “I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.”

    You have been misinformed. Prosecutors nolle prosse countless cases across the nation each day. The consent of the court is pro forma since the court lacks the power to compel the State to prosecute anyone, which is wholly in the discretion of the prosecutor.

    “Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants.”

    Of course this demonstrates that Notre Dame is the driving force behind the prosecution. The terms that the Notre Dame 88 should accept from Notre Dame are the dismissal of all charges, payment of their legal fees, a written apology from Notre Dame, and a promise from Notre Dame that they will no longer honor pro-abort politicians.

    This of course is in the spirit of Theoden’s reaction to Saruman’s request for “peace”.

    “We will have peace. Yes, we will have peace, we will have peace when you and all your works have perished — and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired — even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Hama’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.”

  • Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get. That’s what other practitioners of this kind of civil disobedience do (or should do, in my opinion). They don’t argue that they are innocent and being persecuted, they acknowledge that they broke the law to call attention to their cause AND they’d gladly do it again. If that means they go to jail, that goes with the territory, doesn’t it?

    That being said, it would be fitting if Fr. Jenkins or other authorities at Notre Dame asked for the charges to be dropped as a gesture of mercy and solidarity with the cause they were espousing.

    All this, of course, presumes that the ND88 knowingly engaged in illegal actions and were clearly warned that they were risking arrest. If it was a case of a LEGAL protest gathering getting out of hand, or of the participants crossing some invisible “line” they hadn’t been told was there, that would be another story completely.

  • Also, the fact that Notre Dame allegedly let other protesters off more easily doesn’t change the nature of the illegal actions committed by the ND88. While it does show that Notre Dame isn’t being consistent in enforcing its supposed rules regarding protests — and that is a significant issue — still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!”

  • “Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get.”

    Only if Notre Dame wishes to be in the same moral category of the segregationists who legally prosecuted people who sat in at restaurants. When one is being punished unjustly, I see no merit in accepting punishment meekly. Make them prove it at trial. Turn the case against the prosecution by making a big stink about it in every forum possible. Make sure that the injustice of the prosecution becomes a cause celebre. Jenkins and his cohorts would love nothing better than the Notre Dame 88 to meekly admit their guilt and for them to accept their punishment like good boys and girls. I am glad that this satisfaction has been denied them by the intestinal fortitude of the Notre Dame 88.

  • “still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!””

    Actually Elaine I have done just that in some of my cases by proving selective prosecution and having judges determine that prosecutors have abused their discretion. It isn’t easy to do, but given fact situations egregious enough, it is possible.

  • “his (Rice’s) primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their reasons for so doing.”

    I understand this and it’s an appropriate question to raise. And, I suppose that by pleading not guilty and fighting the charges every step of the way, the ND88 could bring those two injustices to light. But, at the end of the day, it seems to me that “don’t do the ‘crime’ if you can’t do the time” applies to civil disobedience actions as well.

    Also, for reasons I have explained before, I don’t think civil disobedience that involves deliberately trying to get arrested for trespassing as an attention-getting device is quite in the same category as lunch counter sit-ins. Sit-ins involved people breaking a law that was inherently unjust — a law designed specifically to prevent people of a certain skin color from doing something they had a natural right to do — to show the world just how unjust and ridiculous the law was. Going out of one’s way to break an otherwise JUST law that has nothing directly to do with the injustice being protested (abortion) is different.

  • What is remarkable to me, and what I really just don’t grasp, is *what possible motive* ND could have in continuing with these charges. Fr. Jenkins, for all his limitations, is certainly no dummy, and he, as well as the other members of the senior administration (to say nothing of the Board of Trustees) must realize that ND qua university will not gain anything from this process. It’s not as though Princeton or Duke will suddenly kowtow to the Dome because a few pro-life activists were arrested there. This view can’t seriously be entertained. It’s also only attracting *more* negative press to ND, and further alienating fence-leaning Catholics who were not happy about Obama but were neither entirely supportive of much of the shenanigans and selective (and sometimes politically motivated) outrage expressed at his visit. These Catholics, seeing now ND’s apparent inconsistency of procedure, will now take more darkly a view of the administration than they ever did before. So I don’t see that ND has anything to gain here, while they have much to lose. If I did not already have experience with administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning, these two considerations would make me think that ND *can’t* remove the charges at this point (something Donald denies). The whole situation is just weird.

  • The whole situation is just weird.

    If you posit that Notre Dame’s administration despises the demonstrators and wants their ilk to stay away forever, the effort to humiliate and injure them seems less weird.

  • I suppose I find it self-evident that that strategy is counterproductive *given* the interests of ND, whatever they think of the demonstrators. (Whatever one thinks of the ND88, and I am generally supportive of them, turning them into martyrs for the pro-life cause will hardly have the effect you suggest.) And I suppose that I think the administrators themselves should realize this. But again, never overestimate administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning.

  • Just to be clear: I yield to no one in contempt for how Notre Dame has handled the case; and my opinion of the real motives of the university administration is culpably uncharitable. Nonetheless. . .

    In Indiana, criminal trespass includes entering private property without permission and refusing to leave when requested to do so by the owner or an authorized agent of the owner. If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    What possible motive can Notre Dame have for continuing these charges? Notre Dame has only itself to blame for the pickle that it is in, but it may have less freedom of action (pace Mr. McCleary) than people assume (if also more freedom of action than implied in my previous post). The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang). If the case is dismissed or the defendants acquitted, the university (and perhaps the South Bend police) might find themselves in line for a false arrest suit. How plausible this is I don’t know, but it’s what I gather third or fourth hand from lawyers familiar with the case.

    On a more principled level, the university has a legitimate interest in keeping its status as private property. Again, as I understand it, one line of defense by the 88 is that the university campus is in fact open pretty much to anyone, that it amounts to public space where they may legitimately exercise their first amendment rights (and, after all, the university took no action against those demonstrating in favor of the award to Obama). But the university does not in fact let the general public come and go as it pleases. At every home football game the area around the campus is filled with ticket scalpers, but scalpers are not allowed on campus. If the 88 win their point, would the university have welcome in the scalpers?

    (I also wonder if there isn’t some relevance to the Westboro Baptist case. One’s sympathies would be on opposite sides, but there may be a family resemblance in terms or principle. The families of fallen soldiers may have a legitimate complaint against those who obnoxiously interfere with the funerals; and Notre Dame may have a legitimate complaint against intrusion from those who the administration finds, however perversely, obnoxious to itself or its undertakings.)

    I hope the 88 get off, and, while normally I’m not wild about punishment of any kind, I hope the consequences to the university are sufficiently severe to cause some in the administration to rethink the actual values they live by. But in the abstract the university’s case is not entirely without merit.

    I’m also partly sympathetic to what I take to be Elaine Krewer’s point: If I actively court martyrdom and martyrdom is consequently offered to me, I should probably accept it gratefully, not whine about it. But it’s not clear that the 88 were actively courting martyrdom. It seems that many of them really did not think that the university would react in the clumsy, small-minded, militantly graceless way that it did.

  • “The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang).”

    You are confusing apples and oranges. Nolle Prosse is not a dismissal with prejudice. The Defendants could bring a motion to dismiss with prejudice at any time, as could the prosecutors, but nolle prosse is not the same thing. A nolle prosse simply means that the prosecutor is not proceeding with the prosecution. No double jeopardy attaches and the defendants can be recharged at any time. As for a civil suit from the ND88, that could be brought at any time and has little refence to what happens in the criminal case. A perfect example is how OJ Simpson could be found not guilty of the murders and still lose the civil suit over the murders.

  • If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    In New York, there is a ‘Trespass’, which is in a submisdemeanor category called a ‘violation’, and ‘Criminal Trespass’. There are three degrees of criminal trespass. For the most part, you have to be inside a building to be charged with ‘criminal trespass’, but you can be charged with the 3d degree criminal trespass if you enter grounds enclosed in some way.

    If I am not mistaken, the crime you describe is, under New York law, [non-criminal] ‘Trespass’. The maximal sentance for trespass is 15 days in the county jail and a three-figure fine. As a rule, the judiciary is quite lax when they are given the discretion, as they are in non-felony cases hereabouts. Then again, a large fraction of the municipal court case load Upstate is heard by lay J.P.’s. A buddy of mine in the state Attorney-General’s office tells me that lay judges are often quite good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

  • This may be getting to be too much inside baseball, and I’m not a very good player.

    Nolle prosse: The risk is that the judge’s reaction would be to dismiss with prejudice, which does happen sometimes. I hadn’t thought about a civil suit–but that’s unlikely on its face; and, anyway, Notre Dame didn’t suffer any damages.

    The Indiana law on criminal trespass is more stringent than what is typical of other states.

  • In regard to a civil suit I was referring to a hypothetical suit by ND88 against Notre Dame.

    I can’t imagine a judge dismissing a criminal case with prejudice based upon a nolle prosse motion by the State, absent a motion filed by either the State or the Defendants to dismiss with prejudice. In a nolle prosse motion the current prosecution and case simply ends because the prosecutor does not wish to proceed. A motion to dismiss with prejudice by the Defendants would have to establish that a successful prosecution was impossible due to some legal defect in the prosecution or that under any possible facts shown at trial no conviction would be possible. That is a very high standard to meet, and I do not see any way in this case that a judge could so find under the existing law and facts of the case.

  • This whole incident caused me to rule out ever applying to Notre Dame, which I seriously considered at one point. While attending a law school fair in New York, I approached the Notre Dame booth and asked the representative, in as neutral a tone as possible, if there was any emphasis on the Catholic nature of the school reflected on its campus, not mentioning that I myself was Catholic. She downplayed the notion, saying something to the effect of “no, it’s not a big deal.”

    “Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of. “

    No, indeed not. Recall the brave and truly Catholic students who stood up to and battled the ku klux klan in South Bend in 1924.

    How tragic that Notre Dame now wields nothing but moral cowardice in utilizing secular police power to promote abortion, the political lineage of which is directly traceable back to psychotic white supremacists and eugenicists.

Father John Jenkins Pro-Life Baby Steps

Saturday, September 19, AD 2009

Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., released a message to the University of Notre Dame family outlining two pro-life initiatives to recompense for the scandal of awarding President Obama an honorary degree.

1.  Father Jenkins plans to attend the March for Life Anniversary of Roe v. Wade event in Washington D.C.

2.  Establish a Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.

These two initiatives are a good first start in adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church established by Jesus Himself.

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6 Responses to Father John Jenkins Pro-Life Baby Steps

Notre Dame Must Answer For The Obama Scandal

Wednesday, August 26, AD 2009

Obama Notre Dame

[Updated as of 8-26-2009 AD at 6:01 pm CST, see below]

Bishop D’Arcy pens an article in the dissident Catholic Jesuit-run magazine, America, by rapping the University of Notre Dame in it’s failure in being a witness to the Gospel by honoring the most anti-life president in the history of the United States.

He goes on to single out Father John Jenkins for his failure in leading as a man of faith and to the board of trustees for their deafening silence.

Finally he asks the University of Notre Dame, but also other Catholic universities, whether they will follow the Land O’Lakes Statement, which proclaimed in ambiguous language that it was ‘ok’ to dissent from Catholic teaching, or adhere to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, where Catholic teaching and identity must be a priori.

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32 Responses to Notre Dame Must Answer For The Obama Scandal

  • Should Notre Dame have avoided teaching or even discussing evolution until the Holy Father accepted it as fact? Should any Catholic school not asked Galileo to speak if the Church leaders believed the Earth was the center of the universe?

    Sometimes ignoring those we do not agree with and at times violently opposing them, simply means leaders will have to apologize for the backwards thinking a few decades or centuries later.

    I understand abortion is less cut and dry than evolution or the basic structure of the solar system. Ethical and moral positions may not need objective knowledge in determining their validity, but often morality is seen as a means to ignore the pain of others, a means to stop thought and discourse, a means to vilify the “other.”

    Allowing President Obama to speak did not cause anyone to perform an abortion and keeping him from speaking would not have prevented any abortions.

    There is more to life and to the Life of Christ than one issue, no matter how important it is, and I would have liked to see a similar discussion take place when anyone who supported the death penalty or the war in Iraq or the torture of prisoners came to Notre Dame.

  • MacGregor,

    I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about.

  • I am sure MacGregor does not know what he is talking about. Abortion is more cut and dry, not less, than the other issues he raises.

    But putting that aside, how will ND answer for the O scandal? Will D’Arcy walk the walk? Them’s fine words, but what consequences has ND suffered, other than increased applications from liberal students and professors? Do you seriously expect that, if push comes to shove, that ND’s Catholic creds (to the extent they exist) will be removed by the Bishop?

    Heck, I haven’t even seen one deny communion to a Catholic pro-abort politician, much less yank a Catholic university’s affiliation.

  • Hi Tito and c matt

    I actually do know what I am talking about.

    I am very clear that abortion as an issue is more cut and dry as to its moral consequences than the other issues, however it is less cut and dry when it comes to being able to prove that personhood and the soul enters the body at the moment of conception/fertilization. It will never be possible to PROVE the existence of the soul much less prove that the Bible or Church Teachings are infallibly correct … that is why it is called FAITH.

    Both of you act as if your conservative views of Catholicism are the only ones that matter.

    Asking Obama to speak at ND is no different than asking Bush to speak there. That is the point.
    Capital punishment is no less a sin than abortion. That is the point.
    Not all student who go to ND are Catholic and not all Catholics believe that we should force others to believe everything that we do. Should all speakers and professors at ND take a test as to whether they believe in transubstantiation? in speaking in ex cathedra?

    My point is that reasonable and moral people can have differing opinions on matters of faith. It is unreasonable to disagree that the Earth is in the center of the solar system, but it is reasonable to disagree on at what point human life deserves legal protection or at what point a woman has control over her own body.

    ND should not merely stand for dogma, like a radical Islamic madras, as both of you seem to feel. ND as an institution of learning needs to stand for the free and honest and ethical exchange of ideas so that those who come have all of the opportunity to seek the Truth and live a moral life.

    I believe that abortion is the ending of a human life, but it is not self-evident to everybody that that is true. The Catholic Church can deny communion to anyone that the Bishops want, but the Church and they must do so for the right reasons, not just to make conservatives feel good about themselves or because they have a 3rd grade Sunday School view of theology.

    My comments are merely a voice asking those who feel the need to condemn others, to look at ourselves first. More people die because of neglect (starvation, disease) and murder (illegal wars, crime) than from abortions, yet I rarely see conservative Catholics protest these as much. They may not be as viscerally abhorrent to you as abortion or as politically significant, but they are just as important. Maybe both of you did protest the war in Iraq – I don’t know. I simply want the discussion of Obama at ND to be fair and reasonable and sometimes a quick post to a blog isn’t enough for that to occur.

    Peace.

  • Actually Capital punishment is not a sin. Sorry, as cmatt and Tito point out, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Capital punishment is no less a sin than abortion. That is the point.

    Errr, no. It isn’t. The Church is very clear in its teachings that abortion is neve permissible under any circumstance, whereas the death penalty is permitted, though under strict applications. This is not the “conservative” Catholic approach – it’s simply the Catholic approach. If you disagree with that, take it up with the Pope.

    Not all student who go to ND are Catholic and not all Catholics believe that we should force others to believe everything that we do. Should all speakers and professors at ND take a test as to whether they believe in transubstantiation? in speaking in ex cathedra?

    I am beginning to agree with Tito. Clearly you do not understand what you’re talking about, or what the issues of this debate are. The question has always been whether or not it is appropriate or permissible for a Catholic institution to honor someone who holds positions that are in direct conflict with Church teachings. The answer again is no.

    My point is that reasonable and moral people can have differing opinions on matters of faith.

    You sound like my Junior year high school theology teacher, who was unsurprisingly a Jesuit priest.

    It is unreasonable to disagree that the Earth is in the center of the solar system, but it is reasonable to disagree on at what point human life deserves legal protection or at what point a woman has control over her own body.

    No, actually, you have this reversed, unless you are looking at this from a non-Catholic perspective, which I take it you are.

    a 3rd grade Sunday School view of theology.

    Considering that every single statement you have uttered indicates that you have not ever picked up a Catechism, I would refrain from such comments if I were you.

    More people die because of neglect (starvation, disease) and murder (illegal wars, crime) than from abortions

    Aside from the fact that your stats are wrong, at least as applied to the US, your comment is just silly. The fact that you think that the war in Iraq is a more pressing moral issue than abortion just confirms the fact that your viewpoint is pretty much worthless.

  • The whole quote on the death penalty from the Catechism. This is probably at a higher level then just pure Sunday school.

    2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

  • Paul, Phillip, C Matt,

    Thank you for supporting my points with examples.

    MacGregor,

    Paul made it pretty clear.

    The fact that a Catholic university gave an honorary degree to a person that implements policies that are diametrically opposed to the most important of Catholic issues is the scandal.

    Not anything else.

  • Thank you Phillip for the quote from the Catechist. I do understand the doctrine, but I also believe that maximum security prisons are quite able to “effectively defend human lives against the unjust aggressor” and that there are plenty of “non-lethal means to defend and protect people’s safety.”

    Maybe in times of war or civil strife on the battle field it is necessary to execute a guilty aggressor, but

    I agree that the Catechist IS at a higher level than Sunday school, I just think some people who read it are not and that comment was not even directed at anyone on this blog. I did make the observation that this blog seems to be as much about political conservative principles as it is about Catholic theological principles.

    As I do not know anyone in this forum, I wouldn’t presume to attach any of you as uninformed. As for myself, I went to a diocesan elementary school, a Jesuit high school, an Holy Cross university and my home parish was Franciscan. Maybe that makes me mixed up a bit, especially when it comes to donating to alumni associations, but I think it was a great education. The diocesans taught me how to respect authority, the Jesuits taught me how to think, the Holy Cross taught me how to be a college football fan and the Franciscans taught me how to love.

    I don’t have the time or the space to explain each of my points fully, and I acknowledge that I may have been a bit chavalier comparing abortion and the death penalty, but I have had a good deal of time discussing these issues with Catholic theologians, and I do believe that life is a little more complex than a few paragraphs in the Catechism. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit to continue to guide the Church.

    Regarding the extremely limited allowance for death penalty, this is largely an acknowledgment of the position of self-defense and the defense of others who are innocent. I would hope it were obvious that the hundreds of prisoners that are executed in Texas each year would never be released and executing them is not an act of self-defense. It is an act of revenge or “justice” or some other emotion that is not clearly self-defense. No one on death row to my knowledge has ever escaped unless they were exonerated and I’m pretty sure most people in the judicial system would admit that more than a few innocent people have been executed in the last 100 years. So here simply quoting the Catechism may be a good sophist’s argument, but it isn’t particularly practical for most cases.

    As for the immorality of “any and all abortions,” I don’t have the time right now to describe my thoughts on the historical context, historical writings by Church Fathers (Didache, etc.). The supposed moral clarity of a few lines of text in old writings were never sufficient defense for the stagnant, overly conservative, “whitened sepulcher” Pharisees when Christ came to articulate the new commandments of Love so I hope that the same is true for you. Acknowledging of course that most abortions are not done in self-defense, if self-defense can be a reason to kill a prisoner, why is it not reason to kill a fetus? The logic is one-dimensional.

    Again not enough time to go over this and I do appreciate and agree with most of Donald DeMarco’s writings concerning this in http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3362&CFID=14144486&CFTOKEN=20473498

    However he and many here act as if any question of interpretation or any critical thinking that may find contradictory propositions in Catholic teaching as being “liberal” and “anti-Catholic” is absurd. My issue in this thread is not with the details of the abortion debate, it is with the peculiar atmosphere of the debate as to whether President Obama deserved to be honored. And that atmosphere is one of being partisan and political and exists within the context of a vehement conservative backlash that goes beyond theology.

    How is it, Tito, that abortion is “the most important of Catholic issues?” Did the Pope tell you this? Is euthanasia and unjust war suddenly numbers 2 and 3? Are only conservative issues of life the ones that Catholics should be concerned with?

    Let’s not fool ourselves, George Bush was not protested by many of the same people who protested Obama because they only care about their social/political biases, not by theological arguments.

    No person or president is defined by one issue, no matter how important that issue is or no matter how important it is for you.

    When I was in my parishes boys choir, we went to the state capitol to sing for a pro-life rally. It was a deeply respectful and moving moment and even though I know a good deal more about life and morality now than when I was 12, I still remember it as a spiritual event. I did not see that in the fearful, ignorant, arrogant and angry faces that I saw on some at ND, nor on those at tax teaparties or at some of the latest health care town halls.

    I didn’t challenge anyone’s morality or question anyone’s education or honesty in this forum in my post. I wish you would do the same.

    If it is true, paul, that the ONLY question “has always been whether or not it is appropriate or permissible for a Catholic institution to honor someone who holds positions that are in direct conflict with Church teachings. The answer again is no.” Then I accept you opinion and I sympathize with your statement. However you and the protesters have proven that that is not the only question, and that many who hold placards really haven’t gotten beyond Sunday school level theology.

  • I would hope it were obvious that the hundreds of prisoners that are executed in Texas each year

    Texas executed 18 people last year, 16 people so far this year, and they are by far the leading state. Let’s at least start with facts, okay.
    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/number-executions-state-and-region-1976

    Acknowledging of course that most abortions are not done in self-defense, if self-defense can be a reason to kill a prisoner, why is it not reason to kill a fetus? The logic is one-dimensional.

    Okay. If a fetus comes at its mother with a knife, we’ll grant that an abortion might be okay. So we’ll carve out a new exception to the complete prohibition against abortion: knife-wielding fetuses can be killed in self-defense.

    As an aside, you spill a lot of verbiage for someone who doesn’t “have time” to explain their positions.

    How is it, Tito, that abortion is “the most important of Catholic issues?” Did the Pope tell you this?

    Actually, yes.
    http://www.the-tidings.com/2004/0917/difference.htm

    In his letter, Cardinal Ratzinger also wrote that “Not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia…. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion, even among Catholics, about waging war or applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    that many who hold placards really haven’t gotten beyond Sunday school level theology.

    Again, since you have repeatedly shown a complete lack of knowledge about basic Catholic teaching, you ought to quit making this ridiculous assertion.

  • If a fetus comes at its mother with a knife, we’ll grant that an abortion might be okay. So we’ll carve out a new exception to the complete prohibition against abortion: knife-wielding fetuses can be killed in self-defense.

