Sunday, May 3, 2009

Notre Dame: Lots of Prestige, Lots of History, About as Catholic as Harry Blackmun

I remember the surprise I felt, decades ago now, when I discovered that America's Notre Dame university claimed to be a Catholic institution. The name suggested that, of course: but there wasn't anything particularly Catholic - or Christian, for that matter - in what that particular unit of America's academic system did.

Turns out, I wasn't too far off in my estimation.

I hate it when I'm right - like this.

Here's the deal: President Barack Obama's position on abortion is contrary to what the Catholic Church teaches. We've got this odd notion that killing babies isn't nice.

Notre Dame claims to be a Catholic university.

If a person - or an institution - is going to be Catholic, there are rules to follow. Don't like the rules? The door's open - anyone can leave the Catholic Church. I wouldn't advise it, but it is an option. Back to those rules:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved "Catholics in Political Life" at their June 2004 General Meeting. It's a fairly short document: a little over a dozen paragraphs, including the bulleted points.

The fourth bulleted point reads:

"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." [emphasis by USCCB] (Catholics in Political Life USCCB (June 2004))

Hey, it's Okay: Obama's Not Catholic - Notre Dame

You can't make up this sort of thing.

"The majority of U.S. bishops condemning the Obama invitation have said the move directly violates the document. However, Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins claimed the directive only applies to the invitation of politicians who are Catholic. (

"In response, Cardinal Rigali said that while the document 'may have well been in the context of Catholics,' " the statement itself 'says something quite clear which is a principle in itself.'

" 'It would make no sense whatsoever to say, "Well, we shouldn't honor Catholics who present the antithesis of our Catholic doctrine, but ... there's really no problem whatsoever provided the person's not a Catholic," ' he said. 'That evades common sense.' "
I'm pretty sure how this is going to come out, when President Obama speaks at Notre Dame.

I think it's a near-certainty that Notre Dame will get the adulation and attention that hosting a prestigious speaker like the American president will earn them. Particularly since they'll be 'upholding academic freedom,' and 'being open-minded' in the process. And, they'll keep on claiming to be a "Catholic" institution. Hey, if Nancy Pelosi can ignore what the bishops and the Catholic Church say, why can't Notre Dame? The university, I mean. Not the Comforter of the Afflicted.

I think that Notre Dame will be praised, fulsomely, for defying the Catholic Church.

I also think that more Catholics will start noticing what the Church actually teaches - and the gaping chasm between Catholic beliefs and what Notre Dame is up to. Some will jump ship, and stop being Catholic. I think quite a few will start learning more of what the Church actually teaches - and giving a rip about it.

About the bishop in South Bend, "Notre Dame's" locale? He won't be going to hear the abortion president speak on "Notre Dame's" platform. (CNN)

"...'President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred,' D'Arcy said. 'While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.'..." (CNN)

Bishop D'Arcy isn't alone in disapproving of "Notre Dame's" decision.

"...'Notre Dame tarnished its image and its capacity to witness,' Bishop [William] Murphy [Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York] said. He also indicated that he has sent a letter to University president Fr. John Jenkins conveying his dismay.

"The bishop contrasted Notre Dame's actions with the example of Mother Teresa, who, when invited to speak at Harvard University's commencement, 'said very clearly and unambiguously that a society and a culture that approves the killing of children in the womb is a society bent on its own destruction.'

" 'That,' said the bishop, 'is clear witness!'..." (

I'm strongly inclined to agree.

Of course, Notre Dame university leaders are in a difficult position. I think they like being able to collect money from Catholics by saying that they're Catholic. I also think that they don't mind collecting money from people who think it's very scientific to chop up babies and experiment with the pieces.

Unhappily for the Notre Dame university leadership, they can't have it both ways. Not any more.

Catholic Bishops in America are upholding Catholic teachings. And being heard. What a concept! listed the Catholic bishops and cardinals who had expressed disapproval of Notre Dame's giving the abortion president a prestigious platform for speaking his views:
  1. Bishop John D'Arcy - Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
  2. Bishop Samuel Aquila - Fargo, ND
  3. Bishop Gregory Aymond - Austin, TX
  4. Bishop Gerald Barbarito - Palm Beach, FL
  5. Bishop Leonard Blair - Toledo, OH
  6. Archbishop Daniel Buechlein - Indianapolis, IN
  7. Bishop Robert Baker - Birmingham, AL
  8. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - Lincoln, NE
  9. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran - Oklahoma City, OK
  10. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar CantĂș - San Antonio, TX
  11. Archbishop Charles Chaput - Denver, CO
  12. Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS
  13. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Houston, TX
  14. Archbishop Timothy Dolan - New York, NY
  15. Bishop Thomas Doran - Rockford, IL
  16. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty - Scranton, PA
  17. Bishop Robert Finn - Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
  18. Bishop Joseph Galante - Camden, NJ
  19. Bishop Victor Galeone - St. Augustine, FL
  20. Cardinal Francis George - Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
  21. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Evansville, IN
  22. Archbishop José Gomez - San Antonio, TX
  23. Bishop Bernard Harrington - Winona, MN
  24. Bishop William Higi - Lafayette, IN
  25. Archbishop Alfred Hughes - New Orleans, LA
  26. Bishop Michael O. Jackels - Wichita, KS
  27. Bishop James V. Johnston - Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO
  28. Bishop Peter Jugis - Charlotte, NC
  29. Bishop Joseph Latino - Jackson, MS
  30. Bishop John LeVoir - New Ulm, MN
  31. Bishop Jerome Listecki - La Crosse, WI
  32. Bishop William E. Lori - Bridgeport, CT
  33. Bishop Paul Loverde - Arlington, VA
  34. Bishop George Lucas - Springfield, IL
  35. Bishop Robert Lynch - St. Petersburg, FL
  36. Bishop Joseph Martino - Scranton, PA
  37. Bishop John McCormack - Manchester, NH
  38. Bishop Robert Morlino - Madison, WI
  39. Bishop William Murphy - Rockville Centre, NY
  40. Bishop George Murry - Youngstown, OH
  41. Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ
  42. Archbishop Joseph Naumann - Kansas City, KS
  43. Bishop R. Walker Nickless - Sioux City, IA
  44. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt - St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
  45. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien - Baltimore, MD
  46. Bishop Thomas Olmsted - Phoenix, AZ
  47. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk - Cincinnati, OH
  48. Bishop Glen Provost - Lake Charles, LA
  49. Cardinal Justin Rigali - Philadelphia, PA; Chairman, USCCB Pro-Life Committee
  50. Bishop Kevin Rhoades - Harrisburg, PA
  51. Bishop Alexander Sample - Marquette, MI
  52. Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, OK
  53. Bishop Richard Stika - Knoxville, TN
  54. Bishop Anthony Taylor - Little Rock, AR
  55. Bishop Robert Vasa - Baker, OR
  56. Bishop Michael Warfel - Great Falls-Billings, MT
  57. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Orlando, FL
  58. Archbishop Donald Wuerl - Washington, D.C.
  59. Bishop David Zubick - Pittsburgh, PA
[I put the names of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops officers in bold.]

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.