Card. George: Notre Dame … “extreme embarrassment” to Catholics

From LifeSite.  My emphases and comments:

Exclusive: President of US Bishops Conference: Notre Dame Obama Invite an "Extreme Embarassment"

By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, March 31, 2009 ( – Speaking as the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this weekend Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said that the University of Notre Dame’s decision to host and honor President Obama at their commencement ceremony this year was an "extreme embarrassment" to Catholics[But Eminenza! Eminenza! That’s not very nuanced!]

"Whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation," George told the crowd at a conference Saturday on the Vatican document Dignitas Personae. The conference was hosted by the Chicago archdiocese’s Respect Life office and Office for Evangelization at the Marriott O’Hare hotel.

In a video obtained by (LSN) today, Cardinal George prefaced his remarks by noting that as USCCB president he does not have jurisdiction or authority over other bishops, but nonetheless has "some moral authority, without any kind of jurisdiction or any sort of real authority."

"As president of the U.S. bishops’ conference I have to precisely speak for the bishops and not in my own name, as I could as Archbishop of Chicago," he added.

George said he had spoken with the administrative committee of the bishops’ conference and corresponded with University president Fr. John Jenkins several times on the issue.

"That conversation will continue …. whether or not it will have some kind of consequence that will bring, I think, the University of Notre Dame to its [the USCCB’s] understanding of what it means to be Catholic," said the Cardinal.  "That is, when you’re Catholic, everything you do changes the life of everybody else who calls himself a personal Catholic – it’s a network of relationships.   [Exactly.  Which is why when pro-abortion Catholic politicians blow off the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life and then go up to receive Holy Communioneveryone is hurt.]

"So quite apart from the president’s own positions, which are well known, the problem is in that you have a Catholic university – the flagship Catholic university – do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic," said the cardinal.

"So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, and didn’t anticipate the kind of uproar that would be consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has happened," said George. [That is because the tide has turned.]

The Cardinal urged concerned Catholics "to do what you are supposed to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what’s in your heart about this: the embarrassment, the difficulties.[Okay… I will.]

However, Cardinal George emphasized that the U.S. presidency "is an office that deserves some respect, no matter who is holding it," and said that Notre Dame would not disinvite the president, since "you just don’t do that (disinvite the president of the United States)." According to the cardinal requests to revoke the invitation would fall on deaf ears, but he also observed that there is legitimate potential to organize some form of protest at the ceremony. ["legitimate"]

"You have to sit back and get past the immediate moral outrage and say, ‘Now what’s the best thing to do in these circumstances?’" said the Cardinal.   [So long as the protests are not vulgar or violent.]

"I can assure you the bishops are doing that." [!]

Cardinal George is the ninth U.S. bishop to speak out against the scandal.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dove says:

    Fr Z,
    Could you put together a statement that we could add our votes to, so that you would speak for us as well?

  2. TNCath says:

    Thank you, Cardinal George! Could it be that the bishops are finally “getting it”?

  3. Paul Haley says:

    Disinvite…probably too much to hope for but nothing says the University has to award this man an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. That is, to me, the frosting on the cake. It is an embarrassment that keeps on embarrassing.

  4. Chris says:

    Again, this is a fine statement. But I cannot believe that the head of the USCCB doesn’t have the power to do something other than write a letter and urge laity to write emails. Come on folks!

    You’re telling me if Notre Dame was ordaining women or holding homosexual “marriage” ceremonies that the bishops wouldn’t stop it or have it stopped?

    This is getting a bit nuts. I’d like to see all these bishops on a plane to Rome to convince someone to intercede if, in fact, they’re completely powerless.

  5. Timbot says:

    “said that Notre Dame would not disinvite the president, since “you just don’t do that (disinvite the president of the United States).””
    He is but an elected 4-year government functionary, not king. Respect yes, but an obsequious fawning and elavantion of the office to ozymandian proportions is a betrayal of our republican heritage. The president is supposed to be a Consul, not a Caesar.

  6. Jim says:

    The Cardinal is right. You do not just disinvite the President of the United States. But that does not mean that the current management of Notre Dame should not suffer the consequences of their capitulation to militant secularism. Yes, indeed, the tide is turning.

  7. Chris says:

    Jim: The Cardinal is right. You do not just disinvite the President of the United States

    I’ll believe the cardinal is serious about this, even if he doesn’t force the disinvitation, on one condition: if he does something to ensure this never, ever happens again in the future, either at ND or ANY so-called Catholic university in the U.S.

    If he does that, then I’ll know he’s serious.

