Is Notre Dame Still Catholic?

By inviting Barack Obama to deliver
the commencement address and receive an honorary degree
at Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins has polarized the
Catholic community nationwide—and raised a question.
What does it mean to be a

Catholic university

post-Christian America?

Are there truths about faith and
morality that are closed to debate at Notre Dame? Or is
Notre Dame like London`s Hyde Park, where all ideas and
all advocates get a hearing?

To Catholics, abortion is the
killing of an unborn child, a premeditated breach of
God`s Commandment
"Thou Shalt Not Kill."
The case is closed for all
time. Any who participate in an abortion are
excommunicated. Catholic politicians from Nancy Pelosi
to Joe Biden who support a
"woman`s right to
have been denounced from pulpits and denied

Obama, however, is the most
pro-abortion president ever. On his third day in office,
by executive order, he repealed the Bush prohibition
against using tax dollars to fund agencies abroad that
perform abortions.

He supports partial-birth abortion,
where a baby`s soft skull is sliced open with scissors
in the birth canal and its brains sucked out to ease its
passage, a procedure

Sen. Pat Moynihan
said "comes

as close to infanticide
as anything I have seen in
our judiciary

In the Illinois legislature, Obama
helped block the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a
bill to save the lives of infant survivors of abortion.
He voted to allow doctors and nurses to let these tiny
babies die of neglect and be tossed out with the medical

Barack is committed to signing the
Freedom of Choice Act, which would repeal every federal
and state restriction on abortion. He has smoothed the
path for federal funding of embryonic stem cell

Notre Dame, a university that
teaches that all innocent human life is sacred, will
thus honor a leader determined to ensure that a woman`s
right to destroy her unborn child in the womb remains

There is thus a direct clash
between what Notre Dame professes to stand for and what
Notre Dame is doing.


Ralph McInerny,
a philosophy professor since 1955:

"By inviting Barack Obama to be the 2009 commencement speaker, Notre

has forfeited its right to call itself a Catholic
… (T)his is a deliberate thumbing of
the collective nose at the Roman Catholic Church to
which Notre Dame purports to be faithful.

"Faithful? Tell it to Julian the Apostate."

McInerny calls Father Jenkins`
invitation to Obama worse than the
"usual effort of
the university to get into warm contact with the power
figures of the day. It is an unequivocal abandonment of
any pretense at being a Catholic university."

An honorary degree, writes Catholic
George Weigel,
is a statement that here is a man we
should admire and emulate. But how can a Catholic
university say that about a man who means to appoint
Supreme Court justices who will keep constitutional and
legal the systematic slaughter of the unborn that has
taken 50 million lives in 35 years?

Can Father Jenkins not see the
contradiction here that renders Notre Dame a morally
incoherent institution?

Diocesan Bishop John D`Arcy of Fort
Wayne-South Bend has told Father Jenkins he will not be
attending commencement because of Obama`s support of
embryonic stem cell research.

Said the bishop

"While claiming to separate policies from science, [Obama]
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."

Pope Benedict
has yet to be heard from. But on his

to the United States, he declared that any
appeal to academic freedom
justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching
of the church would obstruct or even betray the
university`s identity and mission."

Does not honoring the most visible
pro-abortion advocate in America
"betray the
identity and mission"
of Notre Dame?

Father Jenkins says the invitation
"should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific
issues regarding the protection of human life."

But what Notre Dame is saying with
this invitation is that Obama`s 100 percent support for
policies and programs that bring death to more than a
million unborn children every year is no
disqualification to being honored by a university
dedicated to Our Lady who carried to term the Son of

Chris Carrington, a political
science major,
regards the opposition to Obama`s appearance
un-Catholic: "To
not allow someone here because of their beliefs would
seem a little hypocritical and contradictory to what the
mission of the university and church should be."

The obtuse Carrington has stumbled
on the relevant question: Is Notre Dame still a
repository, teacher and exemplar of eternal truths about
God and Man, right and wrong, whose mission is to convey
and defend those truths in a hostile world?

Or has Notre Dame joined the
secularists in their endless scavenger hunt to seek and
find truth in the marketplace of ideas?



Patrick J. Buchanan


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Paul Craig Roberts.