Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dead Right and Dead Wrong

Reverend Emmanuel Charles McCarthy offers some rather impassionate commentary on the Notre Dame debate. His comments are worth reading, even after the fact. They are in four parts. I'll give you the first paragraph of the first three, and you can click on the links for the rest.

Notre Dame and Bishop John D’Arcy

If I were the Bishop of the diocese within which the University of Notre Dame lives and moves and has its being, I would have done exactly what John D’Arcy, current bishop of that diocese, did when it was announced that President Obama is to deliver the Spring 2009 commencement address at Notre Dame: turn down my standing invitation to attend the commencement. My reasons for doing so would include two of his reasons for doing so. Quoting a 2004 statement of the U.S. bishops, Bishop D’Arcy 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.” At another point in the explanation of his nonattendance, he writes, “My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth
about human life.”

This is a battle between Constantinian Christian all-stars—Catholic division. In one corner sits the “Fighting Irish,” the University of Notre Dame. Its history of embracing, with full Catholic fervor, the United States military and its money, as well as the American power elite and its money, is legendary. That history began in earnest with World War I and has run non-stop until today—Notre Dame being the envy of every Catholic college in the U.S. for having, proportionately, the largest ROTC operation of any Catholic institution of higher education. In the other corner sits Bishop John D’Arcy, representing the position of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, whose history of pandering to the military and the power- players of this society for their money, matches—at least—that of the University of Notre Dame. Yet at this hour these kindred spirits and operations are at swords’ points over the questions, “Whose killing of whom is the killing that faithfully follows Jesus, the Word of God Incarnate?”—and “Whose unjust killing of whom can be ignored, or at least considered not so bad as to warrant denying him or her Catholic awards, honors or platforms, and the presence of a Catholic Bishop?”

Holy Mother Church, that is, the institutional Constantinian Church, gave birth to the institution named the University of Notre Dame. It was in this mother’s image that this Constantinian Catholic university was formed. She was Notre Dame’s mother, and Notre Dame’s model of what it means to be a Christian and how to live the life for which Jesus gave His disciples the gift of faith. Notre Dame learned well the lessons her mother taught her, and she has achieved full stature as a Constantinian Catholic university. She has grown into thatwisdom and age, that wealth and power which have been the glory, hallmark, and modus operandi of the Constantinian Church Militant for over a millennia-and-a-half.

They are all worth reading and I look forward to any comments you may have on them.

Mason mentioned to me recently how this Notre Dame event brought a lot of the old guard of the pro-life movement out of the woodwork. Fr. Weslin was arrested, founder of the Lambs who went around the country getting arrested during the Operation Rescue movement. I was privileged to meet him a couple of times growing up, along with his team of volunteers who went around with him. As you can see on several videos on Youtube, Norma McCorvey was stopped and Alan Keyes is also arrested. Next to Father Weslin is Joe Landry who I went to college with. Randall Terry and others also came out.

As Mason said, one of the great tragedies is that Notre Dame did not grant a protest permit. I'm also wondering though if getting arrested in this way is still the way to go. I remember the Operation Rescue movement, and most of the adults I grew up with were arrested several times. It was a powerful movement, and also a great ecumenical movement, as Fr. Thomas used to observe regularly. But he was also a big advocate of new strategies, of flexibility, of coming up with new ideas. And he came up with many of them, all brilliant. The goal is to change minds and hearts. And the question is what has brought about that change as of late. If more Americans now identify themselves as pro-life according to recent polling, then what has brought this about? I firmly believe that it has been better education and rational argumentation. I wonder if the old guard still has a place. It's an important question.

But it's also important that we take to heart some of the ideas of Rev. McCarthy above. More Americans may be anti-abortion, but are they also pro-life? We must fight for the whole and resist compartmentalization.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

1 comment:

Ellen said...

That's Joan Andrews Bell in the video holding the mike and leading the Rosary -- a true prolife saint.

Yes, the "old guard" is an important part of the battle. It's not either/or. We're building upon their sacrifices and willingness to put their lives on the line for the babies.