  8. TJM says:

    Thank God. Cardinal George finally has made a statement, a very powerful statement. Maybe this invitation has been providential by providing the wake up call that the American heirarchy has needed to finally address the last 40 years where the “spirit of Vatican II” has been the prevailing orthodoxy resulting in a near total breakdown in Catholic catechesis. If such is the case, maybe we can thank Notre Dame for its blunder and serious miscalculation as to what it means to be a “Catholic” university. Tom

  9. GordonBOPS says:

    Regarding the comment relating to the “hurt” caused when pro-abort politicians receive communion; I agree they should not be given communion – however, the real point here is that most of these politicians could probably care less. Protestants dont receive communion, and they’re save, or they are good people — etc…, I have it from a very good source that Sebelius doesn’t even regularly attend Mass — so its not like she’s even THAT interested in receiving communion. The issue that caused Archbishop Naumann to make a public statement was Sebelius received communion at a funeral… reminds me of the post her a few days ago about how some people like to receive communion at Catholic funerals as a sign of respect for the dead.

  10. Supertradmom says:

    Proud to be an American Catholic–thank you, Cardinal George. Now, ND, how about rescinding the offer of the honorary degree?

  11. Dan Howell says:

    Thank you Notre Dame for bringing the rise of the Church Militant. Enough is enough. What else can we do? What else can those of us that are sickened to see the school of Our Lady down down the tank of trying to be in with the in crowd. I can tell you one thing, I would tell someone to Benedict-Ebbey College. I just know that I am willing to fight and not take this lying down, our schools are in trouble and the country we love is under siege. Our Lady pray for us.

  12. thomas says:

    “You don’t just disinvite the President”

    Granted. But then, what to do?

    How about: as many bishops as possible attending the ceremony, and while President Obama speaks, leading the faithful by kneeling with heads bowed in silent prayer for our nation.

  13. little gal says:


    I\’m glad that I am sitting down as I read your positive words re: Cardinal George!

    Re: Cardinal George, he is really growing the role of USCCB President. And, in true diplomatic fashion, he was working under the radar to engage Fr. Jenkins. I’m sure there were suggestions that would allow Jenkins to save face, while still changing his mind. Who would have thought that a shy scholar with a great dislike for conflict would have uttered these words “it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation”

    I agree that much good will come out of Fr. Jenkins’ error and I predict that regardless of how the ND commencement speaker issues resolves, that Fr. Jenkins will be pounding the pavement soon

  14. John Polhamus says:

    Government takes over the auto industry…they DO that now.

    Cut open a human fetus’ head and suck out its half-born brains…they DO that now.

    Disinvite the President who supports both of those things…Oh, WE JUST DON’T DO THAT!!

    Prissy us! And poor little Barry. He might be embarrassed. He might look bad. It might appear that someone doesn’t approve of every single opinion he has or thing he does.

    LISTEN: This kind of spinelessness will curse the Catholic Church in this country. We are EARNING our retribution from the Almighty, earning it piece by invitational bit. Thank about that Cardinal. And know this: Barack Hussein Obama is not God. He can be told to change his position on Abortion, and do it publicly or NOT COME to Our Lady’s University to speak and further scandalize the faithful. It’s as simple as that. If one has the spine.

  15. Peggy says:

    I have to confess I am nervous whenever I hear people urging some action “to ensure that this [fill in the blank] never, ever happens again.” That type of fear leads to horrible public policy.

    Cheers for Cardinal George. Perhaps though Fr. Jenkins could be pushed to urge Obie-One to regret that he is unable to make that date, after all. Maybe he’s got to be on vacation with his kids. I don’t know if we can count on Obie to be so gracious and charitable, however.

  16. EDG says:

    Well, well, well – I am very impressed by Cdl George’s honesty about the predicament Fr Jenkins has brought upon us. The way I think this could be handled is simply by inviting Obama as a commencement speaker but NOT giving an honorary degree. I don’t think Obama should have been invited as anything, since he’s overtly anti-Catholic, but if they could at least not give him the honorary degree, that might be a step in the right direction. I don’t think he’d come if he knew he wasn’t getting the degree, btw, because his whole intention in doing this is to make it look as though most of the Church is on his side and doesn’t “agree” with the bishops (as if “not agreeing” with the Faith were an option). If they’re not going to give him the degree, he’ll consult his calendar and find a conflict.

  17. Lee Gilbert says:

    Your Eminence, With all due respect, you suggest that we 1) e-mail; 2) write letters; 3) form some sort of protest. These strike me as the sort of suggestions that Barrack Obama himself would have given as a community organizer in Hyde Park. The word prayer is missing from your statement, and it is very striking. Aren’t there specifically Catholic resources that we could bring to bear on this problem- for example, prayer, fasting, pilgrimages, novenas, rosary processions and the like?

