Does anyone for one moment believe that the same Fr. John Jenkins, who had no problem with Barack Obama, Joe Biden or Wenday Davis despite their direct opposition and active efforts against the teaching of the Catholic church, would have shown the slightest hesitation to invite Hillary Clinton her to speak at the 2017 commencement if she had been elected?
I’m old enough to remember when Notre Dame was a Catholic College.
The University of Notre Dame will honor Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner by giving them its top award, the Laetare Medal, during commencement ceremonies.
The university says it is recognizing the Democrat and Republican for their leadership, civility and dedication to the nation.
The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, says with public confidence in government at historic lows, it is “a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like.”
Believe it or not this is actually worse than inviting yesterday’s story about inviting Wendy Davis to speak at Notre Dame. At least Davis was invited by a specific department. The Laetare Medal is a school wide honor endorsed by the University Proper.
I’m pleased to say that not everyone is taking this lying down
A contingent of 89 students published a letter in the University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper today in protest to the University’s announcement on March 5 that abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden will be honored with “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”
“As students of this University, some of whom will graduate in May, we are disappointed Notre Dame has failed in this instance to live up to its Catholic mission,” the students stated. “We deserve to see the Laetare Medal given to an American Catholic who merits it by having served as an outstanding example for Catholics and having performed real service to the Church in this country.”
I know that this honor is also an attempt to recognize two Catholics from different political parties at a time when our national politics is often mired in acrimonious partisanship. I appreciate Notre Dame’s efforts to encourage civility, dialogue, mutual respect and cooperation in political life.
While I understand Notre Dame’s intentions in conferring the Laetare Medal upon Vice-President Biden and Speaker Boehner, I disagree with the decision. In dialogue with Father Jenkins about this matter some months ago, I shared with him my concerns with honoring the Vice-President. I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any “pro-choice” public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception. I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage. The Church has continually urged public officials, especially Catholics, of the grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that supports or facilitates abortion or that undermines the authentic meaning of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for ‘outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation.
I realize that Notre Dame is trying to separate or distinguish the conferral of the Laetare Medal upon the recipients from their positions on public policies. I do not think this is realistically possible or intellectually coherent.
“Saying that Mr. Biden rejects Church teaching could make it sound like he is merely disobeying the rules of his religious group. But the Church’s teaching about the sanctity of life is true. And so the Vice-President rejects the truth that human life begins at conception,” the faculty stated. “He rejects the truth that every human life deserves protection, from conception until natural death.He rejects the truth that public officials like him have an especially grave duty to preserve the least of our brothers and sisters from harm.”
For faithful Catholics, “compromise” is precisely the concern here. Catholic Biden has compromised his fidelity to Church teaching on intrinsic evils far too many times in his career in the interest of political compromise. He has publicly supported Roe v. Wade and legal abortion, legal redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research, and the HHS contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate. Is this really the sort of “responsible compromise” Notre Dame seeks to applaud?
Notre Dame also compromises its Catholic identity in honoring Biden for the purpose of making a political statement, and, as with the honor to President Obama, with the goal of gaining secular prestige.
By its very nature, each Catholic University makes an important contribution to the Church’s work of evangelization. It is a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism, or where Christ and his message are still virtually unknown. Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church: research carried out in the light of the Christian message which puts new human discoveries at the service of individuals and society; education offered in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgment and conscious of the transcendent dignity of the human person; professional training that incorporates ethical values and a sense of service to individuals and to society; the dialogue with culture that makes the faith better understood, and the theological research that translates the faith into contemporary language. “Precisely because it is more and more conscious of its salvific mission in this world, the Church wants to have these centres closely connected with it; it wants to have them present and operative in spreading the authentic message of Christ”
If you have forgotten, let a parent who has survived the Current War on our children remind you — we have an enemy. He’s smarter than us. He’s not here to play around, he’s not here to entertain, he’s not here to have fun. He’s here to kill.
