Notre Dame - The Aftermath: Breaking down the controversy

May 19, 2009

You have to give President Barack Obama credit for one thing. The man knows how to put on a show. That’s exactly what he did during his speech at the Notre Dame commencement Sunday.

My reaction to watching the footage of the most pro-abortion president our nation has ever had stand up at a Catholic institution, address a packed Catholic audience, and receive thunderous applause and a standing ovation, was, I’m sure, a lot like every faithful Catholic’s reaction. It was enough to make my stomach turn.

Why this is important:
A. Despite his good looks and good PR, most of President Obama’s ideology on life and family issues is in direct contrast to Catholic Church teaching.

B. Notre Dame is supposedly “the premier Catholic university of America.”

The Wrong Message: If the premier Catholic university of America is letting a pro-abortion president have the podium and giving him an honorary degree, this looks like the Catholic Church is saying “It’s okay. Our values on life are really not that important. You’re right. We should move along with the times and embrace what the culture is telling us about accepting abortion. We’ve been so foolish to hold on to our antiquated teachings. Thank you President Obama for coming and opening our eyes to the whole truth.”

It produces columns like this Editorial: Obama deftly calms culture war passions that get it completely wrong.

What the media doesn’t get:
The Catholic Church is NOT a popularity contest. Pope Benedict is not going to change the teachings of the Catholic Church just because people call him names and say they hate him. Jesus was hated, Jesus was persecuted. He told us that the Church and those who stand by her will also be persecuted. Most of the apostles were martyrs for sticking by Christ’s teachings. And 2,000 years later, as faithful Catholics and disciples, we are also called to continue to stand by those teachings, no matter what mainstream society says.

Protection for the dignity of life from conception to natural death is and will always be the teaching of the Church. People who stand up for these rights are not “radicals,” they’re faithful.

Why “fair-minded words” aren't working:
A president with a mind truly on uniting not dividing would not have taken this invitation to Notre Dame. President Obama ignored the protests of over 350,000 American citizens to not come to Notre Dame. He also ignored the almost 70 Catholic bishops who voiced their opposition. He even met with Chicago Cardinal Francis George for a 30-minute sit down, at the end of which Cardinal George said Obama was on the “wrong side of history,” and “not as hopeful now as I was when he was first elected” at finding common ground.

A similar situation went down when Pope Benedict XVI met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in February this year after Pelosi, a self-proclaimed “Catholic” gave incorrect public statements about the teachings of the Catholic Church and abortion.

We should never give up hope on conversion and working to build positive conversations with our opponents, but it seems like it just goes in one ear and out the other with the Obama Administration.

Why this is just the beginning:
If a pro-abortion president can garner a standing ovation from a speech at a Catholic university’s graduation, there’s no telling where this could go.

What we do know is this is definitely a game-changer.

Tags: Notre Dame

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