Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notre Dame Scandal: Reactions on March 24th

Click the pic to sign the online petition. There is very high traffic which may slow or hinder reaching the site. Try back at non-peak hours. Sign only once - a third party will be validating the online petition which is reaching 100,000 signatures as of this posting (just about 3 days since it's initiation)

EDIT 10:47pm......From NotreDameScandal.com:

The Cardinal Newman Society, CatholicVote.org & more than
101,384 signers!!!! (as of 10:37 p.m.)

I have just posted on, and made comments on Bishop D'Arcy's statement, released this afternoon, about the "Notre Dame Scandal".

The first thing I want to share are some interesting stats I saw appearing on http://notredamescandal.com/. They were providing updates several times daily with the number of people signing the online petition. In fact, it has gotten so big, servers were being overwhelmed (you may not be able to get to the site during peak hours so keep trying). The owners have decided to turn it over to a professional outfit which will ensure there are no duplicates (sign just once please).

  • Within 24 hours of the debut of this new website, initiated by the Cardinal Newman Society, over 10,000 signatures had been collected.
  • Within 48 hours, it had over 20,000.
  • Here we are some three days later and I saw it was over 50,000 by mid-morning, 60k by lunchtime and the last posting they made within the last hour was topping 93k! I'm sure it will top 100,000 before midnight, and then some (keep in mind that when you see reports of these stats in the articles below, they were only a snapshot in time).

Word has not only been getting around in Catholic circles. The noise has been so great that it has been heard by the mainstream media or "MSM". Here are a few headlines:

Let's look at some of the Catholic commentary out there. There is a clear dividing line, not between right and left, or liberal and progressive. Rather, the division is one of loyalty to the most basic, fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church, or disloyalty. Or, put another way - orthodox or dissident. There is a third category and that is those souls who struggle with a Church teaching, but are working to resolve that struggle, and not in some public way through challenges. Dissidence is all about challenging Church teachings because they DO understand them and want to change them.

I'm going to offer a few excerpts from a few of the many things I have found and let you follow the links to read them in their entirety.

Probably the most worthwhile thing to read thus far, is a piece by Ralph McInerny, PhD, who has taught for 54 years at Notre Dame. It appeared in The Catholic Thing. Here is the beginning of: Is Obama Worth a Mass? (do read this entire piece):

Now that the abortion president will be honored and feted and listened to at Notre Dame’s commencement, the question becomes, who will say the commencement

The University of Notre Dame has officially and with much self-satisfaction invite President Barack Obama to address its 2009 graduates and to receive an honorary law degree. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a deliberate thumbing of the collective nose at the Roman Catholic Church to which Notre Dame purports to be faithful. Faithful? Tell it to Julian the Apostate.

That someone who procures or advocates abortion thereby excludes himself from communion with the Church has been clear doctrine all along, and increasingly bishops have found the courage to tell those Catholic politicians who are the great enablers of abortion legislation that they cannot receive Holy Communion. Is it any worse to celebrate such a politician as Barack Obama?....."

Let's look at some other commentary.

In a large collection of comments entitled, A Moral Exemplar? at NRO from some solid and well known Catholics (it goes on for pages and these are just snippets from each), Fr. James V. Schall points out:

"....Clearly, some things are incompatible with honor, others are incompatible with truth, the purpose of a university. Aristotle says that the highest reward of the politician is honor, something more coveted than power or wealth. Honor is something the politician seeks, even covets. The academic, for his part, longs for recognition. He wants his often obscure work to be “appreciated.” The polity has its own rewards, its own honors. The accepting of the honor to the president evidently meets his purposes. The awarding it seems to meet the purposes of the university. Some say that it is a perfect fit. Others suspect that both parties, in accepting and giving such honors, manage to demean each other in what each is, in truth, expected to stand for."
That goes back to what Bishop D'Arcy said in the statement he released this afternoon:

"....as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision
it has chosen prestige over truth."

In the same composite of commentaries cited above, George Weigel comments:

Notre Dame’s decision to make President Obama its 2009 commencement speaker is a very bad thing. It’s bad for Notre Dame, bad for Catholic moral witness in America, and bad for the bishops who are trying to mount a defense against the Obama administration’s assault on the conscience rights of Catholic health-care professionals.

The invitation to deliver a commencement address, especially when coupled with the award of an honorary degree, is not a neutral act. It’s an act by which a Catholic institution of higher learning says, “This is a life worth emulating according to our understanding of the true, the good, and the beautiful.” It is frankly beyond my imagining how Notre Dame can say that of a president who has put the United States back into the business of funding abortion abroad; a president who made a mockery of the very idea of moral argument in his speech announcing federal funding for embryo-destructive stem cell research; a president whose administration and its congressional allies are snatching tuition vouchers out of the hands of desperately poor Washington, D.C., children who just as desperately want to attend Catholic schools.

