Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Was Waiting For This: Bishop Martino on ND/Obama

Everybody here knows that we love the Shepherd of Scranton. I figured we'd be hearing from him on this, and lo, he did not disappoint. Bishop Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty have a letter to Fr. Jenkins posted on the diocesan web site:

The numerous, repeated and extensive anti-life positions taken by President Obama merit his recognition as an unequalled, prominent proponent of the culture of death in our nation.

Good point. Why aren't we recognizing him for what he really is?

Given her Catholic identity, the University of Notre Dame’s receiving the President as the 2009 commencement speaker and her bestowing on him an honorary doctorate are truly shameful, a scandal to the Church and a major blow to hundreds of thousands who have sacrificed to bring forth a culture of life in our midst.


Through its President, His Eminence Cardinal George, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops acted swiftly and consistently to engage President Obama on human life issues. Your reported comment that “I think if he is going to reconsider his views, I think Notre Dame is the best possible place to begin that process” demeans, we believe, the intelligent urgency exercised by the nation’s bishops in this matter.

Of course it's demeaning, especially as there will be no such engagement. If there was going to be some kind of process to encourage his "reconsideration," he wouldn't be getting an honorary degree soaked in hypocrisy.

Moreover, your argument that honoring President Obama by granting a degree to him “is not intended to condone or endorse his position on specific issues regarding life” is no more than a blatant rejection of United States Bishops’ assessment of what Catholic institutions do when they so act. Their 2004 statement is absolutely clear.

And yet, there are people still arguing this.

What comes next has not been mentioned by any other bishops and was quite unexpected for me.

“Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities.” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, no. 28) We are convinced that Notre Dame will one day very much regret rebuffing not only her own Bishop D’Arcy but also the USCCB’s efforts to fulfill their responsibilities in her regard.

Just a reminder to Jenkins that a higher authority promulgated rules on what a Catholic university should be way before the USCCB did. And for anyone who is wondering what this is about, I invite you to read the full document cited by Bishop Martino and acknowledge the fact that ND has been in open defiance of the Holy See on the issue of what a Catholic uniersity should be for almost 20 years.

The letter concludes:

Praying this conviction will prove untrue and that Notre Dame will immediately and resoundingly proclaim her Catholic identity in word and act . . .

So pray we all, Your Excellencies. So pray we all.

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