Much of the blame for Notre Dame's incredible decision to invite President Obama to speak and award him an honorary doctorate is falling on the shoulders of its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, whose lamebrained decision to honor America's No. 1 promoter of abortion certainly earns him the scorn now being poured on his head.
But the principal responsibility for this scandalous situation lies elsewhere.
In this case, the inviter is not the one who deserves the stigma, but the invitee, who , should have had the good sense and decency to decline to speak at this allegedly Roman Catholic universityonce the invitation became a scandal and spawned divisiveness among the Catholic community.
Here is a man gallivanting around the world decrying divisiveness among nations, even as he bears the main responsibility for creating divisiveness among his own nation's Catholics, the majority of whom rightly view the invitation as an affront to their belief in the sanctity of human life and the doctrines of their church.
Since taking office on Jan. 20, President Obama has ditched restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research, “restored federal funding to overseas groups that perform abortions, and has challenged the conscience rights of Catholic healthcare workers who refuse to take part in procedures they find morally reprehensible," as Charles Lewis reported in Canada's National Post.
Lewis added that Obama is "also on record as supporting the Freedom of Choice Act, which would remove every state restriction on abortion."
Said Notre Dame philosophy professor Ralph McInerney, "This is a deliberate thumbing of the collective nose at the Roman Catholic Church to which Notre Dame purports to be faithful. For one whose 54-year career as a member of the Notre Dame faculty is coming to an end in June, it is a bitter thing to reflect on the 2009 commencement speaker."
By so honoring Obama, the university has violated "Catholics in Political Life," the U.S. bishops’ document that specifies that such honors should not be conferred on pro-abortion politicians.
“The Catholic community and 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,” according to the nation's bishops.
The Roman Catholic Church abhors the murder of the unborn. Despite the rantings and ravings of the likes of such dissident Catholics as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joseph Biden, the church always has adhered to the doctrine that abortion is a grave moral offense — a mortal sin that, unrepented, leads to eternal damnation.
Among the catalogue of offenses against the laws of nature and nature's God, abortion ranks among the gravest.
You just can't butcher innocent unborn humans in their mothers’ wombs.
Yet here we have the most revered among Catholic institutions of higher learning honoring a man who not only accepts the practice of killing the innocent unborn — and even those in the process of being born — but also actively seeks to remove all barriers to this most unholy of procedures.
As shocking as is this invitation, it is even more shocking that the president of the United States, who insists he deplores anything that divides us, continues to accept an invitation that is causing serious discord among his nation's Roman Catholics.
He has only to decline the invitation to end this scandal. Instead, he chooses to defy tens of thousands of outraged Catholics, many of whom voted for him.
The minute it became obvious that Notre Dame's planning to honor him would create such a furor, Obama should have graciously declined to accept the invitation.
Instead, in the midst of this needless controversy, he remains silent and prepared to appear at the university.
Is he not aware that by pledging his unyielding support of legislation devised to remove all limits to abortion, overturning all restrictions on abortion enacted and enforced by the several states, he has put himself squarely in opposition not only to Catholics but all those who insist that abortion is a crime against nature that no civilized nation can abide?
Is he not aware that his appointments to various key government posts, scores of individuals notorious for their callous support of the murder of the unborn, is nothing short of an assault on the beliefs of a majority of Americans?
Is he not conscious of the fact that he could avoid stirring such a conflict through the simple act of telling the feckless Notre Dame president: Thanks, but no thanks?
Think about it, Mr. President.
Phil Brennan writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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