    In her book for children, “Sigurd and His Brave Companions,” Sigrid Undset has a scene in which a flood, I believe, is threatening a town, and to counter it the bishop sets out in procession with the Eucharist and prevails. If only we were so “medieval,” and had faith in our own armamentarium. That is precisely the kind of episcopal leadership this situation requires and I wish to Heaven you and the rest of the episcopate would provide it.


  18. Johnny Domer says:

    “I can assure you the bishops are doing that.”

    What could that mean? Any speculation on what possible effects could ensue?

  19. Sharon says:

    I don’t live in the USA but because we are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ this effects me also. I would be hesitant to recommend protests because of the risk that some fruit loop might get it into his/her head to make it a violent protest and, aside from the inadvisability of this, the MSM would just love to tar all Catholics with the same brush.

  20. Rachel says:


    You are right that we need to pray, fast, make pilgrimages, etc in reparation for the evils in this world and to ask for mercy on our nation but those can be done in tandem with writing letters, emails, making phone calls, etc. There isn’t a dichotomy (sp?) here.

  21. Jason Keener says:

    Overall, I’m happy with Cardinal George’s statement; however you DO disinvite the President of the United States when he is a leader who supports the killing of his own people through abortion and the destruction of embryos.

    In general, I don’t understand where Catholics are coming from on this issue where they feel we owe Obama some sort of respect and support in his office. Just the opposite! A President who favors killing the unborn defiles the Office of the President. A President who favors killing the unborn renders himself totally unfit for leadership because his goals are so contrary to the common good. How can a President who supports the killing of unborn human beings be worthy of any public respect? Abortion is not just some small political issue where good people can come to a different prudential opinion on the subject. Abortion is THE issue.

    We should pray for Obama. We should work with Obama in the few areas we agree. Other than that, we should be doing everything we can to NOT offer any sort of support or esteem to a President who betrays the common good in such heinous ways.

  22. little gal says:

    I have a suggestion for an alternate speaker for the ND commencement– either have someone read Mother Theresa’s 1982 commencement address to graduating Harvard students OR play a recording of the speech. Her comments re: murder of the unborn child would be appropoe.

  23. Al says:

    I would like to see the administration of Notre Dame pay for this. I cannot believe Notre Dame Adminstrators can look at modern society today and the militant secular political winds blowing and choose secularism as their favorite philosophy. I would like to see a house cleaning for once. It is time for the Catholic Church and its institutions to be a beacon of light in the dark foggy ruthless night that is relativism and militant secularism.

    For God’s sakes Bishops your flock begs for your leadership.

  24. Hanna says:

    Jim: “You do not just disinvite the President of the United States.”

    Sure you do. Bippity bump, ya just got dumped. Politely, of course.

  25. Russ says:

    Does one not disinvite the President of the States? That simply “isn’t done”?

    Well, St. Ambrose prohibited Theodosius from entering the Cathedral of Milan.

    That is how saints are made.

  26. Franzjosf says:

    It’s finally beginning to happen. Thank you, Holy Father. Do you know what I mean by ‘it’? IT is going to get far more messy before IT is over. [You are probably right.] God be praised.

  27. Franzjosf says:

    I’ll go one step further. When the Holy Father, at the beginning, asked to be protected from the wolves–and he is protected by the Almighty God–understood his responsibility in the scheme of things, if you will, or the march of history. Pope John Paul II held the fort and built up the pulpit on the world’s stage, and it has fallen to Benedict XVI, given his perspective and the kind of man he is, to use the pulpit. Frankly, it is clean and healthy and messy, but it must be done. (I used those seemingly contraditory adjectives advisedly.)

  28. “Extreme embarrassment” does sound nuanced to me. Notre Dame understands what it means to be Catholic, but rejects it so that we can all “get along” and “dialogue.” The Holy Father should arrange a visitation to the Holy Cross Fathers too.

  29. Mary says:

    Do we all realize (regarding Notre Dame and the 50% plus who voted for Obama) that “there but for the grace of God” go we?!
    I know sincerely religious people that do to their lack of formation really and truly believe that they are right.
    It is just like atheists, non-believers, people in prison, they really believe what they believe and all consider themselves to be good people.
    We are who we are by unbelievable graces.

  30. Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe says:

    I think Cardinal George is a lame inside the beltway kind of guy. yes, you DISINVITE the president when he doesn’t deserve to set foot any where near the most prominent “Catholic” university in the US. Being “nice” hasn’t gotten anywhere. The only “respect” I owe Nobama is not to crush him like a cockroach, just in case he has a soul. Other than that I owe him NOTHING.

