Daily Archives: 04/27/2009

She preferred not

History in the making?

The significance of [Mary Ann] Glendon’s refusal is enormous. The most accomplished Catholic laywoman in America — former ambassador of the United States to the Holy See and current president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences — has refused to accept Notre Dame’s highest honor.

It is a signal moment for the Catholic Church in the United States. It is a signal moment for the Church’s public witness. It is may even be a signal moment for Notre Dame. What Glendon will not say at Notre Dame will finally be a fitting response to what Gov. Mario Cuomo said there some 25 years ago.

That’s when

the archbishop of New York had clarified that a faithful Catholic could not promote abortion rights, [and] the nation’s premier Catholic university, led by two of the most famous Catholic priests in America, invited the leading Catholic politician in the country to explain why the archbishop of New York was wrong, all this two months before a presidential election in which a vice- presidential candidate was a pro-abortion Catholic.

Fr. Jenkins, “[taken] to school” by the Harvard law prof, unwittingly set things up for the Glendon slam-dunk, argues Rev. Raymond J. de Souza in National Catholic Register.

What New York Gov. Mario Cuomo did in 1984 was with the willing connivance of Father Theodore Hesburgh. Father Jenkins thought he could outdo the master himself, but he has been taught that this is no longer Father Ted’s Notre Dame. Notre Dame is no longer untouchable by the American bishops and the lay faithful.

Strong stuff, but it’s a quite dramatic situation which I do not think this writer exaggerates.  It was Hesburgh and Rev. Richard McBrien vs. New York’s Cardinal O’Connor and the bishops’ conference.  The prize was Notre Dame and its role in the politics of abortion.

This time, Notre Dame took it on the chin, and a woman did it.

Take your Laetare medal and . . .

Sensible lady!  Former Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, declining to be honored by Notre Dame at the coming commencement,

charged that Notre Dame’s decision to honor Obama showed “disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions ‘should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles’ and that such persons ‘should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.’”

Her letter to Fr. Jenkins is here.  Has the medal ever been refused?

Jenkins had bragged about her coming,using her as a foil:

“We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about”, he said.

To which Glendon:

It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision — in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops — to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Jenkins is disappointed:

“We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.” (University of Notre Dame Office of News & Information)

… and that’s it.

He only registers “disappointment”, not even attempting to answer her arguments.

So is Obama.

The state will provide

Sen. Roland Burris is “Tombstone” to Chi Trib’s John Kass, and rightly so, but he made some sense in a South Side community meeting last week.  Pestered by former Chicago Housing Authority Director Phil Jackson (who complained mostly about Obama’s neglecting poor people), Burris 

told Jackson there was little the government could do to solve the problems of broken African-American families.

“No government, no senator, no alderman, no representative is going to be in your family dealing with those kids that we’re raising,” he said.

And Burris, 71, said he found himself at a loss trying to stop some children from turning to crime, saying “an old gentleman like me trying to deal with 10- and 12-year-olds that will cuss you out in a minute if you look at ’em . . . ”

Jackson interjected: “That’s what we need help on.”

“A dollar bill ain’t going to help that,” Burris replied.

“We need help to put structures into place,” Jackson countered.

There’s a lot in that “dollar bill” remark, and a lot in Jackson’s reply.  J. himself had raised the broken-family issue, which he sees in terms of “structures” to be installed by elected officials, starting with Obama, specifically

CeaseFire, an anti-gang violence program in the city which hasn’t gotten any federal stimulus money.

This is sad.  A government program is supposed to create a whole new culture for black families?  The same government that installed welfare-dependence structures that for generations made families virtual wards of the state?

And that all-purpose “stimulus.”  Of what?  Jobs for counsellors?

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