Hmm…? Vatican Newspaper Upbeat About President’s Speech

L’Osservatore Romano Is the Newspaper of the Vatican. It’s editorials, while not considered official statements of the Vatican are nevertheless seen indicative of the general thinking in Rome. The paper has sounded an “upbeat” note in terms of recent postures of the President toward abortion, including the recent speech. . I am not sure how to interpret the editorial. Is is just wishful thinking? Is it an olive branch? How is one to interpret such an editorial in light of the very different position announced by Archbishop Raymond Burke, a Vatican Official? Hmm…

Here are excerpts from the summary article on the editorial published by Catholic News Service:

The search for a common ground: This seems to be the path chosen by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in facing the delicate question of abortion,” the newspaper said….It said Obama had set aside the “strident tone” of the 2008 political campaign on the abortion issue….”Yesterday Obama confirmed … that enacting a new law on abortion was not a priority of his administration,” it said…The newspaper noted that Obama had called for reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, facilitating adoption and supporting women who want to carry their babies to term, and that he had also spoken of drafting a “conscience clause” for medical personnel who are morally opposed to participating in abortions.

The full CNS Article can be read HERE

Compare the tone of this article to that of Prefect of the Vatican’s  Supreme Court Archbishop Raymond Burke. Who really speaks for the Vatican? Who best represents the sentiments of the Vatican?

The full text of the Archbishop’s Address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is HERE

More on Notre Dame in News

The latest issue of Gloria.TV news has a couple of reports on the Notre Dame issue. See below. By the way, AMERICAN PAPIST reports that Notre Dame has taken a big blow in terms of Alumni withholding donations. Presently 14 million has been withdrawn. I can’t link directly to the American Papist Article and so I reproduce it here:

ND Alumni withhold nearly $14m because of Obama at ND

The hemorrhaging continues. These are just the donations they can track down:
Notre Dame alumni who are upset with the university’s decision to allow pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give this coming weekend’s commencement speech and to give him an honorary degree continue to withhold their donations to the Catholic college.

In total, pro-life alumni and donors who feel disenfranchised by Notre Dame’s decision have decided to withhold nearly $14 million in gifts they normally would have given.

David DiFranco, a Michigan businessman and 1995 Notre Dame graduate, told on Wednesday that the web site for disgruntled alumni has received over 1,400 pledges to withhold donations within a month since its launch. (LifeNews)
I’m not sure if I’d call these folks “disgruntled.” “Principled” sounds better to my ears.

President’s Address at Notre Dame

The video below shows an excerpt from the President’s speech at Notre Dame. A couple of thoughts occur to me in terms of his remarks:

  1. The President has laid out a case that we should not demonize and that we should disagree agreeably in this matter. At one level this all sounds fine. But the issue here is not about being nice, it is about whether a Catholic institution should honor someone who is vigorously and uncompromisingly pro-abortion with an honorary degree of Law.  Being nice is one thing, honoring what is not honorable is another. The President as a man, and as the President of the United States of America is honorable but his philosophy about the law is not. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians  whom he loved: “In hoc non  laudo” (in this I do not praise (you)).
  2. Therefore the issue before us is more about us, than the President. What are WE doing here? What are we NOT doing? Are there going to be corrective moves from Church authority that will prevent such honors being bestowed in the future?
  3. An analogy here: When a non-Catholic asks me if they can take Holy Communion I have to answer no. Perhaps this is not the “nicest answer” but it is the truest. Why can they not receive? Because communion means something. It means that I share communion with Jesus Christ. But it also means that I share communion with his Body the Church, that I accept what the Church teaches  in faith and morals and the truth that this really is the Body of Christ I am receiving. In the same way that communion actually means something and is not just an old ritual, bestowing an honorary Doctorate of Law means something. It means that we honor the recipient’s understanding of and interpretation of the Law. But we do NOT honor an interpretation of law that says it is legal to kill thousands of innocent people every day. We cannot honor an interpretation of law that  sanctions what has caused the death of tens of millions. It is not. Just as Holy Communion (which actually means something) must be withheld when such communion is lacking so should honors be withheld when when what is held cannot be honored. Again, this is no personal disrespect to the Office of President, nor to President Obama as a man. But we cannot honor his interpretation of the law here. And it is not some small point of law in question, it is a point of law that has led to the death of many millions.
  4. So, being nice and agreeable is fine, being truthful and maintaining integrity is better.
  5. Pray for our our President. He is clearly an articulate and intelligent man. What an ally he could be if he were converted on this matter. Pray too for our Church that we can use a moment like this to look more deeply and what we are doing and what it all means.

Mass for Shut-ins to be Canceled by WHUT?

PBS stations are debating the limits of one of public television’s basic commandments: Thou shalt not broadcast religious programming. The discussion, some station managers fear, could lead to a ban on broadcasts of local church services and other faith-oriented programs that have appeared on public stations for decades despite the prohibition.

The Public Broadcasting Service’s board is to vote next month on a committee’s recommendation to strip the affiliation of any station that carries ‘sectarian’ content. Losing its PBS relationship would mean that a station could no longer broadcast programs that the service distributes, from Sesame Street to ‘Frontline.’