  31. mfg says:

    In other words the college president can do whatever his mood dictates and there is no consequence. All of Cardinal George’s remonstrances to Fr. Jenkins notwithstanding, there’s no there there. When the USCCB issued its much ballyhooed statement on not giving honors, platforms, etc, it would have been helpful if those lofty words, on that very document, would have been immediately followed with ‘but thre is no one to enforce this directive’. Now (SURPRISE)the Cardinal tells us he has not the authority. And an unenforceable directive, at the very time and place calling out to Heaven for enforcement, means exactly what?? I have alweays marveled at the points of similarity between the USCCB and the UN. mfg

  32. Mary W says:

    Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute appeared on Raymond Arroyo’s show on EWTN this week. To paraphrase the good father, he said if Obama was a unifier he would withdraw his name as the commencement speaker. I’d like to add, if the president had any class or decency he would do as Father said; but I don’t believe Obama has either. I think he is probably enjoying the “Catholic” war.

    Father Sirico also called Pelosi, Biden, etal “teenage Catholics”, making up their own teaching magisterium.

    Please pray the Rosary for the conversion of these politicians.

  33. Jane says:

    Notre Dame needs to uninvite President Obama whether this is socially acceptable or not. I do not say this as a US citizen. (I am an Australian). I say it as a Catholic. Notre Dame made a big mistake now they should eat some humble pie and fix up the mess. They have offended many Catholics including their own former students.

    When a Catholic university in Australia invites a big abortionist politican for a graduation ceremony politican, I will expect Catholics from around the world to object also.

  34. Justin B. says:

    Another way of looking at this issue which might infuriate a few, but which I believe carries weight.

    The value and potential of a genuine encounter of the Church – the Body of Christ, the bearer of all truth, all wisdom, borne out of love and charged with love – with those outside of it should never be underestimated. And no, I am not confusing bland, neutral, telos-less “dialogue” with “encounter.” Barack Obama needs to “encounter” the Body of Christ.

  35. Sieber says:

    Today, April Fool’s Day, Keith Sherin, chief financial officer for GE, will accept the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C. Award for Exemplary Ethical, Environmental, Social and Governmental Practices at 5:15 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. GE was chosen for the honor from a list of 20 companies.
    GE continued to do business with Iran after it was proven that the Iranians were providing arms to those who were killing our service personnel.
    GE also owns NBC, CNBC & MSNBC, the networks that helped bring you the Obama presidency.
    Really, Notre Dame du Lac should be changed to Our Lady of Sorrows. Could someone fluent in French handle that for me.

  36. Corleone says:

    Excuse me, isn’t this the same Cardinal George who has deemed it appropriate to keep Father Pfleger in his chur…er…I mean “faith based community” of St Sabina? What does he mean you “just don’t disinvite the president”? That’s like saying, “We just found out about our parishoner’s abortion appointment, but we just can’t cancel on the doctor like that. You just don’t do that. It’s bad manners.”

    I’m sorry, but if Cardinal George’s words were any more hollow we could use them in an all-Chicago digereedoo concert. Let’s chalk this one up with the “me too’s” and await some more real responses from effective bishops.

  37. jacques says:

    I agree with you Fr Zuhlsdorf: “So long as the protests are not vulgar or violent” Now that Fr Jenkins “sta nel pasticcio” and has his back on the wall, certainly he will never dare to rescind the invitation.
    There is now a good card to play, that is a worthy, powerful, non violent mass protest during Obama’s visist. I believe that such a protest MUST be well prepared in tight cooperation with the US bishops and MUST be made well known everywhere in the country, and firstly to the White House.
    I believe also that the US bishops have enough power on Fr Jenkins (if not that to oblige to cancel the visit) to require him not doing anything to stop the protest.
    In doing so, there remain a small possibility that the Pdt Obama will decline the invitation.
    Don’t you think so?

  38. Fenton says:

    Okay, Okay, we’ve established that the president is now royalty and cannot be “disinvited”…I suggest that if some lefty school had Bush speaking at their commencement, and the psycho’s came out with outrage, somehow the invite would be rescinded.

    Since we all care SO MUCH about Obama’s feelings and the “dignity” of the King, er, Presidential office and NOTHING about the dignity of Holy Mother Church, the Blessed Mother, or the Unborn, here’s the solution:

    DISINVITE THE GRADUATES…we’re all beneath the “Wun” anyway.

