A main talking point clutched by Catholics who are trying to defend the invitation by Notre Shame to Pres. Obama is that disapprobation of the invitation is really political.
That is because the defenders of the invitation are long-habituated to reducing what are really questions of faith and reason to politics.
With that in mind, let’s see what a long-time Chicago Democrat politician, not coincidentally named "Daley", brother of the current Mayor of Chicago, Pres. Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce, chairman of Vice-Pres. Gore’s campaign, supporter of Pres. Obama, the Loyola University educated William M. Daley has to say.
He is the ultimate Catholic Democrat/Obama insider.
My emphases and comments.
An uneasy mix of religion and politics
By William M. Daley
April 3, 2009
I did not attend the University of Notre Dame. But as a Catholic and co-chairman of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, I have a personal stake in the dispute over the propriety of the university’s invitation to the president to be its commencement speaker.
[Remember… Daley is a Chicago Catholic …] Cardinal Francis George recently said this invitation is an embarrassment to Catholics because the president disagrees with church doctrine on abortion and stem-cell research. But I believe Cardinal George’s stand is an embarrassment to Chicago Catholics and furthers the divide among the church, its members and the rest of America.
To follow his rule, students at Catholic universities would hear only from other Catholics—and, even then, only from those who agree with church doctrine on every subject. [pish…. Daley gets it entirely wrong. I don’t think that any serious Catholic figure has said that people who are so set against the Catholic Church and what the Church defend (from appeals to reason) should never speak at Catholic universities. The problem is when Catholic Universities honor people who so undermine what the Church upholds, on the basis of reason and revelation. So, Daley has introduced a premise which, if accepted, leads us along the wrong path. Refuse this false premise. He is simply wrong.] But the fact is that American Catholics are divided over the difficult moral issues of stem-cell research and abortion. It’s important that students, and Catholics generally, be exposed to people with different ideas and ways of thinking. [This is Catholic writing? So, American Catholics are divided. So? When Daley says that students should be "exposed" to "different" ideas. What does that mean? That Catholic institutions should set opposing ideas in an equal force as those which are proposed by the Church? I think that is what he is proposing. But see what happens if you accept his first false premise?] It is particularly important for them to hear from Obama, [LOL! WHY? As if they don’t hear from him day after day after day on every media outlet. Does Pres. Obama have something special to say to Catholics? There are only a couple possibilities here. First, he is such an perfect example of an anti-Catholic politician that the students might be able to "learn from him", in the sense of pathology. Second, Pres. Obama is coming around to Catholic ideas and therefore his experience is exemplary: as a convert.] whom a majority of voters, including a majority of Catholic voters, have chosen to lead our country through difficult times. [Because.. when you see the world only through a political lens… more so than the lens of Catholic identity… the majority counts for more than anything else.]
To imply [I don’t think opponents are "implying" anything.] that the president should not be invited to speak at Notre Dame because he disagrees with the church on two specific issues promotes a very narrow view of what constitutes morality. [Again this is a problematic premise. The Church does not need to argue merely from the force of her authority to teach on faith and morals – an authority which the Catholic Daley is in conscience bound to accept – but rather also from reason, from science. But let is stick with what he says: Pres. Obama disagrees with the Church. The statutes of the Univ. of ND make explicit statements about the schools Catholic identity. Notre Dame has chosen not just to have this President speak, but to honor him. That is a problem, no?] As someone who has been fortunate to work closely with Obama, I consider him to be a person of strong moral character. He is a person of faith, [Who attended a Chicago church – with a strong moral message – for many many years…. ] a strong family man and has devoted his life to public service when he could have put his Harvard law degree to more selfish pursuits. [Okay… so what? He is a devoted father. So? He isn’t selfish. So? He is the most active proponent of abortion we have seen in an elected official in… well.. has there been one more active?]