    Perhaps MacGregor has this in mind:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HT38B2/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1400046416&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1Q9W3T79BK6BRZZ4283P

  • MacGregor, the faithful here will pillory you if you don’t subscribe to THEIR version of the Catholic faith. They are all about capital punishment, as you can see by their defense of it. Abortion is the holy grail by which all matters will be weighed. If you dissent, you show a “complete lack of knowledge”.

  • MacGregor, the faithful here will pillory you if you don’t subscribe to THEIR version of the Catholic faith. They are all about capital punishment, as you can see by their defense of it. Abortion is the holy grail by which all matters will be weighed.

    To my knowledge, more of our writers here oppose capital punishment than support it, and even among those of us who think there on occasions when it is called for (a claim that the catechism supports — though it questions whether they exist in modern first world nations) that support is generally fairly quiet. What people are pointing out here is simply what the Church teaching, indeed what the pope himself has written: that the justice of a given war or issues such as capital punishment are prudential while the evils of abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage and cannot legitimately be questioned by any Catholic.

    That this does not align with your personal preferences is unfortunate, but it’s not “our version” of Catholicism but Catholicism itself that you have a problem with if you find this unacceptable.

    We are all called to accept correction and guidance by Christ’s church on earth — and this applies even when this does not align with one’s political tribe.

  • Master C,

    I abhor capital punishment.

    You need to do your research before you say anything accusing us of what we aren’t.

    The American Catholic was put together with varying points of view being represented. The one thing that unites us is our love of the triune God and fidelity to the Magisterium.

    I hope that helps you the next time you accuse us of something we clearly are not.

  • Since when do you oppose the death penalty?

  • I never commented on it until now, that’s why you didn’t know. But I’ve always opposed the death penalty. Most of my friends know this, but now you know.

    Final judgment is for God, not man.

  • remember this?

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservativism

    Call it an accusation if you like, but this blog has certainly stood up for it
    [the death penalty] previously.

  • Master C.,

    That is a blanket statement. You are reading too much into this particular topic.

    Just because we don’t fit into your worldview of an evil conservative doesn’t mean you need to accuse us of what we aren’t.

  • I am glad to hear you are opposed to the death penalty. Indeed, the mind of God is unsearchable.

  • My long rant of the night. Since we’re talking about the death penalty, I want to talk about the prison system.

    I oppose the entire prison system as it exists today… it makes monsters out of mere lawbreakers. The condition of prisons in states like California are a testament to how little we value human life. A non-violent criminal has no business being thrown into a jail with hardened, violent, career criminals. And no one deserves to be beaten, gang-raped, and given terminal diseases, yet it happens all the time – and the prison guards are either indifferent or the perpetrators themselves.

    With such a system in place, I would actually prefer a quick execution to a long prison sentence, especially a life sentence. As things are, I’m not sure it is even an effective deterrent.

    I do believe there is a small percentage of criminals who are incurable sociopaths/psychopaths who should be put to death. I mean, these people are going to suffer an eternity in hell (most likely); if we’re so terrible for wanting to put them to death, how does the angry liberal deal with the reality of hell? Is God just a mean old man, or has hell been effectively written out of liberal theology? Is the problem REALLY that we’re supposedly taking the judgment out of God’s hands, or is it just materialist-determinist sociology seeping through theology – they didn’t really “choose” to be criminals so they shouldn’t really be punished?

    Let’s not forget that there is an unforgivable sin, the total and willful rejection of God. It is unforgivable, I think, because forgiveness would do nothing for such a person. A psychopath/sociopath that has willfully rejected all restraint and consideration for others, I believe, can and should suffer the final punishment. They cannot be cured because they will not be cured. We have to respect their decision.

    For the other 95% of criminals, I think the death penalty should be off the table and prison reform enacted as soon as possible. We have more criminals than any other developed country in the world – over 2 million prisoners. States like NY have ridiculous drug laws. Rehabilitation programs that work are deliberately denied funding by people who want to “get tough on crime”, even if it means sending non-violent, first time offenders into a hell on earth.

    This attitude is unconscionable for a Christian. Every effort at rehabilitation must be made in a society that places value on human life, and sensible policies regarding sentencing, placement, the structure of the prison, the screening out of sadists and bullies among the guards, all must take place.

  • Indeed, the mind of God is unsearchable.

    I bet Google will find a way. 😉

    Joe, I agree, our prison system is an abomination. It’s a scandal that persists quietly in the background. Infinitely more good would be done by working to reform the prison and justice system before tackling the death penalty.

  • Looks like Joe is our google. He has already figured out which 5% should be put to death. He already knows they are going to hell. Bravo.

  • I never said I knew. It’s just an opinion, one I’m willing to defend with a reasonable argument.

    Can you say the same about anything you believe, or do you think indignation is an adequate substitute for argument?

  • Rehabilitation programs that work are deliberately denied funding by people who want to “get tough on crime”, even if it means sending non-violent, first time offenders into a hell on earth.

    Suggest that the State of New York issue brief determinate sentences specified precisely or by formula in the statute. Families and charitable organizations can work on rehabilitation after convicts are released.

  • I agree with Tito that capital punishment is wrong.

  • Master C,

    Absolutely.

    Who are we to judge a man and take his life away.

    That is for God, not man.

  • It looks like my last post on Friday didn’t make it to the thread, but I appreciate reading the discussion that has taken place since.

    First to paul:

    Thank you for actually using facts on the number of death penalty executions in Texas, my suggestion that the number was in the hundreds was incorrect and came from what I read concerning those on death row, not actually executed. Here is a graph from the US State Dept. that represents the number of exectutions by year over the last century.

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/exe.htm

    It is interesting to see what the effects might have been of the civil rights movement and a more “liberal” slant to national politics during the 60’s and 70’s. However, paul, your data begs several questions.

    1. If Texas is on tap to execute over 20 prisoners this year, is that much different than executing 100 prisoners (beyond of course the perspective of those individual prisoners)? Meaning, is a morally questionable act moderated by how often one does it?

    2. If Texas executed 18 individuals last year and the entire US executed 37 individuals, what does this mean for Texas – that it has around 50% of all the most vicious criminals in the country? That it is 50% better at finding, convicting and then executing its most vicious criminals, or that it has a political bent that make it more likely to execute someone than in most other states?

    3. Even if you believe capital punishment is okay, do you trust the system to be fair and impartial and effective in implementing it? Many governors, those who have the most personal and public choice about allowing the death penalty in their states have found that the system is far too biased and have found too many innocent people have been on death row, though I think only a few have been exonerated after their execution.

    My point is that with capital punishment, there seems to be more than a few grey areas and many times when one side acts very self-righteous and misses their own moral relativism.

    Also, paul, you wrote:

    “Okay. If a fetus comes at its mother with a knife, we’ll grant that an abortion might be okay. So we’ll carve out a new exception to the complete prohibition against abortion: knife-wielding fetuses can be killed in self-defense.”

    You are either being overly glib or completely ignorant and callous as to what giving birth entails. Abortion as means of self-defense is an incredibly small number, but to say that the risk does not exist is too ridiculous to waste time arguing. So what is more common, to die in childbirth (600 deaths per year in the US) or for death row prisoners to escape (0 per year in the US).

    I’ll leave your comment of – “As an aside, you spill a lot of verbiage for someone who doesn’t “have time” to explain their positions.” – as just an example of snarkiness or it being a long day for you.

    As for your final quote from Cardinal Ratzinger – certainly it is obvious that not all moral issues of life and death are the same. Certainly times of war one of the greatest evils is that people are put into violently diverse grey areas regarding the morality of killing someone else – is it murder or self-defense, is it personal or political self-defense, etc., which is why war is so terrible. I am certain that the Cardinal at the time did not think World War 2 was a particularly insignificant moral issue.

    As I read the article from 2004 regarding then Cardinal Ratzinger (http://www.the-tidings.com/2004/0917/difference.htm), the author actually has to explain a series of “technical” terms to interpret the Cardinal’s remarks. The point behind the article was good, in that voters are often lazy in how they vote and in how much responsibility they take for voting.

    Again, this thread and my purpose is not to argue abortion, Roe v. Wade or liberal vs. conservative values, it is about how we should view Notre Dame’s honoring of President Obama. Those are all related, but different discussions.

    I am saying simply that I disagree with those in this forum who feel that Obama is pro-abortion and that this one issue should be the sole barometer for any university to decide upon conferring honors. I do not question the theology behind Cardinal Ratzinger’s letters, but I do question how they are used by others to act holier-than-thou and how they are applied to political decisions.

    This forum does not seem to be the place for an open, sophisticated or truly rational debate on how Catholic teachings should operate in the public sphere.

    As for the view that gay marriage is of similar evil as euthanasia, this is an example of what I mean. I respect the Church’s opinions on both, but my “fidelity to the Magisterium” does not simply give me a hall pass to ignore the fact that there is a difference between the legality of civil marriage and the grace of the sacrament of marriage. Two people choosing to live together even if they can not produce children does not need a papal blessing and it is not morally equivalent to killing an innocent person. As much as I am sure DarwinCatholic knows all about the biological and psychological and spiritual truths of homosexuality, I find space to still question those who “cast the first stone.”

    Obama is against gay marriage. I did not see any signs of support by those who picketed his speech at ND, showing that they support his views on gay marriage. THAT is my point. THEY obviously already made up their minds about Obama and THEY did so from a very narrow viewpoint.

    I agree that the justice system is broken, but also based upon medieval ideas of punishment and rehabilitation. I also believe that a just economic system and a rich cultural/familial/social system are the best means for reducing criminal behavior outside the very rare sociopaths that any population will have.

    I believe a supportive family and just economic system and a just and universally accessible health care system is the best way of eliminating abortions. Anyone who claims to be pro-Life and yet wants to continue the current system in which cut-throat competition and corporate board rooms get to arbitrate all aspects of our health system are blinded by ideology.

    In the end, in my opinion, those who protested the Presidents visit to ND may be driven by honest opinions, but in the end they will probably save more innocent lives by helping him succeed, than by holding signs in opposition.

    Thanks for your comments.

    PS That conservative website http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservativism is pretty funny. The fact that it has these two sentences at the very beginning and that the author doesn’t see the inherent contradiction is amazing:

    “Reagan said: The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom . . .

    The sine qua non of a conservative is someone who rises above his personal self-interest and promotes moral and economic values beneficial to all.”

    This shows the basic flaw in current American, neo-conservative thought. This is the notion that there is no conflict between self-interest and community values, that one can hold the Bible in one hand and Atlas Shrugged in the other.

  • “I am saying simply that I disagree with those in this forum who feel that Obama is pro-abortion and that this one issue should be the sole barometer for any university to decide upon conferring honors.”

    Has anyone ever heard the President describe abortion as a tragedy? Unlike Hillary Clinton, I have not seen him say anything like that.

    Not to get into the kerfluffle of “pro-choice” v. “pro-abortion,” but it is a significant insight into his thinking on this that he is unwilling to make even a verbal nod toward the idea that an abortion is morally problematic. It is of a piece with the statement that his administration will work to reduce the need for, but not the number of, abortions. Leaving aside the difficulty of measuring reduced “need,” as opposed to measurable numbers, the former comes from a world view where abortion is the morally responsible decision. Troubling, to say the least, and difficult to see how workable common ground can be found.

  • “…it is a significant insight into his thinking on this that he is unwilling to make even a verbal nod toward the idea that an abortion is morally problematic”

    It appears you didn’t watch the last presidential debate last year between he and McCain wherein Obama had actually mentioned that he considered abortion itself not even being a moral matter.

  • that one can hold the Bible in one hand and Atlas Shrugged in the other.

    Yeah, I love me some Atlas Shrugged. Good, perceptive analysis there.

  • Paul, you kinda take things personally, don’t you.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

Wednesday, May 13, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

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

1.  Mark Shea has accused the pro-life anti-abortion torture defenders for creating the ‘nightmare’ of Patriot Act abuse.  A homeschooled kid was arrested under suspicion of sending death threats to President Obama via his computer.  It seems as if someone hijacked his IP address to issue those death threats.  As of now he is in jail and hasn’t been allowed to meet his family nor lawyers.

To read Mark Shea’s posting on this click here.

2.  Child molesters in the Church again?  Nope, but the mainstream media isn’t picking up on the story of a Los Angeles school district ‘repeatedly’ returning child molesters to the classrooms.  In a front page story on May 10 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) “repeatedly” returned teachers and aides credibly accused of child molestation back to classrooms, and these individuals then molested children again.  The major networks, MSNBC, and CNN have failed to pick up on this story.

For the full story by Dave Pierre of NewBusters click here.

3.  It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.  Which is directly contrary to Pope Benedict XVI’s (as well as the Magisterium’s teaching) statement that condoms were not the solution to the problem of AIDS.  Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

For the article click here.

[Update I:I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make.  I want to also add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage.

Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

(http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium PromiseEmphasis mine.:

Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

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88 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

  • It is unfortunate, but unsurprising, that Mr. Shea’s response to the evidence that there is more to the story – in fact, that the underlying premise is 100% false – is to retort, “But Charles Krauthammer is eeevil.” Well, perhaps, and I’m no supporter of Charles K’s stance on torture, but that doesn’t make the story one is relating any more true.

  • I’m a bit surprised by his statement, but that is what he wrote and I printed it word for word. I can understand his passion, but to paint a whole swath of good Catholics as part of the problem in abusing the Patriot Act is a bit much.

  • Yeah, it sounds like on Shea’s story, the kid was arrested on a standard federal warrant (no Patriot Act invocation), the charge is that he repeatedly called in false bomb threats to schools in return for money from students (who wanted the day off), and he’s a known internet prank caller — though his mother disputes that he ever made bomb threats, and he has in fact been charge and appeared in court several times along with a state appointed attourney.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/teenage-bomb-threat-suspect-was-an-internet-prank-phone-call-star/

    So nearly everything Shea is basing his post on is wrong, but aside from that…

    I hope this isn’t a sign of Bush derangement syndrome morphing seamlessly into Obama derangement syndrome. There are enough real bad things to decry about the current administration without people insisting that homeschoolers are being scooped up by a Patriot Act weilding Obama and imprisoned without charge.

  • Very good news from Egypt, though. Especially as per the discussion we were having on that topic last week.

  • These comments on Mark’s blog sum up the problem with his post:

    Some kid gets arrested because of a law passed in 1939 which, sensibly enough, makes it illegal to make bomb threats by phone. His mother believes him to be innocent and says that this law passed in 1939 is somehow connected to the Patriot Act. Obviously she’s partial in this, and doesn’t know anything about the law, and is upset by the charges against her son. But what’s Mark’s excuse? What would make Mark spread the lie that this is about the Patriot Act, or uncritically repeat the kid’s mother’s assertions of his innocence?
    Thomas | 05.10.09 – 11:00 am | #

    ——————————————————————————–

    I do not like cops or the government. However, from the press release issued by the Department of Justice, the kid was arrested under Title 18, USC Sec 844(e). The press release also states that the charge is unrelated to the Patriot Act. A Federal Warrant was issued which means a Judge signed off on it.
    Rafael | 05.10.09 – 1:18 pm | #

    I am saddened by this article from mark Shea. If time had been taken to read three or four “current” articles on this situation, one would clearly see that the Patriot Act was not used in this instance, that long standing law was utilized, that the initial stories from the mother have been retracted and further that the quote from Charles Krauthammer (sp) has nothing to do with this case and that the quote used actually misrepresents the article that it is taken from. I enjoy Mark Shea’s articles on theology and catholic belief but this article is shameful for its lack of research and representation of incorrect facts as truth.
    Mike in Lebanon Kentucky | 05.11.09 – 11:30 am | #

  • It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    This does not seem to be supported by the linked to article. Father Jenkins apparently sits on the board of an organization that supports the Millennium Development Goals. Well, the Vatican also supports the Millennium Development Goals. If the fact Father Jenkins sits on a board that supports the MDG means that he believes in promoting condom use to fight AIDS, then logically one would have to conclude that the Vatican also supports this, which is absurd.

  • Darwin,

    Yes that story from Egypt is heart-warming. The judge could still rule against the convert, thus denying his right to a new ID card showing him as a Christian. But the convert has all his paperwork in order, so it will be interesting how the judge rules and what reasoning he uses to deny his request to change his ID card to show that he is a Christian and not a Muslim.

  • Thomas,
    Furthermore, it is possible that the mother may not be as innocent as we might otherwise assume:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519570,00.html

    Mike,
    Yes, Mark has a short trigger. He has sound moral instincts, and I’m sure he is a good egg, but he routinely lets himself get offended before he has all the facts. And as the facts come in he shifts to painting straw men with a very broad brush and then proceeds to vigorously argue with them. It is torturous to observe, and since I oppose torture I seldom visit there anymore.

  • Blackadder,

    The Vatican supports the MGD, but the Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    Logically you don’t make sense.

  • Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    That’s true but irrelevant. The supposedly bad thing about Father Jenkins being on the board of Millennium Promise is that the organization supports the Millennium Development Goals, which the Vatican also supports.

  • BlackadderIV,

    Yes, it is true that both the Vatican [ed.-actually, the Vatican doesn’t support MGD after further research] and Fr. Jenkins support the Millennium Development Goals, but the Vatican is not on the board of Millennium Promise and Fr. Jenkins is.

    Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS and that Fr. Jenkins is a board member, then Fr. Jenkins by default supports condom usage.

    That in itself creates a scandal, even if the perception of a scandal is apparent, then Fr. Jenkins should not be a board member at all.

  • Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS

    What is the evidence that Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS? The only evidence cited in the article is that the group supports the MDG. Clearly this is not good evidence, as the Vatican itself supports the MDG.

    Maybe Millennium Promise supports condoms. Maybe it supports Satanic child sacrifice. Who knows. All I know is that the linked to article provides no evidence in support of the claim that the group (and by extension, Father Jenkins) does support condoms.

  • BlackadderIV,

    The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions, has not distanced himself from those MGD’s that support it.

  • Tito:

    I agree with Blackadder on this one. The article provides a weak link, too weak to charitably launch a criticism that assumes Jenkins is weak on contraception.

  • Michael Denton,

    As a board member of a pro-life organization I would not want my organization endorsing causes that go counter to Catholic teaching. I would resign or work towards amending the predicament.

    Fr. Jenkins has compromised himself by being a board member of said group. Fr. Jenkins is also president of Notre Dame, so we can assume he is very careful about what organizations he is a member of. He holds a high profile position and should be careful as a representative of the Catholic Church and her teachings. By being a board member he gives unwarranted assurances that it is o.k. to pass out condoms and procure abortions for whatever reasons.

    We can debate where the link is weak or not.

    The fact remains that it is causing scandal by his mere association, even more so now that he has made the monumental blunder of not only inviting the most pro-abortion president to speak, but also giving him an honorary degree in which creates more scandal.

  • The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    The title of the article from Zenit I linked to is “Holy See Promotes Millennium Goals at U.N.” The first sentence of the article states “The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that ‘it is an obligation in justice.'” I’m not sure how you can say that “nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.”

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions

    Again, there’s no evidence that Millennium Promise does support condom usage and abortions. If you can produce some evidence that it does so, then okay, you’d have a point about Jenkins being a board member. But one shouldn’t accuse Father Jenkins (or anyone else) of supporting condom usage or belonging to an organization that supports condom usage unless one has some evidence that these claims are actually true.

  • BlackadderIV,

    I don’t have the link to the Zenit article you are referencing.

    The mere fact that MP supports MGD is enough to cause scandal. Even the perception of support is enough to cause scandal.

    Clearly you and I disagree on whether Fr. Jenkins supports condoms and abortion.

    We can leave it at that.

  • Tito,

    The link is here.

  • Here’s part of the article if you are having trouble with the link:

    NEW YORK, SEPT. 18, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that “it is an obligation in justice.”

    Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, stressed the importance of the development goals, which include eradicating half of the world’s poverty by 2015, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday.

    “It remains an obligation in justice in the service of human dignity to attain and even to surpass the Millennium Development Goals, thereby establishing an essential pre-condition for peace and collective security, and for the elimination or substantial reduction of the threat from terrorism and international crime,” he said.

  • BlackAdderIV,

    Thank you for the link.

    It seems the Vatican is clearly backing the MGD’s in rectifying the situation of the poor. That’s what I read in the article.

    I do see where you are coming from and I do agree with it to an extent. But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    Thank you for the vibrant discussion. You never fail to offer a positive and constructive debate.

  • Btw, where did the stuff about abortion come from? You started out by saying that Father Jenkins supported condom use to fight AIDS, and then at some point started adding “and abortion” to the end of your claims that Father Jenkins supports condoms. What’s up with that?

  • Tito:

    Since you say:

    But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I think that then you should alter these claims in the original post:

    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    and

    Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

  • But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I don’t think scandal can be properly based on false accusations made against someone. Suppose I said that the American Catholic blog supported condoms, and repeated the claim a bunch of times. Would that mean that you should resign from the blog, because even the mere appearance of support of condom use was causing scandal? I don’t think so.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    What’s up with your hostility?

  • Michael Denton,

    No such thing will be done.

  • BA,

    There is a clear link between the MGD and MP. You can debate until your face turns blue, but you can’t argue with facts.

  • I think Tito might have picked up on one of these articles:

    http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?s=228024285a02e66b8f754d589f7b900a&showtopic=93977&mode=threaded

    A further issue of concern is Millennium Development Goal #5 which is to “Improve Maternal Health.” In 2005 there was an enormous campaign to change MDG#5 to include women’s reproductive health – a code word for abortion. This campaign failed, but there is still an ongoing power struggle over this issue. Some organizations such as UNICEF and UNFPA have issued public documents stating that women’s reproductive health is indeed now included as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

    Since those seeking to incorporate abortion rights in the MDG failed in their efforts, it seems unfair to include abortion in the litany of accusations against Fr. Jenkins. That said, MDG#6 is pretty clear in its promotion of contraception.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    It’s contentious, but for now abortion is not part of the MDGs. On that particular score, it thus unfair to imply that Fr. Jenkins has an abortion problem.

  • No such thing will be done.

    Y’see, Michael, Tito is infallible.

  • Michael I.,

    What are you studying again?