    Sheesh folks, let’s put this in perspective: what is more important, worrying about offending a citizen who happens to be president, or GOD ALMIGHTY? Pretty easy answer if you ask me…

    Will He ask us what we (including our bishops) did to reduce abortions, protect the dignity of the Church, and to uphold His teachings? Is the USCCB so weak-kneed that they cannot even mount a defense of their own policies? Once we start allowing evil men like this to use the Church (many view ND as a Catholic university) as a platform for their trade, nothing is going to be off limits.

    Satan is laughing with delight…

  39. Fenton says:

    By the way, the “we” of my last rant was tongue-in-cheek. I think this crowd–and many true Catholics–don’t fall under this label.

  40. Veritas says:

    The utter disrespect shown by some on this board for a cardinal of our Church is absolutely disgusting. Who are you people?? You sit here with all the answers, irate that the cardinal won’t do more, and yet never stop to think that he’s in the best position to determine how best to handle the situation.

    You want bishops who will do more? Then do something about it: enter the seminary. Cardinal George knew of his vocation in the 2nd grade. He had the courage to follow his call (do you?). Ironically, the archdiocese of Chicago wouldn’t accept him because he had polio. So he joined the oblates. The man’s dedication to his vocation, his office, and his title–president of the USCCB–should never be questioned.

    “‘You have to sit back and get past the immediate moral outrage and say, ‘Now what’s the best thing to do in these circumstances?’'” Please–let’s all sit back a minute.

  41. Corleone says:

    The utter disrespect shown by some on this board for a cardinal of our Church is absolutely disgusting.

    The utter disrespect shown by some cardinals to the church is equally disgusting to me.

  42. RBrown says:

    Excuse me, isn’t this the same Cardinal George who has deemed it appropriate to keep Father Pfleger in his chur…er…I mean “faith based community” of St Sabina? What does he mean you “just don’t disinvite the president”? That’s like saying, “We just found out about our parishoner’s abortion appointment, but we just can’t cancel on the doctor like that. You just don’t do that. It’s bad manners.”
    Comment by Corleone

    Let’s no pretend that this is 1955 when the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago could snap his fingers, and something would happen.

    My understanding is that Cardinal George has done a good job in improving the situation in Chicago, but there was a good reason why five prominent bishops said they weren’t interested in the job in 1997.

  43. RJS says:

    What’s the big deal? After all, when John Paul II invited representatives of false religions (including an African Witch Doctor) to Assisi and provided them a room in which to offer their false worship, which is a mortal sin against the first commandment, just about everyone bent over backwards to defend him (except for the Traditionalists).

    Compared to what John Paul II did at Assisi, this is nothing. Obama is not there REPRESENTING the abortion movement, as those present at Assisi were with respect to their false religion; he simply is in favor of abortion, as were many of the representatives of the false religions at Assisi.

    What is worse, inviting someone who happens to be in favor of a particular evil (abortion), or inviting the actual representative a more serious (a false religion).

  44. Veritas says:

    So that’s your justification?

    The Cardinal has said the USCCB has no jurisdiction. Presuming you understand the term, [you know… you last comment didn’t settle well with, because of its shrill tone. This comment leaves me nearly as annoyed because of its condescension.] what course of action would YOU take if you were Cardinal George?

    I doubt you can answer that. Notice how many of these posts decry the response yet fail to propose a viable solution.

  45. Joe says:

    RJS – there is a significant difference between organizing a meeting where people are given the freedom to practice their religion, and honoring an abortion promoter with a Doctor of Law degree and allowing him a pulpit to speak to your students at a signficant moment.

    I don’t think we would be having this debate if ND had invited the Dalai Lama. And there is nothing wrong with providing him a room for him and his entourage for religious purposes (as long, of course, as it is not, say, a Chapel or Church).

    I presume the “disinvitation” concern is that usually you would consider disinviting someone because of actions of that person or information you get about him or her after the invitation has been sent. In this case there have been no surprises or secrets, except that Fr Jenkins CSC was perhaps unaware of the authentic sentiment of the Catholic people. Fr Jenkins perhaps doesn’t think with the Church; he also does not think like the Church.

    I personally am praying for a major water leakage in the facilities at ND that will involve moving the date of the event, or perhaps the discovery of mold in the building which will unfortunately have to be completely closed.

  46. Ron says:

    So, the USCCB has no jurisdiction unless they issue a document? People all around consider the documents of the USCCB as infallible magisterial teaching that is binding, such as Faithful Citizenship. It seems it goes only one way?

    Pax Christi tecum

  47. Corleone says:

    Veritas – the solution is very simple. Were the bishops to call an emergency board meeting of the ND University, [Can they do that? I suspect not.] including Father Jenkins, and tell them squarely “as per the guidelines outlined by the USCCB, your invitation presents a clear polemic to the church and is in direct contradiction and error. We must therefore demand your immediate withdrawl fo the invitation, as well as the resignation of Father Jenkins. If you do not comply with this request, we will strip ND of its status as a Catholic University, cease all funding as well as instruct all the faithful of the US not to contribute or donate any funds to it. It is indeed a very sad state of affairs when we as bishops must come to this type of corrective measure. We sincerely hope in the spirit of charity that all those who have taken part in this shameful episode will consider their role and part in it for the good of God’s church as well as the future of their immortal souls.”

  48. Veritas says:


    Now cite us some authority that suggests such a course of action is licit under canon law.

    The fact remains that the USCCB document is a policy directive with no legal teeth. It can persuade, but it cannot serve, as you suggest, as a basis to “‘strip’ ND of its status as a Catholic university.”

  49. little gal says:

    To the critics of the Cardinal:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    I am in the arena every day and it is not an easy place.

  50. Corleone says:

    Veritas – please cite me the cannon law saying this initiative would be ilicit.

  51. This has gone down a rabbit hole.

    I also don’t like the tone.

    Just a warning.

  52. Ron says:

    little gal:

    “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;”

    When we see those who are marred by dust and sweat and blood, striving valiantly, then we’ll cease to call for the fight. But many indeed are those who refrain from the battle in favor or comfort and ease, many indeed shrink back and maintain the status quo. It is slowly changing but I do not think you can make the argument that just because they are in the arena that they have actually engaged in the fight. Some have fought, even if feably or as your quote says in falling short, but not all have begun the fight.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  53. Clinton says:

    Thank you, Veritas. It is too easy for us to play armchair quarterback with the bishops during this
    mess. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see more episcopal scrap overall, but in this case I do believe
    the bishops are doing what they can. Those of us who complain that our bishops aren’t doing
    nearly enough smiting need to remember that in these cases most of their ammunition has been stripped away over the last few decades.

    Bishop Aymond of Austin, Texas recently issued a statement protesting the Obama invitation/honorary
    degree. This was reported on another blog, and a couple of posters there accused the good bishop
    of hypocrisy, as the Holy Cross-run St. Edward’s university in Austin had invited a notorious dissident
    to speak back in ’05. It was pointed out to these folks that +Aymond wasn’t the bishop in ’05,
    but two minutes on Google had produced reports on his dust-up with St. Ed’s over their ’07 invitation
    of Charles Curran. The point of my story is that it is all too easy for us to make irresponsible accusations
    and demands on our bishops from the comfort of our keyboards. I believe some folks do this because
    it gives them the cheap thrill of claiming moral superiority to a bishop.

    It is a hope of mine that the trustees of Notre Shame snap to the fact that their benefactors, their
    wealthy alumni, are known to their own Ordinaries. While the good Cardinal may not be able to
    force the university administration to do anything, he can invite some of the university’s big donors
    over for coffee and a chat.

  54. I think our Bishops are beginning to realize the teaching alone is not sufficient. The Bishops could have issued a united statement; they have not. They refuse to confront evil and call it by its proper name. It’s that simple. The Holy Father (I am here thinking of Pope John Paul II) spoke many times to American Bishops about critical matters and they chose to ignore him. I think we are living in a faithless age. Father, let’s be honest, the Catholic Church in America is having a faith crisis! To my mind, Father, enough is enough!

  55. irishgirl says:

    Sieber-‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ in French is, ‘Notre Dame des Douleurs’. [I think that’s how that last word is spelled]

    Yeah, Fr. Z-some of this discussion is going down a rabbit hole.

    Play nice, people! [hope I’m not stealing your thunder there, Father]

  56. Michael says:

    I hope that the President of Notre Dame disregards Cardinal George’s words and does disinvite Mr. Obama.

  57. Chris says:

    Micahel: “I hope that the President of Notre Dame disregards Cardinal George’s words and does disinvite Mr. Obama.”


  58. Veritas says:


    \”Please cite me the cannon law saying this initiative would be ilicit.\”

    I could sue Fr. Z in Texas tomorrow, but would the court have jurisdiction to adjudicate? The law doesn\’t prevent me from filing the suit, it just dictates where and against whom I can file. The first thing law of any sort provides is the authority to act. If the law doesn\’t provide the authority, the act, whatever it may be, has no legal effect. That is to say, if the bishops even purported to \”strip ND of its Catholic identity,\” it would have no legal effect. That is what Cardinal George means by \”no real authority.\” It would be entirely illusory in that sense. Symbolic effect? Perhaps. But I think you\’d agree ND wouldn\’t respond to symbols. It hasn\’t yet.

