Monday, April 13, 2009

You Either Have to Laugh or Cry at the University of Notre Shame!

I have refrained so far from commenting on the University of Notre Dame decision to award an honourary doctor of laws degree on President Barack Obama next month. The blogosphere has been aflame and the number of American bishops condemning the decision stands, at last count, at about 31 or so. Some of the letters have referred to UND as a "formerly" Catholic university, some have expressed concern for President Jenkins' soul and others have assured the university administration that it should expect no support in future from the undersigned. The University is clearly in violation of the directives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that Catholic universities should not give honours to those who contradict fundamental teachings of the Church.

But my personal favorite letter so far is from Bishop Bruskewitz, who rightly connects this scandal to the lax approach to sexual promiscuity on campus and who is so insulted that he even finds Jenkins' past association with Nebraska painful! (Jenkins had the termerity to be born in Omaha.) And the good Bishop's conciseness and clarity warms the heart of this college professor immensely.

"Reverend and dear Father Jenkins,
Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled at your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called “The Vagina Monologues” and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the United States.

The fact that you have some sort of past connection with the State of Nebraska makes it all the more painful that the Catholic people here have to see your betrayal of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.

I am, Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
The Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz Bishop of Lincoln

Come on, Bishop, tell what you really think! Not much Irish indirectness here, but what can you expect from a guy named "Bruskewitz?"

Notre Dame apparently still is so insecure that it cannot restrain itself from throwing itself at anyone of fame, money or influence, even the most pro-abortion president in history, in order to raise its stock in the eyes of those who hate Catholicism but might be persuaded to like Notre Dame if it is compliant and ingratiating enough. We all knew girls like this in high school; you know, the ones known as "easy" and other terms that are not allowed on this blog.

But the recent explanation of Fr. Jenkins to his board of how the invitation does not really violate the bishops guidelines, since Obama is not a Catholic and the Guidelines were not meant to prohibit Catholic institutions from honouring non-Catholics (and some canon lawyer said so), is just over the top funny! (I choose to laugh rather than cry, since to be a Christian is to know that life is a comedy not a tragedy.) Really, since Jenkins is not a Jesuit, I think we should all withdraw all the "Jesuitical causistry" jokes; to call Fr. Jenkins' comments "Jesuitcal" is an insult to Jesuits everywhere. Maybe we should now refer to "Holy Cross-istry" or "Holy Cross-ical Causistry" when we want to mock someone's insincere, evasive, bad faith attempts to skirt the rules in the name of permissiveness.

To suppose that the bishops intended that honouring bad Catholics is forbidden but honouring non-Catholics, no matter if they are racist, war-mongering, adulterous, thieving, lying, law-breaking, profane Nazis, is just fine by them, is to cross the line from scandal into farce.

Fr. Jenkins' sophistries are dissected here and mocked here.

Stop the Press!
Wait a minute; perhaps the Jesuits are not off the hook after all. I just found out that Fr. Jenkins earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from - wait for it - the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 1988! It is nice to see someone applying their education in real life!

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