Hattip to Dawn Eden. Yesterday Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Alfred J. Freddoso addressed a rally of NDResponse, a student group at Notre Dame opposed to the Obama invitation to be the commencement speaker on May 17, 2009. Here is the text of his remarks:
In the Land of Lincoln, when we have any great moral question to address, we often turn to the Daley clan who make their pronouncements from the Duchy of Daley, motto Ubi Est Mea, sometimes mistakenly called Cook County. Now the brother of the current Duke, Richie the Lesser, William M. Daley, has come to the defense of Notre Dame and lambasted Francis Cardinal George for his statement taking the administration of Notre Dame to task for their planned adoration session with Obama on May 17. Father Z has given this statement the fisking to end all fiskings, so I will let him do the honors.
The University of Notre Dame student paper The Observer has a piece by Dr. Charles Rice, emeritus professor of law at the University, asked that ND President Fr. John Jenkins resign.
“The invitation should be withdrawn. It implies no personal animosity to suggest that Fr. Jenkins and the other Fellows and Trustees responsible for this fiasco should resign or be removed.”
We’ve had multiple bishops and two cardinals reproach Notre Dame’s decision to invite pro-abortion President Obama. Now we have an esteemed professor requesting President Fr. Jenkins resign his position as president of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama and creating this scandal.
1. I recently received confirmation from Lila Rose to post here on American Catholic that a little over two weeks ago she converted to the Catholic faith on March 15 in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Deo gratias!
Lila Rose is an impressive young lady. A few weeks ago she was the keynote speaker for the Houston Coalition for Life Benefit 2009 dinner. She has an excellent grasp of the history of the pro-life movement and to my nice surprise she is also very knowledgeable of the role of Catholics in the Pro-Life movement from Mother Teresa of Calcutta to Fr. Frank Pavone.
I had the opportunity to speak with her briefly at the benefit dinner and I came away deeply impressed. She is a talented and motivated young lady and she’s only a junior at UCLA. She began getting involved in the pro-life movement as a sophomore in high school by founding a pro-life newspaper! She now runs a production company, LiveActionFilms.org, and is editor-in-chief of the pro-life newspaper at UCLA, The Advocate.
She is the newest crop of Pro-Life warriors that will contribute to the end of abortion on demand nationwide. With the growing strength of the Pro-Life movement being energized more and more with babies, toddlers, children, teens, and young adults, the days of Roe v. Wade are numbered.
2. There is a wonderful story of how two Catholics met online using Ave Maria Singles. The adventure begins when Katie and Devin, for different reasons, chose Ave Maria Singles to search for a spouse. Katie three years out of college saw slim pickings at work, at church, and definitely not at a bar. Devin had been looking online for a spouse for four fruitless years, yet still carried a positive attitude. After an initial ‘dust off’ by Katie and a close call by Devin, the two, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit were able to find their sacramental partners for life via Ave Maria Singles.
It’s a sweet and compact romantic love story that spans two articles, so for the introductory portion click here. For the final encounter and happy ending click here. To learn more about Ave Maria Singles click here.
But the dialogue model can’t, doesn’t, and shouldn’t entirely govern Catholic universities (and again, all universities). In exceptional cases, it breaks down. Surely these cases are absolute moral issues: torture, slavery, genocide, racial segregation, and yes, violence against pre-natal life (abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning). Universities have little to learn from politicians who support such intrinsic evil. What exactly would Notre Dame have learned from, say, Stephen A. Douglas in the 19th century about domestic policy or Dick Cheney in 2009 about foreign policy? Would Douglas and Cheney have changed their mind about slavery and torture?
On the general outlines of the Obama-honored-by-Notre-Dame fraucus, there can be little question. It’s fairly obvious that this was a bad move on the part of the Notre Dame University leadership, especially when they already had a precedent to follow in that they had not had Clinton — another pro-abortion non-Catholic president who had been a law school hot-shot — as a commencement speaker. It’s fairly obvious this will be seen, not as an opportunity for dialogue, but as the Catholic intellectual establishment endorsing Obama. It’s fairly obvious that Notre Dame will not back down at this point, and to be honest this is very much in keeping with the general tenor of Notre Dame over the last 30 years or so, so that’s hardly a surprise either. It’s generally agreed that Notre Dame is the most elite Catholic college in the US, and also generally understood that the question of whether it is its Catholicism or its elite status that is its controlling characteristic is undecided.
However, there’s a wider question at play here which is, I think, worth considering as regards what academia is and ought to be. It’s become quite common for colleges and universities to bring in commencement speakers who have been successful in the wider world: politicans, CEOs, actors, people well known for their work at non-profits, etc.
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo has become the latest in a series of bishops questioning the appropriateness of the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to invite President Barack Obama to address the commencement ceremony as well as to receive an Honorary Law degree. One distinguishes Cardinal DiNardo from the previous three bishops is that he is the highest ranking prelate in the United States to voice his “disappointment” to the invitation. The following is an excerpt from the Texas Catholic Herald, the mouthpiece of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (separation of paragraphs and emphasis mine):
“I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning. The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.”
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.”
While I am disappointed by President Jenkin’s decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement, particularly the decision to confer an honorary law degree, I have several questions about this letter:
1. The great Cardinal Pell offered his thoughts on the future of liturgical development by stating that ad orientemwill be mandatory so as to move away the priest as the center of worship back to Jesus Himself, ie, both the priest and the congregation should be facing towards God. In addition, when the priest turns away towards the congregation, there should be a crucifix in between he and the congregation so as to maintain the center of worship God and not the priest. What a wonderful and great Cardinal that Australia has! Let us pray for more such strong leaders of the Church worldwide and especially here in America. Ora pro nobis!
“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.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is planning to release a statement tomorrow, March 24, on the intention of Notre Dame to pay homage to Obama on May 17, 2009. Assuming that the Bishop condemns the visit this would not be his first clash with the powers that be at Notre Dame. On February 24, 2004 he condemned the annual presentation at Notre Dame of the Vagina Monologues. Notre Dame ignored him, and, under President Jenkins, the department sponsored Vagina Monologues performances continue, with his about face on that issue indicating Jenkins’ complete lack of willingness to defend Catholic teaching and morality. On April 30, 2006 and again on March 2008, Bishop D’Arcy released statements about the ongoing performances of the Vagina Monologues, highlighting his intense disagreement with Jenkins. The Bishop has also condemned the “Queer Film Festival” sponsored by Notre Dame.