Skip to comments.Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame and the issues that remain
Posted on 05/19/2009 8:26:48 AM PDT by annalex
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May 18, 2009
"I have found that even among those who did not go to Notre Dame, even among those who do not share the Catholic faith, there is a special expectation, a special hope, for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world."
~ Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C., May 17, 2009
Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life. The best have humor. Some genuinely inspire. But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time. Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability. This makes his introductory comments to President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.
Let’s remember that the debate over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was never about whether he is a good or bad man. The president is clearly a sincere and able man. By his own words, religion has had a major influence in his life. We owe him the respect Scripture calls us to show all public officials. We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good -- insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.
We also have the duty to oppose him when he’s wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters. And we also have the duty to avoid prostituting our Catholic identity by appeals to phony dialogue that mask an abdication of our moral witness. Notre Dame did not merely invite the president to speak at its commencement. It also conferred an unnecessary and unearned honorary law degree on a man committed to upholding one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history: Roe v. Wade.
In doing so, Notre Dame ignored the U.S. bishops’ guidance in their 2004 statement, Catholics in Political Life. It ignored the concerns of Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Notre Dame’s 2009 Laetare Medal honoree – who, unlike the president, certainly did deserve her award, but finally declined it in frustration with the university’s action. It ignored appeals from the university’s local bishop, the president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, more than 70 other bishops, many thousands of Notre Dame alumni and hundreds of thousands of other American Catholics. Even here in Colorado, I’ve heard from too many to count.
There was no excuse – none, except intellectual vanity – for the university to persist in its course. And Father Jenkins compounded a bad original decision with evasive and disingenuous explanations to subsequently justify it.
These are hard words, but they’re deserved precisely because of Father Jenkins’ own remarks on May 17: Until now, American Catholics have indeed had “a special expectation, a special hope for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world.” For many faithful Catholics – and not just a “small but vocal group” described with such inexcusable disdain and ignorance in journals like Time magazine -- that changed Sunday.
The May 17 events do have some fitting irony, though. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Notre Dame provided the forum for Gov. Mario Cuomo to outline the “Catholic” case for “pro-choice” public service. At the time, Cuomo’s speech was hailed in the media as a masterpiece of American Catholic legal and moral reasoning. In retrospect, it’s clearly adroit. It’s also, just as clearly, an illogical and intellectually shabby exercise in the manufacture of excuses. Father Jenkins’ explanations, and President Obama’s honorary degree, are a fitting national bookend to a quarter century of softening Catholic witness in Catholic higher education. Together, they’ve given the next generation of Catholic leadership all the excuses they need to baptize their personal conveniences and ignore what it really demands to be “Catholic” in the public square.
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has suggested that Notre Dame “didn’t understand” what it means to be Catholic before these events began. He's correct, and Notre Dame is hardly alone in its institutional confusion. That's the heart of the matter. Notre Dame’s leadership has done a real disservice to the Church, and now seeks to ride out the criticism by treating it as an expression of fringe anger. But the damage remains, and Notre Dame’s critics are right. The most vital thing faithful Catholics can do now is to insist – by their words, actions and financial support – that institutions claiming to be “Catholic” actually live the faith with courage and consistency. If that happens, Notre Dame’s failure may yet do some unintended good.
Ping. Sorry if double.
I think I have a new tag line
You ever notice that fringe left groups (e.g. PETA) are NEVER described as “small but vocal.” I always understood that when someone says, “It’s not about the money.” it is always about the money. I will now add that when someone says “small but vocal” that means “sizable and I want them to shut up.”
Sorry, but Obama is a fraud. I will admit, however, he is very "able" at being a fraud.
It shouldn’t matter what kind of man Obama is to anyone but his wife. The rest of us only care what he does.
And he do fraud.
The Apostles were a small but vocal fringe group also. It simply means that words have power and masses don’t.
and baby killing.
Water under the bridge of sadness, now. How soon until the President of Notre Dame resigns? Best be soon. And all the other secular confused. The damage they have done is incomprehensible at best.
I don’t believe it is water under the bridge. This event has awaken the Catholic people and the higher Catholic education system like nothing else could have.
Look for a reform in Catholic higher education coming from the Vatican! (Wanna bet on it?)
Because of the ongoing Obama-related publicity, light of inquiry is finally being focused upon network of money and influence represented by the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.
If you simply Google
"Notre Dame" trustees "stem cell" millennium abortion fraud
you'll get about 1500 results, a stomach-unsettling set of indications that the problem isn't just that "Jenkins hearts Obama," but that the Board itself is dominated by members whose policies and practices are palpably corrupt.
