A lesson in how groups work to politicize the Notre Shame controversy

On the blog Ten Reasons I learned of the following.

I had posted about "Catholic Democrats" here.   This is a group that sets polling over doctrine.

Now something is brewing in Ohio.

First, we look at this story in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Archbishop backs Obama protest

By Dan Horn • dhorn@enquirer.com • April 20, 2009

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is supporting an Indiana bishop and a growing chorus of critics who oppose the choice of President Barack Obama as the University of Notre Dame’s commencement speaker.

The flap over Obama’s selection began in March and is gaining momentum among Catholics and their leaders, who argue the president’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice for such an honor at one of the nation’s leading Catholic universities.

Pilarczyk and others say it’s inappropriate for the school to give Obama an honorary degree and to allow him to deliver the commencement address because his stance on abortion conflicts with the church’s position.

“No one who has been a supporter of the anti-life mentality should be given honors or a forum,” archbishop spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

He said Pilarczyk supports the efforts of Bishop John D’Arcy, in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who is boycotting Obama’s May 17 address at Notre Dame.

Pilarczyk spoke out on the issue when asked to do so by local organizations, such as Cincinnati Right to Life, and in support of an editorial in The Catholic Telegraph, [Remember the Catholic Telegraph] the archdiocese’s newspaper.

The editorial suggested Notre Dame had forsaken its Catholic identity for the prestige of a presidential visit. "Catholics have an obligation to ‘call out’ our brothers and sisters when their actions are morally questionable," the editorial states.

A conservative Catholic group, The Cardinal Newman Society, has joined the bishops’ opposition to Obama’s selection and is leading the charge to boycott his appearance at Notre Dame.

A web site dedicated to the campaign, www.notredamescandal.com, claims more than 324,000 people have signed a petition opposing Obama’s selection as commencement speaker. The web site includes a cartoon that depicts Notre Dame’s iconic "Touchdown Jesus" weeping as Obama delivers his address.

Those leading the opposition say the selection violates a U.S. bishops’ document that states “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

 

On the Enquirer page there is a survey/poll: "Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?"

Enter: A group called "Hamilton County Democrats"

They are trying to sway the poll.  Click and read the letter on the right.

Very important to note in this letter is the phrase:

It is good to frame the debate that this ND "scandal" is about supporting the Republican platform’s view of life issues.

 

This is a classic "talking point" being distributed to people active in the Democratic party so that they can confuse and twist the issue away from real issue… the integrity of Catholic identity and teaching at a Catholic school.

They want to politicize these events.

If you are talking to people about Notre Shame or Georgetown, or any number of other scenarios, do not grant their premise – that opposition to pro-abortion politicians or especially Catholic pro-abortion politicians really stems from party politics

Finally…… 

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Perhaps you WDTPRSers could help with that poll/survey?

UPDATE 1926 GMT

The voting on the poll is going well.  You are making a difference.  Get out there and Zeep that poll!

Also, we now have an image of the letter to the editor mentioned above thanks to commenter Rich Lombardi.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to A lesson in how groups work to politicize the Notre Shame controversy

  1. Ron says:

    As if truth were decided by polls and partisan politics. It’s sad to think some Catholics have that mindset.

    Regardless, I voted on the Enquirer site. Come on everyone, Fr. Z has a huge following! Vote, vote, vote!

    Pax Christi tecum

  2. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Very sad that the disagreement with the Bishops in the poll is already well ahead. Come on, you good Catholics!

    54% out of 2570 votes.

  3. Aelric says:

    The counter-argument is easy: I would no more be in favor of Olympia Snowe (R-ME; Rated 83% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record.*) having an honorary degree bestowed upon her than Obama. Well, I’d be more opposed to Obama, but still would not be in favor in Senator Snowe’s receiving an honorary degree. Party affiliation is irrelevant.

    * http://www.ontheissues.org/Social/Olympia_Snowe_Abortion.htm

  4. Right now the results are:

    Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

    Agree
    (1224) 46.45%
    Disagree
    (1388) 52.68%
    Unsure
    (23) 0.87%

  5. Brian says:

    The gap is closing! Go WDTPRSers!

  6. Mary Ann says:

    Would someone please post a direct link to poll (done BEFORE they vote)? [What I have is:
    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090420/NEWS01/904210322
    from after voting]

    “WHAT DO YOU THINK?
    Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

    Agree

    (1390) 49.38%

    Disagree

    (1402) 49.8%

    Unsure

    (23) 0.82%

    Total Votes: 2815″

    I love the fact that there are so few undecideds!!!

  7. Cristiano says:

    Just voted. 50.09% in favor of agree!

  8. Ricky Vines says:

    I’ll head out there and sign. Let me just unload.

