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The Moderate Backlash on Notre Dame

President Obama’s impending appearance at Notre Dame has drawn a right-wing backlash, but it’s also worth following the continuing backlash to the backlash from moderate and liberal Catholics.

One of the most significant responses to the right was a letter to President Obama written last month but released publicly a few days ago by John R. Quinn, the retired Archbishop of San Francisco. Quinn’s letter is notable because it contrasts so sharply with the “often strident outcries,” as Quinn calls them, from more conservative Catholics, including some bishops. It’s worth noting that a majority of Catholic bishops have remained silent on Obama and Notre Dame. While one cannot assume that Quinn speaks for all of the bishops who have not spoken out -- it’s hard to know what silence means -- my hunch is that he speaks for quite a few in their ranks.

In particular, Quinn -- who explained the thinking behind the letter in an article published in America magazine earlier this year -- praises Obama for his ability “to listen to and weigh views different from your own” and says this “admirable quality inspires hope for further dialog on issues over which there are major differences.” I think Quinn is preparing the way for the debate among American bishops that is certain to take place after Notre Dame. Some bishops (and, it appears, the Vatican) believe that strident opposition to Obama serves neither the Church nor the causes it is advancing -- including opposition to abortion but also its social justice agenda. I think the Notre Dame controversy will open up a new discussion among bishops that will not be dominated by the hierarchy’s most conservative voices.

Here is Archbishop Quinn’s letter:

April 24, 2009

The President
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500

Mr. President,

I am writing as a Catholic Bishop to offer a different voice from the often strident outcries over your forthcoming visit to Notre Dame University. I acknowledge certain critical differences between us, especially on the issue of abortion. But without minimizing the gravity of these issues, I want to state several things which I believe of major importance at this time.

First, I am personally deeply gratified by the election of an African American as President of the United States and I share the jubilation of many Americans and in particular of many African American Catholics in the United States over your election. It is significant that the Vatican newspaper compared your election with the fall of the Berlin Wall and I recall that the Pope personally offered his congratulations to you.

I believe it important to acknowledge the fine example you have given in your married life and in your love and devotion to your children. The ideal of stable family life has long been a focus of interest for the Catholic Church. This, together with your frequent call for personal responsibility, is a great contribution to our nation.

It strikes me that you have shown a measured, thoughtful approach to issues of public concern and your ability to listen to and weigh views different from your own is an asset to the discharge of your high responsibilities. This admirable quality inspires hope for further dialog on issues over which there are major differences.

Mr. President, I address this letter to you not to deal with matters of policy or legislation, but simply to wish you great blessings and to assure you of my prayer that your service as President will bring lasting benefits to all Americans who, with you, cherish the ideal of “liberty and justice for all.”

Most sincerely yours,
+John R. Quinn
Former Archbishop of San Francisco

By E.J. Dionne  | May 16, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

There may well be a "debate" between Obamaists and Catholic bishops but it would be naive to believe that Obama's radical pro-abortion stance will influence the bishops. Quinn writes of Obama's "measured, thoughtful approach to issues of public concern." On the question of abortion, however, Obama is the most radical president of them all. He fully supports a women's right to kill. To put it bluntly.

Posted by: mhr614 | May 16, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

E.J., I sincerely hope that you're right, and that the most conservative elements of hierarchy will not control this debate. Unfortunately, they are the squeakiest wheels, and they seem to get an inordinate amount of attention relative to what they have to say.

Posted by: rlodato1 | May 16, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

As a Catholic I am most concerned that Notre Dame is or is becoming a secular
school.The Chancellor certaily seems to be
leaning away from Church policies.
If it secular,then cease all funding from
Catholics.If Catholic,shape up & don't issue invitations to a president who is
is radically opposed to Church values.
Get a new Chancellor.

Posted by: blakely1 | May 16, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

If I were graduating from Notre Dame tomorrow I'd be p!ssed at all of the outside demonstrations and outrage. I'd be out there yelling get the heck out of our day, we picked the President of the United States to speak and it's none of your business if we did. It's not like he is Osama Bin Ladin, although that is exactly what they are trying to paint him as.

