John R. Quinn
Lessons from the storm in South Bend
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Editors’ note: Archbishop Quinn originally prepared these observations for consideration at the June meeting of the American bishops. Circumstances did not make that possible at the time. He has submitted them to America as a contribution to the debate on the role of bishops in dealing with public issues.

The right to life is a paramount and pre-eminent moral issue of our time. The Catholic bishops have borne a consistent and prophetic witness to the truth that all other rights are anchored in the right to life. When Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, this conference was nearly alone among institutional voices pointing out the defects and dangers of this decision and calling for its reversal.

Our witness to the sanctity of human life cannot diminish and our effort cannot cease. We must continue to enlist new vehicles of communication to highlight the grave moral evil inherent in abortion. We have to design effective and imaginative strategies to help people see that the choice for life is the most compassionate choice. And we have to speak with courtesy and clarity about why the protection of the unborn is a requirement of human rights and not their diminishment.

There is no disagreement within this conference about the moral evil of abortion, its assault upon the dignity of the human person, or the moral imperative of enacting laws that prohibit abortion in American society.

But there is deep and troubled disagreement among us on the issue of how we as bishops should witness concerning this most searing and volatile issue in American public life. And this disagreement has now become a serious and increasing impediment to our ability to teach effectively in our own community and in the wider American society.

The bishops’ voice has been most credible in the cause of life when we have addressed this issue as witnesses and teachers of a great moral tradition, and not as actors in the political arena. Coming out of the Catholic moral tradition, this conference has defended human life in the context of the pursuit of justice, covering the whole continuum of life from its beginning in the mother’s womb to its natural end. The Second Vatican Council rightly described abortion and infanticide as “unspeakable crimes.” But the council did not stop there. In a coherent moral logic, the council exhorted bishops to be faithful to their duty of teaching and witnessing concerning “the most serious questions concerning the ownership, increase, and just distribution of material goods, peace and war, and brotherly relations among all countries” (“Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church,” No. 12). The more recent “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life” proposes an equally broad spectrum of concerns. This consistent focus over nearly 50 years, as well as the teaching of the popes, including Pope Benedict XVI, underline that neither the bishop nor the Catholic Church can confine itself to one single issue of concern in human society. If we proclaim that the right to life is necessary for the exercise of all other rights, then we must also address and defend those other rights as well.

Consequently, the Catholic Church brings to the defense of life and the pursuit of justice in this world the vision of faith and a living hope that transcends the limitations of what can be accomplished in this world. This comprehensive and transcendent vision must provide the benchmark in weighing proposed pathways through the thicket of public policy choices that confront us. This traditional benchmark provides a challenge to us bishops today in evaluating our future approach to those who disagree with us on issues of fundamental importance.

The dilemma that confronts us today is whether the church’s vision is best realized on the issue of abortion by focusing our witness on the clear moral teaching about abortion and public law, or whether it is preferable or obligatory to add to that teaching role the additional role of directly sanctioning public officials through sustained, personally focused criticism, the denial of honors or even excommunication.

This dilemma has troubled us for many years now, but it has been crystallized in the controversy over the decision of the University of Notre Dame to award an honorary degree in May of this year to the president of the United States. This is the first time in the history of this conference that a large number of bishops of the United States have publicly condemned honoring a sitting president, and this condemnation has further ramifications due to the fact that this president is the first African-American to hold that high office.

False Messages

The case for sanctioning President Obama by declaring him ineligible to receive a Catholic university degree is rooted in a powerful truth: The president has supported virtually every proposed legal right to abortion in his public career, and abortion constitutes the pre-eminent moral issue in American government today.

Notwithstanding this fact, the case against a strategy of such sanctions and personal condemnations is rooted in a more fundamental truth: Such a strategy of condemnation undermines the church’s transcendent role in the American political order. For the Obama controversy, in concert with a series of candidate-related condemnations during the 2008 election, has communicated several false and unintended messages to much of American society. There are four such messages that call for our serious consideration today.

1. The message that the Catholic bishops of the United States function as partisan political actors in American life. The great tragedy of American politics from a Catholic perspective is that party structures in the United States bisect the social teachings of the church, thus making it impossible for most citizens to identify and vote for a candidate who adequately embraces the spectrum of Catholic teaching on the common good. For instance, Republican candidates are, in general, more supportive of the church’s position on abortion and euthanasia, while Democratic candidates are generally stronger advocates for the Catholic vision on issues of poverty and world peace.

For most of our history, the American bishops have assiduously sought to avoid being identified with either political party and have made a conscious effort to be seen as transcending party considerations in the formulation of their teachings. The condemnation of President Obama and the wider policy shift that represents signal to many thoughtful persons that the bishops have now come down firmly on the Republican side in American politics. The bishops are believed to communicate that for all the promise the Obama administration has on issues of health care, immigration reform, global poverty and war and peace, the leadership of the church in the United States has strategically tilted in favor of an ongoing alliance with the Republican Party. A sign of this stance is seen to be the adoption of a policy of confrontation rather than a policy of engagement with the Obama administration.

Such a message is alienating to many in the Catholic community, especially those among the poor and the marginalized who feel that they do not have supportive representation within the Republican Party. The perception of partisanship on the part of the church is disturbing to many Catholics given the charge of Gaudium et Spes that the church must transcend every political structure and cannot sacrifice that transcendence, and the perception of transcendence, no matter how important the cause.

2. The message that the bishops are ratifying the “culture war mentality,” which corrodes debate both in American politics and in the internal life of the church. Both poles of the American political spectrum see our society as enmeshed in a culture war over the issues of abortion, marriage, immigration rights and the death penalty. In such a war, they argue, the demonization of alternative viewpoints and of opposing leaders is not merely acceptable, but required. More intense tactics and language are automatically seen as more effective, as necessary and more in keeping with the importance of the issues being debated. The “culture war mentality” has also seeped into the life of the church, distorting the debate on vital issues and leading to campaigns against bishops for their efforts to proclaim the Gospel with charity rather than with antagonism.

The movement toward sanctions against public officials will be seen as ratifying this trajectory in our political, cultural and ecclesial life. Whatever our intention may be, the acceptance and employment of a strategy that deliberately moves beyond teaching and pointing up the moral dimensions of public issues to labeling those with whom we disagree, will inevitably embolden those who de-Christianize our public debate both within and outside the church.

3. The message that the bishops are effectively indifferent to all grave evils other than abortion. Perhaps the most difficult task we face, as teachers on the moral dimensions of public policy in the United States today, is emphasizing the pre-eminence of abortion as a moral issue while defending a holistic view of the rights intrinsic to the defense of the dignity of the human person. This task of balancing arises not only in the formulation of our policy statements, but also in the steps we as bishops take to achieve justice in the political order. The pathway of sanctions and personal condemnation will open every bishop to the charge that if we do not use the tactic of sanctions and condemnations on issues such as war and peace or global poverty, we are tacitly relegating those issues to a level of unimportance. And it would indeed be difficult to explain how it is appropriate for a Catholic university to honor those who authorize torture or initiate an unjust war or cut assistance to the world’s poor. To assert on the one hand that the tactics of sanction and personal condemnation are legitimate tools for episcopal action in the public order, while on the other hand refusing to employ those tactics for any issue other than abortion will only deepen the suspicions of those in American society who believe that we bishops of the church in the United States are myopic in our approach to Catholic social teaching.

4. The message that the bishops are insensitive to the heritage and the continuing existence of racism in America. The election of Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States in November 2008 was a unique and signal moment in the history of racial solidarity in the United States. L‘Osservatore Romano compared it to the fall of the Berlin Wall. All over the world the election was hailed as ushering in a new chapter in the rejection of racial stereotypes and the enhancement of international relations.

Yet here in the United States, there has been the perception that we bishops did not grasp the immense significance of the moment. African-American priests, religious and lay persons have related that they felt they had to mute their jubilation at the election of an African-American president, and that we bishops did not share their jubilation. Some have expressed deep hurt over this, precisely because they respect the bishops and they love the church.

Added to this, the spirited condemnation of the president’s visit and degree at Notre Dame last May have reinforced for many African-American Catholics those feelings of hurt and alienation. It is not that African-American Catholics do not understand that the church must oppose abortion, or that they themselves personally believe that the bishops are acting out of racist motivations. It is rather that when the church embraces a new level of confrontation when an African-American is involved, this readily raises widespread questions about our racial sensitivity. And these questions will only continue to be raised more forcefully if we continue to walk down the path of confrontation with this administration.

A Policy of Cordiality

As we confront the admittedly difficult task of balancing the need to uphold the sanctity of human life while avoiding the enormously destructive consequences of the strategy of sanction and condemnation, we bishops could profitably look to the example of the Holy See, which wrestles with these same complex issues of integrity of witness, fidelity to truth, civility in discourse, and political, national and racial sensitivities every day.

The approach of the Holy See might justly be characterized as a policy of cordiality. It proceeds from the conviction that the integrity of Catholic teaching can never be sacrificed. It reflects a deep desire to enshrine comity at the center of public discourse and relations with public officials. It is willing to speak the truth directly to earthly power.

Yet the Holy See shows great reluctance to publicly personalize disagreements with public officials on elements of church teaching. And the approach of the Holy See consistently favors engagement over confrontation. As Pope John Paul II put it, “The goal of the Church is to make of the adversary a brother.”

These principles of cordiality will not make our task as bishops in the public square an easy one. But they do provide the best anchor for insuring that our actions and statements remain faithful to the comprehensive and transcendent mission of the church, our ultimate mandate. Much of this is summed up in the council’s decree on bishops, Christus Dominus (No. 13):

The Church has to be on speaking terms with the human society in which it lives. It is therefore the duty of bishops especially to make an approach to people, seeking and promoting dialog with them. If truth is constantly to be accompanied by charity and understanding by love, in such salutary discussions they should present their positions in clear language, unagressively and diplomatically. Likewise they should show prudence combined with confidence, for this is what brings about union of minds by encouraging friendship.

For more on President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame see America's archive on the controversy.

Most Rev. John R. Quinn is archbishop emeritus of San Francisco. He served as president of the U.S. Catholic Conference and National Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1977 to 1980.

Comments

JOE GIGLIO MR | 3/16/2010 - 3:02pm

Only an oblivious white person could make a comment that race has nothing to do with this and that "most of us don't even think of race" when thinking of the President.  If you were black and grew up and lived through the deep racial divide in this country, you would re-think your stance.  African Americans took great pride in seeing history made. You can't hide or ignore being black in this country.