    Paul & BA4,

    I see where abortion hasn’t quite made it on the MGD agenda so I’ll refrain from accusing Fr. Jenkins on that point. Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

  • Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Even though I do agree that there’s an undeniable link between the Millennium Project and the Millennium Development Goals, and as a board member Fr. Jenkins is at least tacitly responsible for the end product, this still might be an over-reach. What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    I don’t completely dismiss your concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Agreed.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Likewise, agreed.

  • I agree with the previous three commenters.

    Tito:

    You are out of line if you don’t retract. You have asserted that a priest openly rejects the teaching of the Church on contraception. This would be a very serious sin if true, and is a very serious charge, especially against a priest, and especially against a priest of high prominence.

    You, by your own admission, lack the evidence for such a charge. Perhaps Jenkins does support them, but you have not one bit of evidence other then “he’s on a group which is associated with this group that includes contraception.” You need much stronger evidence then that to accuse someone, particularly a Catholic priest, of such wrongdoing as you accuse.

    If you do not update the post with a correction, this post is calumny [ed.-if you continue to slander me you will be placed in moderation].

  • John,
    I agree as well. I do not think that being a board member of an organization that does has perfectly sound purposes but also supports condom distribution automatically makes one a supporter of condom distribution. For all we know Fr. Jenkins opposes condom distribution and has faithfully registered his objections at board meetings. One is not required by Catholic teaching to resign from each and every organization that takes actions or positions inimical to Church teaching — that is a prudential decision. That is exactly why we can have pro-life Democrats, and indeed it is good that we do. I have served on the local United Way board off and on for 15 years notwithstanding the fact that the local Planned Parenthood agency as a grantee. If fact, I have been instrumental in ensuring that donors can elect to direct their donations so as to exclude Planned Parenthood and helped devise the accounting procedures that give that actual effect. We cannot resign from the world. While one might argue that it is imprudent for Fr. J to remain a board member for reasons of potential confusion or scandal, that is a prudential calculus that belongs to him. The fact that he has chosen to remain a board member is very weak evidence that he actually supports condom distribution.
    All that said, perhaps Tito has other evidence and I missed it (in a hurry — lots to do).

  • Michael Denton,

    You will be guilty of slander if you continue with your uncharitable and dishonest accusations against me.

    I will not repeat what I’ve already explained why Fr. Jenkins seems to promote condom usage. Your obtuseness will not be tolerated if you continue with your behavior. This is your first and only warning. If you continue you will be placed on moderation.

  • Mike Petrik,

    By the simple fact that you are a board member of United Way makes you in formal cooperation with evil. United Way funds abortions and it is something not to be proud of. [ed.-I was wrong here, United Way operates independently at the local level.]

    I can see why there is hostility to my position. You clearly are going against church teachings.

    You cannot be publicly for abortion, but privately against it. Just like many typical ‘pro-life democrats’.

  • Everyone,

    That is the problem with complacency and nuance. By giving excuse after excuse to why Fr. Jenkin’s is on the board for an organization that promotes condom usage and quite possibly abortions is to fall into relativism.

    [ed.-edited for charity] Too many good and well-meaning Catholics make excuses for those Catholics that continue to drift away from Catholic teaching to the point that they are completely in camp with evil. Such as Fr. Jenkin’s honoring the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the United States and Mike Petrik sitting on the board of an organization for 15 years that funds abortions is inexcusable.

    We need to change the culture, not be changed by it.

  • There is a clear link between the MGD and MP.

    First, it really should be MDG, not MDG. It’s Millennium Development Goals, after all, not Millennium Goals Development.

    Second, I’m not arguing that there’s no link between Millennium Promise and the Millennium Development Goals. That is very clear. The question is whether supporting the Millennium Development Goals means supporting condom use. Given the fact that the Vatican (which certainly does not support condom use) supports the Millennium Development Goals, I would argue the answer to this question is no.

    The specific MDG in question is number six, which is to “[c]ombat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.” Whatever some UN bureaucrat might say on the matter, isn’t it obvious that one could support that goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS?

  • BlackAdder4,

    I agree with your statement that you can support the goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    What I say is that due to Fr. Jenkins actions of late he has brought the light of scandal upon himself. If he has done this, he may have made other mistakes as well. One of them being that he is a board member of MP. Assuming that he is there for the correct reasons, he is still causing scandal by bringing attention to such a scandalous position.

    And I do like MGD (Miller Genuine Draft), but yes, I was referring to MDG. Thank you for the fraternal correction.

  • Tito,

    No doubt Father Jenkins has made many mistakes and is open to criticism on many fronts. That doesn’t mean that one has free reign to accuse him of whatever one wishes.

    This doesn’t have to be difficult. You didn’t look into a matter very carefully, and ended up making a charge against Father Jenkins that isn’t supported by the evidence. Okay, it happens. The thing to do when this is pointed out to you is just to own up to the mistake, retract the charges, and move on. Retrenchment on such a matter will only serve to further damage your credibility.

  • Tito:

    Mike Petrik making excuses for those who actually support the very things you mention?

    My dear friend, you seem to be conflating one’s residence within a certain organization/entity with direct allegiance & support of the very activities it purportedly sponsors.

    If that were indeed the case, that this Guilt by Association automatically renders a person culpable of the very crimes you seem wont to prosecute him for, then that would make any citizen of the United States who pay their taxes guilty of similar crimes, given that the U.S. government provides monies to national abortion programs (and, even now, in light of Obama’s fierce Pro-abortion Crusade, it would seem globally as well); and, therefore, by that very same logic you’ve applied thus, makes every tax-paying U.S. citizen guilty of formal cooperation with evil, too.

    You’re better than this — or, at least, I should hope.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Again we can agree to disagree.

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    e.,

    Fr. Jenkins causes scandal by his mere association of such an organization.

  • Tito,

    The claim that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” is unsubstantiated, and I agree with Michael Denton’s recommendation that it should be retracted.

  • Christopher,

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    You have your opinions on the matter which are incorrect. Fr. John Jenkins is causing a scandal by his board membership to an organization that supports the promotion of condom use.

  • I think that the baseless of Tito’s accusation has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of everyone but Tito, and demonstrating it to his satisfaction does not seem to be possible, so I’ll leave the conversation here.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Just because your unsupported accusations are supported by others doesn’t make it right.

    You are not satisfied unless your able to smear me which is uncharitable to say the least.

    The conversation would have been better served if you hadn’t participated in the first place.

  • Re: Millenium Promise

    Millennium Villages Handbook

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in
    controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a
    nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred.
    However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion
    practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level,
    provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services
    are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat
    sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the
    reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling;
    (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral,
    transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    So, while the absolute evidence is not in the articles, it is clearly in their approach.

    The insidious use of euphemisms like “prevention services”, “maternal health”, “reproductive health” etc. does not change the reality of what Millenium Promise is doing. None of us should be so naive as to believe they are being moral.

  • Off topic (and perhaps simply for comic relief at this point), is the icon typically used in Tito Edward’s posts a painting of the very man featured in the icon in blackadderiv’s posts?

  • Tito,

    Paul Zummo’s questions stand, and I note you have not bothered to respond:

    What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

  • Everyone,

    I am adding substantial evidence of Millenium Promise‘s goals for condom usage AND abortion to the posting.

    It will take a little while since Millenium Promise‘s handbooks have this burried in over 200 pages of “nuance”.

    Christopher Blosser,

    You continue to ignore my statement that Fr. Jenkins gives cause for scandal. [ed.-off topic]

  • e.,

    I use El Greco’s ‘Conde Ordaz’ picture.

    I’m not sure what Black Adder use’s but it’s not what I use.

  • Tito:

    Personally, I believe the charitable thing to do at this point is for you to retract your accusation.

    Although I can see your point concerning how the opinion of the mob does not automatically render theirs correct (argumentum ad populum); still, I can’t see how the accusation you’ve made against Jenkins can seriously be considered as anything but baseless at this point.

    While Jenkin’s own actions during the past months may appear downright reprehensible, I don’t think that faithful Catholics such as yourself should sink so low to the point of what appears to be calumny.

    As I’ve attempted to explain before, I don’t quite think that Jenkins simply being a board member automatically renders him guilty of personally perpetrating the very crime of which you seem to have prematurely prosecuted him for, no more than I would deem you — for simply being a tax-paying U.S. citizen — guilty of supporting national programs for abortion being that such programs are prominently financed by taxpayers’ monies.

  • Christopher,

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    with respect, where exactly does Tito make the claim you are claiming he did? It is your own accusation which is groundless. Tito only claimed that Fr. Jenkins SEEMS to support condom use since he’s on a board of an organization, that despite suggestions to the contrary DISTRIBUTES CONDOMS and PROVIDES ABORTIONS.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

    No, it’s a statement about APPEARANCE, in being on the board of an organization it APPEARS or SEEMS one is in support of their activities.

    Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.

  • Matt,

    “Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    Are you quite serious about this?

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level, middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too? To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

  • While we’re at it. Until the Church declares the particular techniques defended by some to be torture, it is completely uncharitable to refer to refer to those who defend them as “torture defenders”. The argument is clearly about the definition of torture, not whether or not we should be using torture, which, we should not, and most everyone in the debate agrees.

  • In regard to Mike Petrik there is no firmer pro-lifer.

    In regard to accusations, there should be evidence presented. As to Jenkins I think in order to claim that he supports condom use we need more than he is present on the board of Millenium Promise. I do agree with Tito that it strikes me as a fairly dubious organization.

  • I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make. I want to add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage. I have added this to the original post as an addendum.

    Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

    (http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

    Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium Promise. Emphasis mine.:

    Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

    Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

  • Tito, look at it this way. From another thread:

    The way Fr. Z links homosexuality with “rats” and the “devil” is scandalous and inappropriate for a priest of Jesus Christ.

    To which was replied:

    This is what Father Z wrote:

    “While it is true that the laborers in the Lord’s vinyard should be perfect enough in their spirit of dedication never to have to need any praise or thanks, they remain human beings. Furthermore, they are also under constant attack by the enemy of the soul.

    It takes but small crack for a rat to slip into a house. It takes hardly anything at all for the devil to insinuate his venom into a man’s daily reflections.”

    Would you agree that it was incorrect and wrong for the first person to say what he did? I think so. If you do, then please step back and see how what you’re saying about Fr Jenkins is similar (and I’m not sying Fr Jenkins isn’t wrong on a number of issues, but justice is justice).

  • e.,


    Matt said: being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    e. said: Are you quite serious about this?

    Absolutely. To clarify, I’m not talking about mundane evil, but the profound evils of abortion and contraception.

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level

    Most probably yes.

    , middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too?

    To a lesser extent, but yes in those cases too. This can be excused if there’s no direct involvement, and the individual has no choice to make a living for their family but to be employed at the organization. It would also depend on the amount of evil being spread. Let’s say Coca-Cola on the lower level, Proctor & Gamble in the middle, and Planned Parenthood at the highest. This group seems to be somewhere between P&G and PP in it’s promotion of evil.

    To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

    Not to a substantial extent because citizenship is not a voluntary assocation. If the evil activity becomes so substantial that the nation is wholly corrupt, and there are alternatives we should leave, but in our current circumstances, I don’t see that as the case. There is still a “Culture War” going on, and really no safe haven elsewhere, we have no choice but to stay and fight.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    RE: Mike Petrik, I agree.

    RE: Tito’s suspicion about the organization, I agree.

    RE: Jenkin’s purportedly supporting those particular measures as detailed therein; that remains to be seen.

    Personally, even seeming to act on behalf of Jenkin’s is the last thing I’d ever countenance; however, given the subtle workings of certain boards I happen to be acquainted with, given its own “political” workup and their various agendas which not all unanimously agree to, this very detail would leave me initially skeptical.

  • Fr. Jenkins is on the board of a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization of Millennium Promises which at minimum gives scandal.

    I have not accused Fr. Jenkins of being personally for condom usage (or abortion). But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.

    Notwithstanding all the evidence that I have provided that many of you have chosen to ignore.

  • It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

  • Tito:

    “But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.”

    Respectfully, the very same can be said almost about any one of us.

    If a person can automatically be condemned as being somebody who “seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”, then a person who simply works for a corporation who also happens to do the same can likewise be condemned as such.

    Now, to be fair, Jenkins may well be guilty of having actually supported those very measures detailed in the handbook; however, as it stands, there is yet to be convincing evidence of the sort that would actually corroborate such a claim — even a claim as tentatively articulated as “he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”.

  • e.,

    Yes, I see your reasoning.

    The difference is that Fr. Jenkins is a Catholic priest. One who is the president of a world-renowned Catholic university. One that can be argued made a mistake of offering an honorary degree and an invitation to speak to Notre Dame’s graduates. He is now under the microscope because of his questionable actions. One can rightly say “is this a pattern of behavior?” Someone who goes contrary to Church teachings?

    It is only fair to ask if his example is giving scandal to others. His mere association with Millenium Promise gives credence that it’s ok to abort and use condoms since such a prominent Catholic is on a board of a UN NGO!

  • Just so we’re clear, my point was that Krauthammer says that if we have “the slightest belief” that torture will save “an innocent”, then this kid should, by Krauthammer’s own logic, be tortured. Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him. So by Krauthammer’s logic it is a “moral obligation” to torture the kid, lest by some oversight he or his compatriots actually kill innocents. The post isn’t really about the Patriot Act: it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

  • With all due respect… (That being the general precursor to rhetorically laying into someone.)

    Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him.

    Actually, that’s not clear at all. Calling in bomb threats is illegal even if they’re known to be false. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that he’s being prosecuted for making fake bomb threats, not on the suspicion that he was really going to bomb anything.

    it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

    I’m not really clear that his is put forward by “major pundits” or “representative of allegedly ‘conservative’ thought” either. Sometime along these lines was said by Krauthammer (a quirky sort of fellow himself, politically) once. I strongly doubt that, if ask, he would give the interpretation to his words that you are giving. And if one went around the country asking pundits and ordinary citizens the number (even among Fox News watchers) who would assert that the government has a moral obligation to torture anyone it has the least suspicion of being about to bomb innocent people is pretty clearly vanishingly small.

    I don’t think that your admirable witness against consequentialist arguments for torture is helped by assembling what amounts to a fairly preposterous straw man. Your arguments themselves are better than that.

  • Once again the clown Mark Shea has bombed. Certainly even now he’s scouring online archives, Krauthammer’s rubbish bin, Halliburton dumps, anything at all in a desperate attempt at uncovering some comeback lines. In this valiant Hamburger Hill like effort at misdirection he’ll be well advised to decline any offer of relief from Mr Comerford, the Walter Mitty of the blogosphere.

  • Ivan,

    Without the rudeness please?

  • Ditto Ivan’s remarks.

    Shea has sunk so low, he has himself become a self-parody; simply allow the guy to dig his own grave and he will… eventually.

  • Shea is no clown and needs no defense from the likes of e. and Ivan. They are best ignored.

  • Mark, Darwin Catholic

    I apologise for writing “the clown…”. I regretted that once it was posted.

  • “I apologise for writing ‘the clown'”

    Yeah, ‘Bozo’ would’ve been more apt where Shea is concerned!

    (apologies, Darwin Catholic — only messin’).

  • Christopher,

    Christopher Blosser Says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 A.D. at 2:27 pm

    It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

    You know that’s not what I or Tito said, so it’s simply a strawman.

    Since you asked though, membership in the Democrat party is material cooperation with evil and may be scandalous. Whether this is sinful or not would depend on a number of factors. Particularly to the degree one avoids apparent or actual support of the platform or pro-abortion candidates.

    Now, simple membership in a party is not the same thing as being on the board of an organization, which is done specifically to lend credibility to the cause and/or as a reward for faithful support. I have not heard Fr. Jenkins actively rejecting the approach of the group he is on the board of, and it’s likely that he would not be on that board if he was. As a prominent Catholic priest lending credibility to an organization which substantially spreads evil, he is giving scandal.

  • Matt,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    That’s good.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    Chris, that is one of the most aggregious attempts at changing the substance of a persons statement by quoting out of context I’ve seen in awhile. All you had to do to present your Christian brother’s statement in a more reasonable light is to quote the WHOLE sentence, instead of slicing it up for your own purposes.

    What Tito actually said:
    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    seem
    ??/sim/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [seem]

    –verb (used without object)
    1. to appear to be, feel, do, etc.: She seems better this morning.
    2. to appear to one’s own senses, mind, observation, judgment, etc.: It seems to me that someone is calling.
    3. to appear to exist: There seems no need to go now.
    4. to appear to be true, probable, or evident: It seems likely to rain.
    5. to give the outward appearance of being or to pretend to be: He only seems friendly because he wants you to like him.

    There is an appearance of support.

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    And that is what Tito was trying to do, regardless of whether or not he expressed it exactly as you wanted.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

    And that is what CHRISTOPHER BLOSSER did by misquoting Tito’s statement.

  • Christopher,

    “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    I said “seems”, not “believes”.

    I believe you misquoted me. Or it seems you misquoted me. See the difference?

    Which changes the entire context of what I wrote.

  • Tito,

    I thank you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s examine your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts aspersion on Fr. Jenkins.

    Again, if Tito had framed the argument in such a manner as:

    1) Fr. Jenkins is a member of the board of an organization that endorses the Millenium Goals
    2) Said organization has been known to advocate contraception in the fulfillment of the “goal”
    3) Fr. Jenkins lends the appearance of advocacy to this by his being on the board

    I would have little objection, because rather than rumor-mongering, you instead extend the invitation to Fr. Jenkins for clarification, and treat him with Christian charity such as every Catholic deserves.

  • Christopher Blosser,


    I think you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s take your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts an unsubstantiated charge against Fr. Jenkins.

    Are we clear on why I object to this?.

    Tito didn’t plant the thought in the public realm, Fr. Jenkins did by being ON THE BOARD OF A PRO-CONDOM, PRO-ABORTION ORGANIZATION, which is a further complication of his support for honoring a rabidly pro-abortion politician and rejecting the correction of his own bishop. Tito brought it up for discussion on the blog, it was always in the public realm. Tito revealed nothing.

    Are you HONESTLY denying that Fr. Jenkins position on that board implies support for it’s operations in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, especially in light of his decision to reject the instruction of his bishop and honor a pro-abortion/condom politician?

  • Christopher,

    We are splitting hairs at this point.

    For me I take people at their word and I believe what you are saying is sincere. I take your fraternal actions to heart, but we’ve exhausted this debate well enough.

    Pax vobiscum.

  • Matt,

    I’ve stated my case. I’m done with this.

  • It “seems” that Tito does not fully understand the concept of material cooperation, but pontificates on it with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito has no idea how United Ways are organized or governed, but pontificates on them with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito feels he can reach factual conclusions with great confidence simply by taking bizarre inferential liberties.
    It “seems” that Tito thinks that he is entitled to make all manner of unfair accusations, most especially if he qualifies them with “seems.”

  • Mike,

    I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

  • I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

    No more than any of us who live in this society.

    Tito, are ad hominem attacks wrong? If so, how does “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” differ from what Mike said? Best I can tell, the only difference is that while Mike slipped in “it seems”, his observations can actually be connected to your own words, whereas there is much less to go on regarding Fr. Jenkins.

  • As far as the rest of your ad hominem attacks, you need to think twice before you post or you will be banned.

    Tito: You really need to relax. You have now generated into ad hominem and ridiculous charges against someone who is merely pointing out the spuriousness of your charges. If you feel like lashing out against and banning Mike and anyone else who shows even the slightest hint of disagreeing with you, then frankly I have no use in visiting this site anymore myself.

  • Rick,

    If you want to delve into moral relativism, be my guest.

    It is scandalous that a prominent Catholic priest is a board member of an organization that actively promotes condom usage and abortion.

    But if you want to mock me and what I wrote I am fine with it. You can attack the messenger, but the fact remains that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member, not a volunteer on a Sunday morning passing out flyers, but a board member that has the authority to debate the direction of an organization that actively promotes moral evils contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Go ahead and attack me, but you won’t distract from this very fact.

  • Everyone,

    We all need to cool down about this (me included).

    So I am closing down the comments for this thread.

    We all need to think twice before posting comments and remember that we are all children of Christ. It would behoove all of us to be more charitable in how we treat each other.

    I appreciate fraternal correction, but that can’t be used as a weapon to bludgeon someone you disagree with.

    Pax!

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-20-2009 « The American Catholic

Bishop D'Arcy Responds

Thursday, April 23, AD 2009
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18 Responses to Bishop D'Arcy Responds

  • I hope it’s OK to comment. I am a Catholic, but I disagree with the Bishop somewhat. Plus: Why is it only abortion that matters? Obama is also pro-death penalty. Obama is not that pro-choice (what he says and who he appoints are two different things). But he is rabidly pro-death penalty.

    I don’t care if Obama speaks at Notre Dame. Lots of presidents speak at universities and to me it is something that students will always remember, whether they agree with that president’s political stands or not. I disagree with Obama on almost everything. I would rather see protests WHEN he speaks than protests about him speaking. IMHO.

  • Plus: Why is it only abortion that matters?

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it has been pointed out that the evil of abortion does outweigh some other issues. As then Cardinal Ratzinger put it:

    Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    Obama is not that pro-choice

    Yeah, he kind of is. He is so rabidly pro-abortion that he opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have guaranteed some basic rights to babies that survived a botched abortion. Even Planned Parenthood didn’t hold such an extreme view.

    I don’t care if Obama speaks at Notre Dame.

    That’s nice. But that doesn’t really speak to the issue of whether or not honoring a public individual who supports a grave and manifest evil that is unequivocally opposed by the Church ought to be honored at a Catholic university.

    would rather see protests WHEN he speaks than protests about him speaking. IMHO.

    Why not both?

  • Carrisa,

    Whether you are Catholic or not, you are more than welcomed to comment here just as long as it relates to the topic, charitable, and constructive.

    Welcome to American Catholic!

  • Understatement of the year:

    Obama is not that pro-choice

    Yeah, he kind of is”

    I laughed when I read that 🙂

  • “Obama is not that pro-choice.”

    I think the argument used by some is that he is pro-choice but not pro-abortion.

    We’ll leave it at that.

  • Bishop D’Arcy talks about how proper consultation could have avoided all this. This is the real shame here. This all could have been avoided. Father Jenkins acted unilaterally. Where have I heard that unilateral action is the worst kind of sin? Hmm…

  • Father Jenkins acted unilaterally.

