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May 12, 2009

’Clueless’ Is the Word

Ppwenski050509 At least some Catholic leaders in this country understand the moral incongruity of a Catholic university inviting the most pro-abortion president in history to speak on its campus. Bishop Thomas Wenski held a Mass of Reparation "to make amends for sins against God" for those Catholics who are outraged with Notre Dame's "clueless" decision to have Obama speak at its commencement service on May 17. 

Those who oppose Obama's presence at Notre Dame point to a 2004 bishops' statement that says, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." Wenski claims that he doesn't like conflict or fights, but that this case is "egregious enough that we have to be clear. We're standing on principle...." 

Ironically, as I read the second article linked above, it was not the "cluelessness" of the leadership at Notre Dame that struck me: it was the cluelessness of the average American Christian who just doesn't get what all the uproar is about (evidently, 50% of Catholics don't mind). In one sense, the Notre Dame controversy is a small thing: the president will give his speech and the world will move on. But his apprearance at Notre Dame represents the spirit of our age -- a spirit of lukewarm faith and a willingness to compromise with the world rather than a willingness to embrace, however unpopular, our biblically mandated position as spiritual non-conformists (Romans 12:1-2). 

Obama will give his speech, the flap will die down, but -- as Christians -- we will have taken one more step down the ladder of spiritual decline. And most of us will be none the wiser about what we've just lost.

(Image courtesy of Catholic News Agency)

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Kim Moreland

What a powerful message--one which transcends the Catholic denomination. Thanks Diane.

Jason Taylor

Has anything really been lost? Resistance to a trend often does start in small but dramatic gestures.


From what I've been hearing, Notre Dame has a lot of alumni who are quite upset about this year's speaker and they will probably make their feelings know through withholding of donations.

Ben W

I also don't get what the big deal is - Notre Dame has a history of inviting commencement speakers who disagree with Catholic doctrine. Notre Dame invited liberal Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren in 1957, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1982 (pro-contraception), and George Bush Jr. in 2001 (pro-capital punishment).

Jason Taylor

Well in the first place the Catholic Church is not anti-capital punishment in the same way as it is anti abortion. It does think that efficient prisons may have made it obsolete and unnecessary which is not the same thing.
In the second place you understated your case seeing as Bush is also a Methodist don't you know.
In the third place abortion is NOT the same thing as contraception or capitol punishment.

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