Dear CatholicVote.org Member,
Like many of you, we received the news last Friday that President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame this May.
In addition to delivering the address, the President will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. In short, one of our nation’s premier Catholic institutions will honor the President, and hold out him as an example to its students as someone worthy of emulation!
Given President Obama’s utterly shameful record on life, how could a Catholic university honor him?
The University could have politely and quietly told the White House that their standing invitation to the President of the United States was not available this year. Better yet, they could have said that while they would welcome his contributions to the public debate over how to solve our economic crisis, his regrettable policies in favor of a culture of death make it impossible for them to welcome him.
Notre Dame has regrettably hosted pro-abortion speakers in the past, but President Obama is a champion of the abortion cause.
Sadly, it is now indisputable that our President has become the world’s leading promoter of abortion, embryo-killing cloning and research, taxpayer-funded abortion, and a vigorous opponent of conscience protections for medical professionals. His campaign promises to find ‘common ground’ have sadly been ignored, or perhaps were simply lies. And this Administration has only just begun.
Is there anything a president could do that would disqualify him or her from delivering such a prestigious address?
If there is such a threshold, Barack Obama has not disqualified himself with Notre Dame officials.
And so we must act.
We have spoken with professors, students, and leaders at Notre Dame over the past 48 hours and have concluded that a massive protest will be practically difficult, and even counterproductive. The University has a right as a private school to prevent all protestors from entering campus, and could legally arrest those who violate this rule. Secondly, a protest could create exactly the wrong impression.
Therefore, we are recommending four courses of action.
1) CatholicVote.org has partnered with the Cardinal Newman Society, a dynamic organization dedicated to the renewal of Catholic higher education in establishing www.NotreDameScandal.com. Together our aim is to collect thousands of signatures and present them to University officials. Sign the petition now.
2) Contact Notre Dame and charitably express your outrage. CatholicVote.org is large enough to have a major impact, and we urge you to contact Notre Dame President Father Jenkins at (574) 631-5000.
3) Join your fellow CatholicVote.org members in a prayer of reparation on May 17 from 2-4 PM. We encourage you to organize local groups to pray for mercy for the decision by Notre Dame, but also for our nation for continuing to permit the tragedy of abortion.
***If you live in the Midwest, or near Notre Dame University, we invite you to personally join us in prayer at the Grotto on the campus of Notre Dame from 2-4 PM on May 17, where we will be joined by several Notre Dame professors, alumni, and current students. The gathering will be a peaceful and prayerful.
4) Please forward this message to your family and friends. Let them know about Notre Dame’s decision to honor the most pro-abortion President in American history. We must not remain silent over this scandal!
Brian Burch, President
IN 1972 Flannery O’Connor was posthumously honored with the National Book Award for her Complete Stories. As her publisher, Robert Giroux, was readying himself to receive this highest of American literary prizes, he was caught short when an eminent author asked, “Do you really think Flannery O’Connor was a great writer? She’s such a Roman Catholic.” Brad Gooch might well have begun his much-anticipated biography–Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor (Little, Brown, 416 pp., $30)–with this remarkable charge. Instead, he places it on the penultimate page. This decision is regrettable, for it leaves us still needing the book that hasn’t been written during the 45 years since O’Connor’s death in 1964: a critical biography showing that her life and work are quite incomprehensible apart from her being “such a Roman Catholic.”
The AP posted a misleading article titled “Vatican prelate, defends abortion for 9-year-old“.
I’m assuming there’s more to the story than what is in the AP article. AP Is notorious for its liberal slant and I’m sure they are just taking the opportunity to confuse people on the Catholic position on abortion. But even if the facts are as stated in the article, the prelate, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Vatican Pontifal Academy of Life, did NOT defend the abortion despite the article headline (which just shows how outrageously incompetent and/or dishonest the AP’s journalists and editors are).
What Fisichella did was criticize how the excommunication was handled. Quote from the article:
But Fisichella criticized the archbishop’s public denunciation, writing that the girl “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”
Fisichella stressed that abortion is always “bad.” But he said the quick proclamation of excommunication “unfortunately hurts the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and lacking mercy.
..”There wasn’t any need, we contend, for so much urgency and publicity in declaring something that happens automatically,” Fisichella wrote.
Ok, first read this article from the Catholic News Service “Abortion results in excommunication for mother, doctors in Brazil“:
Note that according to the CNS article:
[C]anon law indicates several conditions — for example, not yet having turned 17 years old — that would render an individual exempt from the penalty of excommunication.
Note that the excommunication was of the MOTHER not the 9 year old girl who is too young to be capable of being excommunicated. But Fisichella’s comments above regarded the girl. And his comments seem to be directed at the way the excommunication was handled – that it was done publicly and quickly, suggesting that for appearances sake it it could have been done more quietly and more deliberatively or even not at all since it is the act of procuring an abortion gives rise to an automatic excommunication But to me it is highly understandable in this case that the local Bishop would want to proclaim a public excommunication so that Catholics would understand that even in this case one cannot directly kill a baby to save the life of the mother. And the Bishop should have acted quickly since after the store passes any teaching opportunity would have passed.
While the Church’s teaching on abortion when saving the life of the mother is quite clear – the direct killing of an unborn baby can never be done, as the long as the intention is not to kill the baby, a doctor can separate the baby from the mother in order to save the mother’s life. Here’s a good article on the subject of double effect as it is known.
Since we don’t have the full text of the quotes from Fisichella (the AP article is highly suspect here – they haven’t even named what newspaper it is, only saying it is was published in “the Vatican newspaper on Sunday” suggesting it is the official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, but that paper doesn’t come out on Sunday. The last issue was March 11 and it doesn’t have the interview.
My guess is that this is a combination of the Vatican’s naivite regarding the press, and the media’s desire to jump on anything it percieves as wavering on the subject to confuse Catholics and non-Catholics alike on what the Church’s position is.
Apparently the ex-communications have been revoked: Brazilian bishops have cancelled the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped.
The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) decided on Thursday that the child’s mother acted “under pressure from the doctors” who said the girl, pregnant with twins, would die if she carried the babies to term.
CNBB secretary-general Dimas Lara Barbosa told reporters the mother therefore could not be excommunicated. “We must take the circumstances into consideration,” he said.
As for the doctors, there was no clear case for expelling them from the church either, he said – contrary to the position taken by Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, who announced the excommunications earlier in March.
Also see this.
This whole thing seems like it was badly mishandled. I could see a case for excusing the mother, but still I would hope she has had a personal discussion with a priest if not a confession – it would seem so if they are saying it was under duress. For the Doctors, I see no excuse, it certainly seems they should have had a better understanding of what their obligations were ; then again, maybe upon investigation they were not well versed in the Church’s teachings or were given incorect guidance. Sometimes the double effect teaching is misunderstood to permit direct killing of babies in these circumstances. In any event, I just can’t understand for the life of me why the priests and bishops in these cases so badly bungle the public relations. It gives mixed signals everywhere. They have a responsibility to clearly set forth the teaching of the Church as well as to minister to their flock. The proper thing to have done would to have been request a meeting with the mother and doctors individually to investiage the facts and then make the decision of a public pronouncement. The local bishop might well have done that – I hope it’s not the case that the hierachy is just buckling under the secular pressure. Then again, maybe the secular media is again badly misrepresenting what’s gone down.