    Just because he didn’t consult with the bishop does not mean he acted unilaterally.

  • I’m pro-choice with regard to holding slaves.

    I think that every person should be free to hold slaves without government interference, the government should provide funding for people to purchase slaves if they can’t afford them, the government should provide facilities to keep slaves, also it’s good for the government to fund organizations which further the cause of slavery worldwide, I speak often at slavery conventions, and receive many political contributions from slavery groups.

    But…. I am not pro-slavery, I would not hold slaves, although if my children needed some help around the house I wouldn’t want them punished with having to do the work themselves, so I would take them to the slave auction and give them money to buy slaves).

    Slaves should be safe, legal, and rare.

  • Michael,
    Ought not a priest consult with the local bishop on a decision that was surely to be controversial? On a matter that cuts to the core of Catholic teaching and its alignment with the Natural Law? If not unilateral, then surely imprudent. The good father chose perishable wordly praise over timeless universal truth. How very sad.

  • Matt,
    Bravo. Can I borrow this comparison of yours? I may be able to make some headway with this.

  • daledog,

    I’m sure it’s been done before, but it fits Obama so precisely! Feel free to use it.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to make an analogy of the opposition to “Born Alive Protection Act” any suggestions?

  • “I’m still trying to figure out how to make an analogy of the opposition to “Born Alive Protection Act” any suggestions?”

    Not a direct analogy, but here goes:

    Fugitive Slave Act. If a slave actually manages to make it to freedom in the North, it is against the law for people in Northern states to aid said slave in his/her escape or otherwise provide assistance.

  • With respect to my comment that Obama is not that pro-choice, I realize in Catholicize there is no wiggle-room. But Obama isn’t Catholic, even though he gave more money to Catholic Social Services last year (as revealed on his income tax forms) than to any other group. Many Catholics belonged to a pro-Obama group (Catholics for Obama) because they believed that he was more anti-choice than pro-choice. I did not support Obama, but I think that group had good evidence. His first choice for Health and Human Services was Tom Daschle, a guy who had only a 50% rating from NARAL. And many of Obama’s associates are ministers like James Meeks of the Illinois Family Institute.

    Abortion just took over the Church as an issue. In the 1980s it became impossible to attend a mass or sometimes even a funeral without hearing about abortion. Now it seems to be homosexuality.

    When are we going to get back to the central message of love? When are the words of Jesus going to come to us from the pulpit? I have listed to pro-life men speak about abortion without ever using the word woman or mother: they say “womb,” like we are incubators. I don’t hear Jesus in that. I am not saying the Church should drop its doctrine or not take stands on issues of life. If I wanted no doctrine, no transubstantiation, no veneration of the Blessed Virgin, I would be a Unitarian or something. But I find more vitriol than love most of the time when Catholics talk about current politics.

    Thank you for letting me comment. God bless.

  • Above, second line should say Catholicism. Sorry.

  • Carrisa, here is a good site to learn about Obama and his record on abortion:

    http://www.lifenews.com/obamaabortionrecord.html

    The Church has condemned abortion since the time of the Apostles and Obama is a champion of abortion. The facts shout for themselves. A website you might find interesting is here:

    http://www.feministsforlife.org/

  • Carissa, even though I am 100 percent pro-life, I have sometimes wondered myself why the Church seems to “harp” on abortion so much.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because no other major institutions (other than evangelical Protestant churches) are doing so, and the Church HAS to go out of its way to remind people how evil abortion is because they aren’t getting that reminder anywhere else, with a few exceptions (e.g. Feminists for Life, noted pro-life atheists such as Nat Hentoff, some Orthodox Jews and Muslims).

    The Church doesn’t have to put quite as much effort into condemning war, poverty, capital punishment, or murder of people already born because there are plenty of other individuals and groups out there doing so already, and the force of civil law already condemns things like murder. With abortion (and now, gay marriage), however, Catholics and evangelical Protestants stand nearly alone in opposing it; so I guess they just have to repeat their message louder and more frequently.

  • The reason the Church harps on this so much is that Catholics DO NOT GET IT. Most voted for Obama, and every pro-abortion presidential candidate before him. Maybe they’ll take it easy when liberal Catholics get it.

  • Catholics say in the Creed: “I believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord and Giver of Life…” Anyone who thinks that abortion or euthanasia ought to be legal is an enemy of God and will receive the recompense which befits an enemy. This is so clear a child can understand. The enemies of God cannot see this which is the first sign that they are already being punished.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-22-2009

Wednesday, April 22, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

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

1. The HOT rumor of the day is that “Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, is in Washington today (Tuesday) for an unannounced meeting at the White House.”

Is he personally visiting with President Obama to offer his sincere apologies for rescinding the invitation to speak at the commencement?  Rescind the honorary law degree?  Ask for a job after he gets fired?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Phil Lawler of Catholic World News received a report from a reliable source of Fr. Jenkin’s unannounced visit to the White House and they cannot confirm this report yet.

In other news, this past Monday Fr. Jenkins expressed his profound pride in honoring the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history.

2. Have you seen Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s updated and revised blog?  It is awesome!

3. Even though the 2012 U.S. presidential elections are three years away we can dream and speculate who we would like to run for office between either a Democratic or Republican candidate (or even a legitimate third party candidate).  One name that has become quite intriguing to me is the former U.S. Representative from Georgia, Newt Gingrich.  His mea culpa of his previous marriages, his incredible intellect, speaking skills, and his recent conversion to our beautiful Catholic faith makes him my favorite for now.

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77 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-22-2009

  • Newt Gingrich has a hundred ideas a day, at least three of which are sound! Bright guy but he would be a disaster as a candidate. Too many skeletons, too many bitter ex-wives and a tendency not to be trusted within the party. I could imagine him as a possible veep, but I don’t think he will ever be elected to the top job.

    In regard to Hitler, rumors constantly swirled during the War that he planned to imprison Pius and set up a puppet papacy. Wiser heads in the Third Reich realized this would be a disaster for them, and Hitler in his saner moments agreed, but the risk was real enough at the time. Hitler often spoke of “settling accounts” with the Church after the war, and I could easily imagine him in a moment of high anger deciding not to wait.

  • That is frightening to hear about “settling accounts”. If Hitler had won the war it may have well been one of the darkest periods for the Church since the French Revolution.

  • Because of your excellent points on Mr. Gingrich I still have inadequate information to be completely convinced of his candidacy.

    I’m still distraught over Senator Brownback’s support of Governor Sebelius so I don’t have anyone as of now that I really like.

    I hear from insiders of the Baton Rouge political scene that Governor Jindal so far has ‘mixed reviews’ on his performance, so I’m hesitant to jump on that bandwagon.

    And Governor Palin’s appointment of a pro-choice judge to the Alaska State Supreme Court has made my stomach turn.

  • To answer the question headline of one of the related posts:

    “Should Pope Pius XII Become a Saint?”

    Yes!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Hitler%27s_Pope

  • As Donald said Gingrich is an ideas guy, but he is saddled with too much baggage. This is the land of second chances, but the presidency isn’t a second chance job.

    Tito,

    I’d recommend you do some more research before you let your stomach turn. This non-issue was debunked a while back. Alaska Supreme Court Justices, unlike the US Supreme Court, are not chosen by the executive branch. In Alaska the state Judiciary Council submits nominees to the governor who has to pick one of the nominated individuals. A previous governor fought this requirement and lost. Unless the Alaska state constitution is modified the process will remain as is.

  • In regard to Hitler here are some of his diatribes against the Church contained in his “Table Talk” compiled following the war from notes taken at the time he spoke:

    ‘The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem. Only then Will the life of the German native be guaranteed once and for all.”

    “The evil that’s gnawing our vitals is our priests, of both creeds. I can’t at present give them the answer they’ve been asking for, but it will cost them nothing to wait. It’s all written down in my big book. The time will come when I’ll settle my account with them, and I’ll go straight to the point.”

    “I don’t know which should be considered the more dangerous: the minister of religion who play-acts at patriotism, or the man who openly opposes the State. The fact remains that it’s their maneuvers that have led me to my decision. They’ve only got to keep at it, they’ll hear from me, all right. I shan’t let myself be hampered by juridical scruples. Only necessity has legal force. In less than ten years from now, things will have quite another look, I can promise them.”

    “We shan’t be able to go on evading the religious problem much longer. If anyone thinks it’s really essential to build the life of human society on a foundation of lies, well, in my estimation, such a society is not worth preserving. If’ on the other hand, one believes that truth is the indispensable foundation, then conscience bids one intervene in the name of truth, and exterminate the lie.”

    “Once the war is over we will put a swift end to the Concordat. It will give me the greatest personal pleasure to point out to the Church all those occasions on which it has broken the terms of it. One need only recall the close cooperation between the Church and the murderers of Heydrich. Catholic priests not only allowed them to hide in a church on the outskirts of Prague, but even allowed them to entrench themselves in the sanctuary of the altar.”

    “The fact that I remain silent in public over Church affairs is not in the least misunderstood by the sly foxes of the Catholic Church, and I am quite sure that a man like the Bishop von Galen knows full well that after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing. And, if he does not succeed in getting himself transferred in the meanwhile to the Collegium Germanium in Rome, he may rest assured that in the balancing of our accounts, no “T” will remain uncrossed, no “I” undotted!”

  • LargeBill,

    Thanks for that bit of information. I was unaware of how Alaska politics works.

    Henry Karlson,

    No personal attacks and insults will be tolerated anymore. You are given your first warning before being placed on moderation.

  • Tito:

    I’m no insider but I do live in Baton Rouge. For my view, Jindal still has a lot of respect for his handling of Gustav as well as telling Obama to keep some of the money and being one of the first to do so.

    However, Louisiana does face a budget deficit (our problem is the oil revenues have gone down, just like Alaska) and there have been cuts, which rarely make one popular. Not to mention he did a pretty poor job in the response to Obama.

  • Michael,

    I do not doubt what you are saying is true. I like Mr. Jindal very much and I have heard many, many good things about him. I am just being cautious in my praise since he is a neophyte.

    I don’t want to get excited about someone with so little experience, especially after watching President Obama create one disaster after another in his “on the job training”.

  • Henry Karlson,

    You are hereby placed on indefinite moderation until you have a change of heart.

    [ed.-in fairness to Henry, I have edited out my accurate adjectives]

  • “Even though the 2012 U.S. presidential elections…”

    2012?

    Isn’t the world supposed to end in 2012?

  • “Henry Karlson…May God help you in your struggles [ed.].”

    Is this the very same Henry Karlson who authored a series on ‘lies’ at the blog Vox Nova?

    [ed.-sorry e., in fairness to Henry, I edited out my accurate adjectives]

  • Phillip et al,

    We’ve received numerous complaints from many of our good readers of the ‘distractions’ that people like Karlson have become to constructive debates and engagement in dialogue.

    The final straw came when we were being accused of tolerating insults and hate speech at the expense of good Catholics and dialogue.

    I have seen across the Catholic blogosphere these same culprits use their political agenda to cloud their Catholic sense of being because of their hate towards orthodoxy in general and Pope Benedict specifically.

    Many, many well meaning Catholics have been patient and charitable in tolerating these malcontents in their comboxes and we here at American Catholic have decided to draw a line in the sand against such hate speech.

    Henry Karlson exemplifies the liberal extremists who disguise themselves as Catholics to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand. [conservative extremists can be just as awful. There is a distinction between liberals and liberal extremists. I count many friends with center-left leanings as good friends and model Catholics that I myself strive to be to follow in their footsteps.]

    The TIDE IS TURNING against them and they know it. Hundreds of seminarians are more orthodox than their predecessors. Orthodox parishes are thriving while the Spirit of Vatican II churches are shrinking in number.

    They know their days are numbered and they are frantically attacking anyone and anything that is bringing the Church closer to Christ.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  • e.,

    Yes. That’s if you follow Mayan paganism.

    In reality what it really means is ‘time will reset itself’. Like when you jump forward in Spring or turn back the clock in the Fall.

    Many people take it to mean something more sinister.

    But we as Catholics do not know the time nor the place of His return.

  • Tito,

    Thanks for the info!

    On the other matter, I’m fairly disappointed at Karlson’s behaviour. I never knew he could sink so low.

  • Now I’m just curious. What did he say?

  • When the world ends is unknown, though if the Saints draft well enough to win the Superbowl this year, it will most certainly end in Feb. 2010. 😉

    Tito:

    This is true, though Jindal does have more experience than Obama (House of Reps for I think 3 years).

    Donald:

    Thanks for the Hitler quotes; they are very chilling and important to keep in mind.

    Joe:

    I just finished that book. It was very convincing that Pius has been unfairly marginalized and should in fact be canonized. I hope that when he is sainted, the calumny against him will subside and he will be honored as a “righteous Gentile.”

  • Perhaps: “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.”

    Or even just, “Ni!”

  • Darwin,

    Now those are fighting words.

    Tito,

    Okay, just saying ouch.

  • Michael D.,

    I have a soft spot for people like Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, and Bobby Jindal. I love hearing and reading about conversion stories. These stories fill me with inspiration and joy while simultaneously they motivate me to turn closer to God.

    Though they have many flaws I am reminded of Jesus’ mission that he came for these sinners so they may have eternal life. This particular passage is very soothing and I reflect on it right before the consecration during Mass.

    Just awe-inspiring!

  • I know I’ll regret this, but part of me just cannot let this [ed.-your lies will not be tolerated] pass. I would advise Tito Edwards to get a better handle on the term “liberal” [ed.-I said liberal extremist] before he throws it around (hint: it’s not what Limbaugh and Hannity say it is). For the record, Henry Karlson is one of the most conservative people [ed.-I view Catholicism as to whether one adheres to the teachings or as one who does not] I have ever met. He had a deep love of the traditional faith [ed.-in the many insults that Henry has given me through the years, not once has he ever mentioned his love of Catholicism, Jesus, or the Church], and he has described himself as a monarchist. He does not fit in well with the American political debate, because both sides in that partisan divide are heavily influenced by liberalism (and that includes your hero, Mr. Gingrich [ed.-I said I favor him. Much different than hero. Another lie from a Vox Nova contributor, par for the course]).

    Liberalism as manifested in politics neatly always boils down to the individual over the community, the focus on individual rights over the common good, the satisfaction of individual wants and needs. The US constitution is a deeply liberal document (I’m being descriptive, not pejorative). A second dimension of liberalism is a utopian approach to society, and both sides of the US debate share this zeal, especially when it comes to the role of the US and its institutions.

    On the left, liberalism manifests itself by insisting on the right to satisfy one and all sexual needs, by the right to marry whoever one wishes, by placing one’s rights above those of the unborn, by belief in a that all the ils of society that can be guided by good government.

    On the right, liberalism manifests itself as belief in the virtues of individuals maximizing utility in the free market, as an emphasis on keeping government off one’s back, on the right to own guns without restriction, on the right to consume as much material goods as one wishes regardless of its effect on the planet, and as a belief in the ability of the United States to impose democracy on the world through the barrel of a gun or the door of a torture chamber.

    You need to understand these points. You need to understand that your politics are as liberal as a partisan Democrat, and have the exact same fault lines. But the problem is not really your politics– you are entitled (as are we all) to support who you think will do the least harm in the public square. Your problem is that your political error translates into how you see Catholicism, for you are quick to denounce any who do not share your politics (not your theology) [ed.-I am a Catholic first, political last] as somehow heterodox. Not that I want to get into a [ed.-typical liberal extremist always using vile language to prove a point. Such language will not be tolerated on AC] context, but I would safely bet that the average Vox Nova contributor agrees with the Church far more on the issues than the average contributor over here [ed.-an opinion emanating from a false Catholic such as yourself from Vox Nova, nice]. Your heterodoxy is against Republican party orthodoxy (liberalism of the right), not the faith. You really need to see the sharp difference between your politics and your faith– the former is deeply flawed, while the latter embodies the truth.

  • Henry Karlson exemplifies the liberal extremists who disguise themselves as Catholics to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand.

    I do not think Henry is a liberal extremist, much less someone who is Catholic as a ‘disguise…to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand.’ [ed.-inappropriate comments that do not deal with the posting will be deleted.]

  • Henry Karlson exemplifies the liberal extremists who disguise themselves as Catholics to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand.

    Tito, Lord knows I have my disagreements with Henry, but I would beg to differ with your characterization of him in this manner.

  • A second dimension of liberalism is a utopian approach to society, and both sides of the US debate share this zeal, especially when it comes to the role of the US and its institutions.

    I have never encountered someone so intelligent who is nonetheless so completely ignorant of basic political theory. The idea that classical liberalism is in any way utopian is so wide of the mark that one wonders if you have even read an elementary book on political philosophy. The utopian strain is clearly prevalent in totalitarian systems, all of which are antithetical to classical liberalism and modern American conservatism.

    On the right, liberalism manifests itself as belief in the virtues of individuals maximizing utility in the free market, as an emphasis on keeping government off one’s back, on the right to own guns without restriction, on the right to consume as much material goods as one wishes regardless of its effect on the planet, and as a belief in the ability of the United States to impose democracy on the world through the barrel of a gun or the door of a torture chamber.

    Does this even resemble the actual beliefs of, well, anyone? Liberal or conservative. Also, while it is possible that a fetish for free market economics could have a utopian overtone, it’s sort of difficult to square that particular circle.

    Your problem is that your political error translates into how you see Catholicism, for you are quick to denounce any who do not share your politics (not your theology) as somehow heterodox.

    Unlike say, yourself? BTW, isn’t it curious that you boys at Vox Nova are all so cozy with one Gerald Naus now that he’s not a practicing Catholic but is a practicing leftist. I think your sudden coziness towards that particular individual reveals all too much your own blatant partisanship.

  • Paul:

    There is most certainly a utopian thread within classical liberalism. Locke and Rousseau view their states of nature as utopian (or close enough in Locke’s case). Now to be sure, it is much stronger in communism and fascism, but that is because building off the liberal tradition they came to the notion that science and the right amount of government will lead to an improve of society.

    Indeed, liberalism holds that man is always rational and tends to deny the notion that man is fallen and therefore doomed to imperfection. This failure to emphasize the fallen nature of man made it prone to the utopian direction that its descendants have taken it.

    Furthermore, while I agree that sometimes Naus is treated too sympathetically at VN, it’s not as if the “boys” at Vn (poor Katerina and RCM) never disagree. think it’s true that we have a tendency to downplay the faults of those who disagree with us less-whether they are our friends or usual allies. For more on that, see the McCain love-fest before November in conservative circles.

    Minion:

    I would point out that before Iraq, the other side was just as willing to promote democracy with guns and judging by Obama’s foreign policy that hasn’t changed a whole lot (see Israel, in a situation I know you sympathize with).

  • Labels are problematic over the Internet, for many reasons: as wannabe writers, we like to call attention to ourselves, we “say” things we wouldn’t normally “say” in a different medium, labeling is cheap and easy and we all tend to be lazy, ect.

    That said, I enjoy TAC and hope that our blogs will continue to comment mutually. We should also all leave labeling behind as much as possible – like name-calling, which is also too easy to do – and engage points and substance with counter points and substance.

  • Contrary to popular belief, ‘labels’ aren’t in themselves an injustice; indeed, many times they are a ‘must’.

    It is by such means that we call evil ‘evil’ and good ‘good’.

    The injustice comes in when certain individuals come to call evil ‘good’ and good ‘evil’ or would leave the rather impressionable public believing thus.

  • There is most certainly a utopian thread within classical liberalism. Locke and Rousseau

    I would reject the classification of Rossueau as a classical liberal. If he can labeled thusly, then the term has no meaning. And I have no brief for Locke, but I’m not quite comfortable branding him a utopian. Yes, his state of nature musings were idealistic, but at the same time he acknowledges the imperfections of such a state – after all, what else can justify the social contract other than the very imperfections of such a state?

    Indeed, liberalism holds that man is always rational and tends to deny the notion that man is fallen and therefore doomed to imperfection.

    What then of pretty much all of the Founding Fathers – men like Adams, Madison and Hamilton, in particular – who had a pretty good understanding of the fallen nature of mankind (If men were angels . . .) Unless you deem them to be outside of the classical liberal tradition, then it’s hard to justify that claim.

    That being said, there certainly is a utopian strain in some current of liberal thought, exemplified in the American sense by Thomas Jefferson. That I would not deny, and I’d enjoy the opportunity of hashing this argument out further one day, but perhaps we’ll save that for another day.

    . think it’s true that we have a tendency to downplay the faults of those who disagree with us less-whether they are our friends or usual allies.

    The Closed Cafeteria

  • I have to agree with Paul – ‘utopian’ is a poor choice of word to describe classical liberalism.

    If the state of nature is a utopia, why the need for government? Locke’s state of nature is no where near as chaotic and violent as Hobbes’, but to say it is utopian, I think, is a stretch. Government still comes along to fix the problems of the state of nature, which are ultimately the results of flaws in people and their ‘private judgment’. Perhaps this isn’t an explicit recognition of a fallen nature, but it still seems far from a utopian conception.

    Rousseau on the other hand is not really a liberal; he is more a classical republican following in the tradition of Machiavelli. Republicanism and liberalism might have some overlap, and I think they are co-parents of 19th century socialism, but they’re distinct enough that no one should confuse them.

    Finally, I think MM just mis-spoke; modern liberalism insofar as it has socialist parentage does have a Utopian streak. We do have to make the distinction between modern and classical liberalism.

  • John Henry,

    I do not think Henry is a liberal extremist, much less someone who is Catholic as a ‘disguise…to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand.’ That is a very serious and uncharitable accusation, and, in my opinion, calumnious, particularly since Henry made it quite clear he could not vote for Obama. If a commenter left such an accusation on one of my threads, I would delete it.

    His whole point is to disrupt the discussion on the content of my post.

    Henry K. has failed over and over to show any prudence, charity, or any semblance of practicing his Catholicism. If you have witnessed this then he is an even worse person than I thought. Purposely showing one face while in another instance leading sheep to the slaughter.

    Anymore comments that doesn’t pertain to the original posting will be deleted from here on out.

  • Sorry, got cut off:

    The Closed Cafeteria Gerald was almost literally hounded by the Vox Novaites on a daily basis. Now that Gerald has done a 180, they are eminently more accepting of him. So they’re basically showing by their actions that it is more tolerable to be a heterodox, politically left quasi-Catholic than an orthodox, politically conservative Catholic.