    Re: “It is good to frame the debate…” Why is there a need to frame anything? Why not take it at face value. This is deceptiveness and manipulation. They want to make it look like a certain way by framing it.

    Re: “sign this survey … to disagree with the bishops…” Just disagree without consideration to what was said? Where is the reason? Numbers does not make anything right. Where is the faith, docility, humility?

    In war, the first casualty is truth. We can see it now as truth gets framed as a partisan opinion. Secondly, there is no goodwill. Just frame it like something, then disagree with that. Whom are they fooling other than themselves and to what consequence?

    Going back to the point of the post, the so-called Catholic Democrats are not Catholic at all. They’re like lawyers defending a guilty client. They’re out to win not to find the truth. Didn’t the Lord Jesus say, “I am the Truth.”

  9. Ricky Vines says:

    BTW, the direct link to the poll is:
    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090420/NEWS01/904210322

    It’s 51% on the bishops’ favor.

  10. TJM says:

    I am pleasantly surprised that Archbishop Pilarzcyk has jointed in the fight. I voted on the poll and it appears that 54% now side with the bishops and
    not the fake Catholics. Tom

  11. EDG says:

    Voted! I’m rather surprised about Abp Pilarzcyk, too. But I once remember reading a book about a period of martyrdom (don’t remember which one or the name of the book) and the author commented that you never knew until it happened – sometimes the people you thought would be steadfast would run away immediately, and sometimes the people you thought were only marginal would hang in there until the very end.

  12. Frank H. says:

    In addition to voting, I sent an e-mail to the letter-writer, as follows…

    Ms. Schare:

    I saw your letter concerning the Obama / Notre Dame controversy, and just wanted to let you know that the issue is NOT about partisan politics. It is about a once-Catholic university dishonoring its heritage, and disobeying the guidance of the US Bishops by bestowing the honorary degree on the President.

    Many faithful Catholics of BOTH political parties find the president’s radical pro-abortion stance most troubling. It is particularly ironic in light of his speech today concerning the holocaust. He promotes and enables a modern holocaust.

    Assuming you are Catholic, or at least Christian, perhaps you should be the one putting aside partisan politics, and prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.

    You are in my prayers.

  13. Behold the power of WDTPRS:

    Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

    Agree
    (1620) 53.05%

    Disagree
    (1411) 46.2%
    Unsure
    (23) 0.75%
    Total Votes: 3054

  14. Jeff Pinyan says:

    “… President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?”

    It’s not so much (or: just) that he’s speaking… it’s that he’s being honored as well. The poll only takes half the equation into consideration.

  15. mrteachersir says:

    54.18%…and growing.

  16. Ron says:

    Just out of curiosity, what was the deal with the Pope giving Sarcozy an award?

    Pax Christi tecum

  17. Indelible Inkstain says:

    huh, And the Democrats speak of *Republicans* politicising the issue. We’re (responsible Catholics, not Republicans!) stretching the lead but not nearly enough

    Agree
    (1732) 54.62%
    Disagree
    (1416) 44.65%
    Unsure
    (23) 0.73%
    Total Votes: 3171

  18. Al says:

    My vote has been cast

  19. I’m rather surprised about Abp Pilarzcyk, too.

    I think he wanted to support his brother bishop who had jurisdiction; his statement stressed solidarity with Bishop D’Arcy. So there’s an aspect of (true) collegiality at work here, and perhaps subsidiarity too.

  20. tertullian says:

    You have to marvel at these Democrats.

    When Ms Schare and her fellow travelers can shamelessly demagogue a position of over 35-45 Catholic Bishops, you wonder if there is no action they wouldn’t stoop to in order to achieve they aims.

  21. EJ says:

    I’m not crazy about the way the question is framed in the poll. I don’t care if ND picks Obama to give a speech. I agree with the Bishops that he shouldn’t be awarded an honorary degree. It’s an important distinction that seems lost on most of the mainstream media. Regardless, I voted yes.

  22. Peter says:

    LCB, the problem is that many have come to believe that the faux “Separation” clause is uni-directional – that religious groups may not interfere with politics, but politics as purportedly a-religious has the duty to play cop with religious groups. When politics becomes your religion…

  23. TJM says:

    EJ, the mainstream media employs drones who repeat Democratic talking points. They have no powers of discernment at this point in history. Tom

  24. Laura says:

    Just now, when I voted, it was 56.2 agreeing and 42.7 disagreeing.

    Go Fr. Z!

