March 2009

This blog could be filled with quotes from various Church leaders or intellectuals regarding the Obama-Notre Dame situation.  But I’m choosing to refrain.

Except for this exerpt from Cardinal George.  I chose to share Cardinal George’s sentiments for a few reasons:

1) He’s President of the USCCB.  He’s not just sharing his personal views on the matter (everyone has those); rather, he’s speaking from a position of authority. 

2) It was spoken at a conference in Chicago rather than written, so it may not make it around the internet as fast as some of the other letters written by various bishops.  

3) He’s practical.  He doesn’t see the invitation being rescinded, but rather asks- “what now?”

without further ado… (from the pen of a former classmate of mine, Kathleen Gilbert)

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, March 31, 2009 ( – Speaking as the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this weekend Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said that the University of Notre Dame’s decision to host and honor President Obama at their commencement ceremony this year was an “extreme embarrassment” to Catholics.  

“Whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation,” George told the crowd at a conference Saturday on the Vatican document Dignitas Personae. The conference was hosted by the Chicago archdiocese’s Respect Life office and Office for Evangelization at the Marriott O’Hare hotel. 

In a video obtained by (LSN) today, Cardinal George prefaced his remarks by noting that as USCCBpresident he does not have jurisdiction or authority over other bishops, but nonetheless has “some moral authority, without any kind of jurisdiction or any sort of real authority.”

As president of the U.S. bishops’ conference I have to precisely speak for the bishops and not in my own name, as I could as Archbishop of Chicago,” he added. 

George said he had spoken with the administrative committee of the bishops’ conference and corresponded with University president Fr. John Jenkins several times on the issue.

“That conversation will continue …. whether or not it will have some kind of consequence that will bring, I think, the University of Notre Dame to its [the USCCB’s] understanding of what it means to be Catholic,” said the Cardinal.  “That is, when you’re Catholic, everything you do changes the life of everybody else who calls himself a personal Catholic – it’s a network of relationships

“So quite apart from the president’s own positions, which are well known, the problem is in that you have a Catholic university – the flagship Catholic university – do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic,” said the cardinal.

“So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, and didn’t anticipate the kind of uproar that would be consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has happened,” said George. 

The Cardinal urged concerned Catholics “to do what you are supposed to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what’s in your heart about this: the embarrassment, the difficulties.” 

However, Cardinal George emphasized that the U.S. presidency “is an office that deserves some respect, no matter who is holding it,” and said that Notre Dame would not disinvite the president, since “you just don’t do that (disinvite the president of the United States).” According to the cardinal requests to revoke the invitation would fall on deaf ears, but he also observed that there is legitimate potential to organize some form of protest at the ceremony.

“You have to sit back and get past the immediate moral outrage and say, ‘Now what’s the best thing to do in these circumstances?’” said the Cardinal.  

I can assure you the bishops are doing that.”


Quote of the day:
(stolen from Mary Ann Glendon’s website, glendonbooks)

“There is bound to be formed a solid right that is determined to live in a world that no longer exists. There is bound to be formed a scattered left, captivated by now this, now that new development, exploring now this, now that new possibility. But what will count is a perhaps not numerous center, big enough to be at home in both the old and the new, painstaking enough to work out one by one the transitions to be made, strong enough to refuse half measures and insist on complete solutions even though it has to wait.” Bernard J. F. Lonergan

I don’t want to write volumes about the Obama-ND situation. All I want to say is this:

Sure, dialogue about the issues. But don’t honor the man. And no matter what they say, giving him an HONORARY law degree (of all things) is honoring him, not opening dialogue with him.  

First of all, you can’t separate a man from his principals. You can’t say “we’re honoring him as president, but we’re not honoring his beliefs.”  No one would honor Hitler in an attempt to separate his achievement in gaining power in Germany (which was impressive) from what he did with that power.

Secondly, there are other ways to dialogue.  If you wanted to dialogue with Hugo Chavez, you wouldn’t give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom to do so.

That’s all I have to say.

“Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.”

Bishop D’Arcy, diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Catholics comprise the largest religious group in the US Congress.  


What can be said?

I came across a good article written by a pro-choice journalist about President Obama.  I read it without first looking at the date, although I figured it probably dated back to campaign time.  It does, although it’s still an interesting read.  Except that last sentence just kills you (“What will be surprising if Americans are politically stupid and economically suicidal enough to elect someone as fundamentally anti-American (due to his obvious ignorance of all that America truly is) as Barack Obama.”).  Gulp.

Obama, Sex Ed And The Forgotten Constitution
Ross Kaminsky 7/24/2007

Much has been made in recent hours about Senator Barack Obama’s call for sex education for kindergarteners which he made at a Planned Parenthood event on Tuesday. But of the several notable position statements made by Obama during his presentation, that was probably the least objectionable.

Obama qualified his support for sex education by calling for it to be “age appropriate” which for 6-year old children might be as simple as pointing out that there is such thing as “inappropriate touching” or that “babies do not come from the stork”. While I would make every effort to ensure that such life lessons reach my children via good parenting rather than Big Nanny schooling and while the suggestion for this sort of education represents yet another example of Democrats’ belief that it takes a village rather than it takes a parent, it is at least not patently unconstitutional or dangerous to our Republic’s foundation as a nation of laws.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Obama’s two other deep thoughts on Tuesday were in fact unconstitutional and dangerous.

First, Obama called for universal health care including government-funded abortion (after Elizabeth Edwards, speaking for her husband, initiated that suggestion in front of the audience.) Obama simply called it “reproductive-health services”, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, a spokesman for Obama said that included abortion.

Let me be very clear here, particularly for people who do not read my writing on a regular basis: I am not a social conservative and I am pro-choice. But the idea of government-funded abortion is perilously close to aborting our constitution…and a very messy late-term abortion at that.