And, again we hear from Ralph McInerny, much more candid than his piece in the Catholic Thing:

Bernie Madoff has declined an honorary doctorate in economics from the University of Notre Dame, but all is not lost. Barack Hussein Obama, enabler in chief of abortion, has agreed to speak at the 2009 commencement and to receive an honorary doctorate of law. That abortion and its advocacy violate a primary precept of natural law reinforced by the Catholic Church’s explicit doctrine is a mere bagatelle. Wackos of all kinds will kick up a fuss, of course, but their protest will go unnoticed in South Bend. The pell-mell pursuit of warm and fuzzy Catholicism will continue. How better to defend the faith than to celebrate a man who advocates polishing off babies even after they are born? The newly created Herod Award will be added to the university’s recognition of the chief magistrate. Administrators are hugging themselves with delight at this massive publicity coup. The national championship in football has eluded Notre Dame for many years, but when the president dribbles onto the stage at the great event, the hall will erupt in ecstatic applause; the president, Father Jenkins, will wring his hand; and a final nail will be driven into the coffin of a once-great Catholic university. No one will note nor long remember what Barack Obama says on the occasion. Who listens to commencement addresses? But the Lady atop the golden dome, recalling the flight into Egypt, will exhibit one of her many titles: She who weeps.
Of course, there are plenty of dissident Catholic sources out there. Some of the titles reveal the dissidence right at the outset.

David Gibson at Commonweal, quipped (emphases mine in bold and italics):

"...Bishop D’Arcy says ND president Father John Jenkins, CSC did not inform him of the invitation until shortly before Obama’s acceptance was announced, and that he will not attend the commencement, the first time he will boycott it in his 25 years as bishop. [snip]”

He concludes with a jab at Notre Dame, saying it must ask itself “if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth....”

Michael Sean Winters, in Three Cheers for Notre Dame, at America magazine oline said (my comments bracketed in red.....sorry, I couldn't help myself and truth be told, I wasn't sure where to begin):

".....This latest contretemps is disturbing not only because some of us are more than tired with the right wing [he is referring to loyalists here since there is no right or left in the Church.] insisting that only they can lay claim to the mantle of Catholicism [common dissident argument, but where it falls flat is that you can't have several versions of the truth any more than you can have more than one Jesus. He is Truth, and there are absolutes. You can't bend a compass needle in an attempt to proclaim that south is actually north. It does not change the objective reality that north is north], that those of us who see the demands of the world, or the challenge of the Gospels, differently are bad Catholics [those demands and challenges must be dealt with in light of the Gospels, and in light of the fullness of truth, not in the absence of it Our Lord didn't get everyone their own set of keys to bind and lose in ways suitable to each person; they were given to Peter]. Last week, before the latest mess, I ran into a priest whom I have known for more than twenty years but whom I had not seen recently. He did not discuss President Obama, he ranted. He did not offer a conversation or even an argument, he threw out slogans, and vulgar slogans at that, despite the fact that he is one of the least vulgar men I have ever known.

What is it about President Obama that makes the right wing so crazy, so uncharitable, so frothing-at-the-mouth unreasonable?...." [Answer: Murder! Murder of the innocence - state sanctioned and funded with our tax dollars! Explain to me how charitable it is to dismember the body of a baby? How charitable is it when young girls are forced into murdering their babies. The choice is often not theirs, but the choice of a parent or boyfriend. Is that charitable?]

Joe Feuerherd's devotes an entire article to attacking Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society which initiated the online petition. His article, "Catholic academic ayatollah shows true colors" is at the National Catholic Reporter online. This is the same dissenting weekly that brought to the web, it's "Young Voices", one of which was discussed in my open letter to US Catholic Bishops.

Here's just a sample of the attack against Mr. Reilly:

Here’s what is really going on. Ayatollah Reilly searches for hot button issues on Catholic campuses -- anything that has to do with gays gets them excited, as do performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and, of course, pro-choice speakers (few of whom actually even discuss abortion in their presentations) – that will energize their base of donors and activists. Then they highlight these offenses on the Web and through direct mail to generate revenue.

Yeah - it is a problem when a Catholic university advances things which are in direct conflict with clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church.

With that, I leave you with a video commentary from loyal Catholic, Michael Voris of Real Catholic TV.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!