JOHN GRONDELSKI | 10/27/2009 - 11:33am
It is this kind of never-ending, never-leading anywhere "dialogue" practiced by Archbishop Quinn and certain of his USCC/NCCB confreres (when it was the USCC/NCCB) that has led from a "Catholic" justice (William Brennan) signing Roe v. Wade to "Catholic politicians" (E.M. Kennedy, G. Ferraro, R. Drinan) voting for abortion to "Catholic" politicians (M. Cuomo) voicing justification for their failure to do anything about the Holocaust of 40,000,000+ Americans to a "Catholic" Speaker and a "Catholic" Vice President publicly committed to maintaining the status quo. Is there any idea that perhaps this velvet glove strategy, which has failed for 36 years, finally needs to be revised and toughened?
Mark Harden | 10/3/2009 - 9:35pm
Quinn offers his argument against the fervent opposition to Notre Dame's inviting Obama to give their commencement address and awarding him an honorary degree. In fact, opposition to Obama's being so honored was a matter of faithfulness to the Magisterial document "Catholics in Political Life". This document was approved for publication by the full body of bishops at their June 2004 General Meeting and can be found online at [url=http://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.shtml]http://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.shtml[/url].
In the direct context of abortion, the applicable portion of the document reads (emphasis in original): "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
As Quinn himself notes in his article, "The case for sanctioning President Obama by declaring him ineligible to receive a Catholic university degree is rooted in a powerful truth: The president has supported virtually every proposed legal right to abortion in his public career..."
Therefore, Notre Dame, as a Catholic institution - indeed, as the flagship Catholic university in the United States - should not have honored Obama, in accordance with "Catholics in Political Life". This was a simple matter of Magisterial authority. Quinn goes on to make a case of prudential judgment in favor of Obama being honored, but this bears no more authority, magisterially, than his individual opinion, because of the document issued by the full body of bishops in 2004.
(Let us note at this point that, in an attempt to find "common ground", opponents of honoring Obama recommended he give the commencement address, but that he at least not be awarded an honorary degree...which was, quite literally, in contradiction to the statement of the bishops to not "honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles." This attempt to find common ground was ignored by the administration of Notre Dame, which persisted in giving him an honorary degree.)
For the sake of argument, we note that Quinn provides four points in favor of honoring Obama. They all are based on concern that non-Catholics would have, in ignorance of church teaching on abortion, misunderstood the action and taken away a negative perception of the Catholic Church. Whereas the concern of Catholics urging obedience to "Catholics in Public Life" was that faithful Catholics would be scandalized by seeing the nation's most prestigious Catholic University awarding a great honor to the most rabidly pro-abortion politician to ever hold federal office. I suppose our prudential judgment - again, for the sake of argument, since the Magisterial teaching takes precedence - would be whether Quinn's concern for non-Catholics misunderstanding the church is more or less critical than faithful Catholics being scandalized by the Church being completely hypocritical regarding its own statements of fidelity to Church teachings and to the truth of God that all human life is sacred.
As "Catholics in Public Life" states, "It is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified." In Quinn's eyes, we should disavow that truth of God out of concern that non-Catholics might misperceive us as partisan or even racist.
Quinn quotes from his own preferred Magisterial document at the end of his article, Christus Dominus from Vatican II: "The Church has to be on speaking terms with the human society in which it lives. It is therefore the duty of bishops especially to make an approach to people, seeking and promoting dialog with them."
What Quinn overlooks is that a Commencement address is by its very nature not a dialog, but a monologue. Obama was not there to dialog on the issue of sanctity of life, but to give a speech, and to receive the award of an honorary degree. Dialog? Hardly. And it is one thing to approach people who do not share our views on the sanctity of human life...it is quite another to bestow upon them an honorary degree in violation of the Magisterial teaching of the Church.
L. Chavez | 9/28/2009 - 6:47pm
Why is it that we cannot criticize this president without it becoming a racist issue.  He is a man like any other who has presented a "culture of death" agenda.  To bring up racism is, as one other writer said, "is annoying" and used as a veil against speaking truths against this president.  Truth should be color, gender, age, blind.  This president has been and is a the very pro-choice president.  Abortion is genocide.  Abortion is beyond a civil rights issue or a social justice issue, protecting the most vulnerable who rely on another for protection to give them a voice is a Human Rights issue.  ..."grave danger that the false interpretation of human rights poses in not taking into account the reality of human nature, which can drive democratic regimes to transform themselves into totalitarian regimes." "The distinction sometimes made in certain official documents between a human being and a human person to then apply the right to life and physical integrity only to people who are already born is an artificial distinction without scientific or philosophical foundation," he said.  "Every human being, from his conception to his natural death, has the inviolable right to life and deserves all respect due to the human person," JPII.  "  By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.  And by abortion, the fathe is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world.  That father is likely to put other women in the same trouble.  So abortion just lead to more abortion.  Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but use any violence to get what they want.  This why the greatest destoryer of love and peace is abortion." Mother Teresa         
Dirk Wichgers Jr | 9/22/2009 - 1:55am
Obama is a law professor. Considered an expert in Consitutional Law. He's given an honorary degree by a Christian school. Next time, give him a one-question exam, first:
"At what point does a baby get human rights?"
It is a legal question. Before you can recognize and respect the inalienable rights guaranteed in the US Constitution, you have to know to whom those rights are to be afforded. Immigrants, legal or illegal? Enemy combatants captured on the battlefield? Persons born of US citizens, for sure... but when do those rights come into effect?
Considering Obama's stringent defense of infanticide while a state senator in Illinois, he knows the question is a trap for him.
Its a legal question. When do human rights start? Who is entitled to human rights and who isn't? Who is better suited to answer that question than a law professor?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOTfnz11kBk
(Fr.) Edwin C. Duyshart | 9/15/2009 - 10:39pm
Outstanding article!  We need more bishops like John Quinn.  This article should be required reading for all bishops so that they can truly have a positive impact on our society and give hope and inspiration to the faithful.
E.Mattingly AB, LLB | 9/14/2009 - 10:21am
Thanks! Bishop Quinn.  Very good and important comments.  Your comments should be read in every catholic church and the Knights of Columbus and any other group who attempts to make abortion the sole doctrine of the Catholic Church. 
Quentin L. Hartwig | 9/10/2009 - 7:30pm
The issue of condemnation would never have arisen had Notre Dame selected a speaker consonant with Catholic principles.
taad | 9/3/2009 - 4:56am
HOGWASH! With all due respect, HOGWASH! For the past 50 or 60 years the Irish Catholics have been in the pocket of the Democratic Party. Lucifer himself could have been running for office, and the majority of Irish Catholics and some Italian Catholics too, would vote for him as long as the "D" was behind the name. Who cares what he stood for, he was a democrate.
The other thing that Lucifer could be is PASTORAL! As long as he is PASTORAL he commits no evil! You could kill, rob, rape, or whatever, and be loved as long as you are PASTORAL many of the laity, priests and bishops would love you! HOGWASH AGAIN!!
Cardinal Biffi gave a Papal retreat on the Anti-Christ. He said people today are willing to accept the Anti-Christ because all they care about are feeding the poor at the expense of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and his other teachings are forgotten.
 
Fernando Gomez | 9/2/2009 - 1:03pm
I didn't include my last name in my earlier post. This was sent to the Notre Dame Observer but not published. I think that it sumarizes very well the evil in Mr Quinn's and America Magazine's editorial team reasoning supporting ND's honoring of Obama.
A former atheist's take on the Obama travesty
As a recent revert to the Catholic faith, I have been following the travesty
pulled off by the Notre Dame administration with the Obama invite very
closely because it contains many of the elements that pushed me to 10 plus
year journey into agnosticism then atheism.  
I was born, raised and baptized a Catholic in Spain almost 35 years ago. My
journey away from the Catholic faith started in college, a public university
near my hometown, where I was introduced to an intellectual atmosphere that
despised belief in God, and particularly Catholic teachings. Amongst the
numerous reasons I was pointed out about how the Catholic faith was just a
invention created by the powerful elite were the numerous contradictions of
the Church through its history, from its being adopted by the Roman Empire
at the time of the emperor Constantine, to the selling of indulgences during
the Middle Ages to more recently its closely related links to dictatorial
regimes such as Francisco Franco's. While those who criticize the Catholic
Church in those terms quite often forget the extraordinary work done by the
Catholic clergy all around the world assisting the most needy in society,
it's nonetheless important to understand the effect that such criticism can
have in young minds such as those who will be attending this year's
commencement at Notre Dame to receive their well earned degrees.
Few teachings are more fundamental in Catholic doctrine than the evil of
abortion. Moreover, some of the strongest language that the Bible puts in
the mount of Jesus Christ can be found precisely to warn those who cause
children or young people to sin: Mark 9, 42 "Whoever causes one of these
little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a
great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."
How can the Notre Dame administration led by Father Jenkins invite Mr Obama
to give a commencement address in spite of such warning is a mystery to me.
Mr Obama is a declared pro abortionist who as recently as April 2009
reaffirmed his anti life stance. He eloquently described his radical views
in the Illinois senate in 2002 when he expressed his reason for voting
against that state's version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a law
which would have required doctors to save the life of babies who survived
abortion procedures, "[A]dding a - an additional doctor who then has to be
called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is
really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the
physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. . I think it's important
to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live
births."
Students, and young people at large, who are watching the Catholic
establishment at Notre Dame compromise one of the Church's most sacred
teachings for the sake of having Notre Dame's name associated with a popular
president will be automatically led, as I was, to question the veracity of
those teachings. When those young people begin to question the veracity of
the Church's teachings, they will be then led to question the authenticity
of the Church, Jesus Christ and whole idea of God. Put bluntly, the Notre
Dame administration, with his decision of inviting Mr Obama as a
commencement speaker, is inciting many young people around America to
question our faith's tenants.
My way back to belief, and Catholicism, was prompted two years ago by the
tragic death of two young friends of mine who died in unexpected
circumstances. After struggling with the whole issue of God for two years, I
decided that I could not let past and present travesties, such as the
current Notre Dame administration, to be an obstacle to the Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ. I began attending weekly Sunday mass during the summer of
2008. Approximately 1 month ago, I went through the sacrament of confession
and took communion for the first time in 15 years.
As somebody who was contaminated by the same type of hubris and arrogance
exhibited by Father Jenkins I can tell you that compromising the Church's
teachings will have its consequences in the lives of many of those attending
this year's commencement. The Notre Dame administration should do the right
thing and rescind the invitation to Mr Obama for he cannot be of any
inspiration to Notre Dame graduates as long as Notre Dame considers itself a
Catholic institution.
Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, was very clear on how to
deal with idolaters such as the Notre Dame administration "I wrote you in my
letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the
immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would
then have to leave the world. But I now write to you not to associate with
anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer,
a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person." During the
first century AD, the Church of Corinth was facing challenges which were no
less phenomenal in scope than those faced by our society today. The Notre
Dame administration has no excuse not to follow Saint Paul's instructions in
the case of the Obama travesty.
amjust sayin | 9/2/2009 - 11:57am
The HONORING Obama was the thing.  Not that he is Black. 
Killing babies is wrong.  It seems that we all agree on that one.  So, yes, let's find a pretty way to get that point accross to the president.  Honor and Glory should do the trick.  That's it!  Let's all honor and glorify the president and he will be excluding abortion from health care reform in no time.  He will be advocating for unborn babies pretty soon...  I would personally kiss his feet if that would stop him from supporting abortion, I really would...  My question to Notre Dame: Was Obama your "30 pieces of silver"? Thank God for Bishop D'Arcy.
Nancy Heise | 9/2/2009 - 11:54am
Thanks Notre Dame, for clearly communicating to Obama and the rest of the world, that no one should listen to the Bishops! Now we have goverment funded abortions being proposed in the new health care plans. Not good fruit. Perhaps you need to consider that Christ is speaking to us through the Bishops and you are just making yourself an obstacle to that dire message to the detriment of real people's lives.
Fernando | 9/1/2009 - 10:11pm

The letter below was sent to the Notre Dame Observer but not published.