The adults in charge of many of our Catholic schools and colleges seem to have forgotten this. They have, in the name of “tolerance,” accepted things that have his fingerprints all over them. They have allowed these things into their students’ lives, inviting “pro-choice” speakers, “Vagina Monologues,” “Gay” activists and now the latest — “transgender” representatives — onto their campuses and into their student’s lives. And then they scratch their heads at the pain, the suffering and the death that results from things that reek of the enemy. (Yes, perhaps your students will hear these things elsewhere, but they won’t have the Church’s stamp of approval on them in those other places, will they?)
You know that map of faithful catholic colleges from the Cardinal Newman society is looking better and better.
At the Federalist Adam Cassandra notes that Monday on the feast of the Annunciation, the day Catholics celebrate Mary saying “Yes” to God at Notre Dame they were celebrating something exactly the opposite:.
Davis — who rose to stardom in the political world following her 2013 filibuster of pro-life legislation in Texas — ran the gamut of pro-abortion, anti-Catholic talking points during an event Monday hosted by the University of Notre Dame Department of Gender Studies. The department co-sponsored the event in coordination with the College Democrats of Notre Dame, the Progressive Student Alliance, Notre Dames, Women in Politics, and bridgeND.
The Notre Dame Department of Gender Studies touted Davis’ abortion advocacy in a description of the event posted on the department’s website, calling her “a modern-day Texas heroine”
Of course if Mary took Wendy’s Davis’ advice there would be no Church and frankly no University period as the Catholic Church gave us the University system but I suspect that was lost on those in attendance.
13. Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture(16), every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
“1. a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
2. a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
3. fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
4. an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life”(17).
14. “In the light of these four characteristics, it is evident that besides the teaching, research and services common to all Universities, a Catholic University, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message.In a Catholic University, therefore, Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities. In a word, being both a University and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative”
One hates to be critical but it seems to be that the folks at Notre Dame aren’t doing very well in this regard. but fortunately for those who might wish to give their children an actual catholic education The Newman society has a handy dandy map of Catholic Colleges worldwide that are the real thing
I think the problem now is the sin of pride. Any retreat would be an embarrassment for Fr. Jenkins and that embarrassment trumps theology. Peters an expert of Canon Law has a solution:
Seriously, what I wonder is, why, amid the canon lawyers Jenkins claims to have consulted, not one, it seems, pointed out the most obvious solutions to their client’s problem:
The USCCB’s statement applies only to “Catholic institutions”, right? Well, all Jenkins and the ND board need do is declare that Notre Dame is not a “Catholic institution”, and poof! all these problems disappear. Notre Dame could confer honorary doctorates in law on anybody it wants after that, even on people who have built a career out of denying unborn babies the protection of law, and nary a bishop would say a word about it.
Of course then ND just becomes a college with a declining football program.
Which led to the Bishop skipping the ND graduation and Mary Ann Glendon turning down the Laetare Medal
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic higher education watchdog, reports almost daily on the worst (and occasionally the best) that Catholic institutions offer. For instance, Loyola Marymount University offers internshipswith the openly pro-choice group Feminist Majority Foundation. Gloria Steinem was hosted at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, despite the objection of the local bishop. In a recent and highly publicized case, Marquette University is taking steps to fire a tenured professor who criticized a “graduate student instructor who told a student not to oppose same-sex marriage in her class.” Even Notre Dame has had its Catholic identity questioned—and by the Washington Post, at that.
To the point where I had to write my local Bishop after I toured a “Catholic” college recruiting one of my sons
We were excited when Sam was accepted at Anna Maria; even more so when they offered the largest (in dollars) scholarship of any of the nine colleges that have accepted and attempted to recruit him. We looked forward to the visit to the college and liked the prospect of a college that would expand both his faith and his educational horizons.
Then we actually visited the college.
Comparing your description of the college as a “great example of a Catholic institution…” and my experience I thought of George Weigel’s line commenting on the differing press releases concerning Speaker Pelosi visit to the Holy See: “Were Benedict XVI and Nancy Pelosi in the same meeting, or even in the same city?”
Speaker Pelosi would feel at home at Anna Maria. I’m not sure I could say the same for the Holy Father.
Which is why he went elsewhere.
So to answer Stacy and my many protestant friends who didn’t like that post of mine, Yes we Catholic are aware of the state of Catholic education in America on the college level and have protested loudly against it.
However the big difference between this situation and the one at Augsberg is this:
The disgraceful actions of these Catholic colleges are acting contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and often against their own Bishops.