There is no constitutional right to health care, nor any federal authority to provide health care. I am not naïve; I realize that most of what the federal government does it does not have authority to do. But most of what it does also does not have a better than 50% chance of actually bankrupting the government. For those of you not paying close attention, the already existing item which will bankrupt the government if massive changes are not made is Medicare (which makes Social Security’s problems look miniscule.) So the government’s initial foray into health care which is theoretically only for a fraction of the population is already going to destroy our nation’s finances if it is not cut back tremendously. President Bush’s unconscionable prescription drug benefit only made the problem worse; it created the single largest unfunded mandate in our history.

I often think that Democrat elites are truly out of touch with the American people, though I may just be projecting since they are clearly out of touch with me. But do they truly believe that the majority of Americans want socialized medicine? Just a couple small statistics which should be enough to convince even the “rationally ignorant” electorate that we don’t need to import British medical policy: For a man diagnosed with prostate cancer, the chance of dying from the disease is more than twice as high in England as in the US. Similar statistics exist for most cancers and other major diseases. Tens of thousands of medical procedures are cancelled annually in England because by the time the patient is able to get the procedure, he or she has gotten too sick to be able to risk the surgery or to be helped by it. And doctors in England report very low levels of job satisfaction, to the surprise of no American doctor but apparently to the surprise of every Democratic candidate for President. How much do you yearn to be treated by a doctor who hates his job?

Including government-funded abortion as a campaign plank is a travesty. Although I do not believe abortion is murder, a substantial percentage of Americans do. It is simply unacceptable to force so many to pay for something they consider to be a sin. Furthermore, government-funded abortion is unnecessary, and particularly from the federal government. States, or more preferably private charities, are more than capable of funding such activities for those who truly can not afford it themselves. And if an anti-abortion person lives in a state which uses tax dollars to fund abortion, it is much easier for him or her to move to another state than it is to move to another country.

The other frightening statement made by Obama was on the subject of Supreme Court justice nominations. According to a Reuters story, “Obama said he would look into the heart of a potential Supreme Court nominee. ‘We need somebody who’s got the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young teen-aged mom,’ he said.”

Let me get this straight: Obama wants to appoint to what is conceivably the most important political/judicial body in the world someone whose primary qualifications must include being able to think like an ignorant, reckless, irresponsible, and possibly accident-prone person who is not old enough to drive or to vote. Hmmmm….imagine the quality of majority opinion written by that person. Well, we might not have to imagine too hard since we do have Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer for whom “empathy” seems to trump both logic and the rule of law. They could be like the big sister and big brother of the 15-year-old-intellectual-equivalent Obama selection. Like the wise 17-year old, full of life experience, telling the younger sibling how not to get caught drinking daddy’s beer in the back seat of the car steaming up the windows. There is a reason neither of these characters is given adult responsibilities, much less thought of as a role model for the Supreme Court of the United States.

I suppose it is not surprising that a man who repeatedly demonstrates a complete and utter lack of the meaning and importance of the Constitution does not care about appointing Supreme Court justices capable of honoring their (and Obama’s) oaths to protect and defend that Constitution. What will be surprising if Americans are politically stupid and economically suicidal enough to elect someone as fundamentally anti-American (due to his obvious ignorance of all that America truly is) as Barack Obama.

Ross Kaminsky is a fellow of the Heartland Institute. He earned a Political Science degree from Columbia University in 1987 and has been published in The New York Times, The Denver Post, The LA Times, and other major newspapers around the country. His blog can be found at

The more I think about the federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, the madder I get.  I dislike how the press calls it “stem cell research,” as if there is only one type or as if all types are equal and can be grouped together.

It also irks me that in this bad economy, our president has decided to spend money on this.

Not that he’s not throwing money around– he might as well be flying over America and dumping it out of Air Force One.  Then maybe it would at least reach some of us.  So yes, it’s not like this is the only thing he’s spending money on…. after the first 50 days of his presidency, he has spent an average of one billion dollars a day.  Can we just pause and let that sink in for a bit?

So he’s chosen to spend MY money to kill embryos, which, unless you are Bill Clinton, are fertilized cells that are babies in their earliest stage of development.  (Be careful watching that Bill Clinton video, by the way, because you might get dumber. Even if you don’t think an embryo is a baby, it’s still fertilized, Mr Clinton… If it wasn’t fertilized or “was never going to be fertilized” … well, it wouldn’t be an embryo.  Why did they let him repeat that so many times when it was so blatantly wrong?)

I digress… so the President has decided that he will spend my money on something that I think is wrong… and not only do I think it’s wrong, but lots and lots of people agree that it is wrong…  (Not that it’s a matter of popular vote or anything… what’s wrong is wrong, but just stick with me here…)

Remember when Vice President Biden said during the campaign that he cannot inflict his personal beliefs on a pluralistic society?  You know, that bizarre cop-out line that so many politicians regurgitate so that they can hide behind their own regurgitation?

Well, Mr. Obama shouldn’t inflict his own personal beliefs (that throwing away human beings in the name of science is okay) on a pluralistic society by making us pay for their murder.

Ah, it’s a two-faced world full of rhetoric, my friends.  Not that we didn’t know that already.

Here’s a thought.

President Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research today.

Notice: a ban on federal funding.  Other sources of funding were allowed.

So instead of leaving the funding of this endeavor (that, beyond being immoral, has repeatedly proven to be unsuccessful) to the private sector, President Obama has decided that the taxpayers should pay for it.

So here’s the thought… if embryonic stem cell research is viable, don’t you think drug companies and universities would already be pouring plenty of funds into it?  Would they even need federal funding?

As a wise man said today: “Did they need federal funding for Viagra?!”

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