Notre Dame Update

The controversy surrounding the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama has shifted in recent days as cooler heads appear to be prevailing.

Cardinal Francis George said he was "misquoted" if people thought he was urging that there be protests at the university itself. He also said it would be wrong to rescind the invitation to the President. Despite the cardinal’s urging, Randall Terry has already begun protests at Notre Dame’s campus and the conservative group, the Cardinal Newman Society, continues to urge Catholics to protest.

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John Gehring, of the progressive group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, penned an op-ed that appeared at the blog at Sojourners. Gehring has emerged as one of Washington’s most articulate spokesmen for an engaged Catholicism that remains critical of the culture when needed but avoids the gloom and doom scenarios peddled by so many conservatives who argue for religious engagement.

Finally, the group Communion and Liberation, known as Pope Benedict’s favorite among the new ecclesial movements, has issued a thoughtful, if somewhat opaque, statement on the controversy. They recall the founding of the university and its dual mission of serving Church and nation. I am told that the text of the statement was approved by the organization’s HQ in Milan.

Of course, the key question is beginning to emerge: What will the President say? Will he give a speech about foreign policy and ignore the controversy? Or, will he engage the controversy and speak about how he sees the role of religion in the public square? If he chooses the former, he has to make news so that the protests do not win the headlines. If he chooses the latter, he has to hit a home run. Given the poor roll-out of the decisions on embryonic stem cell research and the revocation of the Bush administration’s last minute conscience clause, it is not clear this administration knows how to get a base hit with Catholics let alone swing for the bleachers.

 

