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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Woman in a Class of Her Own - Lady Glendon

In these days, with so many prominant pro-abort Catholics in power, this decision by Mary Ann Glendon is full of radiant light, principle and nobility. 

Today is a good day to be Catholic. 

How tawdry and cheep Fr. Jenkins comes off by seeking to use this woman. How distinquished and dignified Mary Ann Glendon is to reject what she has rightly seen as essentially a trinket of thanks for the curtesy of being used. What an insult to Lady Glendon. 

Who will Fr. Jenkins seek to give the award to now? Who would possibly want to step into that role now, to be the after thought award receiver who gets to eat a meal prepared for someone else?

What is really astonishing is the statement released by the Obama administration:

“President Obama is disappointed by former Ambassador Mary Glendon’s decision, but he looks forward to delivering an inclusive and respectful speech at the Notre Dame graduation, a school with a rich history of fostering the exchange of ideas. While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position, and the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country.”
The White House gets it wrong and vainly tries to score points with the "inclusive and respectful" comment. 

They get it wrong becuase ND isn't inviting Obama to "an exchange of ideas" or a "debate" - this is a commencement and an honorary degree. This is about celebrating the achievement of the graduates and meant to be a moment of unity before launching out from the harbor of university life. They have spent the last four years "exchanging ideas" and "debating" now is the moment of summing up with meaning and ideals. 

The words "inclusive and respectful" are not too subtle jabs at the Catholic community (Lady Glendon included) who are protesting. The White House wants to suggest that at the heart of these protests is an intolerance, a non-inclusiveness and a disregard for basic ideas of respect of differing views. (Isn't this what is wrong with Christianity in a civil society?)

However, the essence of the scandal over Notre Dame's award, honor and platform to Obama is that Obama is the one who is intolerant, non-inclusive and disrespectful; he doesn't respect life, he doesn't include the unborn among that most important category of membership - the human family - that deserves basic protection under the law, and his administration will not tolerate men and women who under their moral or religious conscience refuse to participate in the intentional killing of another human being - no! they will be forced to participate in abortions. 

Obama's speech will not be inclusive, because he will not speak to the unborn that will be aborted that day because of his policies. He will not make a statement that will result in the end of abortion in our country or end the exporting of abortion abroad. No. 

Obama does not respect those lives, nor does Fr. Jenkins. His speech will be non-inclusive of pre-born babies. 

But Lady Glendon does. 

And perhaps a baby who was scheduled for abortion will survive that day to live and will look back on this day and realize that Lady Glendon was speaking through her rejection of this "highest" of Notre Dame awards and recognize that Lady Glendon was speaking today for all of mankind - even those excluded by President Obama. 

Fumed by Columcille at 8:44 PM. |

Mary Ann Glendon Declines Notre Dame Laetare Medal

Mary Ann Glendon is declining Notre Dame's offer of the Laetare Medal at the Notre Dame commencement, due to the honoring of President Obama. The Cardinal Newman Society has posted Glendon's letter explaining her decision. I like the letter - quite biting and critical of Jenkins. Here is the letter in its entirety:
April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame's Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame's most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops' express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" and that such persons "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution's freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that "talking points" issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

- "President Obama won't be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal."

- "We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about."

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame's decision - in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops - to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops' guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame's example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon
Interesting commentary on this over at American Papist.

Fumed by Thales at 12:33 PM. |

Friday, April 24, 2009

New US News Law School Rankings: Ave Maria Still 4th Tier

For those who find Boko's post to be a little mysterious, Boko is referring to Ave Maria School of Law's LSAT scores used by the U.S. News & World Report in calculating their law school rankings. The new 2009 U.S. News rankings for law school came out this week, and Ave Maria School of Law remains firmly in Tier 4. The University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, the nation's newest Catholic law school, is Tier 3.

Here is the analysis of all the specific factors in last year's 2008 rankings. I don't have a current copy of U.S. News, so if you have access to the new rankings, how do this year's numbers compare to those of last year?

Fumed by Thales at 4:48 PM. |

146 - 153

Own it, Mr. Dobranski.

Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 2:08 PM. |

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Distributist Future?

It seems that the Distributist ideal is making a bit of a comeback these days.  Since there hasn't been much talk here since the fall of the Berlin Wall (oops, I mean the fall of the New York Wall - that is Wall Street), I thought I would update you all on the goings on. 

In January, I attended an Acton Conference on Capitalism, Globalism and Free Trade. It  was intended to be an intimate in depth discussion of these issues across several days. However, the theme of Distributism or "Third Way" approaches to economic order became much of the spontaneous focus of the conference (and no it wasn't because I was constantly brining it up Lawdog). In the first talk, Distributism was spoken about by the presenter, however it was misdefined and spoken about to dismiss the idea - a straw man tactic. Immedately during Q&A Distributism was defended by a young TLM Catholic entrapreneur with an MBA, and the issue was in play for the rest of the weekend. 

Acton must be feeling the pressure because it has recently published Beyond Distributism by Thomas Woods, Jr. to give a resonse to what must be a pattern at Acton Conferences these days, and they have also made the subject a focus of Acton University

This of course begs the question, why focus attention, resources and energy towards dismissing something that has no validity, substance or practicality? 

Then there was this debate which took place recently between Socialism, Capitalism and Distributism.  Unfortunately, Michael Novak didn't make the compelling case expected for the ideal of capitalism. 

Anyway, why is this of any importance? Because our economy is built on a fraudulent unsustainable foundation and that foundation is crumbling. A "jobs economy" is a fragile economy that is unnatural and based on debt financed consumerism and nanny state entitlements that will eventually come to an end. The only question is how hard and how soon.

The most natural and common sense solution is based on subsidiarity. And people are spontaneously taking that option - an option which is in practice Distributist. What to make some money? Start a business that serves the "economic survivalist" market (i.e., the Distributist market) it and the ammo supply market are booming with great growth potential. 

However, being an advocate of subsidiarity will put you on the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List (as well as being pro-life and in favor of the Constitution):

The report from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines right-wing extremism in the U.S. as "divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
Not concerned about this? 

How about the efforts to federally regulate your backyard garden?

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan picks this theme up too, and agrees that Distributism is the future. 

"To some degree the Wojtowicz story sounded like the future, or the future as a lot of people are hoping it will be: pared down, more natural, more stable, less full of enervating overstimulation, of what Walker Percy called the "trivial magic" of modern times."

Fumed by Columcille at 9:51 AM. |

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Please Pray For the Repose of the Soul of Dr. Dillon

Dr. Thomas Dillon, President of Thomas Aquinas College, has tragically passed away. From the Thomas Aquinas College website:

"On Wednesday, April 15, 2009, Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, the president of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, was killed in an automobile accident in Ireland, where he was traveling with his wife, Terri, on behalf of the college. Mrs. Dillon was only slightly injured and is hospitalized for the time being. Family members and a representative of the College are en route to Ireland to bring Mrs. Dillon back to California and to accompany Dr. Dillon’s body. A rosary was said and Mass offered for the repose of Dr. Dillon’s soul at 3:00 p.m. today in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. Information concerning funeral arrangements will be posted at a later time.

Please pray for the happy repose of Dr. Dillon’s soul, and for the consolation of his family."

No matter which school you may have attended, let us unite our prayers for Dr. Dillon, his family and for the students, faculty and alumni of TAC.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 12:15 AM. |

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!

Fumed by Thales at 1:00 AM. |

Friday, April 10, 2009

O Most Glorious and Terrible Day

When we pass from this life to the next, would that Christ will turn, as he did to the good thief, and say, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43).

Since we rarely hear the entire psalm Christ began aloud before he died (Psalm 22), I thought it fitting to reproduce it below. Spend some time at the foot of the Cross today.

2 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

3 My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

4 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.

5 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

6 To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

7 But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by
the people.

8 All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

9 "You relied on the LORD--let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you."

10 Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother's breast.

11 Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my

12 Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.

13 Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

14 They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

15 Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

16 As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

17 Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet

18 that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;

19 they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.

20 But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

21 Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.