  25. David Osterloh says:

    The archbishop should listen to President Obama’s words and not the rantings of his opponents. Find the common ground on which they can agree. Would he prefer an anti-abortion president who cares nothing for the poor, who is unwilling to work for justice, who the world abhors? Does he ask himself, WWJD?

    comment from the com box at Cincinnati.com,

    same comments we read in the Catholic telegraph, week after week, sure does get old [What is already “old” is the specious claim that one is going to be either “for the poor”, or “for justice” (whatever that means) or pro-life. The intelligent will not accept that either/or premise. The problem commenters such as this cannot really deal with when they begin from this sort of premise, is how to find any real reason for being “for the poor” or “for justice” (whatever that means) if there is no fundamental right to live.]

  26. Brian says:

    The comments over there are just vile; the hatred for Holy Church–not to mention the ignorance–makes my skin crawl.

  27. Gloria says:

    Better and better. It’s now 57.4% Agree 41.93% Disagree .67% Unsure

  28. TJM says:

    David Osterloh, thanks for posting the comments of another fake Catholic. This old canard that anti-abortion president’s don’t care for the poor
    is crapola of the highest order. It appears that what many Democrats want are mendicants beholden to the State (and of course the Democratic Party). Reasonable
    arguments can be made that the high taxes and over-regulation keeps the poor, well poor. Funny also that these same politicians don’t
    talk about eliminating or reducing gasoline taxes, sales taxes, etc. the burden of which fall disproportionateley on the poor. I guess that’s ok
    so long as the government is being fed. Tom

  29. Indelible Inkstain says:

    Brian,

    I agree, and we can only look for that frenzy and froth to increase as we continue to assert ourselves more as I think we are called on to do.

    Saint Michael defend us in the battle!

  30. The Feds says:

    I just viewed the site, and the last recap on the vote is as follows:
    57.94% Agree with the Bishops
    41.4% Disagree
    0.66% Unsure
    I grew up in Cincinati, and while southwestern Ohio in general is very Catholic and Conservative (as a youth I can remember seeing statistics indicating that Hamilton County was as much as 51% Roman Catholic in population!), there is also a fairly strong liberal group (left over from the Jack Kennedy campaign?) so I’m not too surprise by these kind of tactics.

  31. Girgadis says:

    It is now 58.08% agree with the bishops.

  32. caballero says:

    Vote cast.

  33. JohnE says:

    Not sure what the thought process was with Pope Benedict giving Sarkozky the title of Honorary Chanoine, but that’s beside the point. The US bishops had a document specifically stating that we should not honor pro-abortion politicians and it was ignored.

  34. Catherine says:

    Yeah! The good guys are winning.

    I tried to vote often, but it wouldn’t let me. ACORN must be watching.

  35. So far:

    Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

    Agree
    (2133) 59.1%
    Disagree
    (1453) 40.26%
    Unsure
    (23) 0.64%
    Total Votes: 3609

  36. Doc Angelicus says:

    It’s creeping up by the minute:

    59.33% agree
    40.04% disagree when I voted.

  37. Girgadis says:

    At the risk of getting zapped for going off topic (slightly) I just thought
    I’d point out another Catholic university that has invited a known
    pro-abortion politico to commencement: Chris Matthews, who identifies
    himself as a Catholic, will be the commencement speaker at St Joe’s University.

  38. Ricky Vines says:

    re: “Not sure what the thought process was with Pope Benedict giving Sarkozky the title of Honorary Chanoine, but that’s beside the point. The US bishops had a document specifically stating that we should not honor pro-abortion politicians and it was ignored.”

    Perhaps he was citing a precedent. If this person is honest, he knows that Obama aggressively promotes abortion and crushes the pro-life efforts; Sarkozky tolerates both.

    Regarding consistency, he should take the cue from how Pelosi was served the cold shoulder there and consider the local pastoral guidelines in the USCCB’s document that you cited. There is decentralization and subsidiary in the Church for an effective pastoral response to the local needs. Here where 15 million have already been murdered, there is an acute and urgent need for the strongest, unequivocal witness for the inalienable right to life.

    (Didn’t mean to FTT, just being open to dialogue unlike our opponents who simply want to position us as playing party politics and to frame our convictions as a party line. )

  39. cthemfly25 says:

    Nice touch Father at “community organizing”. I like the ACORNesque irony. And, with certain and various accesses, I can vote like a Chicagoan—often. :)

  40. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Blah, blah, blah . . .

    Pilarczyk, D’Arcy, Bruskewitz, Dolan, et al. can say whatever they like. They, however, will continue to do absolutely nothing when similar opportunities like this one present themselves in their dioceses.

    And, THAT is the real scandal.

  41. TJM says:

    Biff,

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I guess I need to be careful what I say about Bishop Trautman. I misjudged him on this issue. Although I disagree with him liturgically, his actions regarding a pro-abort pol casts the bishop in a different light – a favorable one.