The proposal is already having local ramifications. In anticipation of the vote next month, WHUT, the public station operated by Howard University in the District, has notified the Archdiocese of Washington that it will cancel ‘Mass for Shut-Ins,’ a Diocese-produced weekly program, if the PBS board adopts a strict interpretation. ‘Mass for Shut-Ins’ has been carried on WHUT since 1996, and continuously on a Washington TV station for nearly 60 years.

‘It’s kind of a shock to us,’ said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. ‘They’ve been great partners of ours for a long time. . . . The Mass is a very local programming that provides a community service. You’d think public television would be about engaging the community.’

…..A strict ban would leave stations such as WLAE in New Orleans with a dilemma: Stop airing its daily telecast of Catholic Mass or end its affiliation with PBS. The station, which is partly owned by a Catholic lay group, has been presenting the morning Mass since it went on the air in 1984.

‘We don’t want to lose our association with PBS, because they provide a lot of fine programs,’ said Ron Yager, the station’s vice president and general manager. ‘But at the same time, we need to serve our community. We’ve built an identity around this. People know us for this.’

Yager said his station has never received a complaint about the Mass telecast in the 25 years it has aired. ‘I’m really not totally sure of their reasoning for doing this,’ he said.

Lawson said her station has never had a complaint about its Mass broadcasts, either. But the program has sparked interest from other religious groups that would like the station to broadcast their church or mosque services, she said. ‘We just have to tell them that [‘Mass for Shut-Ins’] is a legacy program, and that we don’t have the wherewithal or inclination to do any more,’ she said….

KBYU in Provo, Utah, for example, is operated by Brigham Young University, which in turn is affiliated with the Mormon Church. The station airs much of the usual PBS fare — ‘Arthur,’ ‘Barney,’ ‘The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer’ — but also broadcasts two hours a day of ‘BYU Devotional,’ which includes lectures from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. KMBH, based in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and licensed to an affiliate of the Diocese of Brownsville, carries Sunday Mass broadcasts, Bible study in Spanish, and a family issues program hosted by a priest. In 2007, the station drew national attention when it declined to air ‘Hand of God,’ a critically praised ‘Frontline’ documentary about clergy sexual abuse.

Jan McNamara, a PBS spokeswoman, declined specific comment, saying only, “We’re still gathering feedback from our members to see where they stand.”

What is Wrong with this Picture?

Did you ever think you’d read a headline like this: “Catholic Priest Arrested At Catholic College for Protesting Abortion” ?? The video below records the event.

Some will say that trespassing laws have to be enforced to prevent Notre Dame campus from being over-run by protesters. But if Notre Dame wanted to avoid protests and controversy maybe it should avoid doing things that are controversial. Also, in recent years it has often been said that Catholic Colleges can’t just be places where Catholic teaching is promoted since the “academic environment” demands an open discussion of issues with all sides of the issue aired openly. As is often the case such “lofty principles” are shown the door when the issue is abortion or some other facet of traditional Catholic moral teaching.

As for Father Weslin, he surely knew the consequences of his actions. Those who engage in civil disobedience are usually well trained as to what to expect. He was told he’d be arrested and so he was. But doesn’t it seem odd for a Catholic College to arrest a Catholic Priest for protesting abortion? What’s wrong with this picture?

The Miracle of Marriage

cep-nlg-wedding-05Today is the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my Parents, Charles and Nancy Pope. Both of them have passed away, my mother in 2005 and my Father in 2007. When I consider my parent’s marriage  I have come to know that I witnessed a miracle.

Their marriage was far from ideal in terms of the unrealistic notions of marriage the world dreams of. One of their children, Mary Ann my sister, was mentally ill and died tragically in 1991. My parents also had many personal struggles of their own and these placed great strains on their marriage. Years later my mother hinted that there were thoughts of divorce when they were both in their 40s but events and family duties intervened. (Praise the Lord). Yet over the years my parents grew to love one another quite intensely. They were seldom apart in their last 15 years. They traveled frequently and loved cruises. My Father had a conversion in 1989  (My mother had prayed years for that) and they went to daily Mass, almost never missed a day. My Father often said he had some Masses to make up for missed masses of his wayward years!

Shortly after my sister’s death in 1991, my mother, who was broken-hearted, suffered many set backs with her alcoholism.  She  struggled mightily to stay sober and most days she won, but there were stretches of great pain for her and all of us. Through it all my father stood steadfastly by her. He kept his eye on her strove never to leave her side when she got sore afflicted. He had struggled earlier in the marriage with alcohol and she had stood by him. Now it was his turn and he never gave up.

Sadly my mother lost her battle in 2005 and died as a result of her alcoholism. My Father  never really recovered. How can you live when half of you is gone? Within two years he was also dead. He died of a broken heart, literally and figuratively. Congestive heart failure and other complications along with renal failure was the medical cause but by now you know the truer cause.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I saw a miracle in my parents. God took two people and made them one. And it was not easy work, but God did it. In their latter years they showed a miraculous love, loyalty and unity. Grace can do that. My mother’s prayer and love brought my Father’s conversion back to the faith by God’s grace. My Father’s love and faith helped him stand by my mother and care for her in an illness that causes many to walk away.

Marriage isn’t always easy, but it is holy because God is its author. And God can take two people, two struggling and  imperfect people and make them one. I saw him do that with my parents. I saw a miracle. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, Rest in peace with God.