Beyond the specific case of the Notre Dame commencement, Cardinal George’s position continues a worrisome pattern in which the Catholic hierarchy in America is mixing religion with politics. [There it is again. Here is a Catholic who dissents from Church doctrine saying that if one of the Church’s pastors issues a clear statement about Catholic teaching he is being political.] It has seemingly lost sight of the difference between a moral nation and a religious one. [Rawls would love this. Daley wants to help push the Church from the public square. This is consistent with those whose identity as a Catholic is weak. This is what Pope Benedict is trying to rebuild in his "Marshall Plan" for the Church. Catholics must reclaim their Catholic identity – a complete and healthy identity – so that Catholics have something good to contribute in the public square.]
Most of our Founding Fathers were Christians, but they had the wisdom to foresee a nation in which people of many religions would live together. So they embedded in our Constitution the separation of church and state. [hmmm… I don’t think that is what the establishment clause does…. but… let that go] For more than 220 years, that bedrock principle of our democracy has endured—even as political and religious leaders have tampered with the boundaries in an endless tug of war over where that line should be drawn. [blah blah blah… this is more of the same. This is poor stuff, really. The Founding Fathers! Oh my. The problem here is that the the pastors of the Church are not interfering in politics. They are attempting to guide a Catholic institution.]
Those of us who were raised in the Catholic tradition [Hmmm… I wonder about this phrase at this point. It seems to me this is the sort of phrase you see in the fund raising literature of Catholic schools which have lost their clear Catholic identity.] believe our actions—in our personal, professional and public lives—should meet a certain moral standard. [high? low? conformed to societal norms?] We also know that we are human and not always able to achieve that goal. But no matter how strongly we cherish our faith and values, we have to remember that we are not alone in this world. [What is this all about? Is this a suggestion that because Catholics are sinners we should be happy to have Pres. Obama speak at Notre Dame? Is that really his argument? Don’t strive to a higher standard. We are sinners therefore, well, just cave in to the rest of the world? Go along and get along?]
That idea is what distinguished the fledgling United States from the many countries with state religions. It still distinguishes us from much of the world. [I think he just compared those who don’t want a Catholic school to honor a pro-abortion President to, probably, fundamentalist Muslim clerics, etc.] No matter how certain we are that our church is the one true path to salvation, [that is a premise… see where he takes it…] we can never cross the line and believe that it is our God-given right and duty to force our beliefs on others. [ROFL! Is this what he got from his Jesuit education at Loyola? Let’s get this straight. If you suggest that a Catholic school should uphold Catholic values and therefore not choose to honor a man whose values and objectives are dead-set against fundamental principles the Catholic Church upholds those people are therefore – wait for it – force their beliefs on others. Incredible. This is embarrassingly sloppy thought. The "we don’t have a right to force our beliefs on others" … sound familiar? This is a page from Speaker Pelosi and VP Biden… equally staunch Catholics on abortion and equally sloppy thinkers.] Otherwise, we are no different than the forces of religious fanaticism and terror that we are fighting today. [Yep… I was right about that inference above.]
As a Catholic, [oh spare us… after what you have already written?] I believe there is a common morality embraced by people of goodwill across all the world’s religions. I believe that this common morality [He repeats the phrase… so… is this common morality rooted in our beings because we are all images of God?] is our only hope for solving the problems our children and grandchildren [, those not aborted, that is,] will confront in the years to come. [Cliché Alert! Wait for it…. ] This requires that Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists sit down together and explore their common interests, concerns and dreams for the future. [Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we just sit at Pres. Obama’s feet at Notre Dame and revel in our diversity? We have so much to learn from him! His ideas are so different!] It means we must be willing to listen to others, even if their religious views differ from ours or lead them to different conclusions about what is moral. [Okay… we’ve already listened… and rejected his conclusions as wrong, even as evil. Now what? Oh yah.. right… we can’t force our opinion on others, therefore we have to honor him at a Catholic school. Right.]
I am confident that the values of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness, [good grief] which we acquire from our church and great universities like Notre Dame, can help us strengthen our religious faith and love of country. But we must recognize that those who differ with our beliefs can still be good and moral people. [ugh] That’s the essence of our democracy, and there’s no embarrassment in that. [But it isn’t the essence of our Catholic faith. This doesn’t have anything to do with the roots of democracy. It is about our Catholic identity.]
William M. Daley is the Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
You will be hard put to find a more poorly reasoned string of stale talking points, knotted together with clichés, than this.
This is an object lesson.