    For more on that, see the McCain love-fest before November in conservative circles.

    Umm, if by “love fest” you mean the “hold your nose and vote for him because he’s better than Obama” thread that ran through such circles, then maybe you have a point.

  • Paul,

    My reasons for placing Henry Karlson on indefinite moderation. His goal as well as his cohorts are to do the same to unwitting Catholics here at AC.

  • We do have to make the distinction between modern and classical liberalism.

    Exactly. And even then I think we have to make distinctions within the world of classical liberalism itself.

  • Tony in regard to your definition of liberal, Tito is correct in regard to modern American usage. In the 19th century sense of the term I am a political liberal. In today’s usage in this country I am a conservative. However, in neither usage am I a statist or a socialist. In terms of economics and the role of the state in the economy that is the true dividing line between most of the contributors of American Catholic and most of the contributors of Vox Nova. The exceptions to this dividing line are not insignificant. For example, Blackadder as a libertarian makes me look Leftist on economic matters, and Joe, who is a contributor to both blogs, is a Distributist I believe. (Please correct me if I am mistaken Joe.) However I think in general the role of the state in society is the general line of division between the Left and the Right in contemporary America.

  • Well its like Robert Bork said, liberalism was a good idea when it was tempered with other ideas and forces that prevented its less desirable tendencies from running amok.

    But then, so was conservatism.

    Now we simply have shrillness.

  • I am a Distributist 🙂

    But more importantly, I just try to follow Catholic social teaching as best I can, regardless of where that puts me on the secular political map.

  • Paul,

    I think you are missing the connections. Liberalism and socialism are intimately related. The Church always tended to condemn both in the same breath – and here I think we can draw a very interesting parallel between Pius IX’s authoritarian hatred of liberalism and its socialist step-sister, and Leo XIII’s condemnation of both from an economic perspective.

    My point remains: both sides of the debate in the United States are deeply grounded in the liberal tradition. There are very few true conservative voices. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine that people use these terms inappropriately. And no, you can’t just lump a bunch of unconnected and often contradictory beliefs together– free market liberalism, huge spending on military, small spending on everything else, nationalism, traditionalist sexual norms, opposition to abortion — and ascribe any consistent political philosophy to it, let alone “conservative”.

  • “I am a Distributist.

    In other words, “Communist”.

  • I think you are missing the connections.

    Yes, MM, please lecture me about the genesis of political thought in America, and the various influences on it. This is just a topic way beyond my pay grade.

  • e., Joe is not a Communist. Joe and I do not see eye to eye on economics, but there is nothing of the Bolshevik about him.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    It’s just I don’t see how distributism, if actually implemented, would not ultimately end up being, in the end, “Communism”.

  • E,

    Seeing as how I don’t believe in a command economy, nationalization of the means of production, or violent class warfare, I’d have to be one strange communist.

    That, or you don’t know what the h**l you’re talking about, once again.

  • “It’s just I don’t see how distributism, if actually implemented, would not ultimately end up being, in the end, “Communism”.”

    How do you define communism?

  • e, I have my doubts how Distributism would work in the real world. However, as Joe has pointed out he disavows the characteristic elements of most Communist movements and I take him at his word.

  • Herr Hargrave,

    Yes, I do not find it (i.e., distributism) exceptionally inviting for the very fact that it will merely result in the same sort of tyrannical coercion by the State not unlike that infamously found in your so dearly beloved Marxist system.

  • John Henry & Christopher Blosser,

    Reflecting on my comments I see my error.

    Henry Karlson exemplifies the liberal extremists who disguise themselves as Catholics to push President Obama’s agenda of abortion on demand.

    Henry isn’t pushing for abortion on demand. I assume he isn’t for that matter.

    What I dislike are his distraction techniques of taking the discussion away from the intent of the post to something frivolous as to what the definition of “is” is (as an example).

    I’m sure he’s quite a decent human being, though he makes it hard for me to see that part of him.

  • Distributism does work in the real world. There are thousands of successful workers, consumers, housing and credit co-ops all over the world. I just think it needs to be spread further.

    It’s the ‘free market’ that no one can seem to agree upon – does it exist, is it an ideal, has it existed? What we’ve only ever had is either command economies, or varying degrees of state-capitalism.

    E,

    I’m not going to let you continue slandering me. Your comments are entirely without foundation, I have never advocated anything close to ‘tyrannical coercion’, I have made it clear more than once that Distributism is a voluntary system.

    If there is some thing I have said that makes you think otherwise, quote it, and we will discuss it.

    If you can’t do that, I’m going to start throwing out the garbage – by that I mean, your posts.

  • What’s interesting about several of the comments above is that Tito went overboard in attacking Henry, and then was immediately criticized himself by several other bloggers here.

    What a sharp contrast from the conduct at Vox Nova, where Michael I. gets away with all kinds of slanderous comments and no one disagrees; where Gerald openly dissents from the Magisterium but no one disagrees (far from it: Henry pretends to believe — but he couldn’t possibly be that dumb — that Gerald’s comments are all faithful to the Church’s teachings); where commenters like Digby and Mark D. and Kurt say even more outrageous things and are never called to account.

  • Joe,

    I must’ve gotten you confused with some petty tyrant who actually wanted to impose this incredibly idealistic Chester-belloc vision on the whole world regardless of what anybody else had to say about it and would compel entire societies and even nations to do so on the simple basis that he knew what was best for them on a grander scale.

  • e,

    That would involve an awful lot of confusion. Joe shows no signs of being a petty tyrant. Still, if we’ve cleared up any confusion, one hopes we can move on.

  • e., not sure how you made that confusion, given Joe’s regular m.o. of proposing, not imposing.

  • I don’t particularly buy Newt’s “conversion”. Lets give it some time to see how it plays out.

    To be blunt I see no one in the field right now that is particularly appealing. I was a Paul supporter, and I don’t see any true “Old Right” guys coming into replace his voice in the Republican field. Its possible Mark Sanford, Bobby Jindal or Gary Johnson might run, but a lot depends on the policy direction they advocate.

    I would be more optimistic about Republican chances today if they would renounce Bush foreign policies and return to being the party on non-intervention and diplomacy, as opposed to a party of blind militarism.

  • I would gladly and happily vote for Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska if he were to run for President.

  • 1). I agree with MM about the confusions of political labels. The Australians have it correct: the U.S. center-right / libertarian infused economics and Wilsonian adventure-ism that passes for center-right (it’s not; Robert Taft was) should have it’s home in the Liberal Party.

    2). The American Conservative magazine / Pat Buchanan / Steve Sailer / Oakeshott – Scruton ect. is much more in line with what it means to be of the Right. This died more or less in the 70s as liberals upset with Lyndon Johnson’s statist projects – who never left their idealisms behind – came to dominate the political Right (the borderline ant-Semitic stuff from the “paleos” is based in truth – there were and are a lot of very sharp and active Jews who abandoned the Left.

    3). That said, ALL of our discourse and political activity is inescapably under the umbrella of Enlightenment liberalism. There is no other way – it was an earthquake.

  • Whoops – minor typos above. That’s annoying.

    And let it be on record that I have written “I agree with MM”.

    Ha!

    I strongly recommend getting ahold of some Oakeshott and Roger Scruton. The basic idea is that to be of the Right is a temperment, a sentiment against all totality and ideology, against all utopia, and for local community and family as the basic foundations of society. Any harm to these (including industrial capitalism and the “elevation” of markets over society) are to be opposed.

  • e.,
    Yes, I do not find it (i.e., distributism) exceptionally inviting for the very fact that it will merely result in the same sort of tyrannical coercion by the State not unlike that infamously found in your so dearly beloved Marxist system.

    I think the difference is that distributism is more of a free association model, rather than a state coercive model which would make it socialist. While Joe disavows the label socialist, he hasn’t found a state intervention he doesn’t like so, if his political views defined distributism, it would be very close to socialism, but I think that view is flawed.

    Anthony,

    I don’t particularly buy Newt’s “conversion”. Lets give it some time to see how it plays out.

    I see. Do we speak of everyone’s conversion the same way, or just Newt? Do you think he did it for political reasons??? Oh, yes, there’s a strong precedence for conservative Catholics as successful national candidates.

  • Hey Tito,

    I will end this discussion right now about liberalism…

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/theology/libsin.htm

  • Bret, the Publisher’s Preface states, By definition, Liberalism is the mistaken notion that “One religion is as good as another.”

    I don’t think that’s how liberalism is being used in the context of this combox.

  • Matt,

    “While Joe disavows the label socialist, he hasn’t found a state intervention he doesn’t like”

    This is another slander. On what do you basis this ridiculous claim? You first brought it up when I merely said I agreed with Obama’s ideas on clean energy and health care. Those are two ‘interventions’.

    Distributism has to do with property ownership. It doesn’t exclude government leadership on issues that affect the entire country. I evaluate each proposed ‘intervention’ on its individual merits.

    I am opposed, for instance, to gun control and a state monopoly on education. I am opposed to attempts to interfere with home schooling. I am opposed to big businesses forcing their way into small communities where they are not welcome. I am opposed to religious communities being forced to tolerate pornography and gay pride parades. These are only a few examples.

    In short I believe communities should be given a much wider range of freedom to determine their own standards, provided they don’t violate actual Constitutional rights of individuals and not made up ones (like the ‘right to privacy’ conjured up by the Blackmum court, or the ‘right to obscenity’ that is falsely derived from the first amendment). And I believe Distributism is the best economic base for a strong community, because it centers economic and political power at the local level and grants more people the opportunity to directly control their own lives, their own political and social environments.

    So I would call myself, in addition to being a Distributist, a communitarian. As for socialism, I stand with the Church: socialists have made some just demands. Yet it isn’t necessary to actually be a socialist to make those demands, and in becoming so, one professes agreement also with many other unjust demands.

    On the other hand, people such as yourself like to tar and feather people whose ideas sound unappealing to you with a negative label that some people will feel bound to reject without ever actually exploring the content of what is being proposed. It’s a cheap, dirty tactic, it smothers rational discourse and it feeds into the stupidity and hysteria of the mob.

  • I mean, Matt, you don’t even know me. I’ve only been here for a few weeks. And yet you have the bloody nerve to say I’ve ‘never met a government intervention’ I didn’t like, as if you’ve known me my whole life?

    Shame on you!

  • Matt,

    Your comments about Joe was unnecessary and in my view, entirely untrue. I personally find the majority of your comments to be condemning and not personable, or charitable in diction. Perhaps, it isn’t intentional. But, if you could, for the sake of civil dialogue, be more charitable toward others and consider your comments before posting, I’m sure everyone would be more appreciative. Thank you.

  • I don’t know a whole lot about Distributism, but from what I do know, it hardly seems communist. It’s more in line with the “conservative” ideals of individuals being self-sufficient instead of depending on someone else to provide them with a paycheck (be that the government or some mega-corporation). In other words, “give them a hand up, not a handout.”

    It’s also more in line with the very Catholic concept of subsidarity — doing things at the lowest level of societal organization that can handle it, e.g. the individual, family, parish, neighborhood, or community.

    I really wish more political conservatives would pick up on the idea of subsidarity. Instead of just constantly hammering on the notion that ALL government and taxes are bad, promote the idea of keeping government and taxation as localized (and as accountable) as possible instead of handing everything off to the state or the feds.

    As for GOP prospects for 2012, well, nobody’s perfect and conservatives had better stop expecting a “perfect” candidate. Beggars can’t be choosers and we’re pretty much beggars right now. Bear in mind, though, than inexperience is a problem that tends to get better with time. The longer Jindal, Palin, et al. stay in office the more experienced they become.

  • S.B.,

    Thank you for pointing the difference.

    Though I disagree that my comments went overboard, I do recognize the charitable correction from my fellow writers and combox buddies and understand to withdraw such comments since others deem them offensive.

    I want AC to be a forum of constructive and if possible positive dialogue on even the most contentious issues.

    Please do not hesitate to email any of us or post a comment in the combox if any one of us have crossed the line.

    Regardless of where anyone stands as a Catholic, we should all treat each other as brothers in Christ. I want AC to be welcome to those that care about helping the poor and the homeless as well as protecting life in all stages of life.

    We are all Catholics first, Americans of whatever political persuasion second.

    Sugar goes much farther than vinegar as they say.

  • I tried posting this on Fr. Longnecker’s website but couldn’t get signed into Word Press to do so, so I’ll summarize it here.

    Basically, Fr. argues that priestly celibacy was easier for men to live with years ago because many good Catholic men saw the life of a priest as being much easier and more secure than that of a married man who would have to support a wife and lots of kids (because they weren’t practicing birth control) and carefully save up to pay for everything the family needed (because it wasn’t as easy to borrow money then). Today, he says, marriage looks like a much better life because women work outside the home, most couples only have two kids, and they can own two cars, a house in the suburbs, and pay for everything on their credit cards.

    All that is true but I wanted to add some further observations.

    In those days (early Baby Boom era) just about any able-bodied man who was able to read and write (and even some who couldn’t) could usually find a manufacturing job at pretty good wages, and count on it to be there until he retired, at which point he could expect at least a small pension to live on. In many communities in the Midwest and Northeast such jobs were readily available, and men didn’t have to move out of town or very far away to find them. (I used to live in one such town in northern Illinois that had a large clock factory, which closed in the early 1980s, throwing the local economy into a tailspin that lasted well into the next decade.)

    Plus he could expect to have dinner on the table every night, and count on his wife to handle nearly all the details of child-rearing. A high school diploma was generally all that was needed to get a decent job; there was no need to go into debt for years or decades to get a college or professional degree. He could also continue to live near his parents, brothers, sisters, etc. and his children would grow up in close contact with them.

    Today any man who expects to be the sole support of a large family would pretty much have to obtain a college degree in a highly paid professional or technical field (incurring lots of debt in the process, unless he did a stint in the military first to get GI Bill benefits) and then, perhaps, move to a part of the country where his skills are needed (e.g. Silicon Valley), away from his family of origin (no siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles around to help babysit the kids).

    And even after all that, he would have no confidence that his job would not disappear after the next boom-bust cycle, nor can he count on any kind of retirement security. Plus, he has to be prepared to pay his children’s way through college if they are to have any kind of decent living. And, since his wife works they have to worry more about finding decent child care and supervising their kids’ after school activities.

    So when you add it all up, I’m not so sure that marriage is an “easier” choice today.

  • Paul,

    Yes, I know your Ph.D topic was on early American political philosopy, and I am most assuredly not getting into that debate with you! However, you miss the big picture, the sense that what calls itself American conservatism is deeply deeply liberal. It is the same way that many constitutional legal experts (many of them brilliant) are mired so deeply in legal positivism that they miss the bigger natural law picture.

  • ou miss the big picture, the sense that what calls itself American conservatism is deeply deeply liberal.

    Actually, no, I haven’t denied that American conservatism is the stepchild in some ways of classical liberalism. In fact, I cherish the fact that conservatives are greater expositors of true liberalism than the people that we call liberal today – so, we actually agree to a point on this issue. My point of departure is your classification of classical liberalism as a utopian political ideology.

  • …the sense that what calls itself American conservatism is deeply deeply liberal.

    Umm, I think everyone gets that. However, we also understand there are contexts in which terms are used (as someone above pointed out). MM, you continually use the terms left and right. We give you enough credit to assume that you’re railing against the right, it’s not because you think they’re sympathetic to French monarchy or sitting on the right side of the National Constituent Assembly. Wouldn’t you think I looked either ignorant or like a condescending ass if I complained every time someone used the terms left and right outside of the context of the French Revolution?

  • Sorry for using a little hyperbole to illustrate why e. is confused about distributism, frankly I think a lot of people are a little hypersensitive.

    To be totally direct without any ‘license’. I have not ON THIS BLOG seen a discussion with Joe in which he did not defend government intervention into the economy which could be considered a socialist policy. If I have missed one, then please post it and I will stand corrected.

    My point is that distributism is not communism or socialism because it is not controlled by the state. The confusion comes because of what I stated above, we hear that distributism is good in the same breath as endorsement of government control of the economy and it’s easy to conclude that distributism is that… it is not.

    Joe: why not make some more posts on distributism as endorsed by champions like Chesterton and Belloc? This might alleviate the confusion, and further your cause.

  • Well, you have not see me on this blog argue once against government intervention policies, so I suppose there isn’t capitalist policy, I do like?

    I’m sure you see the point. Simply because I haven’t done so, doesn’t mean I despise every stripe of capitalism. Same case here. Though, I’d suggest two things: Either read up personally on distributism, ask Joe what he thinks of ‘this’ or ‘that’ idea you encounter. Or, surely, as Joe might, ask him to post on distributism (as you have done) and maybe he can clarify some things for you.

    Thanks Matt.

  • Eric,
    Well, you have not see me on this blog argue once against government intervention policies, so I suppose there isn’t capitalist policy, I do like?

    nor did I suggest this about Joe.

    I’m sure you see the point. Simply because I haven’t done so, doesn’t mean I despise every stripe of capitalism.

    Nor did I suggest this about Joe.

    I’m sure you see MY point, if the biggest defender of distributism is seen as a big defender of government intervention in economy, that some readers may get the mistaken notion that distributism is like socialism. I’m suggesting that that this conflation be disavowed.

    Same case here. Though, I’d suggest two things: Either read up personally on distributism, ask Joe what he thinks of ‘this’ or ‘that’ idea you encounter. Or, surely, as Joe might, ask him to post on distributism (as you have done) and maybe he can clarify some things for you.

    I have read about distributism thank you very much, I am well aware of it and that it is a morally good economic system and that it is not socialist or communist in it’s nature. I am not a huge proponent of it on a wide scale because I don’t really see how it could be implemented without massive personal conversions, I’d be delighted to hear and discuss more about how it could be done in the current milieu, I’ve suggested this before on this blog and again today.

  • “I see. Do we speak of everyone’s conversion the same way, or just Newt? Do you think he did it for political reasons??? Oh, yes, there’s a strong precedence for conservative Catholics as successful national candidates.”

    Matt,

    I certainly do not profess an ability to peer into any man’s soul. However, its worth noting Tony Blair made the leap and it hasn’t amounted to much. There were rumblings of a W. Bush conversion.

    My concern is mainly with Newt’s own rocky track record in Congress and as Speaker of the House. He comes from a brand of Republicanism that loves the State. He seems to try and waffle between constitutional convictions and political trendiness. In short, I don’t really know what to think of him.

    If I had to guess, he would have appealing rhetoric during a presidential run and then promptly keep this fat American Empire on its destructive trajectory once in office.

    How does it relate to his conversion? It doesn’t, and thats precisely the problem. I would expect a lot from a constitutionally conservative, Catholic president and I don’t think Newt’s really up to the burden.

  • Anthony,

    I certainly do not profess an ability to peer into any man’s soul. However, its worth noting Tony Blair made the leap and it hasn’t amounted to much.

    That’s a fair point, but there’s a big difference between Blair and Newt. So far as government policy is concerned, there is little that Newt is obliged to reform in order to be consistent with the Catholic faith, while perhaps in some case it ought to.

    There were rumblings of a W. Bush conversion.

    I’ve heard this too, and I would say the same as I did about Newt.

    My concern is mainly with Newt’s own rocky track record in Congress and as Speaker of the House. He comes from a brand of Republicanism that loves the State. He seems to try and waffle between constitutional convictions and political trendiness. In short, I don’t really know what to think of him.

    I would suggest his conversion to Catholicism should not change your healthy skepticism.

    If I had to guess, he would have appealing rhetoric during a presidential run

    I really doubt it would be all that popular of a move, especially among the evangelical base of the GOP. While they might be comfortable with a Catholic, it seems less likely they would really want one who was a recent defector from their own denomination.

    and then promptly keep this fat American Empire on its destructive trajectory once in office.

    How does it relate to his conversion? It doesn’t, and thats precisely the problem. I would expect a lot from a constitutionally conservative, Catholic president and I don’t think Newt’s really up to the burden.

    You’re right on this. I guess my main point is we need to carefully separate his faith conversion from any political expectations.

  • Joe & Matt:

    Yeah, right.

    This highly noble system of distributism of which you speak could never ultimately end up being an even distribution of property by force of law.

    Far be it for me to consider Chesterton’s ideas in this regard romantic (let alone, extremist) when, in fact, they are achievable and, what’s more, without any such coercion by the State.

  • GK Chesterton:“That economic condition in which there is a class of capitalists, roughly recognizable and relatively small, in whose possession so much of the capital is concentrated as to necessitate a very large majority of the citizens serving those capitalists for a wage.”

    I’m not sure that what Chesterton describes is accurate to the current situation here in the US. Small business ownership and stock ownership directly or via mutual funds held in 401k’s and pensions is incredibly broad here. While there is much wealth concentrated in a relatively small group, there is massive opportunity for independence here, far more so than any place.

    Derived from: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html

    20% of US workers own their own business, or are employed at a firm with less than 5 workers.

    45% of US workers own their own business, or are at a firm with less than 100 workers.

    42% of US workers are employed at firms with more than 500 workers

    Keep in mind that many of those in the latter category are completely free and capable of becoming small business owners but find the safety of corporate life preferable however many of them do, including me.

    It would be interesting merge this with a study of stock ownership by those employed, as it would further move the “concentration” down.

    I don’t think there’s any of the more conservative poster’s here that would argue that more small business and more broadly distributed ownership of enterprise would be a good thing. We are the ones advocating for measures which have shown or can reasonably be demonstrated to aid people in building their own business or becoming owners of shares.

    To me, the change to broader ownership can only be done through coaxing, and leadership, not through coercion. Frankly much of it can be accomplished from the ground up, and I think you’ll find that within the conservative movement it largely has…Go Joe the Plumber!

    It’s actually my theory that preferential treatment by government is part of the reason that ownership concentrates in large corporations as much as it does. The complexity of government regulation makes economies of scale more significant than they ought to. Last summer’s law requiring testing of virtually every product intended for children is in the process of destroying virtually every small manufacturer in that market.

  • Matt,

    What government interventions or what have you have been proposed, that I agree with?

    I can only recall TWO things that I’ve said I agree with, when did the rest of this happen?

    Do you think I’m lying when I pointed out in an earlier post, right here on this thread, all of the government interventions I don’t agree with?