A former atheist's take on the Obama travesty

 

As a recent revert to the Catholic faith, I have been following the travesty pulled off by the Notre Dame administration with the Obama invite very closely because it contains many of the elements that pushed me to 10 plus year journey into agnosticism then atheism. 

 

I was born, raised and baptized a Catholic in Spain almost 35 years ago. My journey away from the Catholic faith started in college, a public university near my hometown, where I was introduced to an intellectual atmosphere that despised belief in God, and particularly Catholic teachings. Amongst the numerous reasons I was pointed out about how the Catholic faith was just a invention created by the powerful elite were the numerous contradictions of the Church through its history, from its being adopted by the Roman Empire at the time of the emperor Constantine, to the selling of indulgences during the Middle Ages to more recently its closely related links to dictatorial regimes such as Francisco Franco's. While those who criticize the Catholic Church in those terms quite often forget the extraordinary work done by the Catholic clergy all around the world assisting the most needy in society, it's nonetheless important to understand the effect that such criticism can have in young minds such as those who will be attending this year's commencement at Notre Dame to receive their well earned degrees.

 

Few teachings are more fundamental in Catholic doctrine than the evil of abortion. Moreover, some of the strongest language that the Bible puts in the mount of Jesus Christ can be found precisely to warn those who cause children or young people to sin: Mark 9, 42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."

How can the Notre Dame administration led by Father Jenkins invite Mr Obama to give a commencement address in spite of such warning is a mystery to me.

 

Mr Obama is a declared pro abortionist who as recently as April 2009 reaffirmed his anti life stance. He eloquently described his radical views in the Illinois senate in 2002 when he expressed his reason for voting against that state's version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a law which would have required doctors to save the life of babies who survived abortion procedures, "[A]dding a - an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. . I think it's important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births."

 

Students, and young people at large, who are watching the Catholic establishment at Notre Dame compromise one of the Church's most sacred teachings for the sake of having Notre Dame's name associated with a popular president will be automatically led, as I was, to question the veracity of those teachings. When those young people begin to question the veracity of the Church's teachings, they will be then led to question the authenticity of the Church, Jesus Christ and whole idea of God. Put bluntly, the Notre Dame administration, with his decision of inviting Mr Obama as a commencement speaker, is inciting many young people around America to question our faith's tenants.

 

My way back to belief, and Catholicism, was prompted two years ago by the tragic death of two young friends of mine who died in unexpected circumstances. After struggling with the whole issue of God for two years, I decided that I could not let past and present travesties, such as the current Notre Dame administration, to be an obstacle to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I began attending weekly Sunday mass during the summer of 2008. Approximately 1 month ago, I went through the sacrament of confession and took communion for the first time in 15 years.

 

As somebody who was contaminated by the same type of hubris and arrogance exhibited by Father Jenkins I can tell you that compromising the Church's teachings will have its consequences in the lives of many of those attending this year's commencement. The Notre Dame administration should do the right thing and rescind the invitation to Mr Obama for he cannot be of any inspiration to Notre Dame graduates as long as Notre Dame considers itself a Catholic institution.

 

Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, was very clear on how to deal with idolaters such as the Notre Dame administration "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world. But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person." During the first century AD, the Church of Corinth was facing challenges which were no less phenomenal in scope than those faced by our society today. The Notre Dame administration has no excuse not to follow Saint Paul's instructions in the case of the Obama travesty.

Maggie | 9/1/2009 - 8:53pm
These quotes should be carefully considered regarding the sanctity of life, which was critical regarding a President who was no advocate. See also comments at bottom.
                    Quotations from the early Church Fathers on the Sanctity of Human Life
 The Didache ca 120 AD
“Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 2:2
“The Way of Death is filled with people who are … murderers of children and abortionists of God’s creatures.” 5:1-2
 The Epistle or Barnabas ca 125 AD
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thy own life. Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 19:5
 The Apocalypse of Peter ca 135
“I saw a gorge in which the discharge and excrement of the tortured ran down and became like a lake. There sat women, and the discharge came up to their throats; and opposite them sat many children, who were born prematurely, weeping. And from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women on the eyes. These were those who produced children outside of marriage and who procured abortions.” -26
“Those who slew the unborn children will be tortured forever, for God wills it to so.” -2:264
 Clement of Alexandria ca 150-180
“Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.” -Paedagogus 2
 St. Athenagoras ca 765
“We say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God. For the same person, would not regard the child in the womb as a living being and therefore an object of God’s care and then kill it…. But we are altogether consistent in our conduct. We obey reason and do not override it.” -Legatio 35
 Tertullian ca 160-240
“For us [Christians] we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter when you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one: you have the fruit already in the seed.” -Apology 9:6
“They [John and Jesus] were both alive while still in the womb. Elizabeth rejoiced as the infant leaped in her womb; Mary glorifies the Lord because Christ within inspired her. Each mother recognizes her child and is known by her child who is alive, being not merely souls but also spirits.”
-De A ninta 26:4
 Nlititicilis Felix ca 180-225
“There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings of a man to be – committing infanticide before they even give birth to the infant.” -Octavius
 St. Hippolytus ca 170-236
“Reputed believes began to resort to drugs for producing Sterility and to gird themselves round, so as to expel what was conceived on account of their not wanting to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time.” -Refutation of all Heresies 9:7
 Council of Eivira ca 305
“If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, While her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys the child, it is proper to keep her from communion until death, because she has doubled her crime.” -Canon 63
 St. Basil the Great ca 330-379
“She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus has to pay the penalty of murder…. here it is not only the child to be born that is vindicated, but also the woman herself who made an attempt against her own life, because usually the women die in such attempts. Furthermore, added to this is the destruction of the child, another murder.” -Letter 188:2
“Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves, as well as those receiving the poison which kills the- fetus.” -Letter 188:2
St. Ambrose of Milan ca 339-397
The wealthy, in order that their inheritance may not be divided among several, deny in the very womb their own progeny. By use of’ parricidal mixtures they snuff out the fruit of their wombs in the genital organs themselves. In this way life is taken away before it is born …. Who except man himself has taught us ways of repudiating children?” -Hexameron
St. Jerome ca 342-420
“They drink potions to ensure sterility and are guilty of murdering a human being not yet conceived. Some, when they learn that they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the rulers of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child.” -Letter 22:13
The Apostolic Constitutions ca 380
“Thou shalt not slay the child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. For everything that is shaped, and his received a soul from God, if slain, it shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.” ,-7:3
 St. John Chrysostom ca 340-407
“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth? For you do not even let the harlot remain a mere harlot, but make her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no real name to give it, since it does not destroy the thing born but prevents its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the place of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? -Homily 24 on Romans.
For those who would say that the very early Church was silent on the question of abortion, even the few select quotations quoted above from the Church Fathers give witness to the contrary.
 It should be seriously remembered that they spoke with both authority and truth. And apparently they had no trouble doing it either!  We all must remember that one day each one of us will also have to stand before God and explain him/herself regarding what one has done here on earth and whether or not one had a good conscience, lived a true Catholic life, and in part gave good example as well as care and concern to the most innocent and vulnerable. When one does not act appropriately as noted by, in this case, within the context of the 5th commandment which is from God Himself, one must remember God’s justice which many forget, and it is forever. It is better to have Fear of God (which is the first sign of wisdom) than to fear any man, or the dark worldly ideas on this earth, all of which is very much addressed by St. Paul. 
It is critical to love and gently care for the little one’s in the womb, and consider it a major blessing, than for anyone to think it is okay to kill a human life. God gave us life first. Have we all forgotten this? And so it is very important to care for one’s bodies. How can one even possibly perceive that a woman could kill her own child! What have we become? It  should be honorable, and rightly needed as well, to teach women ‘virtue’ and how they should conduct themselves with modesty, and not let it all hang out and be sloppy in dress to boot, and to teach the commentaries of St. Paul as well. Goodness we just finished a year of St. Paul.  
Freedom always comes with a price, and in part requires a serious responsibility, as well as charity and love. Without an appropriate love, with it’s fine examples (which is found in many women and men's saints lives), as well as the best example of a Mother’s love through looking at the Blessed Mother, we become a dark and doomed country on the path to perdition, and instead  little by little become a very selfish, self-centered non-Christian people. It is far better for Catholics to set a most beautiful example of loving from birth through death, than one which amounts literally to hatred by the killing of innocent life which is a terrible example to every one. One should be able to see that this abortion and those who believe in it  leads to a darkness which induces more killing and emphasizes dramatically a lack of respect for life which will then happen at all levels (both the elderly as well as the innocent young). It also shows a lack of charity and love of  “neighbor" in the tiniest sense, and, certainly it is not love of God or even one’s own self, as our dear Lord would have it.
If a woman cannot respect the beautiful life giving gift in her womb, it is quite a problem, and this needs to be emphasized in teachings from the pulpit and our Catholic colleges, and at home too, and is in part, is what it means to 'be in the world and not of it.' If there is no real respect for the tiny innocent one, how do you think people will react to those who get old? With what respect will they have of the elderly? (Ah yes, the word 'respect.').  Yet, should we not care how the young, who are alive and in this world, are being shown such a viciousness, and terrible example and thinking, by permitting one to speak who believes in the black death of abortion that is being approved of, and  ultimately is disrespect for one’s body (a body which initially comes from the loving hand and care of God .
We need to pray that our dear Lord and Holy Spirit open up all hearts to Him who made us and loved us and placed us on the earth first to do good, be caring and nurturing to all, and provide to others, both in the womb and outside the womb, the loving respect and example they all deserve to receive. Have we all forgotten why God made us in the first place? "To know, love and serve Him in this world, so that we may be happy with Him forever in heaven."  Have we forgotten our roots?
We must remember and reflect on these beautiful words of the Bible –
“I knew you before you were even in the womb…..” In eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you; From the womb before the dawn I begot you (Psalm 110); In the beginning; before time began, the Word was God; In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible (Col. 1:12-20); All were created through Him, all were created for Him, and in Him everything continues in being; The Eternal Life that was present to the Father and visible to us (1 John 1).... My goodness, there can be no greater Love than this!
 Without the respect for the beginning of life in the womb, it should be a concern too that a  ‘health care plan’ might also included sections dealing with euthanasia. And then, to have a person come who was so anti-Catholic in thinking rather than one who is supposed to live and follow the 10 Commandments of God, gives a most horrible example to everyone  who reads about it, or sees it, and that  includes all Catholics because it permits approval  of those things that go against our own faith, and evil views once again permiate over the land and cause massive confusion to all.  Why do this?
It would seem that the necessary 'catechesis,' which is real truth must come from the pulpit.  Pope John Paul II’s most wonderful and yet very direct words must be put into the heart, mind, soul and spirit of every priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal  - “Be Not Afraid.”   
 In part, real catechesis is very much needed, as in the recent Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, who, because of speaking real truth was imprisioned and beheaded for the truth.  And what about the Scriptures that address Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus Certainly, one can address what love is, but  we all need to know how to act as appropriate Christians (how to be in the world and not of it), and these parts of scriptures certainly give one good lessons and show virtues as well. 
As real Christian people, the people that teach in colleges and those who speak at Catholic schools, need to be  good and fine examples of real and authentic Catholic teaching. For it is they who will provide sound counsel and input to our Catholic youth  and help guide them along the 'narrow path.'  Heaven help us if we lose youth because we are all  afraid to have speakers who can enlighten our youth, and can also speak real and honest truth to them and guide them appropriately. Wisdom, be attentive. 
Blessings to all.
 
