Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama Will Speak At Notre Dame; Some Catholics Protest

On Friday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will be the commencement speaker at three universities this spring. One of those is Notre Dame. A press release from Notre Dame indicated that the President will also be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree. LifeSite News reported yesterday that since the announcement, Notre Dame has been deluged with criticism from those who believe the invitation should be withdrawn because of Obama's pro-abortion positions. Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins says that the honorary degree "is not intended to condone or endorse his position on specific issues regarding life." Jenkins also commented: "You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them show respect for them and listen to them."

The Cardinal Newman Society, however, is circulating an online petition that calls it "an outrage and a scandal that ... one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage." As of Monday evening, the CNS website said that there were over 46,000 signers on the petition. [Thanks to PewSitter for the lead.]

UPDATE: Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (where Notre Dame is located) says he will refuse to attend Notre Dame's commencement in protest of President Obama's policies on stem cell research and abortion. (Munice (IN) Star Press.) [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]


Anonymous said...

As a graduate of Notre Dame (BA, Theology, 1980) I am ashamed that a pro-abortion president would be asked to speak to the Catholic community. Obama needs to LISTEN to Catholics, not lecture them.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a Catholic. The Catholics should NOT be listened to on the matter of abortion (or very few other subjects for that matter).

Careful Anon, you remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they said they were ashamed then President Bush was from Texas? You might get labeled unpatriotic or a traitor.

-American Atheist

Deacon John M. Bresnahan said...

Notre Dame has become as incompetent in its Catholic Faith as its football team has become on the playing field.
If you go back to the first hundred years of Christianity 2,000 years ago, the Catholic Church has been powerfully pro-life and anti-abortion as a sacredness of human life issue. A number of Church documents from that era have survived and prove the point.
So now Notre Dame- erroneously regarded as a Catholic university) bestows honors on a man who is the most radically anti-life president we have had. Those early pro-life Christians who died for The Faith must be looking on in shocked anguish.

Anonymous said...

I think the real question for Notre Dame is whether their mission of providing high-caliber education will be impacted negatively if they choose to refrain (in future) from inviting distinguished and influential people from the various realms of scientific, political, and social realms to speak to their students, faculty, and guests, because the university disagrees with their politics.

If Notre Dame wishes to render itself irrelevant in the academic world by only inviting speakers who toe the theological line, that's their business, I suppose. But it sure as heck would turn them from academic powerhouse to laughingstock of the learned world in a heartbeat.


Anonymous said...

I just saw where bishop Darcy is going to boycott President Obama's (Oh my Ceiling Cat that felt good to say!) commencement address.

I think it's time we recall our ambassador from the vatican. If they can't show respect, they shouldn't be shown any.


-American Atheist
P.S. Sorry if that was too partisan.

Anonymous said...

"Those early pro-life Christians who died for The Faith must be looking on in shocked anguish."

That would be a more compelling argument, Deacon John, if those same early Christians would not have simultaneously been looking on in shocked anguish over the idea that women should be treated as other than chattel property, that it was inappropriate to marry them off for sexual use at the onset of puberty or before, or that they be allowed to speak in places of worship as opposed to trailing silently behind their husbands.

I think their outrage at the latter renders their outrage at the former morally irrelevant.

Pointing to the unverifiable outrage of the unverifiable dead only works if we have reason to suspect that the moral teachings of these people are better than our own. Given their appalling lapses in judgment in many other areas, that claim is suspect.

I can point you to much better writings defending the pro-life position if you're inclined. That argument, I'm afraid, simply is not going to cut it.


Lasher said...

I can't imagine any documents - any at all, Christian or otherwise - could possibly prove anything about concern on abortion as it is conceived today simply because the issues were vastly different then. They didn't even have hangers back then. The most they could say is that leaving an infant to die in the wilderness is wrong, which was not an uncommon belief back then. But, that's infanticide.

Oh, but that's not what I'm here to say. First, Notre Dame is the most infuriating university that exists: it shows the sheer immensity of American ignorance. Not only do they pronounce their own name wrong, but they fail to recognize that "notre dame" is French for "our lady" and has absolutely no connection to the Irish.

Aside from that, I don't care how fantastic a person is, giving anyone an honorary degree is just the dumbest thing that any college could possibly do. And I like Obama.

Anonymous said...

MD: According to you, women should be nothing more than prostitutes, denigrating their humanity and bodies for sexual gratification like animals. They should remain in poverty in order to satisfy their sexual urges. They should fill their bodies with drugs to prevent pregnancy. They should suffer the stench and pain of STD's. They should be the sexual playthings of men who use them and discard them as used up garbage and above all, they should kill their own children when their birth control devices fail.

