The University of Notre Dame has invited President Obama to speak at the commencement ceremony for the graduating class of 2009. On the face of it, this sounds like a "nice" thing to have happen in a university setting, but for a putatively Catholic university, it is fraught with difficulties.
The president's stand on abortion and stem cell research stands in direct opposition to the teachings of the church, but that seems to carry no weight with the administration of the most publicly Catholic university in the United States. The president of Notre Dame says that he will not rescind the invitation, and that it will be an opportunity for dialogue on the issues.
This is a falsehood. There will be no "dialogue." The president does not check with any university on what to say, how he should speak, etc. In the name of being "nice" and politically correct, the Catholic institution will welcome a man who may very well be responsible for the innocent murder of children in the womb. For those who do not believe it is a human being in the womb, watch the sonograms of an abortion, and see how the fetus instinctively recoils from the tools and poison of the abortionist.
The bishop overseeing Notre Dame has offered that he will not attend the ceremony. That stands as a nice gesture, but is not prophetic. It is lukewarm at best. A better and firmer response would be to remove the canonical mission of Notre Dame, and hence deleting its status as a "Catholic" institution. But, unfortunately in the church, being nice is more important than being bearers of the Gospel.
"Dialogue" has resulted in 1 million-plus abortions in this country alone every year since 1973. I wonder what the numbers would be if the church stood behind her teachings?
The IRS threatens that we would be taxed for weighing in on political issues. This is not a political issue, but a human one. If they want to tax us for merging church and state -- which is not what the amendment to the Constitution says -- then so be it: Tax us. This will be the cost to Catholics of standing firm with the faith and truth of Jesus Christ. The result would be that we could not fund charity, which sociologists tell us always results in the rise of the crime rate.
Catholics, and Catholic bishops, remember the old truism that if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything.
The Rev. Timothy C. Donahue
(The writer is pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta.)