 
Maggie | 9/1/2009 - 8:52pm
These quotes should be carefully considered regarding the sanctity of life, which was critical regarding a President who was no advocate. See also comments at bottom.
                    Quotations from the early Church Fathers on the Sanctity of Human Life
 The Didache ca 120 AD
“Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 2:2
“The Way of Death is filled with people who are … murderers of children and abortionists of God’s creatures.” 5:1-2
 The Epistle or Barnabas ca 125 AD
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thy own life. Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 19:5
 The Apocalypse of Peter ca 135
“I saw a gorge in which the discharge and excrement of the tortured ran down and became like a lake. There sat women, and the discharge came up to their throats; and opposite them sat many children, who were born prematurely, weeping. And from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women on the eyes. These were those who produced children outside of marriage and who procured abortions.” -26
“Those who slew the unborn children will be tortured forever, for God wills it to so.” -2:264
 Clement of Alexandria ca 150-180
“Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.” -Paedagogus 2
 St. Athenagoras ca 765
“We say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God. For the same person, would not regard the child in the womb as a living being and therefore an object of God’s care and then kill it…. But we are altogether consistent in our conduct. We obey reason and do not override it.” -Legatio 35
 Tertullian ca 160-240
“For us [Christians] we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter when you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one: you have the fruit already in the seed.” -Apology 9:6
“They [John and Jesus] were both alive while still in the womb. Elizabeth rejoiced as the infant leaped in her womb; Mary glorifies the Lord because Christ within inspired her. Each mother recognizes her child and is known by her child who is alive, being not merely souls but also spirits.”
-De A ninta 26:4
 Nlititicilis Felix ca 180-225
“There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings of a man to be – committing infanticide before they even give birth to the infant.” -Octavius
 St. Hippolytus ca 170-236
“Reputed believes began to resort to drugs for producing Sterility and to gird themselves round, so as to expel what was conceived on account of their not wanting to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time.” -Refutation of all Heresies 9:7
 Council of Eivira ca 305
“If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, While her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys the child, it is proper to keep her from communion until death, because she has doubled her crime.” -Canon 63
 St. Basil the Great ca 330-379
“She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus has to pay the penalty of murder…. here it is not only the child to be born that is vindicated, but also the woman herself who made an attempt against her own life, because usually the women die in such attempts. Furthermore, added to this is the destruction of the child, another murder.” -Letter 188:2
“Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves, as well as those receiving the poison which kills the- fetus.” -Letter 188:2
St. Ambrose of Milan ca 339-397
The wealthy, in order that their inheritance may not be divided among several, deny in the very womb their own progeny. By use of’ parricidal mixtures they snuff out the fruit of their wombs in the genital organs themselves. In this way life is taken away before it is born …. Who except man himself has taught us ways of repudiating children?” -Hexameron
St. Jerome ca 342-420
“They drink potions to ensure sterility and are guilty of murdering a human being not yet conceived. Some, when they learn that they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the rulers of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child.” -Letter 22:13
The Apostolic Constitutions ca 380
“Thou shalt not slay the child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. For everything that is shaped, and his received a soul from God, if slain, it shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.” ,-7:3
 St. John Chrysostom ca 340-407
“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth? For you do not even let the harlot remain a mere harlot, but make her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no real name to give it, since it does not destroy the thing born but prevents its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the place of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? -Homily 24 on Romans.
For those who would say that the very early Church was silent on the question of abortion, even the few select quotations quoted above from the Church Fathers give witness to the contrary.
 It should be seriously remembered that they spoke with both authority and truth. And apparently they had no trouble doing it either!  We all must remember that one day each one of us will also have to stand before God and explain him/herself regarding what one has done here on earth and whether or not one had a good conscience, lived a true Catholic life, and in part gave good example as well as care and concern to the most innocent and vulnerable. When one does not act appropriately as noted by, in this case, within the context of the 5th commandment which is from God Himself, one must remember God’s justice which many forget, and it is forever. It is better to have Fear of God (which is the first sign of wisdom) than to fear any man, or the dark worldly ideas on this earth, all of which is very much addressed by St. Paul. 
It is critical to love and gently care for the little one’s in the womb, and consider it a major blessing, than for anyone to think it is okay to kill a human life. God gave us life first. Have we all forgotten this? And so it is very important to care for one’s bodies. How can one even possibly perceive that a woman could kill her own child! What have we become? It  should be honorable, and rightly needed as well, to teach women ‘virtue’ and how they should conduct themselves with modesty, and not let it all hang out and be sloppy in dress to boot, and to teach the commentaries of St. Paul as well. Goodness we just finished a year of St. Paul.  
Freedom always comes with a price, and in part requires a serious responsibility, as well as charity and love. Without an appropriate love, with it’s fine examples (which is found in many women and men's saints lives), as well as the best example of a Mother’s love through looking at the Blessed Mother, we become a dark and doomed country on the path to perdition, and instead  little by little become a very selfish, self-centered non-Christian people. It is far better for Catholics to set a most beautiful example of loving from birth through death, than one which amounts literally to hatred by the killing of innocent life which is a terrible example to every one. One should be able to see that this abortion and those who believe in it  leads to a darkness which induces more killing and emphasizes dramatically a lack of respect for life which will then happen at all levels (both the elderly as well as the innocent young). It also shows a lack of charity and love of  “neighbor" in the tiniest sense, and, certainly it is not love of God or even one’s own self, as our dear Lord would have it.
If a woman cannot respect the beautiful life giving gift in her womb, it is quite a problem, and this needs to be emphasized in teachings from the pulpit and our Catholic colleges, and at home too, and is in part, is what it means to 'be in the world and not of it.' If there is no real respect for the tiny innocent one, how do you think people will react to those who get old? With what respect will they have of the elderly? (Ah yes, the word 'respect.').  Yet, should we not care how the young, who are alive and in this world, are being shown such a viciousness, and terrible example and thinking, by permitting one to speak who believes in the black death of abortion that is being approved of, and  ultimately is disrespect for one’s body (a body which initially comes from the loving hand and care of God .
We need to pray that our dear Lord and Holy Spirit open up all hearts to Him who made us and loved us and placed us on the earth first to do good, be caring and nurturing to all, and provide to others, both in the womb and outside the womb, the loving respect and example they all deserve to receive. Have we all forgotten why God made us in the first place? "To know, love and serve Him in this world, so that we may be happy with Him forever in heaven."  Have we forgotten our roots?
We must remember and reflect on these beautiful words of the Bible –
“I knew you before you were even in the womb…..” In eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you; From the womb before the dawn I begot you (Psalm 110); In the beginning; before time began, the Word was God; In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible (Col. 1:12-20); All were created through Him, all were created for Him, and in Him everything continues in being; The Eternal Life that was present to the Father and visible to us (1 John 1).... My goodness, there can be no greater Love than this!
 Without the respect for the beginning of life in the womb, it should be a concern too that a  ‘health care plan’ might also included sections dealing with euthanasia. And then, to have a person come who was so anti-Catholic in thinking rather than one who is supposed to live and follow the 10 Commandments of God, gives a most horrible example to everyone  who reads about it, or sees it, and that  includes all Catholics because it permits approval  of those things that go against our own faith, and evil views once again permiate over the land and cause massive confusion to all.  Why do this?
It would seem that the necessary 'catechesis,' which is real truth must come from the pulpit.  Pope John Paul II’s most wonderful and yet very direct words must be put into the heart, mind, soul and spirit of every priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal  - “Be Not Afraid.”   
 In part, real catechesis is very much needed, as in the recent Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, who, because of speaking real truth was imprisioned and beheaded for the truth.  And what about the Scriptures that address Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus Certainly, one can address what love is, but  we all need to know how to act as appropriate Christians (how to be in the world and not of it), and these parts of scriptures certainly give one good lessons and show virtues as well. 
As real Christian people, the people that teach in colleges and those who speak at Catholic schools, need to be  good and fine examples of real and authentic Catholic teaching. For it is they who will provide sound counsel and input to our Catholic youth  and help guide them along the 'narrow path.'  Heaven help us if we lose youth because we are all  afraid to have speakers who can enlighten our youth, and can also speak real and honest truth to them and guide them appropriately. Wisdom, be attentive. 
Blessings to all.
 