What freedom!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - You're going to have to explain where you got the idea that any of the seven things you allege are in fact "according to me", because I don't recall ever advocating for any of them, nor are any of them necessary consequents of any position I have advocated.

Frankly, the idea that women should have the freedom to control their sexual reproduction so as to have the number of children that they desire at the time that they desire doesn't seem to lead to any of the bizarre claims you seem to be alleging, and I think empirical reality not only supports this, but supports it so strongly that your claims that reproductive freedom lead to prostitution, poverty, the loss of value, STD's, and the like are simply nonsensical.

At the very least, I would have thought that intellectual honesty would have prevented you from such ridiculous straw-manning.


Lasher said...

Let me say that, as a woman, I certainly cannot agree that having access to Plan B will necessarily make any of what anonymous said happen. I certainly don't feel like a prostitute just because I have access to birth control - not just Plan B, either. I don't feel denigrated, I do not have nor have I ever had an STD, I do not feel like a "plaything," I do have never killed any child (granted, birth control has never failed me, either), I do not have to fill my body with drugs - condoms work very well, thank you.

The point is, men and women can look at it in very different ways. As a woman, if I get pregnant, that child is necessarily my responsibility. It will automatically fall to me to care for that child, while that responsibility may not necessarily fall to the father. I am the one who will be most affected by pregnancy. Birth control frees me from this fear - it sort of levels the playing field, if you will. I am offended when someone would dare take away birth control for "my own good." I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself. I don't need some know-it-all fundamentalist to tell me how I need to live and what I need to do as if I was incapable of making my own decisions, thank you very much!

CrypticLife said...

Don't be too hard on Anon, MD. I think he just snapped.

CTS said...

I thought part of the point of getting to Heaven was never feeling anguish. Good grief, think of the shock and anguish all those dead Christians must have been feeling over the centuries at the goings-on here on earth.

Raw deal.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to let Obama know how you stand on his abortion agenda (since it appears he will indeed speak at the commencement), go to this site and join us in the Red Envelope Project. Get that envelope in the mail on March 31st.


This whole thing is a slap in the face to Catholics who hold to the belief that Life is Sacred. Obama must be laughing his $SS off at how fickle our faith is.

J.R. said...

God forbid a Catholic were to listen to someone who didn't agree with them on every issue! Abortion and stem cell research are not the only two issues the church is based on. To plug your ears and refuse to listen to the reasonable men and women who differ from you is to relegate yourselves to the ranks of the irrelevant. As a Notre Dame alum, I'm proud the University will be hosting President Obama.

Anonymous said...

This is what the president of Notre Dame University has said: Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, previously said the university does not condone all of the president’s policies. Still, he said it’s valuable to engage in conversation.


There is such a thing as a separation of church and state, religion and politics. I am catholic and raised catholic. I was taught to accept people, in fact the motto of our catholic parish is "All are welcomed". If our catholic church can welcome everyone, why can't the University of Notre Dame.

Why can't people who don't want our PRESIDENT to speak at ND, stop hiding behind the abortion issue and tell us the real reason they don't want him to speak......the fact he is african american.

Anonymous said...

Ask Obama how he would feel if the KKK Wizard came to speak at one of his NAACP meetings. Why would a Wizard want to come to a NAACP meeting in the first place.

dwj1973 said...

I am sick and tired of the few Catholics in an uproar over this. First of all, President Obama is not for abortion, he is for a woman's right to choose. So stop lyin' about this FACT. Secondly if all of you Catholics that are opposed to the President speaking at Notre Dame would have put all of this rage, anger, and effort into stopping your priest from molesting little boys maybe that wouldn't have happened. If you had been this outraged during the Civil Rights movement, instead of being a bunch of cowards, maybe race relations in this country wouldn't be like they are. You don't seem to mind all of the Americans and Iraqi's that have lost their lives in a war that should have never been waged by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. You don't seem to be this angry about all of the poor, sick, and homeless people in America. What about these lives. Most of you that are mad will be THE LAST ones to go out an adopt any of these children. You people are grasping at straws. You need to look at the many flaws you have and fix those first. You pick out this one issue and are running with it. You people need to get a life FOR REAL!!!!

dwj1973 said...

I didn't know President Obama had NAACP meetings?

Anonymous said...

I support President Obama and I support the ND President in his decision. I hope he continues to stand strong. All you religious intolerants out there, keep your beliefs to yourselves. We are tired of hearing them. The ND student body should feel honored to have such a great man speak at their university.

Anonymous said...

what symbols will ND cover??

Jesus Missing From Obama's Georgetown Speech White House asked university to cover symbol

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Notre Dame accepts various religions - not just Catholics.

Shame on anyone who tries to diminish the accomplisment of the graduating class by trying to turn their commencement ceremony into a political arena.