I didn't agree with anything Bush stood for but I would never have protested his speaking at a college.

They are treating the students like they are 6 year olds, incapable of reasoning for themselves.

Welcome to adulthood guys, where the grownups sometimes act worse than a 2 year old.

Posted by: AverageJane | May 16, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

When conservatives insist that Obama has a "radical pro-abortion" stance, they simply underscore their unreasonableness and lack of integrity. Roe vs. Wade has stood for 20 years. Obama has no "radical" plan to do anything other than uphold current law, which is his duty as President. He has clearly stated his concern for reducing unwanted pregnancies, so "pro-abortion" is beyond hyperbole. In fact, it is simply a lie.


Posted by: MontaraCA | May 16, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne - As a Catholic it disheartens me to see how this issue has been so misrepresented and misreported.

The issue that many of us have is not that Obama is giving a commencement address, it is that he is receiving an honorary degree in direct violation of the USCCB teaching from 2004 on giving awards to people who are directly opposed to Catholic social teaching.

The equivalent would be if Planned Parenthood would be to give the Holy Father some sort of award, it will never happen.

Notre Dame is intentionally violating the Bishops conference by giving the honorary award. Look, a secular institution Arizona State Univ. decided against giving him an honorary award because his body of work in their view is insufficient at this time.

Obama giving the commencement talk not such a big deal, him receiving an Honorary Law Degree, which by doing so implies he is in accord with Catholic Social teaching, NO! WRONG! The University should not give him the honorary law degree.

Posted by: kthhken | May 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"Posted by: mhr614
He fully supports a women's right to kill. To put it bluntly. "

No. He protects a woman's right to make choices about her body. A person should not have the right to FORCE someone to bear a child. Simple as that.

I say this as a husband and a father of two daughters. While it wasn't an issue for us, if my wife had decided to terminate her pregnancy, IMO, I would not have had a say in the matter. It is always the woman's choice and she should have the tools to make it.

The govt should stay away from the bodies of individuals. Simple as that.

Posted by: eternalemperor | May 16, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad Archbishop Quinn spoke up and I hope he does not suffer excommunication for his bravery. The reason I am now a FORMER Roman Catholic is because of those narrow-minded old men in Rome. The Catholic church needs to come into the 21st Century (20th? 19th?) before I take them seriously. Celebacy for priests and nuns, subserviency for women...Please! How can this hierarchy dictate how people live their lives when they are so far removed from real life?

Posted by: joy2 | May 16, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in a consevative Catholic family and have struggled with my faith during most of my adult life. In general, my evolution has led me further and further from participating in organized religion.

This being said, like most people, I have a nuanced view regarding the abortion issue. Personally I am basically pro life. Abortion is something that should be used as a very last resort.

I believe that religious people have every right to promote their beliefs. But, I also believe that it is wrong for religious beliefs to be enacted into law. Not everyone believes the same things. We live a a very complex and multi cultural society that needs to respect this fact. Lack of respect for this point will only pit one group against another. Not a good thing for a healthy society.

There are some very good reasons to have legal public policy that allows for abortion. The well being of the mother, rape, back alley abortions, lack of available helath care for the poor are some of these reasons.

Generally, I do not think family planning is not a good justification for abortion. But, I am not comfortable having the government decide these things for us. Abortion and right to life are intensely personal and must remain so. To force a religious element into public policy is a dangerous thing.

If you believe your religion is correct in its pro life position, then you have every right to live your life that way. You can promote your views any way you like. However, this right does not extend to making your religious views the law of the land.

Steven Richards

Posted by: scr02882 | May 16, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Archbishop Quinn and MontaraCA. This right wing characterization of Obama as "radically pro-abortion" is baloney (Obama's position is almost identical to Hillary and Bill Clinton's), as is the trumped up controversy about Obama's appearance at Notre Dame (largely by non-Notre Dame students and faculty). I had a Catholic pro-life friend who said he thought Doug Kmiec - the Catholic, pro-life law professor - had "lost his mind" for supporting Obama in the last election, on the basis that Obama was open to dialog on the issue of abortion. I guess Archbishop Quinn has lost his mind too.