 
Maggie | 9/1/2009 - 8:40pm
These quotes should be carefully considered regarding the sanctity of life, which was critical regarding a President who was no advocate. See also comments at bottom.
                    Quotations from the early Church Fathers on the Sanctity of Human Life
 The Didache ca 120 AD
“Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 2:2
“The Way of Death is filled with people who are … murderers of children and abortionists of God’s creatures.” 5:1-2
 The Epistle or Barnabas ca 125 AD
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thy own life. Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” 19:5
 The Apocalypse of Peter ca 135
“I saw a gorge in which the discharge and excrement of the tortured ran down and became like a lake. There sat women, and the discharge came up to their throats; and opposite them sat many children, who were born prematurely, weeping. And from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women on the eyes. These were those who produced children outside of marriage and who procured abortions.” -26
“Those who slew the unborn children will be tortured forever, for God wills it to so.” -2:264
 Clement of Alexandria ca 150-180
“Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.” -Paedagogus 2
 St. Athenagoras ca 765
“We say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God. For the same person, would not regard the child in the womb as a living being and therefore an object of God’s care and then kill it…. But we are altogether consistent in our conduct. We obey reason and do not override it.” -Legatio 35
 Tertullian ca 160-240
“For us [Christians] we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter when you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one: you have the fruit already in the seed.” -Apology 9:6
“They [John and Jesus] were both alive while still in the womb. Elizabeth rejoiced as the infant leaped in her womb; Mary glorifies the Lord because Christ within inspired her. Each mother recognizes her child and is known by her child who is alive, being not merely souls but also spirits.”
-De A ninta 26:4
 Nlititicilis Felix ca 180-225
“There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings of a man to be – committing infanticide before they even give birth to the infant.” -Octavius
 St. Hippolytus ca 170-236
“Reputed believes began to resort to drugs for producing Sterility and to gird themselves round, so as to expel what was conceived on account of their not wanting to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time.” -Refutation of all Heresies 9:7
 Council of Eivira ca 305
“If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, While her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys the child, it is proper to keep her from communion until death, because she has doubled her crime.” -Canon 63
 St. Basil the Great ca 330-379
“She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus has to pay the penalty of murder…. here it is not only the child to be born that is vindicated, but also the woman herself who made an attempt against her own life, because usually the women die in such attempts. Furthermore, added to this is the destruction of the child, another murder.” -Letter 188:2
“Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves, as well as those receiving the poison which kills the- fetus.” -Letter 188:2
St. Ambrose of Milan ca 339-397
The wealthy, in order that their inheritance may not be divided among several, deny in the very womb their own progeny. By use of’ parricidal mixtures they snuff out the fruit of their wombs in the genital organs themselves. In this way life is taken away before it is born …. Who except man himself has taught us ways of repudiating children?” -Hexameron
St. Jerome ca 342-420
“They drink potions to ensure sterility and are guilty of murdering a human being not yet conceived. Some, when they learn that they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the rulers of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child.” -Letter 22:13
The Apostolic Constitutions ca 380
“Thou shalt not slay the child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. For everything that is shaped, and his received a soul from God, if slain, it shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.” ,-7:3
 St. John Chrysostom ca 340-407
“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth? For you do not even let the harlot remain a mere harlot, but make her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no real name to give it, since it does not destroy the thing born but prevents its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the place of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? -Homily 24 on Romans.
For those who would say that the very early Church was silent on the question of abortion, even the few select quotations quoted above from the Church Fathers give witness to the contrary.
 It should be seriously remembered that they spoke with both authority and truth. And apparently they had no trouble doing it either!  We all must remember that one day each one of us will also have to stand before God and explain him/herself regarding what one has done here on earth and whether or not one had a good conscience, lived a true Catholic life, and in part gave good example as well as care and concern to the most innocent and vulnerable. When one does not act appropriately as noted by, in this case, within the context of the 5th commandment which is from God Himself, one must remember God’s justice which many forget, and it is forever. It is better to have Fear of God (which is the first sign of wisdom) than to fear any man, or the dark worldly ideas on this earth, all of which is very much addressed by St. Paul. 
It is critical to love and gently care for the little one’s in the womb, and consider it a major blessing, than for anyone to think it is okay to kill a human life. God gave us life first. Have we all forgotten this? And so it is very important to care for one’s bodies. How can one even possibly perceive that a woman could kill her own child! What have we become? It  should be honorable, and rightly needed as well, to teach women ‘virtue’ and how they should conduct themselves with modesty, and not let it all hang out and be sloppy in dress to boot, and to teach the commentaries of St. Paul as well. Goodness we just finished a year of St. Paul.  
Freedom always comes with a price, and in part requires a serious responsibility, as well as charity and love. Without an appropriate love, with it’s fine examples (which is found in many women and men's saints lives), as well as the best example of a Mother’s love through looking at the Blessed Mother, we become a dark and doomed country on the path to perdition, and instead  little by little become a very selfish, self-centered non-Christian people. It is far better for Catholics to set a most beautiful example of loving from birth through death, than one which amounts literally to hatred by the killing of innocent life which is a terrible example to every one. One should be able to see that this abortion and those who believe in it  leads to a darkness which induces more killing and emphasizes dramatically a lack of respect for life which will then happen at all levels (both the elderly as well as the innocent young). It also shows a lack of charity and love of  “neighbor" in the tiniest sense, and, certainly it is not love of God or even one’s own self, as our dear Lord would have it.
If a woman cannot respect the beautiful life giving gift in her womb, it is quite a problem, and this needs to be emphasized in teachings from the pulpit and our Catholic colleges, and at home too, and is in part, is what it means to 'be in the world and not of it.' If there is no real respect for the tiny innocent one, how do you think people will react to those who get old? With what respect will they have of the elderly? (Ah yes, the word 'respect.').  Yet, should we not care how the young, who are alive and in this world, are being shown such a viciousness, and terrible example and thinking, by permitting one to speak who believes in the black death of abortion that is being approved of, and  ultimately is disrespect for one’s body (a body which initially comes from the loving hand and care of God .
We need to pray that our dear Lord and Holy Spirit open up all hearts to Him who made us and loved us and placed us on the earth first to do good, be caring and nurturing to all, and provide to others, both in the womb and outside the womb, the loving respect and example they all deserve to receive. Have we all forgotten why God made us in the first place? "To know, love and serve Him in this world, so that we may be happy with Him forever in heaven."  Have we forgotten our roots?
We must remember and reflect on these beautiful words of the Bible –
“I knew you before you were even in the womb…..” In eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you; From the womb before the dawn I begot you (Psalm 110); In the beginning; before time began, the Word was God; In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible (Col. 1:12-20); All were created through Him, all were created for Him, and in Him everything continues in being; The Eternal Life that was present to the Father and visible to us (1 John 1).... My goodness, there can be no greater Love than this!
 Without the respect for the beginning of life in the womb, it should be a concern also that the ‘health care plan’ apparently  might also included sections onto have someone who was so anti-Catholic  in thinking who is supposed to live the 10 Commandments of God, gives a most horrible example to everyone  including all Catholics because it permits approval, and evil views again permiate over the land.
It would seem that the necessary 'catechesis,' which is real truth must come from the pulpit.  Pope John Paul II’s most wonderful and yet very direct words must be put into the heart, mind, soul and spirit of every priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal  - “Be Not Afraid.”   
 In part, real catechesis is very much needed, as in the recent Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, who, because of speaking real truth was imprisioned and beheaded for the truth.  And what about the Scriptures that address Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus Certainly, one can address what love is, but  we all need to know how to act as appropriate Christians (how to be in the world and not of it), and these parts of scriptures certainly give one good lessons and show virtues as well. 
As real Christian people, the people that teach in colleges and those who speak at Catholic schools, need to be  good and fine examples of real and authentic Catholic teaching. For it is they who will provide sound counsel and input to our Catholic youth  and help guide them along the 'narrow path.'  Heaven help us if we lose youth because we are all  afraid to have speakers who can enlighten our youth, and can also speak real and honest truth to them and guide them appropriately. Wisdom, be attentive. 
Blessings to all.
 
 
J. Laufersweiler | 9/1/2009 - 5:42pm
It would seem a distinction between mortal and venial sin was ignored in the article.
Casey In Chicago | 9/1/2009 - 4:58pm
America be praised for publishing both D'Arcy and Quinn in the same issue, for both have exhibited pastoral tone and substance in their teaching, but whether or not we are bishops, we should be able to take exception without fear of being accused of racism.  Many former Democrats are so far past the condescending indignity of playing the race card, they have evolved into Republicans, in proud company with many enlightened African Americans.
Some comments require two corrections and one refutation: 
John McCain is clearly against, not for, torture.
The justification for invading Iraq had broad bipartisan support, including from leading Democrats (Biden, Clinton, & Emmanuel) in the Obama administration. 
Continuing to abort millions of the unborn is not the way to solve quality of life issues for the unborn.  To suggest that abortion solves problems that Republicans would ignore, like Welfare Moms, is eerily similar to the rationale used by genocidal maniacs like Saddam Hussein when he used WMD as a form of ethnic cleansing.
Quinn never mentions the most historically sound remedy for feeding and curing the poor, i.e., economic development.  It also has a proven track record for maintaining the peace, here and abroad, more so than any experiment in social engineering, which begs two questions of the Archbishop emeritus, with his concern about messages.  Which party in the last four or five decades has been most consistent about sending messages in support of economic development?  Which President has fed and cured more children in Africa than all the others combined during that same period?
dave carlin | 9/1/2009 - 1:11pm

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]The trouble with Archbishop Quinn’s defense of the great honors paid by Notre Dame to President Obama is that three-fourths of his “false messages” defense could have been used to justify giving Catholic honors to Hitler.  [/size]For if the German bishops had condemned Hitler they would have given four “false messages” to the German people:

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"] [/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]1.      [/size][size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]That the bishops of Germany are “partisan political actors.”[/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"] [/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]2.      [/size][size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]That the bishops are “ratifying” the “culture war mentality” – siding with the cultural Right against the cultural Left.[/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"] [/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]3.      [/size][size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"]That the bishops are “indifferent to all grave evils” other than anti-Semitism.[/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"] [/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"][Carlin, who holds a master’s degree from Notre Dame, is a registered Democrat and a former Democratic state senator in Rhode Island, and is the author of the book, Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?][/size]

[size= 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"] [/size]

Vincent C. Muscarello, MD | 8/31/2009 - 8:11pm

It was a privilege to read Bishop Quinn’s thoughtful article.  No person of good will could rightly disagree that when engaging someone with whom we disagree that the principle of cordiality should be our first principle. However, in the public arena where the risk of misrepresentation of Catholic teaching runs high, the principle of cordiality is a knife that cuts both ways with accommodation on one side, and scandal on the other.