    You don’t seem to understand that the issue of Distributism is separate from the issue of government regulation. If we had an economy based on workers cooperatives, if the majority of firms were structured in just the way I think they ought to be, even then I would STILL be for government regulation and oversight. Why?

    First of all, because I’m a Catholic and I believe, as Pope Pius XI wrote, that the economy must be ordered and guided by an effective principle – an ethical principle, the common good. The economy exists to serve man and not the other way around. Government regulation of the economy is completely and wholly endorsed by CST and does not negate the principles of Distributism.

    Meanwhile economic liberalism – the idea that the economy should not be regulated, that each individual has unlimited economic freedom, that their cumulative efforts over time will generate the best economic result – has been unambiguously, clearly, condemned.

    The key as always is finding a balance – between economic anarchy and command economies. The most powerful economies the world has ever seen have existed because of extensive private-public collaboration. This ‘free market’ doesn’t even exist, it never has existed. We know that because its most ardent defenders, whenever markets are blamed for any problem, immediately step forward and declare, ‘that’s not the free market’. Ok, so where is it? What does it do? Nowhere and nothing.

    For me the choices are not ‘free market’ versus distributism, but rather economic oligarchy in a state-capitalist framework, or economic democracy in a distributist framework. The ‘free market’ isn’t an option, a totally deregulated economy isn’t an option and most of us do not proceed on the naive assumption that it is.

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-29-2009 « The American Catholic

56 Responses to "I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University."

  • I think this type of rudeness is disappointing and counter-productive, particularly coming from a Bishop.

  • I think John Henry that we need a lot more blunt talk against people like Jenkins who make a complete mockery of the Catholic Church.

  • The world would be a better place if more bishops had the candor of Bp. Bruskewitz.

  • As I noted on my own blog, Deus caritas est, but God is also Truth.

    I fail to see any “rudeness” in His Excellency’s letter.

  • I think this type of rudeness is disappointing and counter-productive, particularly coming from a Bishop.

    Pardon my rudeness, but stuff it. While you might think moderate tempered mealy-mouthed reactions are what’s going to suddenly make people see the light, the rest of us applaud the fact that some Bishops have suddenly found their voice and are willing to call out those who aid and abet the culture of death.

    I’m frankly more disgusted by people who wag their fingers at those who raise their voices above a whisper.

  • The problem with the letter is

    1) Notre Dame has not lost its Catholic status, so the letter itself is mirepresenting the status of the university. If it had lost its status, this would be a proper letter to make. When it has not, then it only hurts the point the Bishop makes. It is always important to be honest and not misrepresent the situation by exaggeration.

    2) It’s also dishonest in saying President Jenkins is indifferent to abortion or the beliefs President Obama has on abortion. It’s over-the top.

    3) Should we use this line of reasoning, as exemplified in the letter, it would turn on upon the Catholic Church and end up calling the Church not Catholic for its historical mistakes and indifference to many crimes against humanity which it turned a blind eye to when regimes did them (such as the Spanish Inquisition). It’s really absurd, and poor ecclesiology.

  • Sorry to draw your ire, Paul(s). As I’ve said before, I am glad that bishops are addressing the issue, particularly Bishop D’Arcy and Cardinal George. The question is how to address it, and perhaps by temperament or whatever I prefer a lighter touch than the episcopal version of ‘I can only pray for you, you miserable quisling.’ I don’t like that style in com-boxes, and I’m not a fan in public discourse.

    Furthermore, I think he overstates his case; I don’t think accusing Fr. Jenkins of ‘absolute indifference’ is entirely fair, although I do think Fr. Jenkins has shown he does not place a high enough priority on the protection of unborn life. And Notre Dame is not a ‘formerly Catholic University,’ as much as it is one that is struggling with what it means to be Catholic. I’m not sure such harsh dismissals aid it in that endeavor. At a general level, I’d say there are different models for engagement; the prophetic is a legitimate model, but it’s not the only model, and I’m not sure it’s the best one here.

  • I agree that any indifference charge is unfair. But what is really “over the top” is conferring an honorary law degree on the legislator who led the effort to stop Illinois’ protective born alive legislation.

  • The bishop’s letter is unfortunate, both in its unbecoming tone and its untruth. Any productive point he could have made is lost in gross exaggeration and seemingly foul temper.

    What puropose can it now possibly serve, other than a personal, narcissistic one? Is this what prophetic witness entails or constists of? I too think not.

  • To preface my comment, I think his book “A Shepherd Speaks” is one of the best books out there. In many ways I think he has been a model of a bishop, providing clear leadership in exhortation and practice. If I’m not mistaken, he has been responsible for setting homes for unwed mothers and has done good things with the education system. I think this letter though is a pretty clear example of why he hasn’t been moved beyond Lincoln despite his many gifts.

  • When conservatives speak, people always worry so much more about how a thing is said than about what is said.

    But let liberals riot, and we’re asked to “understand.”

    It gets old.

    I disagree that the letter is over the top. Notre Dame has set itself at odds with Church teaching, and Fr. Jenkins has refused the correction offered him by scores of bishops, and the superior of his own order.

    If I had 30+ bishops telling me publicly that I was wrong about something, I would surely be moving to correct my error, not releasing statements to justify it.

  • That is why you have recanted your support of the Iraq War, ended your crusade against illegal immigration, and myriad of other things I take it.

  • Fr. Jenkins is a grown man and the President (or whatever, not sure of exact title) of a major university. I seriously doubt he is stupid. Which leaves the impression that he is indifferent to O’s views or at least does not feel strongly enough against them to withhold the honoray degree and opportunity to speak.

    Overly nuanced approaches are what have gotten us to this point in the first placed.

  • Unbelievably rude, condescending, and untrue.

    Where did you find the text of the letter, out of curiosity? It’s, in fact, so rude my immediate reaction is to suspect that Bill Donahue (or Donald McClarey!) wrote it!

  • And we all know how scrupulously Michael avoids any trace of rudeness and condescension in his own comments.

  • Michael,

    You’re so shocked by what you consider rudeness that you immediately accuse two people, by name, of forgery?

    What tender sensibilities you do have…

  • That is why you have recanted your support of the Iraq War, ended your crusade against illegal immigration

    Yes, because all those things are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Oh wait, no. That’s only what you told yourself to convince yourself that voting for Obama was a-ok. Whatever. Some people on this thread have clear consciences. Others, well, less so.

  • Unbelievably rude, condescending, and untrue.

    Wow, like every comment that michael has ever made. Bishop Bruskewitz must be a personal hero of yours.

  • Paul,

    The standard the other Paul gave was, “If I had 30+ bishops telling me publicly that I was wrong about something, I would surely be moving to correct my error, not releasing statements to justify it.”

  • And we all know how scrupulously Michael avoids any trace of rudeness and condescension in his own comments.

    I can be rude, and yes, condescending. But I don’t lie.

    Wow, like every comment that michael has ever made.

    Show me a comment in which I have lied.

    You’re so shocked by what you consider rudeness that you immediately accuse two people, by name, of forgery?

    T’was a joke!

  • No Catholics are ever neutral about Bishop Bruskewitz. One of the reasons he is a hero of mine is that he does not speak in ecclesi-speak, which tends to be rambling, vapid and full of weasel words. Bruskewitz always tells the truth as he sees it with the bark on. I concede that it is much easier to find this quality endearing when you agree with the substance of what is being said.

  • Bruskewitz always tells the truth as he sees it with the bark on.

    Sounds like Rush Limbaugh with a mitre.

  • Show me a comment in which I have lied.

    As I am sure you are clever enough to know, this is something of a tricky thing. To show that you have lied I would have to show that you said something untrue, knew it was untrue, and intended by saying it to decieve people.

    So for instance, while I recall you on various occasions of having said that I don’t care about the poor, don’t care about people after they are born, worship war rather than God, etc., it would be hard to make the case that you didn’t believe these to be true at least in whatever rhetorical sense in which you meant them.

    However, in this same sense, it is doubtless the case that Bruskewitz is saying that Notre Dame is “formerly Catholic” and that Jenkins does not give sufficient priority to abortion in a sense which is true in regards to what he believes to be the case. He is not, for instance, trying to decieve people into thinking that Notre Dame is not accredited as a Catholic university. (That would be lying.) He is stating, we must presume accurately, that Notre Dame’s actions represent an abandonment of its Catholicity and a lack of interest in the unborn.

    So basically, if you don’t lie in your comments, then Bruskewitz is not lying, and if he is lying, then you often do.

  • The bishop did not say Jenkins “does not give sufficient priority to abortion.” He said “absolute indifference.” He’s out to deceive.

  • Rush Limbaugh? No, actually he reminds me more of the gentleman who wrote this :

    “I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another, only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. 9 As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

  • “As I am sure you are clever enough to know, this is something of a tricky thing. To show that you have lied, I would have to show that you said something untrue, knew it was untrue, and intended by saying it to deceive people.”

    Quite right —

    This is something that even the great St. Thomas More himself had spoken quite eloquently in its regard during his unjust inquisition at Westminster, noting Aquinas own thoughts on the matter — in particular, the interoribus mortibus which no man is able to judge.

  • Also, when a Bishop says “X is not Catholic,” that has implications which are different from when you or I say it. Since a Bishop is the ultimate authority within their own jurisdiction, if they said that about an institution within their own jurisdiction, I would say it would have an effect, just like an excommunication or an anthema has had. Obviously there would be canonical issues, and could sometimes work to show a Bishop over-stepped their authority in doing so, but that would be decided under review, and their Bishop’s stand would have relative authority. However, when they try to say X is not Catholic to an institution not in their own jurisdiction, they are undermining the authority of another Bishop, and indeed, causing ecclesial scandal. This is, for example, caused great division throughout the ages when a Bishop acts beyond their proper authority (look, for example, to the ordination of Origen as an early example of where such mistakes can lead).

  • Donald – I see no resemblance whatsoever. One involves a pastor being firm with his congregation, but speaking the truth. The other involves a relatively obscure bishop taking advantage of a shallow, buzzing news story in order to gain attention, attempting to out-do his fellow bishops in rudeness.

  • Let’s see:

    Fr. Jenkins certainly hasn’t claimed the high ground here. He’s shown no qualms whatsoever about honoring and giving a free political podium to a man whose actions and words demonstrate a commitment to increasing the death rate of unborn (and even recently-born, the horror of it) life.

    Moreover, he employs reasoning in defense of his actions that can’t be dignified with the term “casuistry” and refuses to engage the opponents of his actions in dialogue after promising to do so.

    In other words, where exactly is the evidence that he does care about abortion? As in concrete actions, and not the usual attempts at verbal disinfectant and empty reassuring noises. If someone can point to a pro-life initiative by Fr. Jenkins as President of ND (or even before), then the Bishop’s accusation will be unjust, and the Ordinary of Lincoln should be presented with this evidence.

    If not, well, President Jenkins got himself into this mess, and he shouldn’t have expected plaudits.

  • Mr. Lafrate writes:

    “The other involves a relatively obscure bishop”.

    A relatively obscure bishop? Where have you been for the last two decades?

    That Fr. Jenkins had some sort of connection with the diocese of Lincoln surely gives Bishop Bruskewitz “standing”, as the lawyers call it to reprimand him.

  • A relatively obscure bishop? Where have you been for the last two decades?

    Well, I have not been intimately involved in the irrelevant circles of the Catholic Right, nor have paid much attention to whoever their episcopal heroes might be. Has Bruskewitz been a newsworthy figure in some way? I’ve not heard of him.

  • Mikey Mikey. So cute when you’re mad. Bishop B has been bad bold and boisterous for well unto a generation. Cries aloud and spares not. His comments about Father Jenkins were bang on the money. Funny how you get SOOOOO jumpy and personal on this that or other thing. Might wanna check your own self. Meanwhile Bravo Bishop B and keep on laying down smack.

  • Mad? Jumpy? Personal? If you say so. Merely pointing out the obvious. Other than than, I’m chillin’ like Bob Dylan.

  • Should read “other than that.”

  • A google search would quickly disabuse anyone that Bishop Bruskewitz has been obscure. Controversial? Yes. Ordaining more priests per capita in many years than any other bishop in the country? Yes. Contentious? Frequently? Obscure? Anything but!

  • I bet most Catholics in the United States don’t know who he is, Donald. Just because he is popular within a certain internet crowd doesn’t make him non-obscure. People might know what their local ordinary is doing, but beyond that? Not necessarily.

  • The diocese of Lincoln is ranked 131st in the nation by Catholic population, having 89,000. ( http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/scus1.html ) The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.

  • Iafrate is obscure. Bruskewitz not so.

  • The American Catholic is obscure, as is Koss Nova. The diocese of Lincoln is obscure if you are a protestant living in canada.

  • “The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.”

    Wasn’t Jerusalem likewise an obscure and insignificant province of the Roman Empire?

    Yet, somehow this obscure backwater ended up being historically monumental.

    Go figure.

  • Koss Nova

    Eh!!! Did you come up with that one on your own? Wow! I’m so impressed!!!

  • MZ,
    As a matter of fact, I did, several months ago. But its formation was undeservedly obscure.

  • The diocese of Lincoln is ranked 131st in the nation by Catholic population, having 89,000. The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.

    I’m not really clear where all this argument about whether Lincoln is an “obscure” see is supposed to go — other than that some obviously agree with Bruskewitz’s opinions in re Notre Dame and others don’t.

    The diocese itself is, as MZ points out, rather small. However it is known for having consistently high numbers of vocations, and I’ve heard about Bruskewitz off and on in national Catholic publications like OSV for a good fifteen years. I imagine that if one did a citation count of National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, OSV, Commonweal, This Rock and America one would find significantly more mentions of Bruskewitz over the last 15 years than of anything going on in my own see of Austin, even though we have far more Catholics.

    So aside from not seeing the relevance of the “obscure” accusation, I don’t really see that it’s true either.

  • I doubt Mr. Karlson if most Catholics know the name of their local bishop, just as most Americans do not know the name of their representative in Congress. This fact does not necessarily make either the bishop or the representative obscure. Compared to the other bishops in this country Bishop Bruskewitz is not obscure as the length of this thread both condemning and supporting his letter indicates. That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.

  • A google search would quickly disabuse anyone that Bishop Bruskewitz has been obscure.

    I see. Because obscure persons and things tend not to show up on Google searches, right?

    Wasn’t Jerusalem likewise an obscure and insignificant province of the Roman Empire?

    Well, M.Z. and “e.”, I didn’t say anything about the man’s diocese being “obscure.” Most people have heard of Lincoln, Nebraska after all. But this bishop seems to be an angry, obscure one who is just looking for the latest “newsworthy” item to be outraged about so he can appear prophetic. I mean please; sending a priest that he doesn’t know a letter saying that he will pray for his conversion is pretty low. Who does he think he is? A combox participant at Vox Nova?

  • “That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.”

    I hate to break it to you, but that in itself doesn’t prove or pull the good bishop out of obscurity just because certain Vox Novan visitors happen to know him; unless, of course, such persons are representative of the entire Catholic population of the United States.

    (The fact that this isn’t actually the case is, quite frankly, a relief.)

  • That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.

    Why? We simply saw the latest hateful letter by a u.s. bishop and wanted to comment. Doesn’t mean we have a clue who this guy is.

  • e., the fact that they are also the same individuals contending that he is obscure rather disproves their point by the vehemence with which they are arguing about the letter from an “obscure” bishop. Bishop Bruskewitz is well known by those who follow the actions of the bishops in this country, and the Vox Novniks are in that category.

  • Catholic Anarchist, disingenuousness does not become you. A google search of Iafrate and Bruskewitz reveals that you are quite familiar with Bishop Bruskewitz.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    “e., the fact that they are also the same individuals contending he is obscure rather disproves their point by the vehemence with which they are arguing about the letter from an ‘obscure’ bishop.”

    Well, that wouldn’t actually be the first time that certain Vox Novans happened to engage in arguments that were, in fact, self-refuting! ;^)

    Yet, to be fair though, although the Catholic crowds that roam around various Catholic foras may actually know of the good bishop doesn’t really give any actual indication that American Catholics in general would happen to know of him.

    (About your last comment though about Catholic Anarchist, are you really surprised?)

  • Donald,

    I have known of him for quite some time, but I am also not your average Catholic in what I know or do not know. If I judged how obscure something or someone was based upon what I know, I would say the debates about who and what the icchantikas are must not be obscure to anyone.

  • e., when we say that a bishop is obscure the only proper comparison is whether he is obscure in regard to other bishops. For example, I doubt if the general public knows who General “Pap” Thomas was, a Union general from the Civil War. However, no one who has a working knowledge of the Civil War would ever call the “Rock of Chickamauga” an obscure Union general. To people who pay attention to events pertaining to the Church in America, Fabian Bruskewitz is not obscure.

  • Fair point and duly noted.

  • A google search of Iafrate and Bruskewitz reveals that you are quite familiar with Bishop Bruskewitz.

    Haha. Good one. I can’t find it, though, so you must be lying, right?

    Or wait. is he my long lost uncle or something?

    Interesting, too, that you always fall back on war comparisons. Always.

  • The Cure d’Ars and his parish was quite obscure. As was Lourdes. Likewise Lisieux.

    What is amusing – because pointless – is a discussion about whether Bishop Bruskewitz and the Diocese of Lincoln are obscure, rather than the matter of his letter.

    Just as an oddity, Fr. Jenkins was born in Omaha. That is a city in Nebraska, just like Lincoln. Lincoln and Omaha are a but a few miles distant. Thus Bishop Bruskewitz was correct in referring to Fr. Jenkins’ Nebraskan roots.

  • “Obscurity” is relative. A person may be very well known in a particular field of endeavor (art, sports, law, finance, technology, etc.) but not be well known to people outside of those circles.

    Bishop Bruskewitz may be “obscure” to the average Catholic whose only exposure to Church teaching comes from a 10-minute weekly sermon and who does not carefully follow news or trends within the Church. He doesn’t get a lot of mention in the secular media. He is, however, definitely NOT obscure to other bishops, Catholic journalists, and others who regard him as a champion of orthodoxy/conservatism/traditionalism (whatever term you prefer to use). In those circles he is very well known.

Jenkins to Pro-Life Students: No dialogue for you!

Thursday, April 16, AD 2009

obama-and-valentine3

jenkins1

One of the main defenses of Jenkins in regard to Obama Day on May 17, 2009 at Notre Dame is as follows:  “However misguided some might consider our actions, it is in the spirit of providing a basis for dialogue that we invited President Obama.”

It is therefore richly ironic that Jenkins refuses to meet with pro-life Notre Dame students opposed to the Obama homage:

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4 Responses to Jenkins to Pro-Life Students: No dialogue for you!

  • I never believed that ‘dialogue’ excuse for a nanosecond anyway.

    I remember hearing a few decades back that one way the pro-aborts used to get politicians to ‘change’ from a pro-life stance to a pro-abort one was to threaten to expose the pro-life politicians past involvement in an abortion…

    Hey when there is no logical explanation given for such an outrageous betrayal, one has to start wondering…

  • “conditions for constructive dialogue do not exist”

    Translation: “I didn’t expect 33+ bishops to uncork on me, and as sure as we have a cheesy leprechaun for a mascot, I don’t want to hear you quoting them. When I want input from the episcopate, I’ll send them talking points.”

  • Is this how the leftists in the Soviet Union did dialogue? The elitist masters speak and the masses listen intently with no dissent allowed?

  • Whenever someone to the left of me utilizes the word “dialogue,” I develop itch in various parts of my torso. So it was triggered on the news that Father Jenkins will not engage in it with pro-life ND students. Dialogue By Their Definition = We Will Lecture You More Forcefully. Not to worry. Father Jenkins has more immediate concerns. His job, more specifically.

The Giggle Test

Monday, April 13, AD 2009

obama-and-valentine2jenkins

In my “real life”, for my sins no doubt, I am an attorney.  Before I raise an argument in court before a judge or a jury, I always make sure it can pass the giggle test.  It has two components:  1.  Can I make the argument with a straight face;  and 2.  do I think a judge or a jury can hear the argument without giggling.  The giggle test has saved me a lot of embarrassment over the years in court.

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7 Responses to The Giggle Test

  • Pingback: “diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.” « The American Catholic
  • The good Father is feeling the heat.

  • Notre Dame gets an “F,” on the Giggle Test, an “F” for Catechism and an “F,” for not defending the free speech of the unborn. We who calls ourselves Christians/Cath. have been depicted as provincial backward folks with little comprehension, for progress and the sciences. Our faith is ridiculed by the media/academia quoting that 54% of the Cath. voted for President Obama. How many Cath. voted not to be sacrificed to the lions, when Emperor Nero was in charged? Our faith has not changed in the elapsed time especially, when the “life” of the innocent is the question. Jesus loves us today just as he did then, but more important; we must remember that Jesus always had a special love/consideration, for the weak, innocent, and the most vulnerable. November 17, will soon be water under the bridge. However, dishearten Christians/Cath. can reaffirm their commitments to faith and life through prayers. John Cardinal O’Connor reminded us in his book “Moment of Grace” of the following: “If prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: The Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.” On commencement day, I will pray/dedicate the rosary, for the protection of the innocent. I will also ask our Lord Jesus Christ to give our Cath. leaders the strength of character and wisdom to stand in disagreement when disagreement is required by principle. God Bless J. Cardinal O’Connor.

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  • “Chancellor Hitler” professed himself to be a Catholic. He was raised Catholic and remained a formal member of the CC until his death. And for the record, this entry goes straight to the top of the list of online rants that most quickly go out of their way to lend support to Godwin’s Law due to the oblique and nonsensical relationship attributed to Hitler and whoever it is you’re disagreeing with.

    If you aren’t familiar with Godwin’s Law, please do look it up.

  • Mike, Hitler despised the Catholic Church and only waited until the end of the war to settle accounts with it. Perhaps you are not aware of Hitler’s Table Talk? Here are some selections:

    ‘The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem. Only then Will the life of the German native be guaranteed once and for all.”

    “The evil that’s gnawing our vitals is our priests, of both creeds. I can’t at present give them the answer they’ve been asking for, but it will cost them nothing to wait. It’s all written down in my big book. The time will come when I’ll settle my account with them, and I’ll go straight to the point.”

