More from McInerny on UND and Pres. Obama

Prof. Ralph McInerny’s comments about the "vulgar lust" on display by the University of Notre Dame’s leadership were excellent.  A reader thought you might like some more from him.

This is from the Nation Review site.


Bernie Madoff has declined an honorary doctorate in economics from the University of Notre Dame, but all is not lost. Barack Hussein Obama, enabler in chief of abortion, has agreed to speak at the 2009 commencement and to receive an honorary doctorate of law. That abortion and its advocacy violate a primary precept of natural law reinforced by the Catholic Church’s explicit doctrine is a mere bagatelle. Wackos of all kinds will kick up a fuss, of course, but their protest will go unnoticed in South Bend. The pell-mell pursuit of warm and fuzzy Catholicism will continue. How better to defend the faith than to celebrate a man who advocates polishing off babies even after they are born? The newly created Herod Award [ROFL!] will be added to the university’s recognition of the chief magistrate. Administrators are hugging themselves with delight at this massive publicity coup. The national championship in football has eluded Notre Dame for many years, but when the president dribbles onto the stage at the great event, the hall will erupt in ecstatic applause; the president, Father Jenkins, will wring his hand; and a final nail will be driven into the coffin of a once-great Catholic university. No one will note nor long remember what Barack Obama says on the occasion. Who listens to commencement addresses? But the Lady atop the golden dome, recalling the flight into Egypt, will exhibit one of her many titles: She who weeps.

— Ralph McInerny, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is author of the Father Dowling mystery series.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. Steve says:

    I guess this is the old keep your friends close and your enemies closer approach?

  2. Jerry says:

    Mar Ann Glendon is also receiving an award at the affair. Her only honourable course of action is to boycott the affair.


  3. a catechist says:

    Not the final nail. To paraphrase the popular ad campaign, our Catholic identity is worth fighting for. Dr. McInerny is about to begin his well-earned retirement, but others, I think, will continue to fight.

  4. Romulus says:

    Her only honourable course of action is to boycott the affair.

    Or perhaps to condition her acceptance upon being allowed to speak immediately before the president, and then to present him with a Notre Dame education neither he nor others present (including the media) will soon forget.

    Boycott is a last resort; it seems preferable to me to make a large noise in front of a large audience. Our opponents understand the value of this.

  5. Fr. William says:

    I went to a seminary where I was forced to listen to many of the faculty talk openly about women’s ordination and the wrongs of the Church. One Catholic faculty member stated that he would not speak of it. The only other faculty member who stated openly and directly that he would not talk about it was a Lutheran pastor who taught Sacred Scripture courses. He said very plainly, that the Pope (John Paul II) had stated this matter was not open for discussion and would not be discussed in any manner in his classes — end of discussion. His stance was honorable, however he may have felt about it personally. An equally honorable stance on the part of the president would have been to decline, most respectfully, the invitation, on the grounds that he recognizes his stance is opposed to Catholic teaching. This is, however, only second to the stance of the university asking him to speak. We are all over politicians for their obstinance and ignorance in regard to Christ’s teaching. Bishops are finally taking a stand (very courageously and vigorously) against them and finding that, after years of silence, it is extremely difficult to get many people to listen. Their voices should ring out against this travesty as well,and even louder, since the one allowing and promoting this is a member of a religious order; a member of the clergy. Please pray for the Bishops and for a faithful re-formation of clergy, many of whom have fallen prey to the absoultely atrocious teaching by the seminaries and their faculties. Pray for seminaries and their faculties for the many souls lead astray by their disregard for Christ’s teaching as well.

  6. Mike T says:

    Personally, I think it would not be objectionable to treat Caesar
    respectfully if we had not spent the last several decades rendering
    unto Caesar the things that are God’s.

    Obama is not our first pro-choice president. Clinton was pro-choice.
    One might argue that even Nixon and Ford were pro-choice. Should none
    of them be invited to speak at a Catholic university? One may counter
    that Obama is more stridently pro-choice than his predecessors. But
    how much do we want to make fine distinctions such as: “It is okay to
    invite Caligula, just don’t invite Nero?”

    Yes, there comes a time when it is inappropriate to invite either
    Caligula or Nero, regardless of their “electoral mandate.”

    But I can’t get away from thinking that our discomfort with inviting
    Caesar to a Catholic university is due to the utter failure of
    Catholic universities to maintain their independence and integrity
    within the secular culture. If we had been making it clear for decades
    that Caesar is just Caesar, then maybe we wouldn’t have to be scared
    of Caesar.

    Our problems with Catholic higher education go back at least to
    the Land O’ Lakes Conference of 1967. This is when we sued for
    slavery. This is when we forfeited our birthright for a bowl of soup.
    This is when we submitted ourselves to a yoke of servitude that no
    one even thrust upon us. We were eager for bondage.

    I am not saying that we should be indifferent to Caesar’s brutality,
    but we must first look to ourselves to stop rendering unto Caesar
    the things that are God’s.