22 Save me from the lion's mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

23 Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:

24 "You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

25 For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

26 I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

27 The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"

28 All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.

29 For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

30 All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

31 And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

32 The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 11:19 AM. |

Thursday, April 09, 2009

O Most Holy of Nights

This night, our Lord institutes the Eucharist and the Church's Holy Priesthood. We begin a liturgy that will not conclude until the Easter Vigil. No sports championship or reality series finale can claim a speck of the excitement these upcoming days should bring us.

If you don't know about the richness of the liturgy that begins tonight, look it up. The beauty of the Church and the wonder of the salvation we hope for is contained in these next several days.

Create some traditions, go to all the services you can, watch the Passion, spend Saturday preparing your hearts and homes in quiet toil, and share Easter Sunday in the company of family and friends - like the Apostles gathered in the upper room, waiting, though they knew not for what. Experience the redemption of the whole world, including every emotion that can come along with it. This is the drama of dramas, and the happiest, most blessed series of terrible wonderous events we can ever know.

Oh, yeah, go thank a priest on this Holy Thursday as well.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;-
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 1:47 PM. |

Notre Dame's Fr. Jenkins Interpretation of Catholics in Political Life

Notre Dame's President Fr. Jenkins issued a statement to the Board of Govenors explaining his "interpretation" of the USCCB's statement on Catholics in Political Life. 

Here is the important bit:

Two key sentences of the document have been frequently quoted regarding the invitation to President Obama:

"Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.  They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Because the title of the document is "Catholics in Political Life", we understood this to refer to honoring Catholics whose actions are not in accord with our moral principles.  This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in "defiance" of it.  Moreover, fellow university presidents have told me that their bishops have told them that in fact it is only Catholic politicians who are referred to in this document.[emphasis added]

There is only one way to understand how Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, could display such a powerful failure of adult education. Humanae Vitae is the reason. We have more than a generation of Catholics who have grown up learning how to "interpret" statements of Catholic doctrine on Faith and Morals. This is just one more example of the "fruit" of dissent. 

No one could possiblly come to this conclusion by taking a plain view meaning of the text. Let's have a closer look at the statement in its immediate context (not just the title of the document):

  • We need to continue to teach clearly and help other Catholic leaders [EXPLICITLY CATHOLIC] to teach clearly on our unequivocal commitment to the legal protection of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Our teaching on human life and dignity should be reflected in our parishes and our educational, health care and human service ministries. 

  • We need to do more to persuade all people [NOT JUST CATHOLICS] that human life is precious and human dignity must be defended. This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials, especially Catholic public officials [EXPLICITLY NOT JUST CATHOLICS]. We welcome conversation initiated by political leaders [ALL, NOT JUST CATHOLICS] themselves.

  • Catholics need to act in support of these principles and policies in public life. It is the particular vocation of the laity to transform the world. We have to encourage this vocation and do more to bring all believers to this mission. As bishops, we do not endorse or oppose candidates[CATHOLIC OR NOT]. Rather, we seek to form the consciences of our people [CATHOLIC] so that they can examine the positions of candidates [NOT JUST CATHOLICS] and make choices based on Catholic moral and social teaching.

  • The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those [NOTE THAT THIS IS THE MOST BROAD CATEGORY USED, SO WE ARE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT "PUBLIC OFFICIALS" BUT ANYONE, CATHOLIC AND NON-CATHOLIC] who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. 

  • We commit ourselves to maintain communication with public officials [AGAIN, BOTH CATHOLIC AND NON-CATHOLIC] who make decisions every day that touch issues of human life and dignity.

  • A plain sense reading of the text reveals that Catholic communities and institutions should not give awards, honors or platforms to anyone who acts against fundamental moral principles, regardless of whether they are Catholic, non-Catholic, a public official, or poet, or scientists, etc. It is the defiant ACT that puts a person on the list, not their creed, profession, or political standing. 

    It would be absurd to allow a non-Catholic pro-abort the social approbation of an award, honor or platform, simply because he was not Catholic. Likewise, it would be absurd to allow a Catholic pro-abort scientist the social approbation, simply because he is not a Catholic in "political life."