Posted by: jaypem | May 16, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

P.S. kthhken, I appreciate your sincerity in being upset by what Notre Dame is doing, but the 2004 document to which you refer is entitled, "Catholics in Public Life." Clearly, it does not apply to Obama as he is not a Catholic. Obama is not being honored for his stand on abortion or stem cells, he is being honored for his achievement in law, which is beyond debate. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the Vatican is being so much quieter than the showboating right-wing bishops in this country about this "controversy."

Posted by: jaypem | May 16, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Bush supports the death penalty, sent 5,000 soldiers to die in a war of choice (killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis) and through inaction let others die in New Orleans. And yet, I just bet the current one-note partisans protesting Obama would have welcomed Bush with open arms.

Welcome to world of religion, where it's wrong to kill - except when it's not.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 16, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Notre Dame needs to figure out what it is. If if wants to be an indeologically Catholic institution, then by all means don't grant a degree to Obama. (Although, I would hope the school would at least be consistent and take a similar stance against, e.g., George W. Bush, who prosecuted an immoral and unjust war according to the Church).

On the other hand, if Notre Dame wants to be an academically respected college in the American sense, it needs to operate in a more secular fashion--not totally devoid of religion, that is, but sufficiently secular to provide it basic intellectual freedom from yoke of the Catholic Church.

Posted by: tmaffolter | May 16, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm pro-choice. I go to a mainline church. There are people like me in every town. Look for someone like me and sit down and talk about what you can do to prevent abortions. I don't like them either. Don't buy the line that pro-choice is pro-abortion.

Too much time has been spent arguing and trying to get the other side to "be reasonable". Let's find ways to cut the number of unwanted pregnancies, provide for adoptions, and/or support the mothers who want to keep their babies. Each of us needs to support health care changes. Be prepared to support that mother and baby with government programs--taxes. What is your church doing to help that Mother? Mine is transporting high school mothers and their babies to our infant-care nursery and then to high school every day. We have done this for 25 years. What is your church doing to help the situation? What are you doing to get your church started? Jesus wants us to act --not argue and attack others.

Posted by: fastpass | May 16, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

catholics are nothing more than a version of the taliban..same logic and oppression..

Posted by: rmcgolden | May 16, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

A backlash is usually directed against the lash holder rather than as a consolation to the lash victim.

What is needed is a group of bishops willing to raise questions among their fellows about how their attacks on Obama affect the image and mission of the Church and their ability to lead their parishoners.

I expect Obama's response will be gentle yet firm, a Christian response. It might embarass any bishop who retains enough humility that he is able to be embarassed.

Posted by: j2hess | May 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The abortion issue is fundamentally about "who gets to decide" reproductive issues, not just for Americans but for the world.

For example, the Catholic Church, ruled by men, and its institutions like Notre Dame, believes it has the absolute secular and spiritual authority to decide the issue, not just for 311 million Americans but for 7.5 billion human beings.

One cannot claim to be a spiritual or secular pro-life (versus pro-choice) advocate ("believer") only as it pertains to America. To the contrary, the Pro-Life Belief is a manifest destiny politic and moverment. It sees to do two things:

1. Guilt-trip 311 million American women that exercising their Woe v Wade rights is immoral, evil -- murdering unborn babies.

2. Force 311 million Americans, a majority of voters/policy-makers, to over turn Woe v Wade, by creating ever increasing abortion restrictions at the state level and ever increasing abortion restrictions at the federal level, until a systemic-web of anti-choice policies can serve as precident for the U.S. Supreme Court to over-turn Woe v Wade. This is why "who gets on the court" is of paramount important to pro-life/pro-choice stakeholders. It's all about "who gets to decide" and then "what is decided".

3. Once 153 million American males, and 158 million guilt-tripped deferential corced American females, have changed America into an absolute 100% abortion-free nation via state and federal laws (especially Amending the U.S. Constitution), wherein any and all abortions and under any and all circumstances is a capital punishment offense punishable by death, our nation will see to impose this absolutist godly belief and politic onto 7.5 billion other nations/peoples world-wide, via the power of our government, military, and churches.

