Notre Dame: Sober Up!

In attempting to put a proper face on the ugly situation developing on the campus of Notre Dame University, home of the recent announcement that President Barack Obama would give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree, I fell upon an incredibly wise insight just uttered by Archbishop Charles Chaput. Speaking at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, the archbishop said,

We need to stop over-counting our numbers, our influence, our institutions and our resources, because they're not real. We can't talk about following St. Paul and converting our culture until we sober up and get honest about what we've allowed ourselves to become. We need to stop lying to each other, to ourselves and to God by claiming to 'personally oppose' some homicidal evil – but then allowing it to be legal at the same time.

When I read those words, it occurred to me that the current president of Notre Dame should have been at that speech, taking notes!

Here we have a Catholic archbishop exposing the fact that the emperor has no clothes on, when right down the road, we have the best-known Catholic university in the land reaching out to embrace the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States. Something is wrong with this picture. Or perhaps one should suggest there is something extraordinarily evil about it.

As Ambassador Alan Keyes opined when addressing this tragic situation,

"Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?" (From the Roman Catholic Rite of Baptism)

Apparently the Catholic folks at Notre Dame University have no more respect for the Baptismal vows they renew every Easter than their invited Commencement Speaker this year has for the Presidential Oath of Office. At this moment in time, Barack Obama is the living incarnation of the glamour of evil. His smiley tones, and non-threatening manner, mask a studied commitment to the promotion of the most deadly form of evil in the world today – the cult of abortion centered on the ritual of child sacrifice. Obama has moved with impetuous determination to prove his claim to the mantle of High Priest of the Worldwide Abortion cult. With Executive orders, he has shifted the resources of the U.S. government behind the global implementation of abortion. He has declared open season on embryonic human life. He has appointed enthusiastic political and judicial acolytes of this cult of death to high positions in the Executive and Judicial branches.

The first announcement of this travesty at Notre Dame came to my attention because of the diligent efforts of the Cardinal Newman Society and its immediate response to the outrage. Its new web site inviting every concerned Catholic in America to protest the outrage at Notre Dame, Notre Dame, has become an overnight success. More than 10,500 have signed an open letter to the president of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins. The letter states, in part,

It is an outrage and a scandal that "Our Lady's University," 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.

This nation has many thousands of accomplished leaders in the Catholic Church, in business, in law, in education, in politics, in medicine, in social services, and in many other fields who would be far more appropriate choices to receive such an honor from the University of Notre Dame.

Instead, Notre Dame has chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality. Whatever may be President Obama's admirable qualities, this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions and inviting taxpayer-funded research on stem cells from human embryos.

We encourage you to add your name to this open letter, and take as many of the additional actions listed below as you can. In a situation like this, where a grievous insult to the Mother of God and her Son, Jesus Christ, is about to take place, there is no time to waste in enunciating the horror that should be burning in the heart of every Catholic.

Write to:

Most Reverend Archbishop Zenon Grocholewski
The Congregation for Catholic Education
of Seminaries and Institutes of Studies
[Secretary: Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P.]
Roma, Italy


Contact: Bishop John D'Arcy, Diocese of South Bend, Indiana, where Notre Dame is located.

Write: Letters to the editor-in-chief of the Notre Dame newspaper, The Observer, Mike Connolly or do so directly via the Observer web site:

Write: Letters to the editor of the South Bend Tribune:

Write, call or e-mail: President of the University of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. [Cong. of Holy Cross],
(574) 631-5000 or Fax: (574) 631-7428

It should be noted that Catholic bishops are obliged to take action in a situation like this. As the Church document, "Ex Corde Ecclesiae" teaches,

Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between university and church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the university, bishops "should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic university."

Deacon Keith Fournier, in reflecting on this abominable announcement from Notre Dame, named for Our Lady, reminds us of the urgency of all that we do:

As a Constitutional lawyer, I reject the insidious efforts to hide pre-delivery killings of children behind the rhetoric of "choice" and the flawed 'reasoning' of the decisions in Roe and Doe and their legal progeny. The "Personhood" movement in the United States is gaining traction. A Federal Personhood Amendment is essential if we hope to protect the American claim of the existence of inalienable rights, including the Right to Life, as endowments and not succumb to the danger of "rights" becoming the creations of an all powerful State. Until then, any Constitutional lawyer who keeps up the facade of defending the Roe rationale to justify the so-called "Right" to kill children in the womb is engaged in sophistry not constitutional analysis, even our President.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lot to say about "Scandal" (See, CCC 2284-2287) and the University of Notre Dame, by conferring a Doctor of Laws degree 'honoris causa' (Latin: 'for the sake of the honour') fits squarely within its definition. Yes, as our President we should respect President Obama's Office. But this invitation does more than respect his Office. It gives a platform to his effort to obfuscate the fact that every procured abortion is a heinous crime against the Natural Law. No Society which sanctions the killing of an entire class of persons and protects it with the mechanisms of the State is acting in a just manner.