Nat Hentoff takes President Obama to task

Friday, May 29, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

Nat Hentoff’s characteristically blunt and ‘no b.s.’ columns used to be one of chief attractions of the Village Voice, before they made the foolish mistake of letting him go. Politically he’s not one you can apply a label to — in 2003 he supported the removal of Saddam Hussein’s murderous dictatorship on humanitarian grounds, but as a supporter of the First Amendment and civil liberties, harshly criticized the more excessive measures taken by the Bush administration.

Unapologetically pro-life, he is a staunch opponent of the death penalty and abortion (the latter apparently causing some tension with his liberal colleagues at the Voice) and vigorously opposed the court-ordered murder of Terry Schiavo.

Not surprisingly, he established a rapport with the feisty John Cardinal O’Connor, about whom he wrote an appreciative biography.

A self-described “member of the Proud and Ancient Order of Stiff-Necked Jewish Atheists,” he is also one who might merit the attribution: “on the side of the angels.”

Now, he takes aim at President Obama’s faux-support for “dialogue” at Notre Dame:

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Kmiec Lectures Fellow “Conservative” Catholics

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

Professor Douglas Kmiec recently gave a “reflection” over President Obama’s speech at the University of Notre Dame last week. No surprises there. It appears that Kmiec is still campaigning to be Ambassador to the Holy See. But this was not his point here. We might call that a “background fact.”

Still obsessed with statistics and raw data, he noted that the President received the vote of 54% of self-identified Catholics on November 4, 2008 in the presidential election and that more than two-thirds of Catholics supports the Obama Administration. Why? Social justice–which includes a litany of issues that we terribly are far behind on because of “conservative partisans” who wish to keep Catholics in a “one-issue pocket,” which, in turn explains the “neglect” of social justice matters in “far too many parishes.”

Obama at Notre Dame: Incomplete Eloquence by Prof. Douglas Kmiec

The presidents were there in splendid form; the bishops were not.

Three presidents stood upon the stage: Father Jenkins, the embodiment of academic integrity informed by faith; Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame’s president emeritus and civil rights champion, and Barack Obama, whose inauguration just months earlier was greeted with virtual national euphoria, but whose visit to campus was claimed to be “in defiance of church teaching.”

And the bishops? Sadly absent. Some, no doubt, honestly believed the President to be their antagonist. Most were silent. Notwithstanding repeated entreaties, the pastoral shepherds of the Church chose not to extend a simple pastoral blessing upon the graduates of the flagship Catholic university in America and their families.

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Father Corby Remembers Gettysburg

Monday, May 25, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

Father William Corby

Irish Brigade

In light of all the controversy regarding Notre Dame over the shameful honoring of Obama on May 17, 2009, it is important to remember that many Notre Dame students, faculty and graduates were appalled by this, and also to remember that Notre Dame has in the past been a great Catholic university, and may be so in the future.  This heritage of greatness was exemplified by the third president of the University, Father William Corby.

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Some Pictures Need No Commentary

Friday, May 22, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

NotreDameDialogue

Hattip to Curt Jester.


What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

For consideration: an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.

The question, then — the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

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Peter Hitchens on Obama at Notre Dame

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Hitchens Brothers

Peter Hitchens, the sober and sane brother of Christopher Hitchens, has a good column on Obama at Notre Dame.

“Some of you will have seen that Saint Barack ran into the first serious public hostility of his career on a visit to Notre Dame University, an old-established Roman Catholic college of some reputation, in South Bend, Indiana. The headline on this posting refers to the shouts which echoed across the hall as he addressed the student body and picked up an honorary degree, against the opposition of many American Roman Catholics. They are right to oppose these unjustified and mistaken compliments. I do not think Mr Obama seeks genuine compromise with this great Christian institution. I think on the contrary that he hopes to co-opt it into his machine, and compromise it so that it moderates its opposition to him.

I also do not think that ‘Yes, we can’ is much of a response to the accusations of abortion opponents. It reminds me of the general empty-headed rock-star worship which became such a feature of Mr Obama’s campaign. What, in this instance, does it mean? So far as I know Mr Obama’s attitude towards abortion is at the extreme end of permissive, as he will no doubt show when he picks his candidates for the Supreme Court, the USA’s potent and unelected third legislative chamber.”

For the article click here.


Chaput on Jenkins

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Archbishop Chaput

Hattip to Catholic ReportArchbishop Chaput’s thoughts on Jenkins and Obama Day at Notre Dame:

Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame and the issues that remain

“I have found that even among those who did not go to Notre Dame, even among those who do not share the Catholic faith, there is a special expectation, a special hope, for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world.”

~ Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C., May 17, 2009

Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life.  The best have humor.  Some genuinely inspire.  But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time.  Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability.  This makes his introductory comments to President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.

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