Monday, May 18, 2009

A Wonderful Day for Notre Dame

Full text and video of the President's outstanding speech at Notre Dame:

Time magazine on the Pope's cold shoulder to the Obama-haters:,8599,1898756,00.html

I watched the address on CSPAN. It was tremendously moving, causing me to get teary-eyed. The faculty, students and assembly could not have been more enthusiastic about the President and Father Jenkins remarks didn't shy from taking on his critics. It was great to see Father Ted as well.

The handful of hecklers did nothing but show themselves to be the cranks that they are.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Great Day for Female Triumph!

Rachel Alexandra wins the Preakness, the first female to win in 85 years!

A magnificent animal. You go girl!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

And for this reason, the degree of doctor of law is conferred!

"A community organizer who honed his advocacy for the poor, the marginalized and the worker in the streets of Chicago, he now organizes a larger community, bringing to the world a renewed American dedication to diplomacy and dialogue with all nations and religions committed to human rights and the global common good.

Through his willingness to engage with those who disagree with him and encourage people of faith to bring their beliefs to the public debate, he is inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, culture, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Conservatives Find an Ounce of Common Sense

The coming public relations disaster for the Right wing at Notre Dame has finally started to put a little bit of common sense in the conservative movement.

After calling Notre Dame "immoral," "Satan's tool," "no longer Catholic," "supporting murder," and "having betrayed the Church" one right wing group, NDResponse, has decided to deal with the Devil to save its own skin.

While NDResponse hardly stood apart from the rhetorical extremism of Notre Dame critics, they are now working hand-in-glove with the University to keep off campus those pro-life voices deemed "off-message."

NDResponse has negotiated with the University the exclusive right to be the opposition voice to the President. With the cooperation of Notre Dame campus security, they are banning any person they consider "disrespectful" or "not constructive" to their message. They will have veto power over any sign or image not in keeping with the tone and message they have set and Notre Dame security will enforce their decisions.

This is not expected to eliminate "off-message" protesters, but will keep them off campus to the degree University security is able to enforce this agreement with NDResponse.

This writer has to say she is pleased with this development. While not opposing Notre Dame's invitation to the President, I have always felt a respectful and constructive witness to life while he visits the campus is appropriate. I congratulate those who are willing to take the time to make that witness in the fashion described.

It also has been clear that the Right-wing has so whipped up its camp followers that the unleashed extremism was creating a very ugly face of conservative Catholics. A small circus was in the making and it was not going to benefit their cause. They were looking crazy, rabid and hateful.

On the other hand, this may be a day late and a dollar short. The more extreme element will not go away. One can imagine what they will say to the moderates for using University security to enforce the exclusion of those these wish to "censor." Randall Terry and Alan Keyes already have indicated they expect to be arrested. A civil war among the Right-Wing could emerge as the bigger story (expect the far right to compare the moderates to Jews cooperating with the Nazis). We will see. But for now, it appears that at least an element of the Catholic Right has acknowledged their problem, which is the first step on the road to recovery.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Right Wing Goes Insane over Opposition to Notre Dame

Peter Steinfels, one of the Church's most respected journalists on Catholic concerns, has an excellent column in today's New York Times. Steinfels shows just how extreme and counter-productive the anti-Obama/anti-Notre Dame protesters are.

Bishop Robert Finn (R-MO) has even gone so far to equate the President and the Notre Dame community with Satan.

The extremists are attacking the University administration, faculty, graduation class and student body as enemies of the pro-life movement.

Selections from the article follow.

May 9, 2009
Roman Catholics’ War Over Abortion

Discord is nothing new for Roman Catholicism. But the controversy surrounding the appearance of President Obama at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement on May 17 suggests that run-of-the mill discord among American Catholics is escalating into something closer to civil war.

Just watch that airplane circling over the famous Golden Dome of Notre Dame’s Main Building and the spire of the university’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The plane pulls a banner with a picture of an aborted fetus.

The group flying the banner is unhappy not just with the university but also, according to a spokesman quoted in The South Bend Tribune, with “the pro-life community at Notre Dame.”
“If they were doing a good job of reaching the campus,” he said, “it’s unlikely Obama would have been invited.”

Now listen to Bishop Robert W. Finn, bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese in Missouri. “We are at war!” he told an anti-abortion convention on April 18. “We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan.”

Although this war must never involve violence, he said, and Christians must love the human enemies who come under Satan’s power, “even without their fully realizing it,” he went on to say that the most dangerous enemies were not those openly attacking the church but “more subtle enemies.” These included Catholics who “attack the most fundamental tenets of the church’s teachings.”

Mark Noll is a leading historian of American Christianity, an evangelical and a strong opponent of abortion who joined Notre Dame’s faculty last year. In an interview this week, he said “temperate objections” to Mr. Obama’s appearance could stimulate useful thinking about the role of the church in politics and the nature of a Catholic university. Still, he said, “I am surprised at the visceral level of the opposition.”

An editorial in America, the weekly magazine published by the Jesuit order of Catholic priests, characterized much of the opposition in even stronger terms: “They thrive on slash-and-burn tactics,” the editors wrote, adding that “their tactics, and their attitudes, threaten the unity of the Catholic Church in the United States, the effectiveness of its mission and the credibility of its pro-life activities.”

Of course, the editors are now being accused of “slash-and-burn tactics” themselves, if not of falling under the power of Satan.

The student body and especially the graduating seniors appear overwhelmingly in favor of hearing him. Afterward, people may wonder what all the fuss was about.

In 2004, a few bishops seconded that demand during Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign. The resulting furor and division among the bishops led them, at their June 2004 meeting, to hammer out a statement on “Catholics in Political Life.” It is this hastily composed statement, now being treated as highly authoritative, that is being waved at Notre Dame.
It includes the injunction that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” (It also includes a plea for “more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials.”) Exactly what the bishops meant by “in defiance” is unclear, especially as it might apply to non-Catholics whose adherence to Catholic teaching can hardly be presumed.

But the wording of the statement was less important than the feeling behind it — a feeling that the anti-abortion cause was not being loyally supported by Catholics themselves.
In 2008, that sense of betrayal turned white hot, what with a majority of Catholic voters and even some Catholics well-known for anti-abortion views supporting Mr. Obama,

Increasingly, conservative Catholics appear to be making a specific form of anti-abortion politics, condemning the administration root and branch, a test of Catholic identity.

The problem, at least to the editors of America magazine, is that “it is not adherence to the church’s doctrine on the evil of abortion that counts for orthodoxy, but adherence to a particular political program and fierce opposition to any proposal short of that program.”

for the full article, go here:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Republican Leader Condemns Democrats for Encouraging Too Much Adoption

from the Washington Post:

Parental Leave Passes Committee as Foe Foresees Families Stocking Up on Kids

By Joe Davidson

When it comes to paid parental leave for federal employees, everything isn't simple motherhood and apple pie.

To Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, legislation that would allow Frankie and Flo Fed four paid weeks of leave following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child is a dollar sign -- $850 million over five years.

To Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who has waged a decade-long fight for the bill, it's an investment in the nation's future, an effort that would improve children's health and boost employee productivity.

Maloney's side won the debate yesterday as the committee approved her bill on a voice vote and sent it to the full House.

"No federal employee who's a new parent should be forced to choose between their paycheck and their newborn -- or newly adopted -- child in those vital first few weeks home," Maloney said. "As the nation's largest employer, the federal government can -- and should -- lead the way on this issue."

Currently, federal employees who have been on the job at least a year can take up to 12 weeks of leave, but without pay.


Save for Issa, the Republicans had nothing at all to say about the measure, leaving it to their leader to play the Scrooge who uses money as a hammer against the family value of mothers and fathers staying home with their newborns or newly adopted children.

Issa is concerned that federal employees could adopt children year after year after year, all the while collecting those four weeks of paid annual leave.
Workers "could have one adoption or one foster child per year, resulting in every year you get a new foster child, every year the husband and wife if they are both federal workers would take four weeks off with pay, because they have simply taken in a new foster child," he said before the vote.

Can't you see Frankie and Flo stocking up on kiddies like the old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many children she didn't know what to do? Frankie and Flo would get that paid month each year for each new one, doing damage to Uncle Sam's wallet in the process.

Issa's vision of federal workers adopting one child after another provided an opening for Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) to plug National Foster Care Month, which is now.

"I happen to represent a district that has the largest number of children in foster care in the United States of America," he said. More than a third of kids in his Chicago don't live with their parents, he added.

