Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catholic Campus Controversy Continues

Dan (AKA Milwaukee Dan #3) over at Slapinions commented on my entry yesterday about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame's commencement, Bishop D'Arcy's refusal to attend, and Rev. Jenkins' defense of the invitation:

ND is a Catholic University and while of course it's open to anyone it should still stand on its principles. That it doesn't is no real shock and serves as another signal that it is moving to the left (and risking many of its traditionally conservative alumni $ in the process)

Quite aside from religous issues, I wish the yahoo in charge of ND would just be honest. He thought it'd be nifty to have Obama speak, get a little face time for ND that doesn't involve the failure of the football TV ratings, yada yada.

"we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement." Yeah. It's ALLLLL about the chance to open a dialouge with him about abortion and stell cell research. Please.

Dan, you know I like ya, man, but...Jiminy Christmas, dude. First off, was it really necessary to call Father Jenkins a "yahoo," and to get a dig in against the football team?

Touchdown Jesus Actually, I think Father Jenkins realizes that while Notre Dame was founded as a Catholic university, it is an institute of higher learning, not a church. (Although they have a lovely one on campus, the Basilica.) A while back, there was another controversy when there was to be a production of "The Vagina Monologues" on campus, and some protested. (I guess the V-word is a no-no for some.) Father Jenkins stuck by that, too, and defended the students' rights to put on that production. I supported him in that, and I support him in his decision about the commencement and wrote to him to tell him so. I think Father Jenkins is progressive, and trying to bring the university into at least the 20th century. Maybe he can shoot for the 21st century, and really rile up the powers-that-be!

So this is nothing new for Rev. Jenkins.

The Vatican also opposes birth control, as they recently confirmed when telling the Catholics in AIDS-riddled Africa that using condoms still was not kosher (so to speak). I'm sure that plenty of those good Catholic kids attending Notre Dame kind of ignore that rule. Unless, of course, as good Catholic kids, they know that it's wrong to have sex outside of marriage. [snort] I don't care if it was founded on Catholic principles, it's a college campus. Sex is happening there, people, and I haven't noticed a higher-than-average rate of unplanned pregnancies or births in South Bend.

Bishop D'Arcy's statement said that while the President has promised to separate politics and science, what he has really done is separate science and ethics. You know, I really don't think the Vatican wants to get into a discussion about "ethics." The vast majority of Catholics that I know are very kind and wonderful (and ethical) people, but the Vatican has done some pretty iffy things, in my opinion, over the years. And since when are they the sole arbiters of ethics? Personally, I think it's unethical to let a person infect even one other person with AIDS on their way to their own death, because they feel they'll go to hell if they use a condom.

Finally, Rev. Jenkins thought it would be nifty to have Obama speak? Well, sheah. The President is one of the most powerful leaders on the planet, arguably the most powerful. He’s also an excellent speaker. Of course, it's a coup to have our sitting President speak at the commencement, and several--of all parties and philosophies--have done so over the years.

I doubt if I'll be able to actually go to the commencement, but I look forward to watching the address. It's an honor for South Bend, and it's an honor for Notre Dame.


  1. Well put, Too bad your not speaking at the commencement! Take care and enjoy your Today! Katie

  2. I'm with you, Beth.
    Obama has been asked to speak at a school, not a church.
    Obama has been asked to give a commencement address, not a State of the Union message.
    I think Obama can separate church from state, but for others it's all one way, or no way.

  3. Maybe I can get an honorary degree and we can go LOL :o)

  4. I wonder if Bishop D'Arcy suffers from the same catholic guilt he promotes?

  5. Beth,
    I think you should run for President!

  6. I don't understand the controversy. I am seeing a lot of comical conservative foot-stomping and petty whimpering, and I admit that I do enjoy the sweet, sweet tears.

  7. Don't get me started...too late!

    I wonder if Bishop D'Arcy and everyone else who is flipping about this expressed their dismay to Boston College last year when they asked a pro-life politician to give the commencement address? I know I heard of no protests or objections.

    The speaker was Condi Rice.

    Bishop D'Arcy is making a political statement, and his insistence that he is not only reaffirms that he is. I'm pretty sick of it all.

    And I'm a life-long Catholic.

  8. Well I'll never turn down a good link. Bad press is still press.

    The only thing I think you slammed me on is the 'dig' on the football team. Not so. I think he is looking for ways to get ND national exposure in lieu of a sucessful football program. I have nothing against Irish football. My Godfather, who I mentioned went to ND, went there (originally) with the intent of playing football but was cut after a year. It's unfortunate that the Irish suck lately.

    My point was that he is getting Obama to speak because it's good press and a good way to sell interest in the school - not for any deep philiophical groundwork for discussion. And if he's doing that while consciously ignoring rules or standards he's sworn to uphold,then yeah, he's a yahoo. Maybe that word means something more dire to you than it does to me???

    As far as 'since when are they the sole arbiters of ethics' - Beth, it's a CATHOLIC university. They are the sole arbiters of ethics for their community, as Jewish authorities would be in a similar situation, as the Mormon's would be at BYU (that one I'd have to look up, actually), as Muslim's are for 100 pieces of their own daily life. If you don't like that, or someone on campus chafes under that, it's a free country and they're free to voice their objection or move on to another school or church.

    I continue to venture over here as the rare dissenting voice in your fan club,(and I *am* part of your fan club) but don't frame me as some whackjob either.I know the campus papers are debating this issue, and I've seen more than one mainstream news piece on his appearance.

    Is it an honor for Notre Dame? Sure. But since when does that provide an excuse to stifle debate?

  9. I think Jenkins sees the big picture and I appreciate it. If you ranked all of the best choices right now to deliver a commencement speech, Obama is a runaway winner.
    This whole abortion thing is a small sideshow from the same people who oppose the Monologues. It's what they do.

  10. Beth....I just love you girl! Beautifully written.

    And ya know what else? Maybe, just maybe, Obama was ivited because he's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! I mean, really, how cool is that to have the President speak at your university?

  11. kosher catholics. haha...

    you made a funny. ;-P


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?