The biggies which have come to light so far:
Not only is Chambers on Notre Dame's board; Fr. John Jenkins is also in the Millennium Promise Board. This, of course, constitutes direct cooperation with intrinsically immoral practices.
There are two bishops in particular who need to address this: Bishop Daniel Jenky, who actually sits on the Board of Trustees, and Bishop John D'Arcy, who still preserves the university's right to call itself "Catholic".
More on Jenky:
one episcopal figure whose silence is notable in this Notre Dame scandal: the Most Rev. Daniel Jenky, CSC of Peoria, IL.
to my knowledge, he is the only CSC-congregation bishop in the United States. He is, in other words, a brother priest with President Jenkins and half of the others members on the Board of Fellows.
Amazing information, Catholic ferret — my new name for you! (Smile
God bless Archbishop Chaput. Two hundred more just like him, please, O Lord.
""but since taking office Obama has attended church only once"
"Look for a reform in Catholic higher education coming from the Vatican! (Wanna bet on it?)"
--Surely hope so. But it's also late in coming. Kerry, Pelosi, Kennedy? Start with them. Excommunicate them, immediately. Kick-out any high-profile "politicians" who call themselves Catholic, yet do not abide by the strictest policies of pro-Life. Let's start there. Seems like so many of the "enforcers" of doctrine are sitting on the fence. Time to take a stand.
Meanwhile................Great video HERE:
I like it.
Obama Norte Dame Appearance
Like most males I have the ability to compartmentalize. Among the compartments I do not like to open any more are the many understandings I have about the rise to political domination of Communism and National Socialism and most recently the Bolivarian revolution. The following incident should be admired for its elegance, but is hardly unique. It fits the tried and true formula of successful despots. Here is quote from William Shirers The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich about the Catholic Trade Unions.
For half a century May Day had been the traditional day of celebration for the German and European worker. To lull the workers and their leaders before it struck, the Nazi government (60 days in power) proclaimed May Day 1933, as a national holiday, officially named it the Day of National Labor and prepared to celebrate it as it had never been celebrated before. The trade union leaders were taken in by this surprise display of friendliness toward the working class by the Nazis and enthusiastically co-operated with the government and the party in making the day a success. Labor leaders were flown to Berlin from all parts of Germany, thousands of banners were unfurled acclaiming the Nazi regimes solidarity with the worker, and out at Tempelhof Field Goebbels prepared to stage the greatest mass demonstration Germany had ever seen. Before the massive rally, Hitler himself received the workers delegates, declaring, You will see how untrue and unjust is the statement that the revolution is directed against the German workers. On the contrary. Later in his speech to more than 100,000 workers at the field Hitler pronounced the motto, Honor work and respect the worker! and promised that May Day would be celebrated in honor of German labor throughout the centuries.
Late that night Goebbels, after describing in his most purple prose the tremendous enthusiasm of the workers for this May Day celebration which he had so brilliantly staged, added a curious sentence in his diary: Tomorrow we shall occupy the trade-union buildings. There will be little resistance.
That is what happened. On May 2 the trade-union headquarters throughout the country were occupied, union funds confiscated, the unions dissolved and the leaders arrested. Many were beaten and lodged in concentration camps.
The drama of Barrack Obamas appearance at Notre Dame and his speech were not a statement of personal position and a call to dialogue. What we saw was the too often repeated and predicable performance of an attractive, aspiring despot. Pay attention to what happens in Washington and at the U.N. and not what he says at Norte Dame.
That's easy; Obama didn't say anything worth paying attention to at Notre Dame.
Dear Bishop Jenky,
I am writing to express my gratitude to you for your commitment to the Sanctity of Life, which you have demonstrated at many points --- and for your love of the Church, which is and always will be the Bride of Christ.
Some of us have kept your reputation as a "Good Shepherd" in mind as we have tried (and, though beaten and discouraged, are still trying) to protect the souls of Notre Dame students and rescue the University's Catholic identity.
Now that the Obama controversy has come and gone (or, "more or less" gone), is there not still a "terrible breach" between Notre Dame and the Church? Without making a judgment about anyone's personal motivations, shouldn't we look at more objectively verifiable things like Notre Dame's financial links and institutional affiliations?
Controversy has focused a light of inquiry upon the network of money and influence represented by the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.
If you simply Google
"Notre Dame" trustees "stem cell" millennium abortion fraud
you'll get about 1500 results, an unsettling set of indications that the problem isn't just that "Notre Dame partners with Obama," but that the Board itself is influenced by members whose policies and practices are disturbing.
