Sunday, May 17, 2009

Notre Dame disgraces itself

By Rick Morris

Notre Dame’s sellout today to what the last two popes have labeled the “Culture of Death” marks a low point in the American tendency over the past several decades to elevate the whims of a decadent modern culture over the timeless wisdom of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pat Buchanan has done a fine job over the decades of chronicling how the modern Roman Catholic Church in America has moved from trying to educate the world to trying to be a part of it at all costs. Notre Dame is now clearly embracing the ethos of abandoning core principles in the same way that Georgetown and other “cafeteria Catholic” institutions have previously. To my knowledge, they have not done so previously, at least in such an ostentatious manner.

Lest this come off as just another reactionary rant from an old-school Roman Catholic, consider this: Notre Dame is granting President Obama arguably its two most-valued honors in the form of an honorary degree and the slot as commencement speaker when he stands against them on some of the most important issues of the day. On abortion, encouragement of alternative lifestyles and the dignity of human life even in difficult end stages, the church stands on one side and the progressive movement – exemplified by this president – stands on the other.

I am a big believer in dialogue on issues, but I also believe firmly that core principles cannot be squandered in pursuit of false unity. As an intellectually honest person, I believe this is true of any type of organization. It would be equally ludicrous, for example, for an Islamic institution to bestow an equivalent honor on a Likudnik simply because they could not be more diametrically opposed on their most important issue.

Had Notre Dame invited Obama merely to speak on campus, I would have no problem with such a decision. Having it out back and forth in an informed manner is what this country is all about, to say nothing of the world of higher education itself. But that is not what they chose. They chose to invite the man who embodies the resistance to the church’s mission in the modern world to receive these two honors. That is truly pathetic and represents sheer cowardice and lack of principle. A less timid Vatican would lay the smack down on these ankle-grabbers.

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