Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Politics and religion, and the Notre Dame invites President Obama fight.

Separation of Church and State - and yet...
.
Elena of Tea at Trianon, has an interesting post regarding the 2007 installation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an honorary Canon of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, she writes, "This honor was not bestowed upon President Sarkozy due to his personal merits or personal wealth and power, but solely because he is the French head of state."
.
Elena summarizes the history associated with the honor, originating with the conversion of Henry IV, and adds, "The Kings of France who followed Henry IV were accorded the same honorary office of canon, as have some of the French presidents, including Sarkozy. It is not because of the personal prestige of any of those men, rather it is clear that the Holy See has seen the importance of emphasizing the tie between the Lateran basilica, the Pope's own Church, and the people of France." Elena continues, " The tradition of making the French head of state an honorary canon of St. John Lateran may seem to some to be an empty gesture in these times of declining faith. It is more than just a gesture, however, for it symbolizes an ancient pact and a tie which, in spite of revolution and apostasy, has never been entirely severed." - Tea At Trianon
.

So I don't get the huge uproar over the University of Notre Dame following tradition and inviting a seated President to make a commencement address? Especially considering how the French President, and those who received the honor of Canon before him, like President Obama, hold political and moral views in opposition to Roman Catholic teaching, yet the honor of Chanoine was awarded them.
.
The elephant in the room.
.
If anything, I believe the real issue most people are ignoring regarding the invitation to President Obama is that this situation exposes the fact that many Catholic institutions have dissented from Catholic teaching for decades. They have not only tolerated, but sought out progressive and dissenting voices at variance with the Magisterium as lecturers and teachers, diminishing, if not deconstructing Catholic identity and doctrine. Our Catholic colleges and universities, and in many cases, high schools have operated thus with impunity, even while many Bishops sat on their boards. There you have the real disgrace people. The hens are coming home to roost. If anything, perhaps this fiasco can be the catalyst necessary to reform Catholic education.

.
PLEASE NOTE:
.
I have linked to Elena's post at Tea At Trianon so that readers may locate her statements in the context she intended them. I simply cited these particular statements because they evoked my personal considerations regarding the Obama/Notre Dame controversy. I ought to stress that Elena does not in any way endorse the invitation or the award to be bestowed upon President Obama. I would also like to clarify that Elena sees no parallel whatsoever with the honor bestowed upon the French Head of State and the invitation to President Obama. My sincere apologies if I gave that impression.
.
(Surfing for a photo to use in this post, I came upon one of a graduate student from a previous Notre Dame commencement, kneeling, praying the rosary, with his back to President Bush in protest of the war.)
.
Update: Archbishop Nienstedt of Minneapolis/St. Paul has written the president of Notre Dame protesting the invitation of President Obama, whom the Archbishop Nienstedt identified as "an 'anti-Catholic politician' and whose 'deliberate disregard of the unborn' does not deserve Notre Dame’s 'public support.'” - Source
.
That settles that.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the link, Terry. The only way that the two situations would be comparable would be if Notre Dame invited a President of the United States to the commencement every single year because of some long tie between Notre Dame and the U.S Presidency. But since every year they invite a different notable to speak, it is not quite the same as the Vatican making the French head of state an honorary canon at St. John Lateran. The latter is to honor the centuries old connection between the Church and the Eldest Daughter of the Church. It is not honoring Sarkozy in himself.

    I think that it is highly inappropriate for an institution which is supposedly dedicated to Catholic education to invite a politician to speak who is pro-choice and give him an honorary degree.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What you said about the real elephant in the room is all too true, sadly. This deconstruction spills over into all aspects of our Catholic Faith....dissent is honorable and adherence and obedience is "blind faith".

    And yet the Church teaches that the search for Truth and Meaning leads to Christ. Clinging to the world's wisdom drags us down. What does the world offer anyway?

    A glimmer of hope perhaps: One of our local Catholic schools is going to ask all faculty and staff to sign an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium. Shouldn't this be the norm anyway?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The gargolye is the perfect picture for this post--evil lurks everywhere--in the old churches they would hide small gargolyes to remind the one who happened to come across one--that evil is everywhere--yes even in churches, and at ND!!!

    (I'm going to get a few gargoyle for the garden this Summer.)

    Archbishop Nienstedt rocks! Obama "an anti-Catholic politician." Who does not deserve ND public support, and I would add an anti-Christ who supports the killing of innocents, and not deserving of any public support.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I should probably just keep my opinions to myself, seeing as it's opposite to that of most of my fellow traditionalist Catholic friends and family, but I can see ND's side in this. I mean, he's the president of the United States, after all. Granted, that office no longer holds the tremendous mark of distinction it once held in pre-BillClinton years, but he is still pretty much the Leader of the Free World. And, whether we love him or hate him, he *is* the first black president, ever. The historical significance makes it quite understandable.

    I wonder if it could be possible for the university president, or the local archbishop to give a sort of verbal disclaimer at the beginning of the invocation? Like a few words stressing the Church's position on pro-life issues, and add that "not all the policies expressed by this president are those of the Holy Roman Catholic Church," or something?

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.