    Father Z:

    I am observing trends in such discussion that are troubling, i.e. anger launched at a cardinal, claiming that neither he nor the USCCB is \”doing enough\” by people who clearly don\’t understand that, in order to officially act on such matters, you must have the requisite legal authority to do so (\”real authority\”). The Cardinal has made that clear. Bishop D\’Arcy has, through the years, made that clear. Yet, over and over again, we are seeing these sort of angry comments on this blog. That\’s not to suggest I don\’t share in the frustration, but for someone like me to come along and simply challenge those who are making these comments to provide the legal basis for what they claim the bishops should do is, I submit, entirely appropriate. It is hardly \”shrill\” or \”condescending\” to challenge someone to support their argument with analysis fitting for the question (in this case, a fundamental issue of law, i.e. jurisdiction, which runs through any legal system). It is certainly your perrogative to disagree, and I\’ll leave that up to you, but I operate under the presumption that you are seeking informed discussion of such issues.

  59. CPKS says:

    What is the point of “disinviting” the President?

    The harm is already done: a signal was sent from a “Catholic” university that it was prepared to pay honours to a man who publicly supports the mass killing of unborn children. As the bishops have said, this calls into question the commitment of the church to its teaching. (As, arguably, does the sizable Catholic vote for the current President of the USA.)

    In this instance, the harm was caused by sending the invitation. It is in no way compounded by the President’s acceptance.

    Rather, the situation now calls for an avoidance of further harm and, with God’s help, the Church must try to bring forth as much good as it can from a difficult situation.

    The way that the Church can bring forth good is by using the incident as an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to its teaching; and here the good bishops are taking a lead. The Cardinal rightly invites the laity to support the bishops, and to show the world that it’s not just one or two or five “hard-line” bishops, but the mainstream of the laity, that take this teaching seriously. Much can be achieved, and especially by the members of the university, if they can show the world that Catholics do, in fact, care about the unborn and that we do in fact deplore the actions of the President in this regard.

    I think this would achieve much more (and more to discredit those mischief-makers who would like to represent the laity as more “relaxed” about abortion than the bishops) than criticizing the bishops, who have in fact given a sensible lead, for not doing more. It’s up to us to support them now!

  60. Michael J says:

    Oddly enough, the issue is settled, in my mind, with the good Cardinal’s statement. I was not so much concerned that a man who supports and promotes evil was being given an honor, but that this signaled a tacit approval of that evil by the Catholic Church. Now that the Cardinal has clearly stated “it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation”, nobody with any amount of intellectual integrity can conclude that the Catholic Church sometimes supports (as Kimec does) the evil of abortion.

    My prediction:

    President Obama will do the “honorable” thing and cancel his appearance. Look for a statement saying something like “I firmly stand behind my convictions but took office on the promise to be a uniter. I had no idea that this issue would be so divisive, so while I disagree with the Catholic Church, I have no desire to impose my beliefs on them.”

  61. Chris says:

    Michael J: President Obama will do the “honorable” thing and cancel his appearance. Look for a statement saying something like “I firmly stand behind my convictions but took office on the promise to be a uniter. I had no idea that this issue would be so divisive, so while I disagree with the Catholic Church, I have no desire to impose my beliefs on them.”

    I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    While we may be loud on this blog, most Catholics voted for Obama. The outrage on the Catholic street just isn’t there. So, there’s no reason for him, in his own mind, to do that and react to such a small segment of the Church.

  62. Clinton says:

    CPKS, I agree with you that it is up to us to support our bishops now. As RBrown observed earlier, it’s no longer
    1955, when a bishop could snap his fingers and expect obedience. For better or worse, our position vis-a-vis
    our bishops is less like that of children compelled to obey, and more that of responsible adults expected to cooperate.

    Cardinal George has made a solid statement, and I applaud him. He’s pointed out that Notre Shame’s actions
    have caused Catholics extreme embarrassment, and he’s asked us to do the helpful thing and make our
    disappointment known to those responsible. He can count on me to write to Fr. Jenkins and the trustees of
    Notre Shame with pointed comments, respectfully stated. The same for the superiors of the Holy Cross Fathers.
    I’m also going to write to the good Cardinal and express my thanks for his fine protest, and I’m writing to my
    own bishop, +Aymond of Austin, Texas, who I am proud to say also came out with a no-nonsense
    condemnation of Notre Dame’s actions.

    Stalin was said to have contemptuously remarked of Pius XII “How many regiments does the Pope have?”. I
    think the leadership of Notre Dame has a similar view of our bishops. It’s up to us to prove them wrong
    by encouraging our bishops and backing them when they make a stand.