 

What His Excellency does not discuss is whether he believes there are limits to the principle of cordiality.  If there are limits to the policy of cordiality, then the 2004 USCCB statement could rightfully be taken as a concrete attempt by Bishop Quinn’s fellow bishops to enshrine such limits in the form of authentic episcopal guidance for Catholic universities.  One possible reason for this is the very same concern raised by Bishop Quinn.  If the Church mandates that its bishops avoid even the perception of involvement in temporal affairs including partisan politics, should the universal Catholic Church not demand the same appearance of transcendence from its most visible teaching institutions? 

 

One might argue that the 2004 USCCB statement actually employs the principle of cordiality by allowing Catholic universities to invite anyone they please for open dialogue as would be expected in panel discussion, forums, and visiting professor lectures.  Indeed, our Catholic universities have the capability of being immensely cordial without having to offer honorary platforms. If, however, cordiality requires mute acceptance of any utterance or action, no matter how sinful, then the USCCB statement should be rescinded.  If limits exist, and Catholic universities such as Georgetown and Notre Dame cannot abide by limits set by the episcopate, then the principle of honesty applies and would require that such institutions be invited—cordially—to remove their Catholic designation so as not to confuse their teaching with the authentic teaching of the Church.

Anne | 8/31/2009 - 6:20pm
I am truly grateful to America for its May editorial, "Sectarian Catholicism" and to Bishop Quinn for speaking up as a bishop in favor of treating cordially those who disagree with us politically. I believe you can morally oppose abortion while disagreeing on the correct political response to it. While we know Obama's political stand on abortion, I do not believe I know his moral stand. He seems more than many politicians to value the individual life.  
Carol A. Murphy | 8/31/2009 - 9:16am
Except for Archbishop Emeritus John R. Quinn and a handful of others, US bishops are passe.  They do not practice what they preach, and they preach from a narrow perspective.  Our current and recently deceased popes continue to promulgate the doctrine of discrimination against women-in writing as  well as in deed.  They are
completely oblivious to their own hyprocrisy.  Who can take them seriously?
 
Vincent C.Muscarello, MD; ND '79 | 8/30/2009 - 2:19pm

I read with great interest and deep appreciation the essay by Bishop John Quinn.  It is a privilege to be given an insight into the thoughts of a holy man and a successor to the apostles.  It is, therefore, with the utmost trepidation that I, as a lay Catholic, ask for further clarification. 

 

As I understand it, His Excellency’s argument can be summarized as follows:

 

The ultimate mandate for Catholic bishops is that in their role as teachers, their “actions and statements remain faithful to the comprehensive and transcendent mission of the Church.”  A new and controversial “strategy of condemnation undermines the Church’s transcendent role in the American political order.”  Therefore, such a strategy should be avoided in favor of a “policy of cordiality” to all those with whom the Church may disagree as a less threatening and judgmental means to engage in dialogue. 

 

As Bishop Quinn articulates this position in the context of the recent controversy at Notre Dame, I presume that His Excellency would argue that such a policy, applied to Catholic universities, should allow them maximum flexibility in choosing their guests of honor.  In that case, the 2004 USCCB statement prohibiting Catholic universities from providing a platform to or bestowing honors on individuals holding views antithetical to the teachings of the Church, should be changed or rescinded to avoid the appearance of appearing partisan or at the very least, inhospitable. 

 

In support of his position, Bishop Quinn states that it is “…the charge of Gaudium et Spes that the church must transcend every political structure and cannot sacrifice that transcendence, and the perception of transcendence, no matter how important the cause.” 

 

I believe that the relevant passage from Gaudium et Spes (section 76) to which the Bishop refers states:

 

“The church, by reason of her role and competence, is not identified with any political community nor is it tied to any political system.  It is at once the sign and safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person.”

 

As to the wider implications of this statement as offered by Bishop Quinn, I would simply defer to His Excellency’s better judgment and to his role as teacher. 

 

I am, however, troubled by a second charge in Gaudium et Spes from the same section (76) which states: 

 

“But at all times and in all places, the church should be genuinely free to preach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among people without hindrance, and to pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls requires it.”

 

This raises the question:  What, if any, are the limits of a policy of cordiality as articulated by Bishop Quinn? 

 

In Matthew (23:33), Jesus addresses the Scribes and the Pharisees—the chief power of the day:  “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?”  Not very cordial.  In Mark (11:15-17), Jesus cleanses the temple, knocking over the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves, berating them for turning the temple into “a den of thieves.”  Not very cordial at all.  Even Saint Peter found himself in line (twice) for a less than cordial rebuke from our Lord:  “Get thee behind me, Satan!” (Matthew6:23, Mark 8:33).  Furthermore, even looking to the Holy See for example, as Bishop Quinn suggests, it is noteworthy that in February of this year, the Holy Father saw fit NOT to grant Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, a photo opportunity.  Also, the Vatican quietly declined to accept the credentials of certain ambassadors proposed by the current administration. One might infer a certain pointed lack of cordiality in these instances. 

 

If there exist circumstances limiting the policy of cordiality, then the 2004 USCCB statement could rightfully be taken as a concrete attempt by Bishop Quinn’s fellow apostles to enshrine such limits in the form of authentic episcopal guidance for Catholic universities.  One possible reason for this is the very same one posited by Bishop Quinn.  If the church mandates that its bishops avoid even the perception of involvement in temporal affairs including partisan politics, should the universal Catholic Church not demand the same appearance of transcendence from its most visible teaching institutions? 

 

Unfortunately, before his fellow bishops could debate the merits of Bishop Quinn’s gentle pastoral argument, the controversy at Notre Dame, as it turned out, erupted into the strongest possible test case of the 2004 USCCB position.  That is, in clear violation of that statement, the most famous Catholic university in the world, and arguably the most visible symbol of Christendom in the United States, chose to host and honor our President, the most powerful political figure in the world.  Moreover, if there was any doubt concerning his true views on the question of abortion, his first actions as president cleared away any such confusion.  By executive order (not an act of Congress), President Obama personally and legally ordered the expansion of abortion rights not only in this country, but across the globe. 

 

How should the Church respond in this setting?  Applying the principle of cordiality, the protestation of 80+ bishops was counterproductive and had the potential of communicating “several false and unintended messages” as delineated in Bishop Quinn’s essay.  Cordiality might dictate that the local Ordinary, representing the USCCB, could have taken the stage at Notre Dame to applaud the president thereby removing any appearance of being on a path of confrontation with his administration and hoping that this might lead to dialogue. Other options for the bishops might be respectful silence or an independently written re-articulation of the Catholic position on life issues.    But then, what about the several false and unintended messages (resulting from cordiality) sent to the Catholic faithful and the rest of the world?  Such is the nature of scandal. 

 

No person of good will could rightly disagree with Bishop Quinn that when engaging someone with whom we disagree that the principle of cordiality should be our first principle.  It is an act of love and charity derived from the truth that we are all created in the image of God.  However, in the public arena where the risk of misrepresentation of Catholic teaching runs high, the principle of cordiality is a knife that cuts both ways.  Given the current circumstances, it should be reserved for the Holy See and our Catholic bishops who are in better position to know how, where, and when to use it.  I believe that one might argue that the 2004 USCCB statement actually employs the principle of cordiality by allowing Catholic universities to invite anyone they please for open, constructive dialogue as would be expected in panel discussion, forums, visiting professor series lectures, etc.  Indeed, our Catholic universities have the capability of being immensely cordial without having to offer honorary platforms. If, however, cordiality requires mute acceptance of any utterance or action, no matter how sinful, then the USCCB statement should be rescinded.  If limits exist, and Catholic universities such as Georgetown and Notre Dame cannot abide by limits set by the episcopate, then the principle of honesty applies and would require that such institutions be invited—cordially—to remove their Catholic designation so as not to confuse their teaching with those of the universal Catholic Church.

Jim Lein | 8/29/2009 - 1:37pm
If Teddy Kennedy's funeral Mass doesn't bring us Catholics closer together, doesn't dilute our partisan differences, what will?
Peter | 8/29/2009 - 10:33am
This article simply repeats the same misconceptions that have characterized this debate from the start. The issue here is simple. Either abortion is the pre-eminent moral issue of our time or it is not. If it is not, the Church has been gravely mistaken. If it is, Bishops can and must do everything in their power to fight against it. They must speak out strongly and forcefully against it and they must condemn it and those who promote it at every turn. They certainly must be willing to take small concessions when they can, and to act pragmatically when the situation demands it, but they must never cease condemning abortion as the grave moral issue that it is. This does not mean they should forget about the rest of Catholic social doctrine. However, if you are a bishop in Hitler's Germany you talk about one thing. If you are a bishop in the antebellum south you talk about one thing. And if you are a bishop in a country when the President has even voted for a bill that forbids doctors to give care to babies that survive abortions (and are born), you talk about one thing. This is not about political parties, this is not about politics, and this is certainly not about racism  (a disgusting and irresponsible thing to say). It is about the destruction of innocent human life. I don't think people who say we talk about abortion too much realize how serious abortion actually is. Nor do they seem to realize the distinction between moral and prudential issues that has always characterized Catholic social doctrine (hint: abortion is in the former, foreign and fiscal policy in the latter). 
MaryMargaret Flynn | 8/29/2009 - 4:35am
Please-every catholic I have ever met condemns abortion.    
William McHenlin | 8/28/2009 - 10:48pm
In 1952, a vibrant young priest became the president of catholic college in rural Indiana known for its spirirted football team. During the next 35 years, that president transformed the college into a nationally recognized university. It was and is quite an acheivement.
Unfortunately, two mistakes were made during that time that have been festering for decades. In 1957, the priest also began a 15 year career as an official of the federal government in the context of a liberation theology movement popular at the time; and in 1967, he had the university separate itself from the Church as memorialized in the Land O' Lakes Statement.
The issue isn't whether President Obama was worthy of an honorary degree, the issue is why this university was allowed to entangle itself in secular politics for so long while simultaneously advertising itself as still part of the Church. The Obama controversy simply brought the pre-occupation with politics to a flash point that can be summed-up in the question: is Notre Dame still catholic?
The public duty of the Bishop is to disentangle this mess and get the university back in alignment with the Church.
Cody Serra | 8/28/2009 - 4:22pm
Thank you, Bishop Quinn, for a real "Catholic" message.  It saddens me greatly the narrowing of aceptance of diversity in our multicultural country and world. I received a Catholic education in the Catholic country of my birth. Now, in my senior years, and having lived about 40 years in the United States. I sense the need for the teaching the Truth without being judgemental and menacing.  In my native country the laws do not support the death penalty because the Catholic Church susscessfully taught the citizenry the evil of it. Why is the Church indifferent to it in this country?  Is Abortion the only sin against life?
The Holy Spirit blesses and inspires all of us, not only the Bishops of the United States.  Maybe the translation of the Spirit's message inspiring love and compassion for all, does not resonate equally in all persons. The abortion law was approved by the Supreme Court 30 years ago. President Obama's personal opinions have little relevance in this discussion.  He cannot change the law, neither can the Bishops using threats of excomunication for disidents or Catholic public offcials. Truth cannot be imposed by force.
I wish Bishop's Quinn's letter be considered and meditated by all Bishops of the United States.  Catholic Bishops from other countries of the world seem to be more in line with Bishop Quinn's Catholic approach to reality.
 
