Tedious Politics

high-massClick here for more scientific evidence that the Holy Father is right about monogamy vs. condoms.

…In a Solemn High Mass according to the pre-Vatican II Missal, the deacon kisses the hand of the priest some twenty times…

Should Notre Dame University have invited President Obama to address this year’s graduates?

Two springs ago, President Bush spoke at graduation at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. There were some protests. These protests seemed to me to be discourteous.

Notre Dame University
Notre Dame University
I do not find President Obama to be a convincing speaker. His legal position regarding procured abortion is incoherent and inhuman, as I explained last August.

Two springs ago, the peaceniks of southwest Pennsylvania howled because the evil warmonger was being honored on campus. St. Vincent President Jim Towey, formerly of the Bush administration, said that colleges need to welcome diverse viewpoints for the sake of dialogue.

Now pro-lifers are up-in-arms that America’s flagship Catholic university will honor history’s most pro-abortion U.S. President. And the University President says: “We hope for this to be the basis of an engagement with him.”

Give us a break, please. “Dialogue” obviously had nothing to do with the invitation in either of these cases.

obamaWhat did have something to do with it is: The speaker in question is the President of the United States.

We live in a stable body politic; our leaders occupy stable offices. The offices are bigger than the individuals who occupy them. President Obama is wrong about legal abortion. But he is not the President of the “pro-choicers.” He is the duly elected President of the entire country.

The office of the Presidency of the United States carries genuine prestige by its own right. If the President is willing to address your graduates, don’t indulge in an uppity lie and say, “We intend to engage him in dialogue.” Just admit it: “We will be glad to have the President of our country speak to our graduates. It is an honor for us.” This is a perfectly reasonable thing for the president of any university to say.

What the President says in his speech may or may not be true, or memorable, or genuinely inspiring. But the President of the United States deserves our courteous attention, whether or not we agree with him. If he says things that are misleading or untrue, we have the freedom to point that out after he is finished. But if I disrespect my President, I am actually disrespecting myself.

P.S. Five minutes into the second half, Mizzou is beating up on the “unbeatable” Memphis Tigers! Yeah, buddy!! I’ve got Missouri picked to go all the way!

15 thoughts on “Tedious Politics

  1. Wow, Father, so much to comment on here. I think the whole ND debacle has been discussed at length elsewhere, but I wanted to mention one point you raise. Fr. Jenkins says Obama’s presence will promote dialogue. If they were having a debate, perhaps, but not in this situation. It seems that every response given by the administration is disingenuous to the max.

    Did you see Bishop Olmsted (out here in Arizona) weigh in? His letter to Fr. Jenkins is available on a number of blogs. I’m saddened (though not shocked) that more bishops are not speaking out on this. The bishop of our local diocese actually gave a homily the day after the election talking about hope and change. The worst part–it was at the Red Mass!

    I think ND’s days as a “Catholic” flagship are waning. It may soon be reduced to a great secularist undergraduate institution.

  2. Father, I don’t think it would be a problem if Obama was just speaking on campus. By having him as their commencement speaker and especially by giving him an honorary degree, ND is honoring him. Consider the USCCB statement on Catholics in Political Life which states that Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of the fundamental moral principles of the Chruch. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

  3. I agree with Jim of Bowie.

    I think Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix hit the nail on the head with his letter to Notre Dame’s Fr. Jenkins.

    Bishop Olmstead quotes both the USCCB document “Catholics in the Political Life” & Pope John Paul II in supporting his position against the invitation of the speech and honorary degree.