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9 years 3 months ago
Rose: be very careful about how much "faith" you put in what is currently called Catholic doctrine. In case you forgot, at one time the magisterium (the chief doctrine definers)... • justified the institution of slavery, • tolerated and endorsed a harsh misogyny and the oppression of women by men, • defended the use of torture, • blessed the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the burning at the stake of heretics, • cultivated a disdainful and punitive attitude toward the Jewish people, • insisted that sexual intercourse was morally tolerable only for the sake of procreation, • condemned democracy, • ridiculed the idea of religious liberty, • denied the legitimacy of the idea of human rights, • and condemned the separation of church and state. These last six teachings were only reversed at Vatican II, which some church leaders now claim was in perfect continuity with the church history preceding it.
9 years 3 months ago
No matter how the invitation to Obama is portrayed in the media or how Obama responds to Catholics' objections to his policies, I still say, in my mind, it will no longer Notre Dame University, but NOTRE SHAME. If I had any children of college age, you can be sure they would not be attending Notre Shame. If the Church in America cannot count on her Catholic Colleges and Universities to be staunch supporters of Catholic doctrine, then the Church is in a very bad way.
9 years 3 months ago
Mr. McCrea You may find Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid and several publications by Steve Kellmeyer helpful and factual concerning the points you mentioned.
9 years 3 months ago
Mr. Kash, sometimes I think it would be better to just let this issue die, as it likely will the day after the speech is given. There aren't many right to life landmines left in the field of battle, with ESCR, Mexico City and the last minute and quite unnecessary conscience clause regulation about to be up-ended. When ESCR occurs, the stem cells are removed from the Chorion and they don't die. Only the Chorion is destroyed. If you remove an embryo from the Chorion after gastrulation it does die - since it is an integral organism with a soul at that point. Prior to gastrulation, stem cells are morally no different than those found in bone marrow (except that they are likely to be bad or at least of uncertain use given the fact that they have not been weeded out by going through gastrulation). The news cycle is against you on this. It is amusing to argue about, however after about mid-May no one will be. In 2012, and even 2010, people will look at you blankly if you tell them that stem cell research is an issue.
9 years 3 months ago
Mr. Bindner says: ''When ESCR occurs, the stem cells are removed from the Chorion and they don't die. Only the Chorion is destroyed. If you remove an embryo from the Chorion after gastrulation it does die - since it is an integral organism with a soul at that point. Prior to gastrulation, stem cells are morally no different than those found in bone marrow (except that they are likely to be bad or at least of uncertain use given the fact that they have not been weeded out by going through gastrulation).'' These ''stem cells'' that are ''removed from the chorion'' which do not die are, I assume, alive? What species are they? It is not an ''integral organism with a soul''. Is this a scientific statement or a religious statement? What the heck is an integral organism? Is a single E. Coli and integral organism? Your arbitrary fixation on gastrulation does not hold water. The ''stem cells'' that you removed can be proved scientifically with forensic genetics to be human tissue. This human tissue can be proven to be from a human that is NOT the mother and is NOT the father. This human tissue is from the offspring of the mother and father. ESCR kills this organism and this organisms cells are allowed to proliferate in culture.
9 years 3 months ago
I am not saying they are not human tissue. I am saying they are not yet an organism. Organisms die when you dismember them, stem cells don't. Blastocysts are potential human life (provided the genetic code provided is viable - you never know with blastocysts until after gastrulation - by which time it is too late). You can romanticize the blastocyst for a few more minutes - however like it or not the fifteen minutes of fame on this issue are about to come to a close.
9 years 3 months ago
It boils down to pride overruling forthrightness....that we have come to a day when previously devout and clearly directed institutions could bend to the world--to join the rabble and their band wagon feeling that the association with the title is more worthy than the meaning is tragic.
9 years 3 months ago
Catholics who have done their research on embryology simply ignore Church teaching on ESCR anyway, since the teaching ignores embryology. The news cycle on ESCR has long since passed and Obama would do well to ignore it. If Obama wants to hit a home run on the issue, he will announce a bill to recognize unborn life at 23 weeks at the federal level with a life or sever bodily injury exception only (requiring ethical review to get around). He should then say why he favors 24 instead of 12 or 2 weeks - or even conception. Of course, I don't really think abortion is an issue for him. While some of us thrive on it, others wish it would go away. He will likely talk about hope or change or something that the GRADUATES want to talk about, since most of them are likely to have been Obama voters. This will be a victory lap for him and for the Graduates. As for Randall Terry, he can continue to make a fool of himself - although I would rather he quit making the cause of life look like a fools errand. Obama should give him a medal, since he provides the kind of foil that most have to pay for.
9 years 3 months ago
The Communion and Liberation flyer is too opaque for me, that's for sure. This is typical of the CL style, it seems: a long introduction that seems to be going somewhere, and then an abrupt conclusion that doesn't answer the questions raised. See, for example, this article by CL's chief US spokesman, Msgr. Albacete, on Obama and ''rationalism vs. fideism''. http://www.ilsussidiario.net/articolo.aspx?articolo=14253 How does the Monsignor think Obama COULD transcend ''the battle between fideism and rationalism''? It is not obvious. The CL flyer on Obama at ND seems to be supportive of the decision, but what else it suggests is quite unclear, at least to me.
9 years 3 months ago
Mr. Bindner: I have studied embryology and I also submit to the teachings of the Church. They are very consistent. Even if I could not understand, I still would humbly submit to the Teachings of the Church (as all good Catholics do). I suspect you are a protestant or of some other faith where obedience is not required but we catholics obey. Hence that is why some rightfuly do not think Notre Dame to be Catholic.
9 years 3 months ago
