Friday, May 15, 2009
I am furious that Notre Dame University has invited President Obama to give their commencement address on Sunday. This is 100% inappropriate behavior for a Catholic University, particularly the University which has formerly been regarded as THE Catholic University in America. As a sidenote, Notre Dame has long been distancing itself from this title and with this move has finally forfeited all right to such.
Now, there are appropriate ways to respond to this abomination and there are inappropriate ways. Students at Notre Dame have been the paramount example of the appropriate way to respond. On their website, http://www.ndresponse.com/, students have laid out their plans for protest. These plans are appropriate, above all, because they are rooted in PRAYER. In fact, what better way to fight a battle than by calling on aid from those more powerful than oneself? The action of the University is a direct offense to "Notre Dame" (French for "Our Lady"), what better way to deal with it then, than by appealing to her Son?
The protest which the student group has GAINED PERMISSION FOR (note how they appropriately continue show respect for their university and it's faculty), on Saturday and Sunday, begins at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in an on-campus chapel. Bishop D'Arcy, the bishop of South Bend, Indiana where the University of Notre Dame resides, will be attending Adoration (for the first time in years he will not be attending Notre Dame's commencement). Adoration will conclude at 10:45 a.m. Sunday with Benediction. At 11:15 a.m. Sunday Mass will be celebrated followed at 12:30 p.m. by "a rally affirming the uniquely Catholic and pro-life foundation of Notre Dame" ( http://www.ndresponse.com/commencement.html). The rally will include six speakers linked with Notre Dame: Rev. John Raphael, SSJ; ND '89, Elizabeth Naquin Borger; ND '78, former Chairman of the Board of the Women's Care Center, Dr. David Solomon; Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame; W.P. and H.B. White Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture; Chair of the steering committee for the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life, Rev. Wilson Miscamble, CSC; ND '77 (M.A.), '80 (Ph.D.), '87 (M. Div.); Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, Lacy Dodd; ND '99; Room at the Inn Board of Directors, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chris Godfrey; ND Law '93; Life Athletes (Founder and President); starting offensive guard for Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants.
At 2:00 seniors who have made the admirable decision to forego their graduation, invite supporters to join them for a Vigil for Life at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. "Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will be leading a Scriptural Rosary during this prayer vigil." (http://www.ndresponse.com/commencement.html) At 3:45 there will be a final blessing before the departure of travelers. At 6:00 NDaffirmLife.org will be hosting a post-commencement party for the courageous students who chose to forego their own graduation in order to stand up for life.
Every moment of this protest shines forth the love of Christ which all Catholics are called to radiate. The kindness of thinking to include a post-commencement party for those courageous students who have glorified Christ through their foregoing an event so long and happily anticipated, in order to stand up for the little ones, is truly moving. I am truly impressed with the students of Notre Dame for organizing this protest, which so beautifully represents what the Catholic Church stands for.
In addition the students of ND Response have been organizing protests ever since the university's announcement of President Obama as the commencement speaker. Following Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on April 5, 2009, students participated in the first official demonstration, a prayerful rally held in front of the University's main building. On Friday, April 17, the first Notre Dame March for Life began at 6:00 p.m. in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes followed by speakers and a march. Two ongoing events have been a nightly Rosary at the Grotto and a Red Envelope campaign to Fr. John Jenkins, the President of the University, who is responsible for bringing President Obama to Notre Dame. All supporters, both students and non-students, have been asked to address a red envelope to Fr. Jenkins and include this message on the outside of the envelope: "Fr. Jenkins, This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world. This envelope was going to be sent to President Obama on March 31st. However, as he is scheduled to receive an Honarary Doctorate of Laws Degree from Notre Dame on May 17th, we ask that you deliver it to him on our behalf at that time." Non-student supporters are also asked to pray a nightly Rosary in communion with those at the Grotto, and, from April 8 to May 17, the forty days leading up to the commencement, supporters have been asked to assist in praying 1 million Rosaries for a conversion of heart for President Obama. In addition, the students also encouraged student supporters to attend the University's Fifth Annual Eucharistic Procession on April 26, not for the purpose of causing any disruption, but to take the opportunity to "pray for Our Lady's University" (http://www.ndresponse.com/commencement.html).
In stark contrast with the students of Notre Dame, we have also had some shining examples of inappropriate ways to deal with the University of Notre Dame's abhorrent actions. I am happy for students of Notre Dame that none of their own have been involved in such inappropriate protests. However, there have been those who have seen fit to take matters into their own hands, and even go so far as to criticize Bishops(!) for not engaging in their antiquated tactics which have had no effect whatsoever. Randall Terry is a good man who has, sadly, never lost the Operation Rescue mentality. Getting arrested saved lives and made a difference at the time. It has not been feasible for many years. It is certainly not appropriate in this situation. And it is certainly not appropriate for the recently converted Terry to think himself equal to reprimanding Bishops (St. Padre Pio once belted a guy for daring to criticize a bishop). Where the Notre Dame students have admirably shown respect to all, even to those who have forfeited any right they had to respect, others have acted with contempt. Clearly, all involved have good intentions, however, when it becomes obvious that one's actions are causing more harm than good, it is appropriate for one to cease such actions immediately. I would call on all those acting in contempt of Notre Dame's policy that on-campus demonstrations be organized by students and approved by the university, to cease their divisive actions and place themselves at the
service of the Notre Dame Response students.
That being said, the University has also acted heinously towards protesters. There are certain actions, such as parading around baby dolls covered in fake blood, which I would absolutely support the University's dealing appropriately with. However, for a Catholic university to arrest men and women for praying the Rosary is despicable. The video below shows the aggressive arrest of the 80 year old Father Norman Weslin. I can not think of words horrendous enough to describe the day when Our Lady's University authorised the arrest of a priest in the service of the Son of Our Lady.
The following is the official video of ND Response: