The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


On Notre Dame: “I am more alarmed that the rhetoric is so uncivil and venomous…”

posted by deacon greg kandra
“Early ‘markers’ [of Obama's record on the life issues] are not encouraging in this regard but hope needs to spring eternal and while Notre Dame may have acted way too early and too generously, I am more alarmed that the rhetoric being employed is so uncivil and venomous that it weakens the case we place before our fellow citizens, alienates young college-age students who believe the older generation is behaving like an angry child and they do not wish to be any part of that, and ill-serves the cause of life. Notre Dame has in the past and continues to give this local Church fine, professional and very Catholic women and men who both know and live out their faith. Most of them I know are ardently pro-life and like myself are probably disappointed with their alma mater. They and I will choose to convey our sadness to the Board of Trustees and Administration in a calm and dignified manner.”

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg.
H/T to Dave Gibson.

Speaking of “venomous rhetoric,” Archbishop Chaput talked about that right here.



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St Edwards Blog

posted April 1, 2009 at 7:46 am


I just left this comment somewhere else, on this same topic. I will also leave it here. Perhaps this is akin to what the Bishop is saying? Sadly, I feel like this Bishop will be decried like any who do not march in lockstep.Thomas Merton in “Seasons of Celebration” says it better than I possibly can.For starters there is this… “If he has to belong to my political party or social group before I can love him, then I cannot love him.”Then regarding excessive classification versus love, he goes on to say “It is dominated by by an appetite other than love.” I love not the person but his classification, and in that I love him not as a person but as a thing.”The subsequent lines really got me… “I love his label which confirms me in my attachment to my own label. But in that case I do not even love myself. I value myself not for what I am, but for my label, my classification.”These words could be used in the comment boxes of many posts, many blogs.This event seems to really show us how much we all have to learn.



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The Pondering Catholic

posted April 1, 2009 at 8:16 am


Okay, I don’t know if I have watched different coverage or what, but I have seen nothing but grace in the way the alumni have handled this. And what great role modeling for the students to see their alumni standing up for the dignity of all life. I guess the gruesome act of killing children is civil. Hmmm…. with all due respect, I will have to disagree with this Bishop.



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Ron

posted April 1, 2009 at 8:45 am


Sorry, Bishop Lynch, but “the cause of life” has been ill served by the tepid and apologetic rhetoric which has elevated “Can’t we all just get along?” into the cardinal principle of contemporary Catholic morality.Notre Dame did not act “generously” in choosing to honor President Obama; it acted from calculated self-interest, which is no doubt why the President accepted its invitation. Critics have reminded them both that they may lose more than they gain in the bargain.



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Thomas Scott

posted April 1, 2009 at 9:01 am


Amen to that.



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John C. Hathaway

posted April 1, 2009 at 9:40 am


At the risk of sounding “uncivil” and “venomous” and “meaner than a liberal,” I’m actually surprised Bishop Lynch is saying *this* much about Obama or Notre Dame. Remember, this is the bishop who didn’t lift a finger to help Terri Schiavo–yet one of his priests permitted her non-Catholic husband to marry his “Catholic” mistress despite the fact that he’d committed _crimen_. Isn’t this the same Bishop Lynch who said that laity were not to participate in Eucharistic Adoration? The same Bishop Lynch who banned EWTN advertising because Mother Angelica wears a habit?



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Marilyn Heller

posted April 1, 2009 at 9:43 am


Bishop Lynch was Terri Schiavo’s bishop who stood by while she was starved to death. He also permitted the marriage of her ex-husband in a Catholic church in his diocese after he presided over her death while living with another woman who bore him 2 children. I’m sorry, but his words don’t carry much weight for me. And, I agree with the commenter above, I have not seen “venomous and uncivil rhetoric”. Perhaps Bishop Lynch should read Cardinal George’s comments as to why Notre Dame’s decision is so scandalous and hurtful.



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Ron King

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:39 am


St. Edward’s,The above responses prove your prediction to be correct. I am sorry.They do not see God working in all of this. They take an aggressive stance in response to a perceived danger when there is no danger. They see scandal where there is no scandal except in their aggressive defensive approach to those who hold differing views.Why are they so afraid? God’s Love is stronger than any of their human self-righteous indignation. Instead of looking through the lens of God’s Love they are influenced by the human response of fear and the illusion that in a free society we can act out our anger just as others do outside the faith and call it truth.The real trajedy is their walls are so fortified they will not be able to feel vulnerable enough to find the peace that Our Lord gives us in our relationship with Him.He tells us the peace He gives is not the peace that the world gives.I feel the peace that He gives through His Grace. I see no threat at ND and only the opportunity for God’s Love to create a conversion of heart that would truly stop abortion.



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Klaire

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:41 am


“They and I will choose to convey our sadness to the Board of Trustees and Administration in a calm and dignified manner.”Oh that’s fine and dandy rhetoric. How about the 4000 babies that will be aborted today in America who don’t even have a voice to request a “calm and dignified” death?It’s more than obvious (by actions)that the “feelings” of the pro choice crowd are far more important than the brutal distruction of the unborn. I’m sorry to say this about a Bishop, but unless I am missing something, this is NOT agape love. Furthermore, if we had stronger bishops, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. At least thank God for the strong bishops we DO have.I would like to requote the late great Henry Hyde; perhaps the most pro life person our country every had in the congress:”When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him because he loved us,” and God will look at you and say not, “Did you succeed?” but “Did you try?”‘



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Katherine

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:47 am


It’s more than obvious (by actions)that the “feelings” of the pro choice crowd are far more important than the brutal distruction of the unborn. The decaloge tells us that it is a sin to steal. To steal is to take something that is not yours. Klaire, you do not exclusively own the term ‘pro-life’. There are millions of us who are pro-life and not part of the pro-choice crowd that agree some pro-lifers are behaving in an inappropriate way.If your real agenda is not to expand the pro-life movement so we can effectively protect the unborn, but to contract it and make it smaller and weaker so that certain egos can dominate it, I feel sorry are making a serious mistake.



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Phil Onochie

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:51 am


Great posts Klair and John Hathaway!



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John C. Hathaway

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:59 am


Ron King,”They do not see God working in all of this”I see God working in this. I see God working in all the laity and bishops who are finally standing up and speaking out against a univeristy that sanctioneed heresy 40 years ago at Land of Lakes.However, I am a Catholic, not a pantheist or existentialist. I don’t believe in blindly accepting anything that happens as being “God’s work.” We have free will, and so does Satan, and it is important to discern.Bishop Lynch may or may not have a point, but arguing about tone-especially while rejecting the content–doesn’t advance any discussion.If it were someone like Bishop Vasa or Bruskewitz or Burke or Martino saying this, then that would carry some weight: someone who has actually shown his ability to be a Catholic bishop, shepherding his flock.But when it is one of the most left-wing bishops in this country, a bishop who has aligned himself with Mahony, Weakland, Gregory and/or Trautman on various issues (e.g., inclusive language or sigining joint letters condemning Mother Angelica), it merely comes off as dissing conservatives.Fear doesn’t have anything to do with it. The people who are afraid are those who talk of “civility,” fearing that their comfortable positions in the world might be at risk if the Church spoke prophetically



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Ron

posted April 1, 2009 at 11:02 am


Some of these comments make me want to go out and create a felt banner so I would feel really, really good about myself.



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Ron King

posted April 1, 2009 at 11:20 am


Katherine,I appreciate your wisdom. I do not know how to reach someone who is so defended with such intense anger.Anger of that kind can actually trigger the reward center in the brain and influence the person to believe that it is divinely inspired. It is a response to deep hurt that has not been resolved and gives the person a sense of power that compensates for the helplessness experienced when so deeply hurt.I had that kind of anger until God’s Love brought me home and revealed my unresolved hurt and rage. I hated the Church for 40 years and only His Love brought me home right in the midst of the true evil of the pedophiles and their cover-up. Now that is the power of God’s Love.



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Klaire

posted April 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm


Kathleen I have no idea why I hit such a nerve with you, but do know that as we sit here as Catholics and talk about “feelings”, the Obama team only reaches deeper from the gates of hell.Example one: Dawn Johnson is up for confirmation for Obama’s legal counsel. Dawn Johnson is past counsel of the ACLU and legal director for NARAL. She is well on record of her undermining of the Catholic Church. See the latest news on the Catholic League website for more info, or Google her.http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1586Example two: Kathleen Sibelius, partial birth abortion advocate (refused communion from both the Kansas and DC bishops) is also up for confirmation next week. She’s even scarier because she will oversee Health and Human Services. I keep trying to warn that the average American has no idea what is about to be unleashed on ALL HUMAN LIFE. Between the wild Wild West UNREGULATED biotechnologies that I predict will be greatly MISUSED; we are headed for a place no man has even gone, ethically or scientifically. This is all going on while much of America is distracted with their finances. Obama’s lift of the ESC was TOTALLY for political reasons, (the technology was outdated almost 2 years ago). After all, if we “keep the embryo sacred”, how can we ever proceed with all of the human manipulation, forced abortions, fetal farming (not “wasting” aborted babies will be next), and of course, euthanasia (and NOT by choice). If you think after national health care kicks in, especially with Sibelius at the helm, you or I will have any chance of getting chemo past age 60 or having a bad knee or hip replaced good luck! As for “owning pro life”, shouldn’t we ALL OWN IT, being our Creator is Life itself? If we don’t win the abortion and stem cell battle, we have NO chance to win the horrors that lie ahead. For everyone who thinks we pro lifers are “too whatever”, do know that sooner rather than later, it will most likely be YOUR life, or one of your loved ones, that we will be defending. In the meantime, while two big confirmations can STILL be stopped, WHERE are our bishops? Great Evil is upon us in our white house! Perhaps most are too “distracted” with finances to notice.



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roamincat

posted April 1, 2009 at 4:35 pm


As someone for whom the pro-life position was a slow evolution and as one who is a supporter of President Obama I would offer a friendly alternative. Graciously decline the invitation to speak at NDU. Instead, accept the invitation of Archbishop Dolan to attend his installation at St. Pats. This would be a sign of good will to the Catholic community and a recognition of the divisions in the church and greater society over life issues. Archbishop Dolan is both orthodox and gracious,a man of great faith and good humor. He will not embarass the president to score points. The letters and emails to the White House are read and are often a heads up to the president’s advisers. Also please pray for our president and his family and our country.Holly Hansen



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Chico

posted April 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm


No surprise there.Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s starvation murder and unfortunately Bishop Lynch was her bishop. He did nothing to help and minimized the husband’s action. He later allowed her husband to get married within his diocese. After Terri died he issued a press release that didn’t even spell her name right.When it comes to the pro-life movement, this bishop is no friend of it.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted April 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm


Were any of the pro-lifers who have expressed strong disgust at Notre Dame honoring the president who is the most pro-abortion president too strong in their denunciations??? Were any as strong as Christ saying that some scandal makers would be better off if they had a millstone put around their necks and thrown in a lake. Did any use phrases like: “Woe to you scribes and pharisees” as Christ did??? Didn’t Christ say he came -not to bring peace- but to bring division. One problem we have in the Church today is that so many of us have fallen for the milquetoast Hollywood version of Christ. The Gospel version (the real version) of Christ is oh so much more powerful, strong, and forthright in facing evil than most people are aware of. Does anyone who has read the Gospels thoroughly believe that Christ would ever honor a man who endorses plunging a knife into the skull of a child as it is being born??? No matter how many other wonderful things he might endorse??? No! He would be saying; “Woe to you, baby-killers!! Here is a millstone–repent, or use it on yourself.” He clearly wouldn’t be playing kissy-face with those who regard the unborn as so much disposable garbage under the law. Especially since the main reason for giving the honor is for self-aggrandisment and toadying to the presidency for prestige. I get tired of hearing that our president should be given ultimate respect as a general principle because he is THE President. By that theory Adolph Hitler, who became the leader of Germany using democratic procedures, should have been given Catholic platforms in the 1930’s to expiate from because he is THE Chancellor (who cares if he is trying to exterminate as many retarded people as possible.) Sometimes uncompromising prophetic witness is what is called for. Not weasel-faced excuses.



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Alberto

posted April 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm


I was wondering if all this discussion is about defending life or just an excuse for a political vendetta.



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Mr. Basso

posted April 1, 2009 at 11:28 pm


as another commenter has done, so shall I and simply paste in a comment I have left elsewhere:Having him speak and bestowing on him an honorary doctorate are two different issues (though they are married by custom). To have him address a graduating class is fine, but perhaps omit the customary honarary degree. In truth, having Obama speak at Notre Dame on one occasion is not nearly as detrimental to ND’s “Catholic Identity” as some of the priests and theology faculty who are there Every Day. Richard McBrien and those of his mold have no place within a Catholic university. Anyone interested should read Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesia about the relationship between the Church and the Catholic University.



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Greta

posted April 2, 2009 at 12:32 am


roamincat said obama should cancel and go up to St Patricks with Bishop Dolan. “Archbishop Dolan is both orthodox and gracious,a man of great faith and good humor. He will not embarass the president to score points.”You must have missed the Bishop Dolan comment about abortion being a non negotiable issue. You can’t be pro abortion and Catholic. I would doubt obama would get anywhere near him.



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John

posted April 2, 2009 at 1:37 am


Deacon John, you’ve managed to put words in Christ’s mouth and invoke Goodwin’s Law in the same comment. Congratulations; you win the internet.



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Klaire

posted April 2, 2009 at 7:00 am


Well, one thing we CAN’T disagree on is the fact that the Mother of Life still stands on top of the ND Dome, with her son, in Real Presence, close by. If God is ever going to give N America a miracle of conversion to the likes of Fatima or Guadalupe, this might be a good time. At the very least, I suspect we all agree to “keep praying, especially the rosary!”



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roamincat

posted April 2, 2009 at 7:37 am


To Greta,Archbishop Dolan personaly invited the president to his installation. I am sure in his homily he will make a strong defense of life. There will be many guests at St. Pats who are pro-choice, some of the ecumenical representitives and Mayor Bloomberg for example. These folks know the Archbishop is doing his job and expressing his passion. Why are pro-lifers so disturbed by the presence of people of the other view even if such people will not be speaking. We have a long history in the US of civic officials attending the celebrations of major religious institutions. There will be Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Evangelical and Orthodox not to mention Jews, Moslim and other inter faith leaders. It would seem that some would like to go back to the days of “Fortress Catholica”. But I digress. The presidents presence would be a sign of respect and good will and most likely he will not be speaking.



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Katherine

posted April 2, 2009 at 9:31 am


I was wondering if all this discussion is about defending life or just an excuse for a political vendetta.I think the great majority of the American people are not wondering but are fairly certain which of those to possibilities it is.In recent days, Catholic conservatives have launched a full scale change of course on this. The language is much more moderate and temperate. Archbishop Dolan, a sensible conservative, is prefacing his remarks with an “I think…” (And he has every right to a personal opinion on this). Conservative Christian writer Michael Gerson has admitted the ND matter has made conservatives look like fools and is trying to re-direct the conversation back towards policy issues. Ambassador Melady has penned an article that the right wing has gone too far. I appreciate the revised rhetoric of these conservative Catholics. While certainly it has been to Obama’s political advantage to have his critics be wild-eyed extremists, I put the Church first and believe the faith is better served by having the discussion led by reasonable people with differing viewpoints.



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John C. Hathaway

posted April 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm


What is more important? Politics or the Catholic identity of our colleges?Maybe it *does* look foolish from a political perspective, but the wisdom of Christ is foolishness to the Gentiles.Notre Dame has been defiantly teaching heresy for 40 years. This is not the first time it has honored a pro-abortion politician. Cardinal O’Connor called for a boycott of ND when they honored Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1993. Bishop Sheen long ago warned parents against sending their kids to *any* American Catholic college.Our concern should not be about building political consensuses but about being a voice for the unadulterated Truth of the Catholic Church. This is not a matter of personal opinion, but a matter of the Truth.Anticipated response: “No one has a monopoly on truth,” or some such nonsense, to which I reply that, “If you do not believe that the Catholic Church has the full deposit of divine revelation, you need some catechesis.”



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Cavaliere

posted April 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm


I think the great majority of the American people are not wondering but are fairly certain which of those to possibilities it is.Nice generalization, do you have any proof? Of course not. It never occurs to some that our faith is more important than politics. BTW, how are those union workers gonna fare if GM and Chrysler go under? Strangely enough I still see panhandling and homeless people every day. You would think that The One would have done something to help them in his first 90 days? Probably because he was too busy overturning the pro-life policies that we did have in place. And for those who want to suggest that the Mexico City policy won’t necessarily pay for abortion, so what? It will still provide for contraception which is still a violation of Catholic teaching.



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Klaire

posted April 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm


Last night I read through some of the archives of the late great Father John Hardon. Not only are his essays rock solid Catholic teaching, they “connect” all of our sexual sins to abortion; VERY interesting reading. The real bottom line or bellwether according to Father H is this:How well, often, and in the state of grace do we receive the Eucharist? To the extent we answer that, is the extent we are true “pro lifers”, since there is NO “human solution” to abortion, only Christ. As Catholics, we were given much and will be held accountable.Here’s the link to the archives. Great “sermon material too!”http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/archives.htmI know this won’t be popular, but it’s reality: Father Hardon really explains how Satan is behind EVERY abortion, and how “deeply spiritual” this problem is. I suspect some on the “lighter” side of this issue may never have even been exposed to this kind of teaching, which is why I decided to share the link.



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oldestof9

posted April 3, 2009 at 7:44 am


…”If you do not believe that the Catholic Church has the full deposit of divine revelation, you need some catechesis.”or leave the Catholic Church…Peace to all



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