    Tom

  42. TJM says:

    Matthew W. I Dunn, oh ye of little faith! The fact that the heretofore supine bishops are FINALLY taking a stand is remarkable. This is not over yet. Father Jenkins may find himself a greeter at Walmart (apologies to the Walmart employees!) Tom

  43. Just Asking... says:

    “They are trying to sway the poll.”

    “Perhaps you WDTPRSers could help with that poll/survey?”

    And the difference is….? [The difference is that we have a different response freely to contribute.]

  44. I just voted. It’s now 62.07% for the bishops

  45. lah_406 says:

    I just voted and it is up to 62.15% in support of bishops!

  46. “Just Asking” wrote:

    And the difference is….?

    You mean besides the obvious difference between good and evil?

    Now at 62.35%

  47. Sam says:

    Is it possible that past speakers at ND had personal demons that went against Catholic doctrine? Would a politician who is publicly pro-life but also pro-war be held to the same scrutiny? What about a Catholic who believes that gays have a right to marry? What about a speaker who chooses to use condoms when they have sex? Is Obama coming to ND to speak about his pro-choice stance or about the future of the graduates?

  48. I assume that Obama is coming to Notre Dame to bask in the admiration of his admirers and to snicker, privately of course, at the irony of a supposed bastion of the Catholic Church in this country granting a forum to a man who despises the teaching of that Church on abortion.

  49. Latekate says:

    This is classic consensus shaping. The underlying assumption is that EVERYONE (the collective borg of ex-humanity) has a dog in this race, “we” are all “stakeholders” and have a right to an opinion. The question is phrased depicting poor Obama is simply a “supporter” of “rights”, clearly biasing the “poll”.
    This is the way most polls and focus groups work. They are trotted out to convince the borg, the herd of ex-human animals we now considered to be, what MOST of the herd think and so what WE should be thinking as well. Polls are signals to reinforce herd behavior.
    It is perfectly acceptable to “sway” these internet polls. You can be certain the anti-human collectivists initiated this and it started out as an attempt to trick people. The more folks re-vote to sway the polls, the more people will recognize the polls for what they are.

  50. ssoldie says:

    Just went to check on ststs, 63.58% for, 35.87% against, 0.56% unsure. It’s 7:55 April 25th Saturday morning.

  51. RBrown says:

    Is it possible that past speakers at ND had personal demons that went against Catholic doctrine?

    It’s not a matter of personal demons but of public position.

    Would a politician who is publicly pro-life but also pro-war be held to the same scrutiny?

    War is not opposed to Catholic doctrine. Abortion is.

    What about a Catholic who believes that gays have a right to marry?

    Not for a speech. See my last comment re debates.

    What about a speaker who chooses to use condoms when they have sex?

    And how would someone know that?

    Is Obama coming to ND to speak about his pro-choice stance or about the future of the graduates?
    Comment by Sam

    Especially important in the future of the graduates is whether they will promote abortion or oppose it.

    BTW, why do you prefer the lardy language of “pro-choice” instead of the more accurate “pro-abortion”.

    One final comment: I prefer the MO of the Middle Ages. Invite anyone who is opposed to Catholic doctrine–but for a public debate with someone who can defend it.

  52. Maureen says:

    Assuming that Notre Dame wants to continue having graduates, it’s a bit iffy to have someone speaking who funds getting rid of large portions of their future admissions pool.

  53. Also, we now have an image of the letter to the editor mentioned above thanks to commenter Rich Lombardi.

    I resemble that statement. ;-)

  54. Ricky Vines says:

    Re: “Comment by Just Asking.. And the difference is….?”
    We don’t frame.

  55. Patrizia says:

    Just voted Saturday evening and it’s about 65% agree and 34% disagree now.

    Many probably know nothing of Obama’s ACTIONS not just “support” of abortion, because the media keep it hushed up. Even most Catholics don’t know.

  56. So far:So far:

    Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

    Agree (2867) 65.09%
    Disagree (1515) 34.39%
    Unsure (23) 0.52%
    Total Votes: 4405

  57. JosephII says:

    Mr. Dunn: For your info, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz was the ONE AND ONLY bishop who had the guts, in all of the Americas, to excommunicate “catholic” pro-abortion murder politicians and members of assorted heretical groups, We Are Church, Voice of the People, etc. That was back in the early 1990s. Before you post a comment, know what you are talking about! Poll as of this hour, 65.51 Agree, 33.97 Disagree.

  58. Patricia Gonzalez says:

    Just voted (Sunday afternoon, 12:37 PM EDT).

  59. ali says:

    could one visualize o.b. standing at the lectern ready to give his speech while the student body loudly booed or turned their backs on him.

  60. Bookworm says:

    Vote early and often! And when you leave this earth, consider being buried in Chicago so you can stay active in politics : – )