    The idea that somehow "only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in 'defiance' of it," is astonishing in its open efforts at deceptive interpretation. 

    First, the issue is not acting in defiance of "Church teaching," but rather "our fundamental moral PRINCIPLES." Fr. Jenkins should know that these principles stem NOT from the authority of the Magisterium of the Church, but from the universially accessible body of Truth known as the Natural Law. The Church acts as guardian and public conscience regarding these principles, they are not True by virtue of the Church's authority, they are True by virtue of universial moral reasoning. 

    Second, even without the USCCB's statement, there is the long standing morally applicable issue of SCANDAL (CC 2284-87). So even if the USCCB's statement is precisely as Fr. Jenkins would lead us to believe, he still has the problem of scandal to get over in his selection of the most radical pro-abortion President in Amercia's history to give an award, honor, and platform. 

    There are other huge holes in his argument that I will leave aside. But the reality is that the Canon Lawyers consulted should be made known as too should be the other Catholic University Presidents who affirmed this wild interpretation. 

    A commencement and honorary doctorate is not a dialogue forum, it is an award, honor and platform, forum. Invite Obama to come to a conference on the Legal Protection of the Unborn to have a "dialogue" he won't come. 

    However he will come to get his Catholic Golden Ring so he can bear it forth to all the unsuspecting Catholics who will now think his ideas about the unborn have been ratified by the University where "Catholics go to Think."

    What a profound shame. 

    Lord have Mercy on Fr. Jenkins. 

    Fumed by Columcille at 10:57 AM. |

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Upcoming Rally and Prayers at Notre Dame

    The Notre Dame students mobilizing a response to the Obama invitation have several events planned, which include:

    Palm Sunday Prayer Rally
    The coalition has announced plans for its first official demonstration, a prayerful rally to be held in front of the University's Main Building at 2:00 p.m. after the noon Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on April 5, 2009.

    Nightly Rosary
    Please join us every night, either in spirit, or in person at the Grotto at 9:30 pm to pray the rosary for the conversion of Barack Obama, greater respect for life, and the Catholic Identity of Our Lady's university.

    Go to their website, www.ndresponse.com, for more information on how to get involved.

    Fumed by Thales at 2:22 PM. |

    Nothing New Under the Sun . . .

    We are one week away from Good Friday. As our well-spoken President makes his European tour, and we see all manner of unholy attacks on religion, life and family before us in the name of progress and "enlightenment," let us not despair. Remember that, truly, there is nothing new under the sun. Man's fallen nature has brought forth familiar fruits in all ages. King David might just as easily have written Psalm 12 this very day (from today's morning prayers):

    1 Help, LORD; for there is no longer any that is godly; for the faithful have vanished from among the sons of men.

    2 Every one utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

    3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

    4 those who say, "With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is our master?"

    5 "Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."

    6 The promises of the LORD are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

    7 Do thou, O LORD, protect us, guard us ever from this generation.

    8 On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

    As we move through Palm Sunday and enter Holy Week, let us turn our thoughts away from the things of this world, even as we recount how the world turned on Christ after praising him with worldly praise. Triumph is assured! Christ has died for our sins and has opened the gates of Heaven. These passing attacks on His Kingdom will be melted away. We must act, but let us act always in the Hope of Christ and of His promised Victory.

    Fumed by TheLawDog at 12:12 PM. |

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Monaghan Apologizes For Objectifying

    SHOCKING! In a letter I received in the mail box today was a letter from Mr. Monaghan apologizing for the utter disregard for and total misuse of the school we built in Ann Arbor. He says he wants to make things right with us because he now realizes that the school wasn't "his thing and that you founding students weren't objects like office furniture to be discarded."

    He didn't mention what he plans to do "to make things right" but he seems to recognize what he did was wrong and caused "untold suffering beyond that expressed by many through the years."

    We'll have to see what he intends to do, but contrition is the first step.

    Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 3:14 PM. |

    McInerny: "[T]ruly vulgar lust"

    Ralph McInerny, eminent Thomist and 54-year Notre Dame Philosophy Professor, has demonstrated his disgust in his piece for The Catholic Thing.

    Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:52 AM. |