Friday, April 03, 2009

Notre Dame

On our way to the Chrism Mass yesterday we stopped for supper with some friends. One of them told me that she has been expecting me to post about the Notre Dame issue on my blog here. She thought I would have an opinion on it or at least the letter written by Archbishop Nienstedt about it (I think she knows that I am a fan of the Archbishop).

Since she asked, here is what I think:

1. The Archbishop's letter was clearly a private message and should not have been leaked to the public.

2. His letter was also spot on. A Catholic school should not be inviting a person who is at odds with Church teaching to speak at their commencement ceremony and they certainly should not be giving him an honorary degree. That sends the wrong message to the faithful.

3. It seems to me that Notre Dame is inviting the President because of the honor of having a sitting President speak at their event. For this they are willing to sacrifice a portion of their Catholic identity.

4. It is the job of a bishop to correct the inappropriate behavior of a Catholic school. I think though that the US bishops need to issue some clear instruction on what the Catholic church teaches on life issues and why it does so. I think it is time for our shepherds to be very public and very loud. The faithful have a right to not be confused about what the church teaches.

In trying to find some good in this whole mess I have to give a nod to all of the bishops who have come out against this decision. I have to wonder why the rest of them are so quiet though.


Sweet Mary Beth said...

How nice to be an influential friend :)

1. I agree
2. I certainly agree with not giving him an honorary degree; I waver on having the sitting president give the commencement address. He is the President of the United States and as such, has 'position power,' and deserves respect. As long as he doesn't speak on the issues with which he is in conflict with the Church, I think he should be allowed to speak.
3. I agree with your first sentence. It's sort of splitting hairs, but I think that giving him the honorary degree is what sacrifices a portion of their Catholic identity (as long has he doesn't preach on life or moral issues).
4. I agree.
I also agree with your conclusion. One of the 'benefits' of being Catholic is having the Magisterium help us work through complex issues of faith and morality. (However, to a simpleton like me, the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death isn't all that complex.)

Dave said...

First of all, you and I both know at you ae not a simpleton so don't go there.

The sanctity of Human life shouldn't be a very complex issue,but it is made complex by the very many Catholic individuals and insitutions who profess to be Catholc but then publicly and openly take actions which are in direct coflict with Church teaching. This can confuse people.

In selecting a speaker for their graduation they should be looking for someone who has a good message to send these students off into the real world on the right foot. Since it is a Catholic school it should also have a Catholic message. There are many other people who would be more qualified to speak. To ask the President to speak just because he holds the office seems rather empty to me. Is it more important to the school to have the high profile speaker than to support Catholic teaching?

The school has now also put those Caholic students who do care about this issue in a position where they might have to choose to skip their own ceremony. That is sad.