Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notre Dame = Hypocrites

Notre Dame University President, Fr. John Jenkins has sent a letter to Notre Dame alumni informing them that he plans to participate in the March for Life in Washington DC. The march will protest the Roe v Wade decision on its 36th anniversary, making a statement for the pro-life cause.

HOWEVER, Jenkins refuses to drop charges against protestors during the appearance of President Barack Obama at Notre Dame’s commencement in May. Among those charged is Norma McCorvey, the original Roe, who has long ago switched positions and demonstrates against abortion.


  1. You can support peaceful, open dialog without necessarily adopting the speaker's position. As an alumni (so I'm biased) who graduated this last May, I was very offended by those protestors who decided to take from me and my family the opportunity to enjoy my graduation and view the opinion of all speakers, regardless of their viewpoints.

    Uninvited, they sought to force their opinion on others without respect for opposing viewpoints. Although not handled altogether gracefully, I support Father Jenkins' decision to press charges against those that tried to ruin a special day for me, my friends, my fellow graduates, and all the families of graduates who attended.

  2. However, aren't universities the perfect place to have public discourse - where we have the First Amendment right of freedom of speech, ideas and expressions?

    What about the other side of the coin? If you had pro-life views as a student, graduate, or family member, that day may have been ruined by having to listen to a commencement speech culminating all of your years of study and effort from a major (and may I add very vocal) advocate of abortion.

    I believe there are two views that should be heard. More importantly there is also the view of the unborn - which doesn't even have a say in the matter.

    The true irony is that this matter of public discourse took place at a Catholic University, which supposedly encompasses pro-life views. Instead they are condemning and punishing those views.

    Ultimately, Jenkins had a "choice" to invite this type of discourse by having a pro-abortion advocate who also happened to be the President of the U.S. to give a commencement speech. This polarizing act was bound to have repercussions on graduates, alumni and others.

  3. I quite agree that Notre Dame, and Father Jenkins specifically, could have chosen to invite someone of the opposite view to balance the messages of the speakers during the commencement, but why should they have to? President Obama isn't a single issue president, nor is the Catholic church a single issue institution. Why then wouldn't Father Jenkins also need to invite someone with opposing views on educational reform, opposing views on the "War on Terror," opposing views on any of a host of subjects?

    The protestors, and much of the media, focused on this one, single topic. The goals of President Obama and Notre Dame that aligned were ignored. On the whole, President Obama is a man that believes in service, community, and so many other issues that are important to an institution of faith. The controversy created by the Pro-Life groups, most with no affiliation to Notre Dame whatsoever, focused on one single difference between the stated mission of the Catholic Church and President Obama and, in doing so, put the focus on that topic. I highly doubt President Obama would have brought the issue up, leaving no need to have an opposing viewpoint on abortion at all. Moreover, simply because President Obama believes in a certain approach to a topic and speaks on that issue, it does not mean that the University of Notre Dame, or its graduates, have to adopt the views expressed.

    President Obama was invited to speak at Notre Dame--as have all Presidents in the relatively recent past despite their political affiliation and viewpoints--to honor the achievements of the graduates. Those protestors who had charges against them attempted to disrupt in an intrusive, abusive and vulgar manner an event they had no stake in. I’m quite glad Father Jenkins is pursuing these charges and am ever the more supportive of him for doing so.

  4. Most protestors who had charges against them did not, in fact, "attempt to disrupt in an intrusive, abusive, and vulgar manner." On the contrary, most did nothing more than pray the rosary, wear pro-life t-shirts, or hold up pictures of the Virgin Mary that said "defend her honor." Furthermore, many of these people did have affiliations with Notre Dame. Those who organized the protest at the University's entrance and along Angela Boulevard were Notre Dame alumni. They were protesting this scandal not because they hate Notre Dame but because they love it.

    To the Catholic Church, and indeed to all pro-life people, abortion is not just "a single topic." The right to life is the fundamental right from which all others flow. Can we really justify killing someone because we're paying attention to the welfare of those we don't kill? That's exactly what it suggests to say that it's okay to heap honors on someone who has defended infanticide and partial-birth abortion of infants because he (supposedly) does good for those segments of the human family not affected by this atrocity.

    Furthermore, it is not correct to suggest that Obama agrees with the Church or Notre Dame on "other" matters. The Church does not endorse a specific policy on most issues, other than describing why the issue is important and deserves our attention. It does endorse a specific policy on matters of intrinsic evil (things that are always and everywhere wrong) such as child pornography, racism, and abortion. The only morally acceptable response to such evils is to oppose them.

    The following articles give more information about that:

    Also, it is incorrect to say that all Presidents in the relatively recent past have been invited to speak at Notre Dame (although I suppose it depends on what you mean by "relatively"). Our last pro-abortion president, Clinton, wasn't.

  5. Thanks for providing the links and for sharing your thoughts on who was actually demonstrating and why during the Obama commencement speech at Notre Dame.

    I appreciate your insight.

  6. Sure! Here's another gives testimony from one of the people who was arrested...just praying, no "abusiveness"/"vulgarity."

  7. Thanks again....I used this link in a new post.