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The Soul of Notre Dame in Jeopardy

Thomas F. Roeser 25 March 2009 9 Comments

What can authenticist Catholics do about Notre Dame which has invited Barack Obama to be its 2009 commencement speaker-an invitation Obama has accepted?

Catholics can…(a) write the president, Rev. John Jenkins, CSC but will get a very nice letter back. They can (b) write the president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George and they will get a very short, crisp letter back saying he does not have jurisdiction over Notre Dame, thank you and please pray for me as I pray for you as we pray for all etc.,etc., etc.

They can (c) write the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop John Michael D’Arcy and ask him to pressure Notre Dame to change its mind. They will get a pro-forma letter back.

They can (d) make a list of the trustees of the university and write them, try to pressure them. Not very effective.

Finally, by organizing a group of alumni they can write to and visit the bishop, Bishop D’Arcy and urge him to employ the “nuclear option.” The nuclear option belongs to every Ordinary-the power to remove the Catholic identification from the offending school. A negotiation can begin where the Ordinary says that unless the university behaves like a Catholic institution, it should not misrepresent itself as one.

There is no doubt that for an Ordinary to do this is to go to war with the virulent secular “mainstream” media which will label him as a Torquemada (after Tomas de Torquemada [1420-98] who by dint of ancient myth is listed as being the arch-enemy of the free, speculative intellect and occupies the same level in secular media Hell as ugh! pro-lifers and ultimately Dick Cheney. Grossly untrue but given how much mythologizing the media do with Obama, how can you rectify 600 plus years? To media which oversimplify everything, a Catholic university doesn’t orchestrate fervently anti-Catholic, anti-life crusades, it is interfering with “academic freedom.” Not withstanding that the entire university system of the West was organized under Catholic, monastic auspices since the University of Paris and Oxford. Who cares? What is history to a liberal?

Assuredly, for an Ordinary to even raise the possibility of stripping Catholic identity will strike a match that could launch a revolution to reclaiming Catholic universities. And face it, it’s better for them and for the Church if they lose the ID since they won’t be falsely advertising their wares and we won’t have to endure the embarrassment of belonging to a Church that stands for one thing and seeing a so-called “Catholic university” like DePaul and Loyola doing another…such as the active promotion of Queer Studies: 101 aka how to become a gay.

You can write letters of protest until you’re blue in the face to presidents of universities and nothing will happen. For one thing, university presidents are prisoners of the system…they’re fund-raisers named for malleability a and diplomacy to get along with faculty, trustees, big givers. Universities are run largely by all-powerful faculties, meaning they’re on auto-pilot…all powerful trustees composed of fat cat Babbitts and callous pols. The name of the game is big bucks but that only comes from “prestige.” Line up a famous professor by paying him big bucks and your college has “prestige.” Line up a president to speak at your commencement and your college has “prestige”…and then crass graduating students can say “my college has the president of the United States as commencement speaker and yours doesn’t-nyaa, nyaa!”

But if there is a concerted program to find ONE bishop…ONE bishop…who will consider the nuclear option against an offending CINO Catholic-in-name-only university…a revolution can be engendered that will turn the thing around. It may or may not in the one in Fort Wayne-South Bend. I can tell you one thing: don’t waste your time in this town until a few years down the pike when there’s a change.

Obviously a net gain will be won if only one behemoth “CINO” factory that call themselves “Catholic”-Catholics-in-name-only…or CINOs…loses its Catholic designation. Better for the Church, better for us. Better for America.

Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer

More on Obama at Notre Dame from Ralph McInerny


  • Joe Murray said:

    President Obama presence at Notre Dame University is part of payback for all the Catholic Votes he got in the election.

    No Bishop will use the nuclear option because they understand their position would most likely not be supported by the Vatican.

    The issue here is dialogue with those we may disagree with for better understanding. The bigger question is should the Church be involved in education?

    Joe Murray

  • John Powers said:


    I have easy answer to last question. “Should the Church be involved in education”, Yes, of course, as the Catholic Church has a universal mission.

    When does an “dialogue” devolve to an honor? Would Notre Dame honor someone who holds up liquor stores, so as to start a dialogue about the 10th commandment? What if a politician also robbed liquor stores?
    Wouldn’t it be better if the politician disavowed his defiance of the 10th before a dialogue was started?


  • Frank DeBarnone said:

    Really do not see the problem with Obama Speaking at Notre Dame. I would not have a problem with Rush Limbaugh speaking either. Actually I would like to have them both on the bill at the same time. Why not? This is America after all. One election and an economic down turn does not stop us from being Americans. I think everyone is losing sight of that. We will survive and we will become better thasn before. I truly beleive it.

    As far as the Church being in the education field, of course we should. No one else has Thomas Aquinas and Thomas showed us that study of God is good because there is so much to learn about God and the world He created, so how could we not be in education.

  • Bryan Healy said:

    As for a bishop who will stand up for the values in Catholic education, Cardinal Egan has declared two so-called “Catholic” colleges not Catholic anymore, once in 2003, when Marist College of Poughkeepsie invited Eliot Spitzer to speak at commencement, and in 2005, when Marymount Manhattan College invited Hillary Clinton to speak at commencement.

    So, it can happen, as we have seen. Hopefully more bishops and cardinals will follow in Egan’s footsteps.

  • Jack said:

    Obama being honored at Notre Dame is the same as Hitler being honored at University of Jerusalem.

  • Dan Kelley said:

    Here’s the perfect solution: Notre Dame conditions Obama’s invitation upon the eloquent one speaking WITHOUT a teleprompter.

    The president abruptly cancels his commencement speech and the controversy comes to a satisfactory conclusion without the invitation being rescinded.

  • Nicholas Wheat said:

    The outraged editorialist asks derisively: “What is history to a liberal?”

    Well, a couple things come to mind right away, like slavery and suffrage. Without liberals standing strongly against the determined and principled resistance of conservatives, who justified their stand by citing scripture and religious values, we might still have “one white man one vote”, and live in a society where slavery wasn’t outlawed.

    More recent history reminds us that social security, and even Miranda rights caused conservatives to get worked up in a big lather and predict the end of the world as we know it. Both of those ideas are now considered a normal part of American life.

  • Tom Aquinas said:

    Today’s liberal has little if any to do with the actual liberals who promoted liberty and freedom. Perhaps “What is history to a Leftist?”, as the Left has abandoned history, is more appropriate.

    The Religious types of Liberals who fought against slavery and for civil rights would not recognize the Leftists who demand that babies be sacrificed for political gain.

  • jan zylkowski said:

    Tom: Send this to Al M @ The Wanderer—then you take a well-deserved breather for a night…

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