Notre Dame: The Fallout

The three major take-aways I’ve seen are: (1) Obama’s speech shows he’s actually “moderate” on abortion, (2) Notre Dame Loves Obama, and (3) only a handful of students protested. As this “gay news service” blog puts it in an article title “Notre Dame Protest Flops”:

President Obama arrived at Notre Dame to thunderous applause and he

concluded his speech to thunderous applause. At one point, two or three

protesters tried to disrupt Obama’s speech. They were quickly drowned out by the

crowd chanting “yes we can” in unison.

We were promised by Fr. Jenkins that the invitation to Obama wouldn’t obscure Notre Dame’s pro-life, Catholic identity. Does anyone still believe that? Did they ever?

Of course, one of the reasons that there were only “two or three” protestors disrupting Obama’s speech was that Notre Dame was having the pro-lifers arrested. Granted, these were the sort of obnoxious activists, who care more about creating a media frenzy than creating change, but still. A Catholic university honoring a radically pro-choice president while having the dissent silenced through use of police doesn’t sound that much like the “dialogue-creating” we were promised. Oh yeah. Especially when they’re arresting a priest.

But let’s ignore the radical protestors, and focus just on the ND Response group. They were, in keeping with a proud Catholic tradition of fighting for social justice, doing just that:

“We’re committed to a prayerful, peaceful protest,” senior Emily Toates

told “We will not be showing any graphic images. There is a place

for them, but it can dilute your message, and we want to make sure our message

is heard.”

Unfortunately, they were but a handful. About two dozen in all. And oh, the indignities they suffered. Not only were these Catholics defending their faith few in number, isolated on their campus, and a joke nationally, they suffered (and suffer) more indignities to boot. Randall Terry of “Operation Rescue” fame hijacked what little on-campus opposition there was, proclaiming “We will make this a circus.” And of course, that’s what got the media attention. But that indignity, I feel, was less hurtful than this – the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said of the event:

Yesterday, too, as could have been predicted, there were protests. But from the podium set up in the basketball arena, the president invited Americans of every faith and ideological conviction to ‘work in common effort’ to reduce the number of abortions.”

I wonder if there is a way to be more dismissive of the strong stance taken by these defenders of the Faith? Ah yes. Parroting this:”Obama confirmed what he expressed at his 100-day press conference at the White House, when he said that enacting a new law on abortion was not a priority of his administration.” He’s already done it.

FOCA, as I’ve said all along, was a legislative long-shot. The bills major use is that it turns the debate extreme (and absurd). Pro-lifers use the fear of FOCA to drum up support (or perhaps, to try and drum up support), which extreme pro-choicers do as well. The more clever pro-choicers point to FOCA as the extreme, and say things like, “we don’t want to do that. We just want to repeal the Mexico City policy.” It allows Obama to pursue a radical pro-choice agenda, so long as he stops short of FOCA (which both sides have to realize would be legislative suicide if passed). This is almost definitely a case of a politically-savvy Obama administration playing the bishops (and numerous other politically tone deaf, but well-intentioned pro-lifers) as dupes.

L’Osservatore Romano, sadly, isn’t on the side of the tone deaf dupes, but on the side of the Obama apologists who seem to think being a “little” pro-choice is okay, so long as FOCA stays a pro-choice pipe dream and a pro-life nightmare. If this seems like an extreme reaction, perhaps you should consider the trend:

Vatican newspaper: Obama’s stem-cell research guidelines ‘not so very permissive’

Vatican Radio, newspaper offer assessments of Obama inauguration

Vatican’s moderate line on Obama has deep roots (John Allen explaining and defending the difference in tone).

Please, don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s best for all involved for pro-lifers to work with Obama, instead of demonizing him. But I’m disturbed by L’Osservatore’s Giuseppe Fiorentino’s seeming willingness to both whitewash Obama’s actual record on life issues, and undermine well-meaning young Catholics who stand up for their faith. To those who were villified by CNN, L’Osservatore, and those on and off Notre Dame’s campus who are hostile to Catholic values, I say only:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:7-10).

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