    “I don’t know which should be considered the more dangerous: the minister of religion who play-acts at patriotism, or the man who openly opposes the State. The fact remains that it’s their maneuvers that have led me to my decision. They’ve only got to keep at it, they’ll hear from me, all right. I shan’t let myself be hampered by juridical scruples. Only necessity has legal force. In less than ten years from now, things will have quite another look, I can promise them.”

    “We shan’t be able to go on evading the religious problem much longer. If anyone thinks it’s really essential to build the life of human society on a foundation of lies, well, in my estimation, such a society is not worth preserving. If’ on the other hand, one believes that truth is the indispensable foundation, then conscience bids one intervene in the name of truth, and exterminate the lie.”

    “Once the war is over we will put a swift end to the Concordat. It will give me the greatest personal pleasure to point out to the Church all those occasions on which it has broken the terms of it. One need only recall the close cooperation between the Church and the murderers of Heydrich. Catholic priests not only allowed them to hide in a church on the outskirts of Prague, but even allowed them to entrench themselves in the sanctuary of the altar.”

    “The fact that I remain silent in public over Church affairs is not in the least misunderstood by the sly foxes of the Catholic Church, and I am quite sure that a man like the Bishop von Galen knows full well that after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing. And, if he does not succeed in getting himself transferred in the meanwhile to the Collegium Germanium in Rome, he may rest assured that in the balancing of our accounts, no “T” will remain uncrossed, no “I” undotted!”

    Hitler remained Catholic in the same sense that Benedict Arnold remained an American. As to Godwin’s Law, the point I was making obviously eluded you, or, more likely, you are unable or unwilling to debate the substance of it.

  • Mike,

    Perhaps you’ve never heard of excommunication latae sententiae.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latae_sententiae

"diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is."

Monday, April 13, AD 2009

bishop-samuel-j-aquila

Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota,  takes Jenkins to task for the homage to Obama to Obama scheduled at Notre Dame on May 17, 2009 and also addresses the sophistical defense mounted by Jenkins of his decision:

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One Response to "diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is."

5 Responses to Northwestern Indiana Humanist University

  • “Please have the decency to change the name of the University… it is truly obscene for you to take such decisions as you have done in a university named for our Blessed Lady.”

    Well, Bishop Doran certainly minces no words. It reminds me of the time about six or seven years ago when Bishop Jenky of Peoria got equally outraged about the fact that a bar owner in Moline was going to name his establishment the “Hail Mary Sports Bar and Grill,” or something like that, referring to the “Hail Mary” pass. He actually wrote a letter to the local newspaper calling the name “blasphemous.” At the time, I thought maybe he was going a little bit overboard but his basic desire to defend the honor of Our Lady was admirable.

    Which makes it seem all the more odd to me that I have yet to find any public statement by Bishop Jenky on the Obama unpleasantness, since he is, after all, a Holy Cross priest, a member of the Notre Dame board of trustees and was the rector of the Sacred Heart Basilica for many years! I have checked the Peoria Diocese website and all the recent online issues of The Catholic Post and have yet to find anything. A Google search on “Bishop Jenky” and “Notre Dame commencement” turns up nothing either.

    I realize this might be an awkward situation for him given that he is a CSC himself and likely personally knows Fr. Jenkins; but I would think he would have said SOMETHING by now, even if it was just a 2- or 3-sentence press release expressing “regret” or “sorrow” at the situation, etc. Did I miss something or am I not looking in the right places?

  • I have been disappointed in the fact that Bishop Jenky, my Bishop, has not yet commented on the Notre Dame situation. I agree that his position is awkward no doubt in regard to Notre Dame but his duty as a Bishop I think is clear. I also think he is one Bishop who might carry weight with the powers that be at Notre Dame. We are of course quite a way yet from May 17. It is possible that he is working quietly to convince the administration at Notre Dame to rescind the invitation with the clear implication that he will go public with his opposition if they do not. We shall see.

  • Reading stories like this, part of me wants to say: if you find Obama and what he stands for so objectionable, why did you say so before the election? You know, when it actually might have made a difference.

    Not entirely fair, I know. But that’s my reaction.

  • Actually Blackadder, many bishops did just that, including Bishop Doran:

    http://www.redcounty.com/cityofman/2008/10/over-80-bishops-say-abortionli.html

  • I wonder if Faithful Citizenship will undergo changes in the next few years.

"Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic"

Tuesday, March 31, AD 2009

francis-cardinal-george

As President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,  Francis Cardinal George of Chicago today spoke out on the Notre Dame scandal.  The money quote:  “So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, …” Note however that the Cardinal also spoke of corresponding with Jenkins several times on the issue.  That of course will get approximately nowhere.  Jenkins and the powers that be at Notre Dame have made very clear that they will not back down.  They should be compelled to do so.  Here is a fisking of the press report by Father Z.

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27 Responses to "Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic"

  • Ahhh suddenly the Catholic Americans give a damn about the USCCB! I thought it had no authority? Where is Tito when we need him?

  • Let me guess Catholic Anarchist, you have a Notre Dame beanie glued to your skull and can’t wait to cheer the abortionist-in-chief as he receives the adoration on May 17 of the retreating Irish?

  • Kathleen Gilbert wrote:

    Cardinal George prefaced his remarks by noting that as USCCB president he does not have jurisdiction or authority over other bishops, but nonetheless has “some moral authority, without any kind of jurisdiction or any sort of real authority.”

    So I’m quite pleased that the President of the USCCB has recognized this fact that I have known for quite awhile.

  • Let me guess Catholic Anarchist, you have a Notre Dame beanie glued to your skull and can’t wait to cheer the abortionist-in-chief as he receives the adoration on May 17 of the retreating Irish?

    Of course not. I actually have a problem with Notre Dame honoring ANY u.s. president.

    Of course none of you Catholic Americans raised a peep about the several members of the Bush administration who were honored with various degrees at Catholic schools during their reign, considering Bush’s approval of some types of abortion as well as his war which directly an unambiguously contradicted Catholic teaching.

    Hypocrites.

  • Gee, Catholic Anarchist perhaps you would call Cardinal Ratzinger a hypocrite?

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    You voted for Obama, a man who has never met a form of abortion he hasn’t supported, who has raised campaign funds by touting his support for that barely disguised infanticide called partial birth abortion and who has pledged his full support for passage of the Freedom of Choice Act. You are not a hypocrite. You are simply a de facto pro-abort.

  • Michael J. Iafrate.

    So it appears you are just a dog?
    Time to give yourself a good kick in the ribs.

    So you are one of the supporters of Baldrick O’Bama?
    Why am I surprised.

  • Don,
    As the farce of 0bama unfolds expect his supporters to become even more rabid.

  • What do you mean by “supporter?”

    I am a supporter of calling out hypocrites on this blog.

  • Michael I.

    as opposed to calling out hypocrites and dissenters on your OWN blog (and in your mirror)? I guess it only depends on who’s ox is being gored, right?

  • as opposed to calling out hypocrites and dissenters on your OWN blog

    I do that too. Quite a few of the Catholic Americans comment over at VN, y’see.

  • Well, I guess all commenters in this thread, including me, have had ample opportunity to make their personal likes and dislikes clear. Any further comments involving personal attacks or which are off topic will be deleted.

  • Deleted your last comment Catholic Anarchist as it was a personal attack. Pay attention. No personal attacks and stay on topic.

  • Deleted your last two attempts at comments Catholic Anarchist. One personal attack and one not on topic.

    I will respond to your query contained in the second comment however. I stated that I would delete further personal attacks. Everyone had their licks in and I did not want this thread to devolve into a weary back and forth exchange of insults. That is not what this blog is for. If you wish to participate in my threads you will observe my rules.

  • Deleted your last attempted comment Catholic Anarchist which was off topic. I have already explained that I would delete further personal attacks. I did not say that I would delete prior personal attacks. I have kept yours up along with everyone elses.

  • Three more comments deleted Catholic Anarchist. One personal attack and two off topic. As for your suggestion for an e-mail for the blog that actually might have merit and I will take it up with my fellow contributors in due course.

  • Personal attack Catholic Anarchist, so your latest attempt to comment joins the rest in internet oblivion.

  • Deleted your last comment Catholic Anarchist. No personal attack in that one as opposed to the other ones that I have deleted in which there were personal attacks, but it wasn’t on topic.

  • Why do you care what the president of the USCCB says? You don’t recognize their authority.

  • Michael,

    I am not sure who you are addressing. Personally, I’ve always respected Cardinal George a great deal, and I would be surprised if anyone here had a different point of view.

  • John – I am addressing the author of the post. I generally respect Cardinal George a great deal as well and agree with him often.

  • I recognize the authority of all cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church Catholic Anarchist. I also recognize their ability to be wise or foolish, either individually or collectively. In this case Cardinal George is acting wisely, albeit probably ineffectually, in regard to the Notre Dame scandal. I trust more of his fellow cardinals and bishops will join him in expressing their outrage at the honoring of our pro-abort prez.

  • So you recognize the USCCB when it agrees with you. Nice.

  • No Catholic Anarchist I recognize the fact that bishops and cardinals can be right or wrong depending upon their actions or statements. Only the Pope has the charism of infallibility, as bishops and cardinals amply demostrate each day.

  • Only the Pope has the charism of infallibility, as bishops and cardinals amply demostrate each day.

    You might want to do some research on what the Catholic Church teaches about infallibility.

  • I don’t recognize the USCCB as having any authority except where the Holy See has granted specific powers, I don’t recognize the USCCB as really being wise about much of anything. Which is why we especially rejoice when the president of the USCCB actually does the right thing.

    By the way, the Holy Father only exercises infallibility under very specific circumstances, he may be in error on a number of things, but he does exercise universal jurisdiction.

  • It is quite adequately set out in Vatican I Catholic Anachist, and at 891 in the Catechism I believe. No guarantee there of the infallibity of either any individual bishop or cardinal or of national assemblies of ecclesiastics such as the USCCB. Of course in this case, their lack of infallibility, we do not have to rely on faith alone. Experience also teaches us this truth.

Third Bishop Reproach's Notre Dame Decision

Friday, March 27, AD 2009

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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7 Responses to Third Bishop Reproach's Notre Dame Decision

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  • I was actually surprised when I saw Bishop Aymond’s e-pistle. Our ordinary is not generally very political — to my knowledge he was pretty quiet and simply referred everyone to Faithful Citizenship during the election. So that he spoke out on this really struck me.

    On the other hand, it strikes me that for many of the bishops, while they are reluctant to tell people specifically not to vote for one party, the call on not handing out honors to a pro-choice politician may be a lot more clear cut. Unless one abstains entirely, one will generally vote for one of the two major parties. But there’s certainly no requirement that one go handing out honors without good cause.

  • I was fortunate enough to speak with Bishop Aymond briefly last week Wednesday in College Station and I was impressed by his orthodoxy, charity, and demeanor. He was easy to speak with and very polite.

    I to was thrown off guard and was happy to be surprised.

    Now his recent statement concerning the scandal at Notre Dame has made me even more impressed with his episcopacy.

    You have a good bishop in Austin Darwin.

  • My pastor (Notre Dame alumnus) is not particularly happy about this either 😉

  • Hey man, Obama is actually pro-life, or at least in the holistic sense of the term – what’s the deal with the private theology of these bishops?

  • at least in the holistic sense of the term

    Does one have to drink green tea, do stretching exercises and burn some sort of herb to achieve this kind of holistic sense of the term? A sort of alternative medicine for the mind?

    🙂

  • Darwin,

    Whooaaa now, that’s hitting to close to home with me.

    Fortunately, I don’t burn herbs of any sort (I don’t burn anything except a good Jamaican cigar for that matter — Cuban cigars are vastly overrated).

    🙂

The Bishop Speaks

Tuesday, March 24, AD 2009

bishop-john-m-darcy1

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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14 Responses to The Bishop Speaks

  • The good bishop chose his words carefully and eloquently. He is a true standard bearer of upholding Catholic teaching. This is in stark contrast to the depravity and lack of spine that Father John Jenkins exhibits. And for what?

    For Wales.

  • “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

    This being granted the commencement address and degree would not in themselves suggest support for Obama’s (anti-life) actions.

    The bishop assumes a comma after “platforms” that is not in the quoted sentence.

  • Mark,

    I could swear that your middle name is Webster in your proficiency in catching grammatical errors. But I wouldn’t be surprised if your middle name is Webster, since now Webster’s dictionary endorses same-sex marriage with their redefinition of ‘marriage’.

    http://westcoastcatholic.blogspot.com/2009/03/merriam-webster-dictionary-marriage.html

  • Tito,

    Now, now…

    Mark,

    If even Homer nods, I’m sure it’s at least as possible that the USCCB missed a comma as that this particular member of the USCCB doesn’t understand the difference between a descriptive and a restrictive clause.

    As has been emphasized for other reasons recently, bishops are intended to be our shepherds and we should respect their decisions in executing their teaching office. (Though as with anything, we may at times find ourselves in disagreement with them.) Given that Bishop D’Arcy has been dealing with Notre Dame for some time, and is a member of the USCCB and thus can be assumed to have some understanding of what they meant by that phrase, I would think we should at least give his judgment in this situation a fair amount of weight.

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  • Further, even though it is the case that there is no comma I’d be curious to know what is covered by the presumably non-empty set “awards, honors or platforms that do not suggest support for their actions.”

    To a more-important grammatical point, what does “for their actions” mean? In a certain sense, that question is stupid: they’re the things a person does. Obviously.

    But what I’m getting at is “how does one determine which of ‘their actions’ fairly characterize a person” and therefore (most relevant to this matter) “what it can mean to give, specifically, an honorary degree and a commencement invitation to any Person X.”

    The Church teaches that no man is completely evil. And none are without sin. Therefore, by definition, any honor to anybody will involve honoring a person who has done a mixture of good or bad things. It’s tough to think offhand of the good things Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson has done, but they do exist. Now, nobody would seriously argue that OBL or Manson is worthy of any honor at a serious institution because they are mass murderers, despite the fact that on all but a handful of days of their lives, neither man has killed (fewer than five in Manson’s case, we know to a moral certainty; and possibly never in OBL’s case, if we mean “personally kill”). Nevertheless, we feel comfortable calling them “murderers,” characterizing them that way, at least for the purpose of determining their honor-worthiness (or jail-worthiness or kill-worthiness).

    Further, there is the issue of the specific award and specific purposes of a campus visit. Consider as a potential parallel, this article in the New Republic about the great Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, who apparently supported his country’s invasion of Georgia and plans to conduct a concert of Russian music in that part of Georgia that the Kremlin still controls. Prescind from that specific event though. Would anything think if Notre Dame were to invite Gergiev to put on a Tchaikovsky opera or a Prokofiev cantata or suites, that it was (1) endorsing Gergiev the man in a general way (and therefore in principle everything about him), or (2) honoring Gergiev the conductor and putting on a specific event that was about the things being honored.

    So to bring this back to Obama, this is not a specified honor on some other point that allows us to dismiss his pro-abortion record. As a contrary example, I wouldn’t have a problem, for example, with Julianne Moore or Glenn Close or some other actress with a history of pro-abortion statements or activism being feted at a campus film festival or leading an actors workshop or speaking to drama or RTF students or performing in a play, etc. To be fair, Obama is not getting specified kudos for his great work on life issues (though more on that below).

    But a commencement speech is a generalized honor, to the whole graduation class, and it’s also the highest-profile honor a university can offer. It’s also essentially a monolog by that person, rather than either a dialog or a discussion or a work. It’s also open-ended in its subject matter, and to the extent there are expectations about its subject, it will be about life as a whole, as the graduates move from one stage of life to another. So a commencement speech, by its very genericness and one-sidedness, is, I think necessarily a general endorsement of the person as a whole in a way that speaking on a specified topic or doing a specific task need not be. Therefore, we get to the question of whether a general endorsement of Obama is possible for a Catholic institution. Obviously, the issue of “how do you characterize ‘their actions’ in the USCCB doc” is not as clear cut in Obama’s case as with Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson, whose best-known public achievements that brought them fame were entirely bad ones.

    But ask yourself … what are Obama’s achievements? They are primarily being elected, to the presidency and earlier to lesser offices, which is hardly a particularly good thing, in itself, separate from what he does or did with the political power thus gained. It needs no saying that breaking the White House color barrier is a very good thing. But it’s hard to see, other than that, what makes Obama’s political record honor-worthy. And even harder to see what else he has, even in principle, worth honoring. It all has to stand or fall on his votes and political rhetoric.

    And on abortion, he is simply beyond abominable. Even before becoming president, there was his votes on partial-birth abortion and on the Born-Alive bill, his lying about the Born-Alive bill and calling others liars, his rhetorical support and earlier sponsorship of FOCA, and rhetoric like “above my pay grade” and “punished with a child.” In the 60-some days since becoming president, he has thrice acted on life issues and every time done bad: the Mexico City policy on funding abortion overseas, government funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and ordering a weakening of the conscience clause. Every opportunity to dis’ pro-lifers, he has taken.

    So “can you honor a whole person when his actions in his principal field of achievement are this bad, from the perspective of the Church” (and frankly of right reason). Now to be sure, those abortion things aren’t Obama’s only political acts. Bigger fans of him than I no doubt can name them. But I think it’s fair to define him as a politician that way, simply because abortion is not one issue among many. Rather, as the US Church has said repeatedly, that the defining issues of current US politics are abortion and the other life issues (ESCR, euthanasia — oh, BTW, does anyone even remember that Obama called his vote to stop the Schiavo murder his greatest mistake). Other issues besides life exist, they don’t “not matter,” but they can never override wrong choices on life. Here is the USCCB (skip to section 23):

    But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” — the living house of God — then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation.

    Given that stated centrality of abortion and euthanasia, given that Obama is a politician whose only achievements are in this very field (public votes and rhetoric), and given how awful, hard-to-imagine-how-they-could-be-worse his votes and rhetoric in this central field are — I think it quite clear that giving *this* honor to *this* man does suggest support, or at least indifference (which would be unacceptable for its own reasons), for his actions on abortion.

    There is one other point, a smaller one that tends to get swallowed up. Obama is getting an honorary JD, a law degree. That’s a specific honor that has specific meaning to competence in a specific field. And one that Obama has even cited as giving him expertise to act against life (if you look at the link above, he calls his recanted Schiavo vote something that “as a constitutional law professor, I knew better”). Given that Obama has defended Roe vs. Wade and the “right to privacy” and said de-facto that as president he would only appoint pro-Roe judges, then it seems to me that to grant him an honorary JD (rather than an honorary PhD is chemistry, say) is to honor his legal thought, and thus indirectly to honor the jurisprudence that has given us 45 million abortions since 1973.

  • Also … (phew) … here’s the other grammar point.

    The sentence is phrased wrong whether or not its intended meaning is restrictive or descriptive, because the clause isn’t introduced with “that.”

    In other words, if the USCCB had said “… awards, honors or platforms that would suggest…” then clearly some such honors do suggest support and some don’t; the latter are permitted, the former are not.

    Or if the USCCB had said “… awards, honors or platforms, which would suggest…” then equally clearly all such honors suggest support and all are barred.

    As it’s written, with no comma and “which” … impossible to say from grammar.

  • Let’s be clear: abortion is the murder of children, probably the worst moral offense there is. If you don’t believe that, you’re out of line with the Church and you should not be receiving communion. If you do believe that children are being murdered by abortion than you should be outraged by those who are performing the abortions and those who create laws that promote, support, or permit it. If you are outraged by those people you should not bestow honors upon them (or vote for them). There are many things you can do with them: engage them in dialogue, work with them on issues of agreement, etc. But you should not honor them! (respect is different than honor) You should not let yourself or your institution be used by them to win a swing state!
    Any argument to the contrary is mere equivocation.

  • What Courage Man said. Other than the matter of the subordinating conjunction, of which my old Warriner’s grammar states that it mox nix as long as you’re referring to things and not people.

    If we’re going to make issue of commas, from where I’m reading it makes little diff:

    “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions,” indicates that those (and presumably only those) items which would suggest support should not be given them.

    “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms, which would suggest support for their actions,” indicates that all items on the list would suggest support and should therefore not be given them.

    One could argue, I suppose, that the specific honor and platform being given the President do not indicate support, but one would be hard pressed to make that case.

  • I would say bravo to His Eminence and do. But I could also say bravo for celebrating Mass this morning. Or visiting a sick grandma at the hospital. Part of his gig to stand up for official Catholic teaching. Clearly he is peeved that Father Jenkins only told him of the invitation before the glitzy news conference to an adoring MSM. Not going well for Johnny. Alums in a tizzy. Large percentage of the younguns in uproar, too. A gag me with a spoon moment in which he hoped the invitation would lead to ‘positive engagement.” A phrase designed to replace the old warhorse ‘dialogue.’ Earth to Johnny- you don’t have to out-Hesburgh Father Hesburgh. You don’t have to be America’s Open-Minded Promient Priest. Just gently rescind offer and move on.

  • I was disappointed that Bishop D’Arcy encouraged Ambassador Glendon to receive her Medal. The juxtaposition of the invitations to Obama and Glendon actually furthers the impression of a political equivalency btween the two.

  • For days all the attention has been on what Bishop D’Arcy was going to do. However, Notre Dame was founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross — not the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend — and I presume they still run the place, or have some kind of governance over it. Father Jenkins, in his priestly capacity, answers to their superior general (or whatever the head honcho’s title is), not to Bishop D’Arcy. So has anyone been writing letters, e-mails, etc. to the CSC superior about this? I would think he’d have a little more pull here.

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Notre Dame-Obama Scandal Roundup

Saturday, March 21, AD 2009

News spread fast with the announcement that the University of Notre Dame (ND) will have President Obama at its commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree.  Our very own Donald R. McClarey was johnny-on-the-spot with the breaking news last night.  Here is the official press release states as follows:

“Mr. Obama will be the ninth U.S. president to be awarded an honorary degree by the University and the sixth to be the Commencement speaker.”

Here’s a round up of the near-unanimous condemnation of this invitation to Pro-Abortion President Barack Obama:

1.  Bishop John D’Arcy has been very critical of ND in the past.  Bishop D’Arcy has also defended unborn children againstPresident Obama’s anti-life agenda in the past.  His Excellency will have quite a bit to say come Monday.