"Of course, the key question is beginning to emerge: What will the President say?" Those who favor the Obama invitation have been assuring us that this is about "dialog". So presumably he'll state his views on abortion and then invite others to explain theirs to him. That is how a dialog goes, isn't it?
9 years 3 months ago
Most of the problems existing in the Catholic Church today, from pedophilia, to contraception, to loss of vocations, stem from the inability of the hierarchy to stand uniformly firm on matters of doctrine. Cardinals and bishops must think beyond the collection plate and political correctness on these matters. We need our bishops standing, like warriors, shoulder to shoulder, in consistent solidarity on matters of the Magisterium. We cannot forget that we are facing forces of incredible evil, and we need our leaders to LEAD and stop pussy-footing around.
9 years 3 months ago
According to students of the development of human consciousness, human consciousness evolves step by step from one level to the next: archaic, magical, mythical, rational, post-rational and mystical. Fundamentalists of all religions think and operate at the mythical level of consciousness. They believe generally in the literalness of the Scriptures and religious myths, that their religion is the only way to God, that all people must be converted to their religion, that one should unquestionably obey religious authority, that people should adhere to rigid sexual and gender roles, etc. People at the rational level, like the editors of America, have a broader and more tolerant perspective. Unfortunately, though people at the rational level tolerate those at the mythic level, the toleration is never reciprocated because mythic level people have not mastered rational thinking. (Just some perspective on the comments above)
9 years 3 months ago
You miss the original point - that when ESCR occurs, nothing dies but the Chorion - which is not part of the child. The stem cells are undifferentiated. If Iguana sperm were used to create them instead of human sperm, they would still grow. No human life was destroyed, because the life had not yet begun. Half the time if a forensic pathologist examined the DNA of the tissues, he would find it of no use for research. Unless you claim that every blastocyst which fails at gastrulation is a soul in Heaven, including those who are products of inter-species mating, you can't claim anything but potential humanity for blastocysts. Evangelicum Vitae, the infallible part, says that we cannot proceed if we are not sure. Most embryologists are sure that blastocysts are potential but not actual human life and I cannot see that they are wrong. If that is there conviction, then they are not committing either a sinful act or an objectively immoral act. The bottom line is, a life in not destroyed to do ESCR. The potentially human part does not die nor is it substantively transformed. Rather, its transformation into a human is prevented. There is a world of difference between taking life and preventing life.
9 years 3 months ago
So this is human tissue? What individual human does this tissue come from? The Mom, Dad or offspring? The forensic geneticist can prove this to be the human tissue from one of the parent's children. Whether a scientist can grow my tissue in cell culture or not does not make me human. If a scientist can grow cells from my bone marrow in cell culture then that would disqualify my as human???? Sorry this does not wash. No matter how long this will or will not be in the news it IS the killing of a human.
9 years 3 months ago
Mr. Bindner, I am not sure about your education background but your reasoning is seriously flawed. You say: ''The stem cells are undifferentiated''. Yes. They are the undifferentiated stem cells of a human life. This human life is the offspring of a mother and father. This is what a human at this stage of development looks like. The term ''potential'' human life is not a scientific term but a political term. Scientifically something is either a human life or not a human life. A sperm is not a human life. An egg is not a human life. A fertilized egg is a human life and if left to nature it will continue to grow and develop until natural death. Yes, when a blastocyst dies so too does a human die. I am a scientist. I do not know when I received my soul. I will leave Jesus Christ and His Church to teach about ensoulment. ''Evangelicum Vitae, the infallible part'' Did you mean this as a joke? Very funny!
9 years 2 months ago
Potential human life is actually a moral term in Catholic natural law theory. You keep saying that a blastocyst dies to harvest stem cells - however the part that would have become a child does not actually die. The only part that is discarded would have been the afterbirth. The scientists who actually work with embryos draw a bright line at gastrulation, which should inform the Church about ensoulment. To leave the matter to the clergy, who is sadly misinformed on this issue may be comfortable, but it is not a morally correct act. Ensoulment is not necessarily a theological question only, it is a moral one. You can look at the behavior of the blastocyst and the behavior of the embryo and notice vast differences which do indicate the pressence of a soul in latter but not the former. As far as Evangelicum Vitae I am being absolutely serious. The principle that cannot be wrong is that if a soul could be present, we must not take the life. However, the scientific assumptions in the Encyclical need not be taken as infallible, since they could be in error and in fact are in error. Unless you wish to consider that the entire concept of infallibilty may be flawed, I would advise you to accept the distinction between that part which can be relied upon infallibily and that which need not be.
9 years 2 months ago
This is a response to ''puzzled by cl; The article that you quote says exactly the opposite of what you understood from it this was your original posting: The Communion and Liberation flyer is too opaque for me, that's for sure. This is typical of the CL style, it seems: a long introduction that seems to be going somewhere, and then an abrupt conclusion that doesn't answer the questions raised. See, for example, this article by CL's chief US spokesman, Msgr. Albacete, on Obama and ''rationalism vs. fideism''. http://www.ilsussidiario.net/articolo.aspx?articolo=14253 How does the Monsignor think Obama COULD transcend ''the battle between fideism and rationalism''? It is not obvious. The CL flyer on Obama at ND seems to be supportive of the decision, but what else it suggests is quite unclear, at least to me. END OF ORIGINAL POSTING Given that I am curious, I went to read the article at your link. This is the correct quote: ...Precisely for this reason, the President’s efforts to transcend the left vs. right religious war CANNOT REALLY SUCCEED (the capitalization is added by me), since he will not be able to escape from the battle between fideism and rationalism. END OF COMPLETE ORIGINAL QUOTE So probably you read too superficially the cl flier as well. Please re-read it and notice that it only mentions what the invitation SHOULD BE, not what it is.

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