While Augsburg college’s programs are entirely consistent with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Catholic Church continues to hold the line on Abortion, on Gay Marriage, on Contraception and more. Remember it was less than a century ago when you couldn’t find a protestant denomination in America that supported any of these. As long as the Vatican continues to hold to the faith fed by the Eucharist the body and blood of Christ and informed via faith and Tradition traced in a direct unbroken line from St. Peter to Francis. As Christ himself put it:
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
If the gates of Hell can’t stand against the Church how much less will any amount of colleges more worried about the world than their faith, stand against it in the long run?
One of the hardest things in life is to realize not so much that you’ve been wrong, that we’ve been had, so how difficult must this letter been from the President of Notre Dame to send out:
Despite some positive indications, the Administration announced on January 20, 2012, that its interim rule would be adopted as final without change. After an outcry from across the political spectrum, President Obama announced on February 10 that his Administration would attempt to accommodate the concerns of religious organizations. We were encouraged by this announcement and have engaged in conversations with Administration officials to find an acceptable resolution. Although I do not question the good intentions and sincerity of all involved in these discussions, progress has not been encouraging and an announcement seeking comments on how to structure any accommodation (HHS Advanced Notification of Proposed Rule Making on preventative services policy, March 16, 2012) provides little in the way of a specific,
Read that letter carefully, you would not know from this letter how hard Fr. Jenkins played duck on Roxeanne Marino
“She did not realize, however, that several of these organizations also take a pro-choice position This is not her personal position….”
Even MSNBC covered the 10 priests of the CSC objecting to Fr. Jenkins leaked statement suggesting that because President Obama is not Catholic these rules don’t apply is only going to make things worse.
At first, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found no evidence of gender discrimination by Belmont Abbey College… After a few weeks, the EEOC mysteriously reversed course and announced, in effect, that the college had better toe the Administration’s line, or else.
They are now demanding the school go against the very principles it exists to serve.
Yet as with redemption itself, it is not when it takes place but THAT it take place which makes all the difference:
“For if one Presidential Administration can override our religious purpose and use religious organizations to advance policies that undercut our values, then surely another Administration will do the same for another very different set of policies, each time invoking some concept of popular will or the public good, with the result these religious organizations become mere tools for the exercise of government power, morally subservient to the state, and not free from its infringement,” argued Jenkins. “If that happens, it will be the end of genuinely religious organizations in all but name.”
It seems that Father Jenkins knows well the writings of James Madison as well as St. Thomas More.
Of course you have 42 other institutions also in the suit so maybe the extra support helps but then again prayer is all about supporting people doing the right thing.
With Anthony Weiner grabbing the headlines you might have missed Notre Dame’s latest kick affirmation of their Catholic Identity…or not:
Father John Jenkins, wrote a letter to the Class of 2009 explaining his position. He stated his sadness that the honors bestowed on Obama had been taken as “ambiguity in our position on matters of Catholic teaching.” Notre Dame, he asserted, “was unequivocally committed to the sanctity of human life and to its protection from conception to natural death.”
Remember those words: “unequivocally committed” with no “ambiguity in our position.” How are these words reconciled with the university’s announcement that Roxanne Martino has been elected to the board of trustees? For it turns out that Martino, an accomplished businesswoman and ND alumna, has given more than $25,000 over the years to Emily’s List.
After declaring without any visible support that Mrs. Martino is “fully supportive of Church teaching on the sanctity of human life,” the Chairman asserted: “She has through the years contributed to organizations that provide a wide range of important services and support to women. She did not realize, however, that several of these organizations also take a pro-choice position This is not her personal position….”
That’s a harder to believe in the case of EMILY’s List since, a quick Google search brings up the phrase, “EMILY’s List is a national organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.”
and they are likely right about this statement too:
In all likelihood she had some idea that she was supporting pro-choice organizations, and like many people, still considers herself a Catholic…
Well apparently ND ad the lady in question decided one train wreck that can stem the contributions of Catholics who, you know actually believe in Catholic teaching was enough:
A Chicago business executive resigned Wednesday from the University of Notre Dame’s board of trustees after a conservative Roman Catholic watchdog group reported that she donated thousands of dollars to an organization that says it is “dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.”