"I would be delighted if federal workers or any other workers . . . adopted one of these children every year," Davis continued. "As a matter of fact, I'd give them a Medal of Honor if every year they found that they could adopt another child, because there is a tremendous need for children to be adopted."

With yesterday's vote, the committee moved the United States one step closer to joining the global community of nations, the "163 countries [that] recognize the importance of providing paid leave to families," Maloney said.

"The United States, along with Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea, does not."

May 7, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Conservatives Denounce Vatican over Obama

the full article is here:

The Stakes at Notre Dame
Words From Rome Change The Debate on Inviting Obama
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Thursday, May 7, 2009

We now know that the reaction of right-wing Catholics to Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama falls into the category of "more Catholic than the pope."

To the dismay of many conservatives, the Vatican's own newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has offered what one antiabortion Catholic blog called "a surprisingly positive assessment of the new president's approach to life issues" -- so positive, in fact, that a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee was moved to criticize Pope Benedict XVI's daily.

The Vatican newspaper offered its analysis as Catholic liberals and conservatives are battling fiercely over Notre Dame's decision to invite the president as this year's commencement speaker and to grant him an honorary degree. The article will strengthen the liberal claim that the Catholic right's over-the-top response is rooted at least as much in Republican and conservative politics as in concern over the abortion question.

The April 29 essay by Giuseppe Fiorentino, L'Osservatore's frequent foreign affairs contributor, painted Obama as a moderate on many fronts. "Some have accused him of practicing excessive statism," Fiorentino wrote, "if not even of making the country drift toward socialism." But "a calmer analysis," he said, suggests that Obama "has moved with caution." (I rely here on a translation of the article posted yesterday on the Vatican's official Web site.)

On abortion and the other life issues, the article concluded that Obama "does not seem to have established the radical changes that he had aired."

In loosening the rules on federal funding of stem-cell research, the paper noted, Obama did not go as far as many in the antiabortion movement feared he would. "The new guidelines regarding embryonic stem cell research do not in fact follow the [prospective] change of route laid out months ago," Fiorentino wrote. "They do not allow for the creation of new embryos for research or therapy purposes, for cloning or reproductive ends; and federal funds can only be used for experimentation with surplus embryos."

Then came a carefully worded sentence declaring that "these measures do not eliminate the reasons for criticism in the face of unacceptable forms of bioengineering that work against the embryo's human identity, but the new regulations are less permissive than expected."

This restrained view contrasts with charges that Obama is the "most radical pro-abortion president in history," words used earlier this year on the Christian Coalition's Web site. ...

The consternation on the right over the Vatican article was immediate. Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee in the United States, told that L'Osservatore's assessment was "not helpful" and that "there's nothing middle of the road about the substantive policies that this administration is pursuing on life issues."

Rank-and-file Catholics do not share in the conservatives' gloominess. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that two-thirds of Catholics approved of Obama's performance in office. Pew also reported that 50 percent of Catholics thought Notre Dame was right to invite Obama, while only 28 percent said the invitation was wrong. ...

Largely lost in the Notre Dame furor is the extent to which the ferocity on the Catholic right has emboldened moderate and liberal Catholics to fight back.
The current issue of America magazine, published by the Jesuits, includes a sharply worded editorial criticizing the "divisive effects of the new American sectarians" which "have not escaped the notice of the Vatican."

"Their highly partisan political edge has become a matter of concern," the editors write. "That they never demonstrate the same high dudgeon at the compromises, unfulfilled promises and policy disagreements with Republican politicians as with Democratic ones is plain for all to see. It is time to call this one-sided denunciation by its proper name: political partisanship."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Catholics Support Notre Dame

A recent poll by the Pew Forum shows that by a two to one margin, Catholics support Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies later this month. Other about a quarter of Catholics object to it. More than half affirmatively support Notre Dame and the remainder are indifferent to the action.

The poll suggests a small, mostly white wing of the Church remains hostile to the President. Two-thirds of Catholics also give the President high marks on his performance in office.
Even one hard-core conservative website admitted "The absence of a general backlash on the part of Catholics to Notre Dame's invitation to Obama may not come as a surprise, given that most Catholics voted for Obama in the 2008 election and give him positive marks for his performance in office thus far."

Friday, May 1, 2009


Saint Joseph, Patron of the Working Class, Pray for those who labor, intercede for those who work for justice and protect those endangered on the job.