Greg and Jennifer Willits of The Catholic Channel’s show “The Catholic’s Next Door” interviewed Professor Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame. It was not an official response by the administration of Notre Dame, though no doubt his reasoning followed closely what the defenders of this decision generally beleive.
One of the things the professor mentioned is that a straw poll before the election showed the majority of the student body support then-Sen. Obama. I was wondering why he brought this up since it seems to me that this should be something the university should be rather ashamed about. While the university is made up of people other than Catholics, murdering the innocent is something everybody can come to know it wrong via the Natural Law. A Catholic university that can’t even impart the Culture of Life to their own students is failing on some fundamental levels. Though no doubt many of these students voted for Obama for reasons other than abortion.
It seems to me that these Obama supporting students have made the exact same flaw as the administration. They voted for him largely despite the fact that he was the most radical abortion supporting candidate for the presidency and Fr. Jenkins selected him despite the very same fact. The idea is that just as long as your selection is based on another criteria then it makes the selection perfectly fine.
One of the prevalent pieces of defense of this has been to “reach out” to the President. To open up lines of communication and to dialogue and to create “teaching moment” as the Head of Holy Cross order said. I think it is a bit silly to consider that the President flying in giving a speech and receiving a law degree and then flying out could do any such thing. It reminds me more of appeasement than anything. I just wonder by these arguments exactly what is beyond the pale? If you can support murdering the innocent and experimenting on them then I guess a President could do anything and could still be invited. This President has not exactly been someone reaching out to Catholics (unless they were pro-abortion) and has continuously ignored and slapped the face of faithful Catholics by his actions and nominations. When you ignore the evil somebody is doing you are not helping them. I guess John the Baptist should have reached out to Herod and invited him to speak by the Jordan River instead of rebuking his irregular marriage. St. Thomas More should have created a teaching moment by signing the document and hoping his capitulation would lead to lines of communication.
Professor Appleby got a bit perturbed by Greg’s questions and wanted a yes or no answer to whether it was a reasonable interpretation to think that Notre Dame was honoring the President for his support of abortion. Greg didn’t really want to give a yes/no answer since this really wasn’t the right question. What the invite does is present a relativistic view in regards to abortion and minimizes the evil of it. This is certainly how the majority of pro-lifers see this. The professor though did understand why people were troubled by the honorary law degree given to someone who supports Roe V. Wade. If the President was just invited to speak the case could have been made (wrongly I think) about opening lines of communication, but the honorary law degree really sticks in the craw of those who want to protect life.
When you have 2 cardinasl, your diocesan bishop, and a number of other bishops speak out that you messed up – you probably messed up. Though no doubt we will continue to have a Kmiecation of them trying to justify a bad decision. Cardinal George today called it an “Extreme embarrassment” to Catholics.