Monday, May 18, 2009


Although I regrettably voted for Obama instead of a third party candidate, and clearly see Obama as being no different than any other two-faced politician who speaks out of both sides of his mouth and who always has his/her eye on the next election, it's still remarkable that some Roman Catholic clergy and others are angry that he was invited to give the Commencement speech at Notre Dame University yesterday [The Transcript can be seen here.] ostensibly due to his stance on abortion rights.

Notre Dame's decision to confer an honorary degree on Obama and invite him to be the keynote speaker for the commencement sparked petitions and several days of protests. Some students vowed to boycott the commencement.

But the speech itself drew mostly cheers, applause and standing ovations.

Critics who said Obama's support for abortion rights violated Catholic Church doctrine had sought to have the invitation rescinded but the university refused....

Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the landmark Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion, was among the first protesters arrested at Notre Dame. A Catholic convert, McCorvey is now active in the anti-abortion.

Tony Ughetti, of Spring, Texas, said he watched as McCorvey asked the officers, "How do I get arrested?"

Ughetti said that in response to the Notre Dame decision to invite Obama, he got rid of books, T-shirts and other Notre Dame memorabilia in his home.

"We disposed of over 40 Notre Dame items from our house...I wanted to burn them but my wife took them to Goodwill (charity). Our house is now Notre Dame-free," he said.

[For the full article, see here.]

Where was all this "outrage" when Pres. Bush gave the Commencement Speech at Notre Dame in May 2001 after he had the dubious record of having more executions in the state of Texas when he was its Governor than any other Governor in our history? It should be noted that the Pope had come out against capital punishment! Yet I don't remember there being any expressed outrage, especially outrage akin to this most recent speech given by Pres. Obama.

In 1999, John Paul told 104,000 people gathered at a mass during his 30-hour stop in St. Louis--following a four-day visit to Mexico City--that the respect for life that undergirds the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion, doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia applies "even in the case of one who has done great evil." The 78-year-old pontiff called on Americans to reject the death penalty because "modern society has the means to protect itself without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform." Yet the solid American support for the death penalty includes large numbers of Catholics, according to death-penalty researchers.

[For the full article, see here.]

Yet the Pope's clear teaching on the matter of the death penalty did not cause the reactionaries in the audience and elsewhere to protest Bush's Commencement speech at Notre Dame! Since virtually all of them, as virtually all reactionaries everywhere, were undoubtedly in favor of capital punishment, the Pope's teachings on this subject seemed to be meaningless and irrelevant to them. However, when it came to abortion, a hot button issue that involves sex, a subject sure to get the "religious" reactionaries' juices flowing, many acted high and mighty regarding their defense of this part of Papal teaching.

The following is a brief video of the boorishness of a couple of middle-aged (or older) presumed reactionaries while Obama was giving his speech:

As we have long seen when it comes to the reactionary mind-set, the rules are different for different people. It seems institutionally acceptable to reactionaries (and some others) within the Roman Catholic Church (until they are caught) to cover for epehebophile priests, pay off the complainants, and allow the offending priests to prey on young people in other parishes once the offending priests are exposed (both literally and metaphorically), but many of these same reactionaries take offense when someone feels abortions should remain legal and/or when civil rights for Gay people are at stake.

It is also many of these same reactionaries who are offended by same-sex attraction and behavior, and seek to deny Gay people civil and sacramental rights when it is estimated that about 25% to 50% of RC clergy are Gay. One would think that a venerable institution like the RC Church, when it undoubtedly has a sizable number of Gay clergy in its membership, would be more enlightened and loving in dealing with Gay people.

However, like many of the rest of us, reactionaries commit the sin that Jesus calls attention to when He says: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-7)

However, professing Christian reactionaries seem to care less for what Jesus says (and it is to be noted that Jesus NEVER spoke against homosexuality, nor did he ever condemn anyone, save for the religious legalists of His time who sought to place yokes of bondage onto others) than for their own preconceived prejudices that they then have the temerity to impose not only onto others, but onto Jesus Himself when, in fact, Jesus tells us to show love to other people and in no way condemn them.

There is no reasoning or meaningful dialogue to be had with people who have different rules for different people, especially when the reactionaries seek to inculcate shame, loathing, and the deprivation of full and equal civil and sacramental rights onto others when they, themselves, all too often contravene the mores and sanctimonious rhetoric to which they demand others adhere and take seriously.

The selective approval of Papal teaching on the subject of Capital Punishment vis a vis Abortion, as respectively seen in the reactionary responses to Bush's and Obama's invitations to Notre Dame University, is but merely another indicator of the fallacious belief that "sweet reason" can get "the lion and the lamb" to be together in one accord!
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Buffy said...

Sadly most who call themselves "pro-life" are stringently anti-abortion (even if the mother's health or life are endangered) and anti-birth control (when BC would help prevent many of those abortions from ever being necessary). But they're oddly pro-war and pro-death penalty. They're also against any of their tax money going to social services for the poor, the homeless, health care, after school programs, Head Start, etc. They are protectors of the fetus, but anybody born is strictly on his/her own, even if that person is an infant.

Jerry Maneker said...

You're absolutely right, Buffy!!!! And they have the temerity to think they are taking the moral high ground. Best wishes, Jerry.