Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama’s Speech at Notre Dame – Truth and Consequences for Catholics

Bishop D'Sarcy prays with Students while Obama Accepts Degree - CNA

The invitation for President Obama to speak at Notre Dame was issued by the university President, John Jenkins,, ironically a Catholic Priest, and supported by the Trustees – however, it was not supported by University Alumni and a portion of the student body, some of whom chose not to attend their graduation in protest. The University Newspaper, , The Observer, carried several stories, most significant – seniors boycotting their own graduation and other protests being the “featured” articles on the papers website. Overall, approximately 1,000 protested the President’s invitation and acceptance to speak at the Catholic College. That said, remarks by Catholics, specifically those that hold to the teaching of the church vis a vis the sanctity of life, are being touted in the media as, “those in the minority”, and the President’s speech, regarding the “abortion debate”, as fair-minded, regarding the abortion “debate”.

Although Obama is not the first pro-choice politician’s to have spoken at the University, he is the most pro-active advocate for abortion rights, including partial birth-abortion. Additionally, he is was the candidate of choice for NARAL, the organization that supports abortion without exception, and his record as an Illinois State Senator, reveals that the President did not support the Illinois “Born Alive” bill, which prevented abortionists and clinic staff from saving infants that were “born alive” during a botched abortion. Obama’s actions since taking office, have not improved, from the stance of a pro-life view, as he lifted the ban on financially supporting abortions overseas. These are the reasons that a minority of Catholics were protesting his invitation to Notre Dame.

Why did Obama choose Notre Dame over other invitations? It is the most prestigious Catholic Campus in the United States, and as newspapers readily point out, 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama in the last election, and in accepting the invitation, it could be argued the president was giving his respect to those who played a large part in allowing him to ascend to the Presidency, while at the same time, accepting the honorary degree with honor. That said, it also allows the President, again, an active advocate for abortion rights, to nullify the subject as irrelevant.

From a Catholic point of view, unless and until church leaders in the United States, start taking a more active role in the teachings of the Church, these controversies vis a vis, non-Catholic and Catholic politicians who support abortion, will continue to further nullify Church Teachings. The Vatican, although silent on the issue of Obama’s invitation, was more than vocal when it came to those politician’s who support abortion - specifically “scolding”, Nancy Pelosi when she visited the Vatican in February. Therefore, the Pope, as head of the Church, has been clear on the subject, and those priests who are less than willing to follow Church Doctrine, should be reprimanded, at the least.

Regardless of the acceptance and glowing reviews of Obama’s ability to deal with the abortion subject by the press (nullification), a recent Gallop Poll indicates that a majority of American’s are now pro-life. The press finds this revelation “stunning”, yet, with the Head of the Catholic Church, and a growing number of American Church Leaders following actual doctrine, this should come as no surprise.
In the final analysis, the choice for Catholics, or for that matter, Muslims or any faith that prohibits Abortion, is clearly becoming defined when it comes to the voting booth – either they support their faith or, they support their political party. It will be interesting to see how big a role the “Abortion Debate” plays in the upcoming 2010 election, and it is quite possible, that the acceptance of the invitation by this particular President, was more of an attempt to pre-empt any damage that may be done to pro-abortion Democrats 2010 campaigns. Those who are now campaigning as pro-choice, or pro-abortion, will need only to point to the “Catholic Acceptance” of the President, who is a stalwart supporter of abortion rights, as a way to undermine any pro-life opponent. Therefore, the strategy of acceptance to Notre Dame, is not necessarily an attack on the Catholic religion per se, rather, it is about the manipulation of the very large Catholic Vote.

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