  63. William Radovich says:

    Michael: “I hope that the President of Notre Dame disregards Cardinal George’s words and does disinvite Mr. Obama.” AGREE. He will have at least the firm support of prayers, fasting and almsgiving of The 46% along with some good, visible, constitutional protest if the disinvite does not happen.

  64. TerryC says:

    I join others in expressing distaste at the statements made against a Prince of the Church, who appears to be doing everything in his power to address what has become a scandal of international proportions.
    Fr Z. has stated the fact many times himself. The USCCB has no authority in and of itself. Its documents are no more than guidelines. The only time this is not true is when they are passed unanimously and are made in concert with the bishop of Rome. Then they have have absolute authority under Church law. Likewise the president of the USCCB does not have the authority of a regional primate. No other bishop is under his jurisdiction by virtue of his position as president.
    That being said it sounds to me like this isn’t just going to go away for UND the day after graduation. There could be permanent ramifications for their behavior.
    Perhaps someone more familiar with the USCCB can speak up. Does the president set the agenda at meetings. Can the Cardinal bring up the problem of UND’s Catholic identity at the next USCCB meeting? Can he request the USCCB take it to the Holy See?

  65. Michael J says:

    Terry C,

    I am puzzled by your statement that you \”… join others in expressing distaste at the statements made against a Prince of the Church, who appears to be doing everything in his power to address what has become a scandal of international proportions\”.

    In 64 posts on this thread, I could find *one* that could be considered questionable, but found several decrying the \”overall rancor and vitriol\”. What gives?

  66. Steve says:


    How about if the bishops issued a public statement asking the president to withdraw from appearing? Not that I think it will happen but this would certainly put him in an awkward position which is not a bad thing.

  67. Jeannon Kralj says:

    Notre Dame gave themselves over to the new world order death and slavery system long ago, and maybe so has the Catholic Church by their form of “ecumenism.” There is no way a one world system is not a death and slavery system run by the Satanic power elite. Former Notre Dame president Theodore Hesburgh was a member of the power elite and owned by the Rockefellers. The Rockefeller Foundation chairman for 5 years was Hesburgh and that Foundation has given millions in grants to kill the babies.

  68. little gal says:

    In response to your post and in follow-up to what Mr. Brown said,the Chicago archdiocese is not an easy place. Someone who worked for the AOC and who is no longer there, expressed these thoughts to me and the challenges it presented to him in his work. It is my observation that the good Cardinal is having to work around some things rather than changing some things directly. I am sure the same approach is used in Rome with the recalcritrant.

    I do think it is important to keep several things in mind re: criticism of our bishops (1)there is a difference between the gifts/limitations of the person and the office. The bishops as people are as imperfect as the apostles were. How many of us make negative remarks about Peter’s denial of Christ for example? Also,we have to remember that our criticism may have the effect of tearing down the office of bishop and is that what we really want to do? Their office has already been greatly diminished due to the handling of the sex abuse acandal and they are in the process of rebuilding it. (2)Can we really say that we are truly praying for our bishops if what comes out of our mouths is negative? What does this way about what is in our hearts and how our prayer is expressed?

  69. TJM says:

    little gal,

    You are right about Chicago. I live here and if it weren’t for St. John Cantius I wouldn’t have survived. People forget that Cardinal George
    replaced Mr. Seamless Garment, Cardinal Bernadin, who helped provide the “intellectual” framework for faux Catholics who are pro-abortion. Maybe
    Cardinal Bernadin didn’t intend it but that seamless garment argument has caused a great deal of trouble because it placed capital punishment
    and war on the same level as abortion.


  70. Lee Gilbert says:


    You’re right of course. If I said anything disrespectful in tone or substance, I repent and recant.

    Thank you.

    In Christ,

  71. ssoldie says:

    Only the ‘ninth’Bishop, out of how many Bishops we have in America, is it any wonder why 54% of the ‘catholics’ voted for B.O. Oh! how sad that there are still so many of our shepards who’doublespeak. But then what do we expect, we are still in the desert.

  72. TJM says:

    54% of Catholics for Obama. However, what is the percentage of practiciting Catholics that did? Just curious. Tom

  73. Mack says:

    Why do bishops always meet at hotels? Will the next consistory to choose a Bishop of Rome be held at an airport Holiday Inn?

  74. BRC says:

    I wish the church would be more consistent. What if the commencement speaker was a pro death penalty advocate or someone who advocated cutbacks in spending on programs for the poor? (Yes, I know one might argue that there’s a difference between the former and the latter, but I don’t think Jesus would)

    I might think Cardinal George’s weren’t political if I honestly thought he’d say either of the former President Bushes would also be “embarrassments”. But who really believes he would? Thanks.

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