  4. With all due respect, Father, you’re wrong on this one:
    First, US presidents, and their ideas, can be judged, and this includes being judged to be evil. Respect for the office does not override this judgement; in fact, respect for the office demands it from every American. Protests can be discourteous or courteous. So far, pro-lifers have not protested discourteously in this case. (Although some might say the Pro-Life March in January was discourteous following so closely the “feel-good” inauguration. Some might even say, and do say, that pro-lifers who pray outside abortion clinics are being “discourteous” to the women who might be embarrassed and deserving of respect for their privacy. Are Christians to stop this discourtesy, Father?) There are values greater than “courtesy.”
    You’re right that “dialogue” has nothing to do with the invitation–all the more reason to see its real meaning. Notre Dame, and by extension, the Catholic Church, has nothing to gain from Obama’s speaking there and receiving an honorary law (LAW!!)degree, and everything to lose. Exactly because “the office of the Presidency of the United States carries genuine prestige,” those in favor of F.O.C.A. and its outlawing of freedom of religion and conscience will gain enormous credibility in the eyes of the public. At Notre Dame, they have further evidence that Christians (Catholics in particular) don’t care–that, for Catholic, the taking of innocent life and freedom of conscience are of no importance.
    Hitler (and/or his party) was “duly elected” Chancellor of Germany at a time of great economic disaster. This, you might say, is hyperbole, but let’s look at it this way for the sake of argument: Here’s an argument for allowing him to speak at my yeshiva:
    “What the [Chancellor] says in his speech may or may not be true, or memorable, or ganuinely inspiring. But the [Chancellor or Germany] deserves our courteous attention, whether or not we agree with him. If he says things that are misleading or untrue, we have the freedom to point that out after he is finished. But if I disrespect my [Chancellor] I am actually disrespecting myself.”
    It’s time Catholic Christians realize the life-or-death battle we’re fighting. If you back out, we all lose.

  5. I say hurrah for Fr. White, for his well reasoned, straightforward statement about respect due the office of the Presidency of the United States.

  6. Tedious?!?!?Politics
    Thank God those who are pro-life don’t find it tiresome and uninteresting.

  7. Cassandra’s logic becomes absurd when she analogizes Chancellor Hitler to President Obama. Understanding of historical context is essential. Study of the nature of our constitutional democracy compared with the nature of Germany’s government in the 1930’s renders her comparison meaningless.

  8. Get a life people. Legal Abortion is a fact of life. Get Over it and move on to how one can limit them, provide alternatives, educate (and that means sex education). No Catholic school (that is, a Catholic school containing thinkers)should be subject to the Fascist tactics of right-wing groups like Cardinal Newman Society, a one man show whose leader has about as much understanding of what Cardinal Newman says as does my poodle. Get on with it.

  9. All that is essential to understanding Cassandra’s analogy is an understanding of the nature of evil and the similar consequence of one evil against humankind and another evil against humankind: death. Also important to this issue is an understanding of the incredible power of evil when good men fail to take a stand against it.

  10. Oh, I see THorsten, we Neanderthals should get a life, move on and forget about the magisterium of Holy Church.

  11. I think there are two issues with regards to the President’s invitation to speak at the Notre Dame Commencement. I do not take issue with him speaking. I do take issue with the conferring of an honorary degree. I think it is inappropriate for a Catholic institution to accord him honors and applaud Bishop D’Arcy for the courage to call ND out on this one: “As a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.” Hear, hear.

  12. I agree with those who say the real issue is ND’s giving of a platform and awarding a degree to one who undoubtedly opposes fundamental Catholic teaching. These should not be conferred even if “that one” is the POTUS. The offender in this episode is ND, and the offended is the natural law and the Catholic Faith

  13. Courteous attention????? When someone, President or no President, time and time again so publicly supports “death” over “life”, no Catholic University should give that person a platform of any kind. Fr. White, we are talking about the most prescious gift that God has given us — Life. We are talking about standing up for the TRUTH. St. Paul wouldn’t have shown him “courteous attention.” He would have made no bones about his opposition to ND’s action and straightened them out in so many words. President Obama has gone out of his way to promote pro-abortion laws and regulations. By doing so he has attacked our faith — the teachings of the Catholic church as Fr. Baer said. Let the White House, the media, the Congress give him a platform. ND should not! If they do, they have no right to call themselves a Catholic University. I am very saddened by this. May God have mercy on us all.

  14. Father White . . . surely you jest. The only rationale I can come up with is that you were hoping to “rev up” your slothful readers to a more vigorous debate. In that you succeeded.

    Father Baer gives clarity to the issue as always.

    Might I suggest that the real offenders at the top of the list are the Bishops who wash their hands and ask, “What is truth?”, thereby not just offending, but leading catholic souls astray.

    With the name of this supposed Catholic college being “Notre Dame”, I think we should all pause at the 4th station the remainder of Lent and meditate on our sorrowful Mother with shame in our hearts.

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