Jim | 8/28/2009 - 12:24pm
We Catholics do not seem to understand or appreciate the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Instead of using our different perspectives to work more effectively toward the common good, we too often bicker and fight and name call.  Some are gifted for confrontation, for efforts at law changing.  Others are gifted for assisting those in need so that they can make better, more reasoned, more moral decisions rather than just react, perhaps rashly, in dealing with pain or overwhelming concerns stemming from poverty.  We need at least these two types of efforts in reducing the number of abortions.  Few persons can do it all.  We each have different interests, talents, points of view.  And all are needed.  The Holy Spirit is wiser than we are.  Whether we are liberal or conservative or some other political stripe is secondary to our being Catholic.     
 
Constance La Sala | 8/28/2009 - 10:35am
It always amazes me to read articles from "Catholic" Bishops both you and D'Arcy proclaiming their righteous, egotisical and narrow minded view (trying so very hard to sound broadminded).......Yes, you stand for what is Catholic.....the Pope, the Bishops, the Priests, but you are not truly Christian .....  Jesus' teachings and all that you profess is contrary  to Jesus......what hypocrisy....what arrogance.....what bias.....
You have no idea of the "real world"........why didn't you protest against the war,killing God's people , our military and "over there".women and children....as your President Bush rallied for......As an aside, I would love to know just what your political affliation is.....Republican no doubt......trying very hard to be a compassionate conservative.
I often wonder if the Catholic Church truly follows Jesus ..... somehow I don't think they woudl recognize him. 
President Obama is a "real" perrson ...... trying very hard to establish equality for all........but that is far beyond the Catholic Church's teaching.
 
Constance La Sala
I
 
 
MAUREEN TURLISH SISTER | 8/28/2009 - 8:17am
I would like, just for once, to read a similarly erudite paper on the concerns the bishops' have on the sanctity of the personhood of all the children who were sexually abused by priests, bishops, deacons and other members of the institutional Roman Catholic Church, to say nothing about the abuse of young men, women, sisters, nuns and vulnerable adults.  
The facts show that they did not have very much at all in the past. 
I would like to read their statements acknowledging the fact that they have sinned greatly by  putting thousands upon thousands of children in harm's way because of their zeal in covering up for abusive clerics who would never have been able to abuse them if the bishops had acted responsibly, removed them from ministry and called the police!   
All this to protect an institution from scandal. 
The bishops' "principles of cordiality"  that Quinn mentions were glaringly absent in the correspondence and other records included in grand jury reports, etc., that I have read regarding the these horrific violations of children.  
In talking with many victims who have been sexually abused by priests, I have not been told of any "principles of cordiality" that they experienced with bishops or any other diocesan representatives.
 I would like to read a paper that a Bishop Quinn or any other bishop tried to present at the bishops' conference that addresses the violations that they, the bishops, past and present, have been responsible for in light of the UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD of which the Holy See is a signatory! 
And since the denial of Holy Communion was mentioned by Bishop Quinn above, may I ask how many convicted, known or credibly accused sexual predators have been denied communion?  None that I have heard. 
The bishops have failed terribly to protect the "least of the Lord's little ones." in their conspiracy to protect an institution's reputation from scandal.  They have failed on both counts. 
Even now the movement seems to be to "remove these men from ministry" by diocesan bishops or "officially remove these men from ministry" by the pope when petitioned, with a recommendation to live out their days in prayer and penance in the case of bishops, rather that the defrocking, laicization, and excommunication that they deserve.
Jesus said, "If anyone harms one of these least of my little ones, it would be better if a millstone was tied around his neck and he was tossed into the sea."
I find Archbishop Quinn's remarks disingenuous and self serving at best.
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Victims' Advocate
New Castle, Delaware
[url=mailto:maureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com]maureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com[/url]
 
 
Jim Lein | 8/27/2009 - 7:39pm
Superb article.  So many truths clearly stated.  One I've thought for some time but have never articulated nearly as well: "The great tragedy of American politics from a Catholic perspective is that party structures in the US bisect the social teachings of the church, thus making it impossible for most citizens to identify and vote for a candidate who adequately embraces the spectrum of catholic teaching for the common good." 
 
We have divided ourselves, our church. Politics seems to cut deeper than our faith.  And our faith does not reflect our name, catholic: comprehensive, universal, broad in sympathies, tastes or interests.   Politics can be bitter, hateful, intolerant and unforgiving.  Bringing it into church it not the answer. Better is Bishop Quinn's suggestion to follow the Holy See's policy of cordiality, starting with one another.          
Deacon John M. Edgerton | 8/27/2009 - 4:38pm
Dear America Editor:
In reading Archbishop Quinn's comments in America, 8/31/09, I am reminded of a Catholic Lawyer friend of mine who said, "the problem with the Church in America today, when faced which controversies over what the Church teaches about Faith and Morals is that it is mimicing society in how it responds to these challenges.  The Archbishops four points is really all about the perception the Church could be giving rather than what the Gospel Truth is as entrusted to Christ's Church.  Unfortunately, Quinn focused on the person and personage of President Obama rather than on the person, Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, and his Administration and some of his fellow priests who supported his "Invitation" and bestowal of a honrary degree.
All one has to do is read the accompanying article by Bishop John D'Arcy over the "differences" that Notre Dame has with it's Bishop under the guise of "academic freedom."  For years, Fr. Jenkins (along with some 30 other Catholic Colleges and Universities, have allowed a gay and lesbian student Club on campus.  They have also sponsored "The Vagina Monologues" with explicit oral sex descriptions between two women.  Is that what Jesus would be silent about?  Is that what one would perform before Our Lady, the Mother of the whole Church?  Also, Father Jenkins invited Sister Jeanne Grammick, who has been barred by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, now our Holy Father, from speaking at any Institution of Catholic Learning because of her disagreements with the teaching of the Church on sexual mores for homosexuals and for heterosexuals.  Is that the obedience Father Jenkins and his fellow compardres promised at their Ordination to the Priesthood and the Bishop in whose diocese they are subject to his being the Vicar of Christ in that diocese and it's responsible Teacher of the Faith.
No, the scandal of Notre Dame will live for a long time or at least until the Bishop excercises his canonical authority and removes the preaching and teaching faculties of Fr. Jenkins and all the priests who support him.  It is only then  will the other Catholic Colleges and Universities, many of them Jesuit, will begin to understand what Ex Corde Ecclesiam is all about and why it must be enforced.  Canon Laws were made to put "things right" not to punish but to correct.  My mother used to say, when correcting me, "freedom without laws" leads to chaos.  The reason why we have many pick and choose "cafeteria Catholics" is because we have too many "cafeteria
bishops.  What we need are those who can walk the talk like Bishop St. John Fisher.
Deacon John M. Edgerton
jan | 8/27/2009 - 3:10pm
I think that there is a big difference between 'engaging leaders for discussion' and 'setting them as a role model by giving them Catholic honors'.  I also think that there is a big difference between 'sanctions' and 'finding a different person to which give an honor'. 
Jorge Rodriguez | 8/27/2009 - 3:04pm
Archbishop Quinn brings up an important point, that of cordiality. I think the principle of cordiality would have been served best from the start if the University of Notre Dame had not asked President Obama to give the address, or at least not giving the President an honorary degree.
Mona Werner | 8/27/2009 - 3:02pm

I welcomed Archbishop Quinn's thoughtful remarks, and thank you for publishing them.  His words seem to me to come from a heart that has prayerfully reflected on a matter that is in danger of becoming the "elephant under the rug" in the room of Catholic discourse.  I am a lifelong Catholic and member of a Religious Order, yet I must admit that I have personally been dismayed and even offended by the level of discourse coming even from some of our Bishops.  I agree with Archbishop Quinn when he states:   "The bishops’ voice has been most credible in the cause of life when we have addressed this issue as witnesses and teachers of a great moral tradition, and not as actors in the political arena."
I welcome the teachings of our Bishops, but am offended when they seem to side with one political party over another

Charles E. Morris | 8/27/2009 - 2:55pm
The whole controversy could have been avoided had Notre Dame not invited Obama in the first place. The public perception is that Notre Dame is wobbly on abortion.
Peggy Saunders | 8/27/2009 - 1:53pm
What a pity that Archbishop Quinn's remarks were not presented and discussed at the bishops' meeting! I hope that this can be remedied at the next one because his recommendation is critical to the teaching mission of the Church. While it is important to speak the truth, how it is spoken and with what respect to the audience dramatically impacts how the message is received. And when the bishops' are preceived as closed minded, partisan and arrogant, their teaching on other justice issues will be ignored as well. The excellent pastoral mission of good teachers like Archbishop Quinn suffers when the poor attitude of others is publicized.
Louise Lutz | 8/27/2009 - 1:34pm

I would like to comment on one section of this article in particular. The article states "The dilemma that confronts us today is whether the church’s vision is best realized on the issue of abortion by focusing our witness on the clear moral teaching about abortion and public law, or whether it is preferable or obligatory to add to that teaching role the additional role of directly sanctioning public officials. . ." Certainly both need to happen but first and foremost is the education of the Catholic community - ALL of the Catholic community. I know that many bishops - Like Chaput and others - have spoken out against the intrinsic evil of abortion, but I assure you that there are many, many Catholics, including priests and nuns, that do not really know the seriousness of what is happening. I have been on both sides of the fence that separates religious and  clergy from the laity (was a religious nun but crossed over the fence). I have been on this side of the fence for 35 years. Not once have I ever heard from the pulpit any teachings about abortion as a serious moral issue. Yes, we pray for an end to abortions, but that is all. My God, let us treat this serious wrong with appropriate seriousness. Priests need to strongly speak out against it. They need to show movies of actual abortions being performed. It cannot be treated in the wishy washy manner in which it is currently being treated. Yes, the bishops have spoken out, but believe me - that teaching only reaches the minority of people who read national Catholic newspapers and magazines like your own. Even our diocesan newspaper has never strongly addressed the issue. The National Catholic Register hammers away at the subject continuously. Good for them. Everyone else seems to be afraid they might offend someone. Please address the issue of educating the Catholic laity. No offense, but I don't believe the the hierarchy has any idea of the ignorance of the Catholic laity when it comes to Catholic doctrine.
Hope you are listening.