Roxanne Martino, a 1977 Notre Dame graduate and president and chief executive officer of Aurora Investment Management, a Chicago firm with more than $8 billion in investments, said she stepped down less than two months after her appointment in “the best interest of the university.”
Much more fun is the comment from the president of Catholics for choice grave sin who said her resignation shows…
“the lunacy of the extreme uber-conservative Catholics who represent really a minority opinion within the church.”
Yeah there are people who actually take this guy seriously.
Years ago I knew a local priest he was an ND Alum and fiercely proud of it, he was known for a tone of speech that just reeked of intellect. I always liked him. He had been particularly kind to me and my then fiancee in a tough spot involving our marriage. His reassurance made our lives easier and I’ve never forgotten it.
About 15 years ago I went to him for advice on a family matter that conflicted with Church teaching. His advice frankly surprised me but he was the priest so I took it. It turned out to be pretty poor advice and I’ve regretted it greatly over the last few years to the point where I felt I needed confession for taking it.
There are times when a Priest can be too empathetic. By looking at a situation from a worldly perspective rather than from the damage of sin a priest can do more harm than good. What must be remembered is that the job of the church is to interdict sin for the sake of the soul. Once one gets in the habit of excusing it then it becomes easier and easier. I would imagine it is a regular temptation that any priest or religious must face.
It reminded me of the UK TV show Cracker staring Robbie Coltrane. There was an episode where a woman due to guilt over an abortion combined with her husband’s frequenting prostitutes set her on a killing spree of hookers. When confronted by the priest she talked about how to tore her to get her abortion particularly since there WAS enough money to support another child if the husband wasn’t spending it on women. The priest interjected that he had been supportive of the decision to abort and the character of the woman said something that stuck with me and still does:
“I didn’t need you to be supportive, I needed you to tell me NO!”
A lot of times in life we know what the right thing is but it is very hard to do it. We don’t want to face the music or the sin in question is one of our favorites, or it involves something we really want badly. The sacrament of confession allows us both the Sacramental support of Christ in resisting sin but gives us the human reinforcement of the priest to keep us in the right direction. If one goes regularly that reinforcement is even stronger.
Saying no to oneself is one of the most difficult tasks a person has. When the church helps one do this it is a source of sanctifying grace. When it chooses to go with the flow for the sake of ease it not only harms the person in question it harms the entire body of Christ.
This is why this type of thing is so bad. Temptation is always around us, it is the Church’s job to help us resist rather than take the easy way out (giving in). As Christians we owe it not only to ourselves but to others to help resist things we know are wrong no matter how much they might feel right at the time. At times it can be a rough duty, but as we must carry it.
That is the difference in a nutshell between the narrow path and the wide one.
Personally on a religious level I can’t support gay marriage but this is not a valid argument for a non-religious person. On a non-religious level it seems to me you can not rationally say that gay marriage is ok and should be legal without also allowing either polygamy and incest between consenting adults. Both have a longer and more accepted cultural history worldwide.
And PLEASE don’t give me the “ick” factor argument about these other things being accepted. Ick is just an argument about culture. It is the same argument that one would have heard concerning gay marriage less that 20 years ago. It is particularly galling when gay people are subject to state sponsored murder in places like Iran and ick is invoked beside Islam.
It is a pet peeve of mine when Catholic institutions try to apologize for being Catholic or run away from Catholic teaching or raise money touting their Catholicism while downplaying it in person. It disgusts me. If you want to be Protestant, be Protestant, if you want to be secular be secular, but don’t pretend to be Catholic when you are not.
Let’s finish with two quotes: The First from Professor’s Rice’s letter of response:
In a university that claims to be Catholic, I am not willing to restrict my presentation of Catholic teaching to a format that treats the authoritative teaching of the Church as merely one viewpoint or “side” among many. If you require that future columns of mine on homosexuality comply with a format such as you propose, it will be inappropriate for me to continue writing the column for the Observer.
The first quote implies that he knows the second.
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26
My youngest son is going to be of college age in two years. If you are the president of a Catholic College that is ACTUALLY Catholic I’d love to hear from you. Consider that an open invitation.