2.  The ND switchboard was overwhelmed late last night with all calls expressing their outrage at the invitation of a president with blood on his hands of innocent children.  The voice mailbox for the President, Fr. John Jenkins, Vice-President, Provost, assistant-provost and PR director of ND were all full by 9pm EST.

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31 Responses to Notre Dame-Obama Scandal Roundup

  • So Barack Obama is claiming Irish descent, eh?

    Could be true – over here the bloggers are calling him Barry O’Blunda. 🙂

  • Ha! When he was merely a problem for Illinois, I sometimes called him O’Bama because of the way the Chicago machine got behind him during his Senate run.

  • As a current Notre Dame student, I can speak for many on campus who are genuinely conflicted about our university’s choice for commencement speaker. We hold a tremendous amount of respect for the office of President of the United States, but we hold an even greater belief in the sanctity of human life. Some of us have written and signed an open letter to Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, asking him to make a public statement denouncing Pres. Obama’s views on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, etc. I invited you to read it on our student Web page here: http://www.nd.edu/~pbrown6/ObamaVisitLetter.html. With your help, we can raise awareness about the sizable portion of the student body who chose to to attend ND not only for its academic reputation and history on the gridiron, but its Catholic foundations and identity as well.

  • Patrick,

    I think it’s a decent letter, and I hope your President rises to the challenge, but I have to take issue with this:

    Awarding him an honorary degree without making clear that the University disapproves of his stance on issues regarding the sanctity of human life would be a disrespect to those students who, like ourselves, chose to attend this University based not only on its status as one of the country’s premier institutions of higher learning, but a school that takes pride in its Catholic foundation and identity.

    Seriously — why award an honorary degree in the first place? I seem to recall the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ weighing in on the bestowing of such honors in Catholics in Political Life:

    The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

    In stating such, would the USCCB make exceptions for Presidents who zealously advocate Roe v. Wade?

  • Christopher

    “which would suggest support for their actions.” That’s the key. It’s clear he is there because he is President. You ignore the key, because it would point out someone COULD be given awards, as long as it is not suggesting support for such actions.

  • They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

    That’s a masterfully ambiguous sentence, as it allows for both Chris’ and Henry’s interpretation.

    (1) Awards, etc. should not be given at all, because that suggests support for their actions; or

    (2) Awards, etc. should not be given which suggest support for their actions.

    I have to wonder if it was a deliberately ambiguous construction to give cover to two opposing camps.

    In any event, even with Henry’s interpretation, this imposes a duty upon the university to state unequivocally that the platform and award in question are being given despite his defiance of fundamental Catholic moral principles, not because of them.

  • I think the lack of a comma prior to the ‘which’ suggests Henry’s interpretation is correct, although I agree it’s somewhat ambiguous.

  • Dale Price

    Perhaps ND will say something about President Obama’s lack of agreement with Catholic morals. But did anyone demand such statements from universities when other Presidents (or their staff), who were not Catholic and did not uphold Catholic morality, were at commencements? Again, it is not just the aspect I brought up; it is the whole moral code, which seems to be only brought into play for one issue, and not others.

    Moreover, here is another question: should such univiersities give scholarships to students, or even allow students to graduate, who do not uphold Catholic morality? I do not see that happening, nor anyone protesting “That student is too pro-death penalty, he can’t have his law degree from Notre Dame!” It’s again clear, that people are using this quote for one thing, but ignoring the consequences elsewhere. And the reason why is this quote is vague (I agree with Dale there) and I think its intent is to stop awards specifically to those whose work is primarily and univocally against Catholic moral positions. Obama, and Bush, and most Presidents, if not all, would not be seen as either primarily or univocally such.

  • Yes, that comma would cinch it in favor of Chris’ view. To make it clearer, Henry’s interpretation is certainly legitimate and does no violence to the text.

    Then again, the sentence immediately prior to it has to be taken into account, as Chris notes.

    At the risk of belaboring my point, the text mandates, at a minimum, that Catholic schools cannot simply offer awards, platforms, etc., and leave it at that.

  • Henry, given that the June 2004 conference document emphasizes abortion (while not excluding other life issues, obviously), your argument is with the Conference, not me. I’d be interested to see who has spoken where since it went into effect, even so.

    Moreover, it is directed at public officials and policymakers, which suggests that your law student analogy would not apply. Plus, there is the matter of simple justice not to deny someone a degree for which they have worked and paid a considerable sum of money, even if they are wrong on a fundamental moral issue. That’s different from conveying a purely honorary degree or award which has not been earned.

  • Though I’d certainly agree that a Catholic college retains the right to discipline and even expel students who behave in a manner which violates the principles outlined in the document (and in other places).

  • What Dale said.

    The University of Notre Dame should not be giving a platform to a proponent of the culture of death.

  • Dale

    Once again, while abortion is emphasized, I do not think its principles are meant to be limited to it. Context explains why abortion, but the principles should be beyond.

    Second, what about the use of scholarships? Should they be given or not given to those who do not uphold Catholic morals?

    Third, while a law student is not in the government, it is clear many will be actively involved with government life afterwards. And the degree, while it was “paid for” nonetheless is an honor and an award. And it is one which is given out despite one’s principles, or beliefs, and it is for this reason why one can’t ignore that aspect when an honorary degree is given out (personally, I don’t think honorary degrees should be given out so easily as they are, and only a few, like Tolkien at Oxford, deserved them when they got them; but once it is a part of the system, it follows the regulations of the system, which transcends an individual university).

    Now, let’s bring this to other issues, and one which is close to home. CUA. While I have been there, many speakers have been turned away and many have come, both of which have had questionable moral qualifications. One director, I know, had the students protesting the university when he was turned away from an award, because the director was primarily involved with pro-abortion work. I think the university was right, and this was the kind of thing which is meant by Christopher’s quote.

  • Moreover, here is another question: should such univiersities give scholarships to students, or even allow students to graduate, who do not uphold Catholic morality?

    –I graduated from Notre Dame, was mainstream Protestant, and am pro-choice. Notre Dame has never required students to be Catholic to attend or to graduate. It only required students to abide by specified rules.

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  • Why is anyone surprised at this action by the administration at Notre Dame? It is just another collection of colleges with a catholic veneer. It is best known for , and derives much of its income from – football.

    And for thumbing its administrative and clerical nose at the Church. Somehow Fr. Hesburgh and his successors got the idea that they were episcopal, and untouchable. I mean, consider the silly Fr. McBrien. Pity rather his poor students who must put up with his nonsense or be flunked.

  • The Church’s teaching must be available at Notre Dame. Notre Dame must also act as a Catholic university. Just because a Protestant, Hindu, Jew, or other non-Catholic doesn’t affect the character and teaching responsibility that is Notre Dame.

    Basically, your query is a non-sequitur.

  • The fact that Fr Jenkins even considered President O’Bama to be the commencement speaker, even though he knows, or should know, about O’bama’s anti-Christian views on the sanctity of human life and marriage, speaks volumes on what Fr Jenkins believes.

    It is tragic that Catholic clergy unfit to be local parish priest, much less the president of most conspicuous, Catholic University in the US , is allowed to spit in the face of many Bishops and lay organizations when that person takes a view that is totally opposed to the Church’s teaching by inviting O’bama. Shame on Fr Jenkins. May the Lord rebuke him, we humbly pray!

    And how long will we, the beleagured faithful in the US, have to wait on Rome to take action and clean up the rampant heresy in the Catholic Church in America? It’s been a generation since the unholy winds of the world entered the Church after Vatican II, and now the Church undergoes its purification. On one hand, we have good faithful priests and on the other, we have sodomites and manifest heretics who betray their calling to the priesthood. Jesus says “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly, are ravening wolves” (Matt 7:15) and “By their fruits shall you know them” (Matt 7:16).

    But Fr Jenkins, is a symptom of what is wrong with the laity and religious in America–they can no longer see the religious truth of the Church which they belong to. We should pray very hard for the conversion of wayward clergy. Satan especially targets priests, because it the is best way to drag as many souls to hell. (St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle….) The Lord will judge Fr Jenkins more harshly than us because “to him whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48)

    “Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
    “St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, come to our assistance”

  • Concerning the President’s alleged “Anti-Christian views on the sancity of human life and marriage”, how do we reconcile this assertion with the Holy Father who receives various ecumencial guests as “brother Christians” who have the same (or even more extreme) views the President has?

  • I think precious few of these “brother Christians” would have views quite as extreme as Obama in regard to the issue of abortion. In any case popes have met with representatives of murderous regimes countless times over the centuries in pursuance of their duties as the vicar of Christ. However they are not accorded honors such as would be given to Obama by Notre Dame. One has to deal with evil people on this earth, but one never has to accord them either honor or homage.

  • Donald,

    Can you explain where the Episcopal Church, United Church and Presbyterian Church are less extreme than the President on abortion policy?

  • Which branches of the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church? The United Church of Christ, 1.2 million and shrinking, down 6% from 2006-2007, are indeed as firm in their allegiance to the Culture of Death as President Obama.

  • The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Presbyterian Church USA.

    Don, if it is okay for the highest Catholic authorities to accept the United Church as “brother Christians” because their membership is declining, then can Obama be accepted as such if his poll numbers start declining?

  • Katherine,

    what is your point? That we should not call Obama’s views anti-Christian? That we should call those churches views anti-Christian?

    I think you’re missing the point that we’re calling Obama’s views anti-Christian, we’re not saying he is not a professed Christian, there is a substantial distinction there.

  • Which branches of the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church? The United Church of Christ, 1.2 million and shrinking, down 6% from 2006-2007, are indeed as firm in their allegiance to the Culture of Death as President Obama.

    Outrageous statement. Sinful statement. And just before Holy Week.

  • A completely accurate statement Catholic Anarchist. Truth is always called for, especially before Holy Week.

    Katherine, let me know when the Pope honors the leadership of the United Church of Christ. I will get back to you on the other two denominations, since I have a client waiting.

  • In regard to the Presbyterian Church USA Katherine since 1992 they basically have been pro-abort, although their recent stance is better than Obama’s:

    “We affirm that the lives of viable unborn babies—those well-developed enough to survive outside the womb if delivered—ought to be preserved and cared for and not aborted. In cases where problems of life or health of the mother arise in a pregnancy, the church supports efforts to protect the life and health of both the mother and the baby. When late-term pregnancies must be terminated, we urge decisions intended to deliver the baby alive. We look to our churches to provide pastoral and tangible support to women in problem pregnancies and to surround these families with a community of care. We affirm adoption as a provision for women who deliver children they are not able to care for, and ask our churches to assist in seeking loving, Christian, adoptive families.(6)”

    http://www.pcusa.org/101/101-abortion.htm

    They also have a strong pro-life movement that has been fighting to change the policy of their church:

    http://www.ppl.org/, and I salute them as I do members of any pro-abort church fighting for the right to life.

    A good recent article on the struggle within Protestant denominations on the abortion issue:

    http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-02-039-c

  • The position of the dying Episcopal Church in the United States, 2,154,572 in 2007, which is a drop of 4.5% from the preceding year, is perhaps best summed up by Priestess Katherine Ragsdale who refers to abortion as a blessing.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040205.html

    The good news is that there many breakaway branches of the Episcopalian Church which are strongly pro-life and of course many Episcopalians, including entire congregations, have joined the Catholic Church.

    A good site to observe the death throes of the Episcopalian Church is the Midwest Conservative Journal.

    http://themcj.com/

  • So Don, other than making political and demographic claims about these denominations, you really can’t reconcile the accusation against Obama and the fact they are treated as Christian bodies by the Catholic church in her ecumencial relations?

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Notre Dame Honors Pro-Abort

Friday, March 20, AD 2009

obama-planned-parenthood

The University of Notre Dame announced today that President Obama will be the commencement speaker this year and receive an honorary degree.  Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes, the bishops of this country* spoke on this point in 2004:

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

I hope that faithful Catholics will do their best to persuade the administration of Notre Dame to rethink this invitation.  If the administration does not, I hope that enough faithful Catholics show up on May 17, 2009 to make the protest of the speech a memorable one.  I also trust that the students of Notre Dame who take their Faith seriously will also find means during the speech to express their displeasure over the choice of speaker known.

* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or USCCB

Update I:  As usual, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is on top of the story.

Update II:  Totus chimes in.

Update III:  For those of you who would like to make your views known to the president of Notre Dame, click here.

Update IV:  Good.  There is a website set up to organize resistance to this invitation.

Continue reading...

38 Responses to Notre Dame Honors Pro-Abort

  • “Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes…”

    I think Our Lady can endure it, as she has loving birth-pangs for all God’s children to be saved…

  • Yep she can Mr. DeFrancisis. Why any faithful Catholic would endure for a second such an insult to Our Lady is another matter.

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  • Mr. McClarey,

    Your conception of the Church sounds more lihe a bastion than the sacrament for God’s universal salvific will.

    BTW, I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

  • I don’t think it has anything to do with politics. Abortion is such a paramount evil — analogous to and well beyond in death count — the genocide of the Jews in the holocaust. The fact that a Catholic institution, apart of the Catholic Church, would invite someone who supports such a horror, even in ignorance, to deliver a speech and to commission the students to go engage the world presents itself as a scandal.

    Now, granted, I ardently oppose the war in Iraq and I think we need to re-think our strategy on Afghanistan. My views on torture as just the same. However, the scope and gravity of these evils, is a pale comparison to abortion. Now, I’m not advocating a proportionalist trap of condoning or “watering” down the lesser evils, to totally oppose the greater one; I’m just saying, one cannot make the comparison as if the two sides are morally equal because the scope and gravity in and of itself attests to that.

    I do not think President Obama should be given the opportunity to speak at any Catholic institution or receive any award. In the same way, I would have opposed President Bush speaking at a Catholic institution or receiving any award.

    Rather, I think that Catholic institutions should avoid all together giving the privilege of speaking at such ceremonies to politicians who represent a political platform and a realm of bias and division (politics) instead of the breadth and all-embracing truth of the Gospel. At this point, I cannot name many Catholic politicians who are a “sign of contradiction” that bring to life Catholic Social Teaching in their political office who could truly be a uniting figure at a commencement ceremony.

    That’s my two cents.

  • Totally disagree with you in regard to President Bush Mr. DeFrancisis. I believe he waged just wars. As to the torture issue, I disagree with waterboarding, but I can understand how reasonable people would disagree with me.

    As to President Obama, giving an honorary degree at a Catholic institution to a man who has raised campaign funds on the basis of his support for that barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion is a capitualtion to the culture of death and a despicable, I would say calculated, insult to the Blessed Virgin who brought our Redeemer into the World through her womb. This is tantamount to a synagogue giving an award to a neo-Nazi politician. The administration of Notre Dame should be deeply ashamed.

  • Bravo Eric, always the voice of reason and faith!

  • Good call Eric! It really does help to have a range of viewpoints, especially in the face of Mark’s attempt at moral equivalency. Your defense of orthodoxy is all the more poignant considering your opposition to the Iraq war.

    Mr. DeFrancis,

    do you really think it’s just as bad to pour water on the face of 3 avowed terrorists as it is to murder a million babies a year? That is just sick.

  • “That is just sick.”

    Matt, I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from that type of comment. I enjoy your vigorous defense of Catholic teaching, but Mr. DeFrancisis has said nothing of a personal nature in this thread against anyone else and he should not be attacked personally. You made your point well without your final sentence.

  • Matt,

    I made no attempt at moral equivalency. You are reading into my remarks. Try harder.

  • Mark,

    You comment here often enough you should plug AC in your name, ie, place the http address as the link to your name.

    You’re part of the tapestry here, mind as well go all the way!

    🙂

  • Mark D.,

    are you unfamiliar with the term, “moral equivalency”?

    When we decry the honoring of a pro-abortion president at a Catholic university, and you ask:

    I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

    You are clearly implying that the acts, even if we accept your analysis of them, are equivalent, or at least on the same moral scale.

    Do you accept that abortion is far more grave a situation, as the Church teaches, or not?

  • Matt,

    The Church opposes instrinsic and grave moral evils. Unjust wars and torture are both.

  • Ah, Catholic Anarchist, with your penchant for name calling as a substitute for analysis and argument, it is always good to have the delete button ready when you come calling, and I deleted your last comment for personal insults.

  • Once again Mr. DeFrancisis I simply disagree with you about the wars being unjust. However, this entire thread is about Notre Dame honoring a pro-abort, and the Church puts abortion and euthanasia in a special category of evil as Cardinal Ratzinger noted in 2004:

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Here is a link to the entire memorandum:

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

    What the administration of Notre Dame is attempting to do should be anathema to all believing Catholics.

  • I was shocked and disappointed by this. One (small) mitigating factor, however, is that Notre Dame has a long-standing tradition, going back at least 50 years, of ALWAYS inviting each sitting president to be its commencement speaker. Most, if not all, presidents since Eisenhower have accepted the invitation at some point. They did not go out of their way to do this for Obama because they thought he was especially great (which was the impression I had at first)

    Perhaps they (ND administration) felt they could not back out of this tradition now without it appearing to insult the presidential office. You all know how we’re supposed to respect the office, no matter who happens to occupy it?

    That being said: given Obama’s particularly egregious efforts to promote the destruction of unborn human life, combined with the earlier controversies over Bush 43’s appearance, now would have been a good time to drop this particular tradition simply because of its potential to be a source of scandal.

    I doubt very much that a Jewish university would invite, say, Pat Buchanan or another well-known critic of Israel to be a commencement speaker, or that Brigham Young University (Mormon) would invite a vocal opponent of Proposition 8, even if they had a “tradition” of inviting similar public figures in the past.

  • Also, the argument that this is somehow going to promote “dialogue” and “openness” doesn’t wash. This isn’t a debate, a question and answer session, a panel discussion or a forum with multiple participants, which does not imply endorsement of any particular participant’s views. (If it were, there MIGHT be some justification for having him there.) No, this is a speech by ONE man to a captive audience, at which he gets to express his views to them (and to the nation via press coverage), and at which he is personally honored with an honorary degree. Not a “dialogue” but a one-way conversation.

  • Good comment as usual Elaine. I would note that Bill Clinton never gave a commencement address to Notre Dame. I do not know if he received an invitation. As far as I can tell no pro-abortion President has ever before delivered this address.

  • The invitation needs to be rescinded once and for all.

  • Donald – You can’t delete the truth, friend.

  • Correct Catholic Anarchist. Your comments are only deleted when they involve personal insult or are not on topic. Your most recent comment is not on topic, but you are responding to a prior comment by me so I will not delete it.

  • Notre Dame has made a grave error by inviting the abortionist to speak at their commencement. He is openly anti-Catholic and anti-God.

    What possible reason would ND have for asking him above all of the many qualified, intelligent, Catholic or at least pro-life speakers from which they could have chosen? This is the question. Even if they have invited every sitting president throughout the years, this guy is like no other president in his outrageous disrespect for human life. He resembles Hitler more than a president of the United States.

    His presence at ND will be an insult to the Catholic faith. Let us hope that through public outcry that they have the guts to un-invite him ASAP.

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  • Mark,

    The Church opposes instrinsic and grave moral evils. Unjust wars and torture are both.

    war is not intrinsically evil, water boarding is not intrinsically evil, though given circumstances it is reasonable to conclude that these acts in particular circumstances are, or even in almost every circumstance.

    Are you suggesting that ALL intrinsicly evil acts are morally equivalent? That telling a lie is as grave an evil as abortion?

    Do you even understand what “intrinsically evil” is? It bears no relation to the severity of an act. It’s not that abortion is intrinsically evil that which makes it so heinous.

  • It’s interesting to see just how ridiculous the arguments are over at Vox Nova. MZ’s argument, such as it is, is “grow up.” Thoughtful, that. Morning’s Minion “doesn’t care,” although not for any reason that he can explain.

    Henry takes the cake for the dumbest argument, though, as usually is the case. He says that this is like Jesus being criticized for hanging out with sinners. Yeah, except for the part where Jesus said that he was calling the sinners to repentance, and except for the fact that Jesus was specifically explaining why he was hanging out with the lower classes of society rather than the powerful and prestigious (precisely the opposite of what Notre Dame is doing), and except for the fact that Notre Dame is just sucking up to power rather than calling it to repentance. Other than that, it’s a great analogy, worthy of

  • Should be a period after “analogy.”

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  • I graduated from Notre Dame in 1977. President Carter was our commencement speaker and he was pro-choice.

  • President Ford also gave a speech at Notre Dame. Here’s what he wrote on abortion. Looks like his need for exceptions shouldn’t have sat well with Notre Dame back then.

    “Abortion on demand is wrong,” he said, adding that every state should have a constitutional right to control abortion and expressing his belief that such laws need to “recognize and provide for exceptional cases.”

  • Well Jim Notre Dame won’t have to worry about Obama having exceptions. He is 100% pro-abortion. Of course the Catholic Church is 100% against abortion. Even a pro-abort like yourself should be able to see why this might be a wee problem for Catholics who actually believe what the Church teaches, especially since what the Church teaches is that an innocent human life is destroyed in every abortion.

  • Mark – Did I miss something? Did the Catholic Chuch, i.e. Our Holy Father, declare the Iraqi War an “Unjust War.”

  • This is truly hypocritical. If Notre Dame wants to stay “true’ to its beliefs, then NO U.S. President should ever be invited to speak at a commencement. ALL OF THEM would be guilty of violating Catholic doctrine. As mentioned, George W. Bush was criticized by his holiness Pope John Paul II for his “unjust” war in Iraq. How many innocent lives, including children, were lost in that conflict? How are those innocent lives any different from the unborn? What about Bush’s immoral actions of torture and imprisonment? Did Notre Dame rescind his honorary degree as a result? The church needs to be consistent with its criticism. You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others. This is why people are leaving the church. They are inconsistent. The church should be fighting on ALL issues where innocents are harmed, not just select one. What about the homeless people in this country that were ignored by the prior Republican administrations? Are their lives insignificant? Of course we don’t need to mention the scandals in the Catholic Church itself.

    I would have one thing more to say to all these people that are upset with President Obama speaking:

    Romans 14:10 “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

  • ” You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others.”

    That is a recipe for doing nothing Mr. Miller and allowing evil to flourish. We have almost a million unborn kids put to death each year in this country and President Obama is vigorously in favor of this policy. For a university dedictated to Our Lady to honor such a man is an obscenity.

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