  7. Al says:


    I\’m sorry bud. You don\’t get it. Eventually all the inner-perspectives, self-analysis and what-ifs, should end and action should occur. The militant secularist base of the left see an opportunity with their savior, Obama, to close the public square from religious people forever or severely weaken it, in the U.S. As is being done in Western Europe. The symbolic gesture of having Obama, given his militant stances at this time and place in history, honored by the leading Catholic Institution in the U.S says a great deal about the incompetence of the leadership over there. Especially when our Catholic institutions should be helping to lead the rebuilding of the church brick by brick back to orthodoxy with the considerable talent it has under its dome. It is extremely damaging in so many ways it is difficult to write about it without going into a thesis. I think McINERNY last comments: \”No one will note nor long remember what Barack Obama says on the occasion. Who listens to commencement addresses?\” sum it up. Mostly commencement speakers are symbolic. There are rare exceptions when their words are transcend the speaker, Alexander Solzhenitsyn\’s address to Harvard, A World Split Apart, is memorable you can view it here. and so is William F Buckley\’s young addressment to Yale Commencement class and faculty, from \”God and Men at Yale\” also is. Both topics were critical of the educational establishment and their disdain for religious thought and full scale embrace of marixsm and liberalism.

  8. Mike T says:



    Will boycotting/protesting the Obama speech be part of an effort to
    restore the Catholicism of Catholic universities? (Let’s not just
    make an exception for a particularly reviled public figure before
    resuming our subservience to secularism.)

  9. LCB says:

    I challenge Notre Dame’s student newspaper (The Observer) to publish Prof. McIntyre’s words.

  10. All I can say is “THANK YOU.”

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Bishop D’Arcy has just posted on their diocesan website his statement: Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame Graduation, receiving honorary law degree. It’s brief but quite to the point. Charitable but leaves no room for doubt on where this Bishop (as any Roman Catholic should) stands on the Obama/Notre Dame scandal.

  12. Trad Tom says:

    Bishop D’Arcy’s response, position, and advice to Mrs. Glendon are all perfect.

  13. Mark says:

    From Notre Dame’s “The Observer” ( ):

    “Although many outside groups are protesting University President Fr. John Jenkins’ decision, The Observer reported in an Oct. 8, 2008 article that Obama led the student body with 52.6 percent of the vote in a mock election held by student government, in which 2,692 undergraduates and graduate students voted.”

    Catholic parents should be aware of this environment before sending their children to Notre Dame. Fortunately, there are many Catholic higher education alternatives available today, where faith is nurtured and protected. Name and past pedigree mean nothing in this context.

  14. RUDY says:

    Alrighty then, I’m coming out of retirement. I’m you’re worst public relations nightmare, Jenkins.


  15. Al says:

    Rudy…RUDIGER? Really?!!


    Of course, it should lead to something bigger. I am often puzzled how the world\’s greatest organization has lost its ability to \”Organize\”. This thing should be a foundational push that moves beyond…a public rebuke of Presidents policies

  16. Tim Ferguson says:

    I hate to say it, but I’m disappointed in Bishop d’Arcy’s statement. The standard third person impersonal tone “Notre Dame must ask itself if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.” Just doesn’t seem enough.

    What about, “I have invited Fr. Jenkins and representatives of the University to a meeting with myself and my canonical advisors where, together, we will discuss whether, by this decision, Notre Dame has chosen prestige over truth, and how that decision might affect the status of the University with regards to her Catholic identity.”

    Or How about, “Instead of attending the commencement, I will be offering the Holy Mass for the victims of abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and for the conversion of those who seek the destruction of human life at the Cathedral at the same time. I invite all those members of the Notre Dame community, including the graduates, to attend in academic dress.”

  17. Kimberley Utterson says:

    As a 2003 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, I am saddened and appalled at Notre Dame\’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the 2009 commencement address. It has been tradition for Notre Dame to invite the newly inaugurated President to speak at our commencement and Obama will be the seventh President to do so. Not only has ND invited Obama, but it has promised to present him with an Honorary Juris Doctorate degree. While I think that it is an honor that Notre Dame always invites the President of the United States during their first term to give the commencement speech, I think that ND should not have asked Obama because as a Catholic institution, it should not honor those who act in defiance of our Catholic fundamental moral principles. He should not be given an award, honor or platform which would suggest support for his actions. Obama has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) into law, undoing every meaningful legislation for abortions that fall outside of rape/incest. The first mission of any Catholic institution is ordered towards God. Giving this man a forum of any kind is, at the very least, scandalous and damaging to the reputation of the Church.

    Prior to this, the former Notre Dame President, Father Edward \”Monk\” Malloy, who was the President when I was in school, rescinded his decision to invite President Clinton to speak at our commencement following the scandal with Monica Lewinsky.

    Currently, President Obama has accepted three invitations to speak at university commencements this year, Notre Dame, Arizona State, and the Naval Academy. Not surprisingly, both the states of Arizona and Indiana are very important swing states for Obama. (In 2008, Obama defeated McCain by 17 points, helping the Hoosier State go blue for the first time since 1968).

    Professor McInerny is right on point in his arguments for why Notre Dame should rescind its offer to Obama.