The main ones which have come to light so far:
Trustee Justice Ann Claire Williams, U.S. Court of Appeals 7th District. Blocked the enforcement on the ban on partial-birth abortions by ruling that the Department of Justice could not subpoena hospital abortion records. She is reportedly being considered by President Obama for a seat on he Supreme Court.
Trustee Philip B. Rooney, wealthy Chicago businessman, was indicted by the SEC in a massive fraud case. Seven years ago, in a multi-million-dollar settlement, the SEC barred Rooney permanently from being an officer in any public company. He retains his board position at Notre Dame to this day.
Trustee Douglas Tong Hsu, chairman of a 32-billion dollar Chinese conglomerate with strong political connections both in Taiwan and mainland China. He was indicted for breach of trust and forgery in 2006, the same year he and Jenkins travelled to Beijing to develop partner programs for the university in communist China.
Trustee Dr. Mary Anne Fox, Chancellor of UC Davis, which recently opened a new research facility for human embryonic stem cell experimentation. Their bio-engineering department has also established a partnership with Tsinghua University in China, to further their research, which destroys human beings in their most vulnerable stage of life.
Trustee Raymond G. Chambers, is the co-founder of anti-poverty organization Millenium Promise, which (among othr things) provides "contraceptive services" in African villages, including "Male and female condoms; Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and IUDs." The handbook for their project, "Millennium Villages," also advocates that "In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established."
Not only is Chambers on Notre Dame's board; Fr. John Jenkins is also in the Millennium Promise Board. This, of course, constitutes direct cooperation with intrinsic evil.
You know all these people very well, surely, and peraps you feel protective of them simply on the basis of long and cordial association. That is to be expected. But it should not obscure the fact that there is a pattern here which suggests scores of unanswered questions.
To whom can we, the laity, go to seek redress for such a repugnant situation? Many of us feel ourselves to be scandalized, discouraged, and --- worst of all --- leaderless. As Our Lord said, "Like sheep without a shepherd."
Yet I take hope from some of Notre Dame's past struggles: the (as far as I know) permanent suspension of what had been an annual Gay Film Festival, the cancellation of the 2009 Vagina Monologues: these are good signs.
So I struggle between despair and hope.
Now it looks as if Notre Dame is helping President Obama in his "perpetual campaign" to rally young people to the support of his programs. An essential element of this is deception: to put it plainly, saying one thing and doing another.
Obama says he wants us to respect each others' consciences, yet for the first time in decades the government will compel pro-life citizens to actually finance--- pay for --- the extermination of unborn babies through their tax dollars. Fine. We respect Obama, and he kills babies. He respects us, and he makes us pay for it. Do you see what's wrong here?
Notre Dame says it's all for dialog, communication, and engagement, and then when an elderly pro-life priest comes on campus to protest Obama, nonviolently singing hymns and carrying a cross, he is arrested, handcuffed, and put in jail. Do you see what's wrong here?
Fr. Jenkins says that voluntary service in fighting the evils of racism and poverty is what makes Notre Dame great, and then he serves on a Board of Millennium Promise, which contracepts, sterilizes, and aborts Africans. Is this an example for Notre Dame students? Is this going to become one of their voluntary service options? Do you see what's wrong here?
I beg your prayers and words of counsel. I am heartsick and discouraged and don't know what to do, but I still trust that you, a Successor to the Apostles, will surely stop these dreadful offenses.
Please pray for me.
Most respectfully in the heart of Jesus,
An excellent account.
I don’t think Obama is going to attack the unions, but he probably will attack the Church at some point. He has split off the “good” Catholics (the ones who love him) from the “bad,” “divisive” Catholics (the ones who adhere to Catholic doctrine). I think he’ll probably whip up a little more anger against the latter group and then make his move. As usual, the bishops will be napping.
the government will compel pro-life citizens to actually finance--- pay for --- the extermination of unborn babies through their tax dollars
And that's just the rescinding of the Mexico City policy. With Obama health care, -- whatever shape it takes, -- EVERY abortion on American soil will be paid for by tax money.
That is so true.
The speech and the story are examples of executing a continuously successful formula. Few people attempt to climb the learning curve, but behave like spiders on a ceiling. The spider does not attempt to craul away, but as defense always falls into your tissue where it is crushed.
Fact-check before mailing. Marye Anne Fox is the
Chancellor, University of California San Diego
Thank you. (I need a smiley with a sheepish look...)
I pray the Vatican will take steps to rein in those in the US Catholic Church who while claiming the title of Catholic are doing everything to destroy His Church.
Lots of Chicago powerbrokers. Those who left Chicago to protest at ND should consider how to dislodge or reform them. That's where Obama the politician came from, after all.
Thanks for the info.