Sean | 8/27/2009 - 12:41pm
I wish other American bishops would adopt the sort of pastoral approach Bishop Quinn and Lori have advocated. The Bishops have become divided over the "how" rather than the "what" in responding to abortion. His political analysis is correct: as a result, the hostile approach many of his brothers have taken only served to create the impression that the Bishops are partisan rather than issue-focused. Personalizing abortion around Obama furthered that, while ignoring both the racial progress his candidacy represented and McCain's support for torture and unjust war. The roaring silence of the American Bishops in the face of unjust war, torture and support of GW Bush, who as governor of Texas encouraged the execution of hundreds, some of whom we now know were wrongly convicted, certainly is evidence of episcopal "indifference" to all threats to the dignity of life, but one.
Charity in Truth | 8/27/2009 - 10:55am
The good bishop does little to dispel misconceptions and much to increase them.
Is the greatest problem with leaders in the US a problem of compassion, or a problem of consistency and truth?  Looking at Obama's domestic concern for the poor, and Bush's concern for Africans, it is evident that the lacking eliment is not compassion, but consistant compassion based on truth.
Maybe the Pope's new encyclical "Charity in Cordiality" would be a good read for this bishop. (Or maybe it was called something else?)
David Bruning | 8/27/2009 - 10:00am
Thank you for publishing Bishop Quinn's insightful remarks.  Whether or not to give university honors to a public figure is a judgment call, and people can agree or disagree in good faith. To reinforce this point, Bishop Darcy's article also made many valid points. But bishops do have to be aware of the impression that their selective actions make on the public.  And I particularly appreciate Bishop Quinn's remarks about reinforcing the so-called "culture wars." This language is toxic for the Catholic Church and our mission. While public sanctions cannot be completely ruled out, they are a last resort and not an ordinary way to make a point about moral teaching.
James Sheehan | 8/27/2009 - 8:36am
I find it troubling that the party that wants to cut entitlement programs is also the party that supposedly (all talk no action) wants abortion to be illegal.  It is all a hoax and some people are obviously duped.  If abortion is ever illegal in this country, we will see the return of "welfare Moms."   And we all know how much the GOP loves them!  Will these so called "proLifers" (after the ND fiasco, I now call them anti-abortionists) argue for the expansion of the social safety net and an increase in taxes to support them?  Please let's be honest.
The US Bishops are first and foremost good republicans.  And when they speak I give them the same credibility and authority as their leader Rush Limbaugh
 
JJ | 8/26/2009 - 11:36am
The question still lingers:  Can a president who publicly favors in word and deed the wholesale killing of innocent life by abortion be honored at a Catholic university?  The answer is so simple, yet many prefer to tiptoe around and the answer and put forth arguments that only muddle a clear response.
joan Sheridan | 8/26/2009 - 10:58am
I am only a third grade teacher so I can't answer all the remarks by Bishop Quinn.  But all my years of teaching little children has helped me know when the truth is being stretched and Bishop Quinn was stretching the truth.  To bring up racism is especially annoying.  Most of us don't even think of race when it comes to President Obama.  And certainly the civil rights issue of the 21st century is abortion.
Larry | 8/26/2009 - 9:26am
After reding this article, I understand why we are in the mess we are in as a Church and as a society. It reflects unacceptable compromise and a spirit of cowardice. Talk is cheap; action requires courage. I am very saddened by the article by Archbishop Quinn.
Paul L Gerace | 8/25/2009 - 8:35pm

Archbishop Quinn states "Republican candidates are, in general, more supportive of the church’s position on abortion and euthanasia, while Democratic candidates are generally stronger advocates for the Catholic vision on issues of poverty and world peace. The condemnation of President Obama and the wider policy shift that represents signal to many thoughtful persons that the bishops have now come down firmly on the Republican side in American politics."

I would argue that the bishops have come down on the side of Truth.  The fact that more Republicans may support the Truth is fine.  Since when is the Church's support of the Truth political?  Unfortunately, Archbishop Quin's perception of thoughtful persons in today's world shows just how uninformed people are about right and wrong.  I trust the Church will be more forceful in communicating the Truth to the world. 

Sr. Marilyn Wallace | 8/25/2009 - 7:26pm
"Going to the Republican side of politics"is a statement made by Archbishop Quinn to question those who would oppose President Obama's receiving honors at Notre Dame.  Yet in the first part of his article, he states the fundamental truths about the Church's teaching on abortion.  However  this question remains:  "Does truth have an obligation once it's found?  Can it remain abstracted from daily life under the guise of "transcendence"?  And is the search for truth nothing more than an endless dialogue with so called "friends"?  Is not the accusation about "the Republican side of politics" not a political fear itself- of coming face to face with the concrete demands of truth?  If Pope Benedict XVI had been nothing more than cordial or friendly with President Obama, he would never have handed him a copy of the Church's position on abortion!
R.C. | 8/25/2009 - 7:11pm
Wonderful piece.
I have only one quibble about it: The piece states that the Democratic Party is more in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church with respect to "poverty."
How is that the case?
Statistically, Republicans voluntarily give more to the poor than Democrats (source: Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism by Arthur C. Brooks); usually, Republicans are nearly twice as generous to the needy. Conservatives also statistically volunteer more of their time. This is true at all income levels.
This is what I had always suspected from knowing both Republicans and Democrats vocationally and being able to compare the usual generosity of the one group with the comparative stinginess of the other, as expressed in their tax returns.
But apparently some in the U.S. aren't aware of this truism, and suspect the reverse? I don't know.
In any case, I wonder why Archbishop Quinn says that Democrats are more in line with Church teachings with respect to "poverty."
Either he is mis-informed, or he is disregarding the morality of private voluntary almsgiving, and focusing entirely on public policy.
If he is focusing entirely on public policy, then to state that the Democrats are more in line with Church teaching means, by definition, that the Democratic party approach to alleviating poverty (the welfare state, with income transfers centralized in the Federal government) is more Catholic than the Republican party approach (the free market, low taxes, high economic growth and job growth, and encouragment of private charity).
If this is actually Archbishop Quinn's view, then I must dissent from it for five reasons:
(1.) Much of the Federal, centralized welfare state system is arguably unlawful when the U.S. consitution is interpreted faithfully according to the intent and traditions of those who wrote it - that is, using the same standard of interpretation we use with Scripture and Canon Law and the like. The Catholic church, with its respect for the rule of law, does not, I think, require the Catholic voter to support parties which offer unconstitutional policies.
(2.) The Democrats' approach undermines the Catholic ethic of Subsidiarity, in which taking care of the poor is first the duty of individuals, then of families, then of communities, then of towns or cities or counties, then of states, and as a last resort and to the least degree, of the Federal government. That which can be done at two levels should, in the Catholic view, be done at the lower of the two by default.
(3.) The Democratic party's approach generally resembles the European model - under which private almsgiving has nearly vanished in Europe. Whereas the average Democrat might give 2-3% of his pre-tax income to help the poor, and the average Republican might give 6-7%, the average European hasn't heard of the concept or gives a fraction of a percent. There is reason to believe that the philosophy of alms being the responsibility of the state, rather than the man, has created this despicable and amoral circumstance. It is hard to imagine that mother Church, in all her charity, would be sanguine about repeating that experience in the United States, which is the world leader in private alms both to her own citizens and to the poor worldwide.
(4.) The various encyclicals on the subject of poverty, social doctrine, and such make it our obligation to give the poor his due under law in terms of equal protection. This has clear legal ramifications. But whenever those encyclicals state that we are morally obligated to give the poor man alms from the fruits of our just labor, the obligation is always stated as a moral obligation of individuals. It is never stated as a moral obligation to enact income-transfer by law.
This is an important distinction. No Republican denies that we are morally obligated to give voluntarily; indeed, they make better account of themselves on that score than Democrats (on average). But Republicans deny that we are morally obligated to hold our neighbors at gunpoint and force THEM to give whether they will or not. That is what income transfers do; it is an entirely different moral point, and one on which the Church has not specifically spoken.
All she has said on the subject can be summed up as: She does not think it her place nor a core competence of the clergy to approve specific economic and political techniques for achieving a better life for the poor.
That being the case, how can Archbishop Quinn state that the Democrats' solution for poverty is more Catholic?
(5.) One should be cautious about initiating the use of force to compel obedience to a moral law. There are times it should be done; times it is immoral to do it; and times when it may not be immoral but it is very unwise because it produces unintended results. Catholic ethicists formulated the Just War Doctrine in response to the need to codify guidelines in these areas.
In the area of the needy poor, we know that if a rich man (because of a disordered desire for goods) refuses bread to a starving poor man who is in dire need, the starving poor man may justly take bread from the rich man for his survival. This is a case "in the gravest extreme" like the emergency of defending one's family from a crazed home intruder: The need to defend life changes the rules somewhat. However the poor man may not do so if he is merely somewhat hungry; he cannot do it if he has other options; and if he later has money to pay the rich man back he must do so.
The Democrat welfare approach takes this scenario and normalizes it, saying that in general the poor are in emergency dire straits, in general they have no other recourse, in general the rich refuse them assistance, and therefore in general they are authorized to take by force through a third party (the government).
Which is a moral leap too far, ethically unsupportable. Which is why Catholic moral teaching doesn't require it.
The rest of the article was spot-on, and of course no Catholic should make permanent cause with any political party.
But the statement that Democrats are "better on poverty" seems to me an all-too-common error resulting from minimal or no actual investigation or thought.
Art ND 76 | 8/25/2009 - 6:36pm
I agree that there is the potential for "False Messages" being read in to public sanction by members of the Catholic Episcopate. However, the omission of a clear public sanction in response to scandal by a Catholic institution or by prominent Catholic public office holders sends a "False Message" that is far worse.
I would hold that the most serious impediment to effective teaching is to be silent. To me the silence from California regarding this scandal sent a "False Message" that was deafeningly loud.
There comes a point when "friendship" is no longer as useful for the Church as it is for Her enemies in attempting to keep Her quiet while Her flock is being confused and scattered.

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