    – Kimberley Utterson, Notre Dame Class of 2003

  18. lightindarkness says:

    Mark quoted and wrote: “The Observer reported in an Oct. 8, 2008 article that Obama led the student body with 52.6 percent of the vote in a mock election held by student government, in which 2,692 undergraduates and graduate students voted.”

    Catholic parents should be aware of this environment before sending their children to Notre Dame. Fortunately, there are many Catholic higher education alternatives available today, where faith is nurtured and protected. Name and past pedigree mean nothing in this context.”

    Obama received more votes form Hispanics than Bush did when Bush ran. Not that every Hispanic is Catholic (of course not) but should Catholic parents not send their children to schools with an Hispanic population? The logic on here is so fuzzy at times.

  19. Matt says:

    Notre Dame is forever on the banned list of college selections for my five children. This is just appalling to the point of wanting to make me vomit.

    The Bishop should officially strip the college of its Catholic identity. What will it take for that to happen? Would we get mere words if they started their own abortuary?

    The Bishop needs to take a firm stance and show all Catholics that they may NOT select Notre Dame based on any adherence to Catholic doctrine.

  20. Matt says:

    Since Obama is the enabler for the the death of so many millions of children, would a fair analogy be for Adolf Hitler or other enabler of Mass genocide be equally welcome at a Catholic Univerisity?

    Would we see the same response from the Bishop if Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Mao or other current “political leader” invited to speak to the graduating class?

    Those who enable abortion are no less guilty than the one holding the knife.

  21. Magdalene says:

    With the help of willing minions, all these scandals help KEEP THE CHURCH DIVIDED and the uncatechised confused.

  22. Mark says:


    Catholic parents are under an obligation to ensure that Faith is passed on to their children. Every parent will give an account of this one day. Knowingly sending children to a Catholic learning institution that has a history of attacking or diluting the Faith is, in my opinion, a culpable act.

    The same should hold for learning institutions of whatever ethnic flavor. Should a school with, say, a predominantly Hispanic population, be held to a different standard? To answer your question, it is the culture and the leadership of each specific place that matters, not its ethnic mix. Does this seem logical?

  23. Gail F says:

    Mark posted this:

    “Although many outside groups are protesting University President Fr. John Jenkins’ decision, The Observer reported in an Oct. 8, 2008 article that Obama led the student body with 52.6 percent of the vote in a mock election held by student government, in which 2,692 undergraduates and graduate students voted.”

    and said that Catholic parents should be aware of “this environment” before sending children to Notre Dame. Sounds like it’s about the same environment as the rest of the country, considering that 54% of Catholics voted for Obama.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am appalled at the invitation, which is horrible in so many ways. But surely one of the ways that it’s horrible is that it reflects how many self-identified Catholics think President Obama is great.

  24. supertradmom says:

    Thanks again to Dr. McInerny, but I am afraid that the Lady atop the Golden Dome left the University about 1984, dusting the dust off of her feet.

  25. Kathy says:

    I was raised Catholic. I followed the “rules” [As long as you see them as “rules” you willnever understand the gift you were given.] of the church until it was time for limiting my family. Then I practiced birth control, that was and is still contrary to church law.
    I had 3 children. Sent them to CCD,took them to church and recieved all the sacraments. One graduated from St. Mary’s, one from UND, one from Lehigh.
    The two that attended Catholic Universities do NOT go to church, Do Not practice their faith, and I’m thinking they might not even believe in God.
    The one who went to Lehigh,attends church, although not catholic and all three live good honest lives.
    Did they had premarital sex, did they practice birth control, did they break the law by underage drinking at college? Most likely. Did their Catholic education fail them? Are they bad people? Hardly. Did you all do the same when you attended UND or any other Catholic College? Most likely.
    I find this whole group of people pretty remarkable. “you who has not sinned, throw the first stone”. You all are so full of a “holier than thou” message, but Obama walks the talk, you just talk it. [Up to this point, your comment was rather interesting.] Most likely when all is said and done, President Obama will have done more for the poor, less educated, discriminate against, than any of you or Notre Dame has ever done. Let me know when you all practice your FAITH to the letter, then you can say what you please, until then, Try acting Christian.

  26. Kathy says:

    I do not consider the “manmade rules” of the Catholic church that have been passed down from generation to generation “gifts”. Only what God has given are the true gifts, and it is up to each individual to recognize, value, and accept these gifts. That’s how I understand it and I think most Catholics, if they were honest, would agree. One only needs to look at so many of the changes in Vatican II to see what was “rule”is now changed or eliminated.

  27. Kathy, those who truly love God don’t even need rules. If mankind perfectly loved God, they wouldn’t need to be told to go visit God once a week (i.e. avoid sins of omission), nor be told not to steal, lie, etc (i.e. avoid sins of commission). But God gave us these rules for the benefit of our own souls since fear of punishment keeps many in line, like guard rails along a mountain road. The rules that you love, and the one who then you worship, is all about self. Eve had the same idea. Bad people are those souls who do not get to Heaven. Where will you spend your eternity? What eternity do you get from self?

Comments are closed.