In response to Warner and all those who have taken the time to stand up for life:
For what it is worth, and in the interest of full disclosure, I am a Roman Catholic and, like you, very upset and appalled by the decision to not just invite President Obama to be Notre Dame’s commencement speaker but to honor him with an honorary degree as well. The reference to “putative Catholics” is not far removed from what many of my friends and I refer to as “cafeteria Catholics,” that is, Catholics who pick and choose what parts of Catholic doctrine they are interested in, and what part they choose to ignore. I believe, as Catholics, we have an obligation to support with our words, thoughts, and actions, EVERY facet of Catholic Doctrine.
So why am I writing this? I have two reasons. First, to commend the thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics alike who took the time and expended the energy to vociferously defend the rights of the unborn through protests, leading alternative graduation exercises, writing pastoral columns, writing letters to editors, calling Fr. Jenkins’ office, signing petitions, etc. This group included many Catholic Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals, and also included, contrary to Time magazine’s saying that the Vatican was silent on this issue, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and Archbishop Raymond Burke. This position in the Vatican is second only to the Pope himself as the highest judicial authority in the Vatican. The group also included my own Bishop, who was extremely clear on his disappointment that Notre Dame decided to take this course of action, as well as Notre Dame’s own Bishop, Bishop D’Arcy, who stated that it appeared that Notre Dame had chosen prestige over principle. God bless them for this.
The second reason I am writing this is, as I alluded to earlier, your reference to putative Catholics, and my correlating that with cafeteria Catholics. As I also said, my faith informs me, that being a devout Catholic means accepting all of Catholic doctrine. When it comes to defending life from conception to natural death, accepting Catholic doctrine includes, but is certainly not limited to, being pro-life and anti-euthanasia. What is perhaps less-known, but is nonetheless vitally important, is the NECESSITY of avoiding artificial birth control methods, in order to fully proclaim oneself, by way of example, as being pro-life. In the 1968 Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”, Pope Paul VI correctly predicted the extremely serious effects of all artificial contraceptives on the institution of marriage; that is why the Church promotes Natural Family Planning (NFP) as the only acceptable means for limiting the procreation act. Certainly nobody can deny the impact the Pope predicted of a culture committed to artificial contraceptives, especially in regards to stripping children of the right to have a loving father and mother! Would it not be a better world if we bypassed our own selfish desires in regards to the procreation act (and at the same time, men treating women as objects of their physical desires rather than the individuals worthy of dignity that they are) and thought of God’s rights and desires in creating children? How I wish, for the sake of all children in this world, that every segment of society, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, would forgo artificial contraceptives!
Please consider this an open thread.