Pro-Choice is a pragmatic value-system and public policy. All nations can adopt and implement this system and policy as it pertains to their circumstances. In contrast, Pro-Life is actually a Pro-Death value-system and annihilistic politic. It pits all women against all women, all men against all women, and all nations against out of 7.0 billion aren't going to collectively and absolutely defer their reproductive decision-making to 3.0 billion males, within each nation nor world-wide, and especially not because the United States/Catholic Church dictates it.

The Pro-Life Belief/Movement (in its religious and political form) is inherently an "authoritarian/totalitarian" dysfunctional psychotic delusional manifest destiny I AM GOD syndrome.

Posted by: GroupThink | May 16, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The issue that many of us have is not that Obama is giving a commencement address, it is that he is receiving an honorary degree in direct violation of the USCCB teaching from 2004 on giving awards to people who are directly opposed to Catholic social teaching.
Posted by: kthhken

Obama is not opposed to the essential tenets of Catholic social teaching. He personally opposes abortion.

The question is one of means. The bishops want Obama to follow that faction that wants the government to intervene in private medical procedures to stop abortion. Obama believes that government intervention is incompatible with the law and the Constitution. The bishops, not being constitutional scholars, might benefit from at least hearing him out.

Obama wants to support the social justice mission of the Church by making sure that pregnant women do not feel compelled to chose abortion by adverse material circumstances, such as low income or lack of access to medical care. In this he supports and wants to extend the work of the Chruch's crisis pregnancy centers.

In essence, Obama wants to address abortion through charity. This is the approach of Jesus. The bishops want a quick fix through law, that is, the threat of violence, of being deprived of liberty, property, or life through force. This is the approach of the priests and pharises who turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate.

Jesus did not associate with officials or pursue laws. He taught, he advocated charity. Obama's approach marks him as a better follower of Jesus than the bishops.

Posted by: j2hess | May 16, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Tempest in a Teapot.

The Fox Nonsense Channel is making a big deal about Obama's address, but the only people objecting are a few anti-abortion extremists and certain members of the RC clergy.

My suspicion is that the speech will go well, Obama will be cheered, and Fox will have to find another issue to waste its airtime on.

Posted by: Carl_Goss | May 16, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Notre Dame (at least the majority of the students and staff at that school) are thrilled that our President Barack Obama is coming to speak during graduation and receiving an honorary degree.

President Obama is not (contrary to what some are saying) Pro-Abortion. Actually, I do not think that there is even one person in the United States who is "Pro Abortion". Many people are pro choice as in obeying our country's law but working very hard to eliminate the perceived necessity of a woman choosing abortion by making birth control readily available.

Many of us believe what Jesus taught that we are to "Judge not lest we be judged and to condemn not lest we be condemned". We realize that this has to be the most difficult decision that any woman would have to make but in cases such as rape, incest, etc., we do not feel that it would to right to judge and condemn.

Posted by: gilbertpb40 | May 16, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Those Catholic extremists who will protest President Obama are by and large huge fans of George W. Bush, a man who never prevented a single abortion, but who took joy in executing retarded inmates, minors and women. They idolize a man who sent thousands off to kill and be killed in a war of his choosing, who set up a domestic spying program and who turned our military and intelligence agencies into instruments of torture and oppression. That’s why I have no trouble in saying that I don’t take orders from the bishops anymore; I’m an American now.

Posted by: codexjust1 | May 16, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. I left the church when I was a teenager and have never looked back. Today the radicle right wing fringe is the perfect illustration why their are more Ex-Catholics then any other religion.

Posted by: tniederberger | May 16, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The pro-life believe, politic, and movement doesn't care about "the absolute sanctity of life" as it pertains to adults" -- only, and I repeat ONLY:

"Unborn life at the point of conception and every second of every minute until that life exits the female womb regardless of what positive or negative life circumstances that life is born into" -- the wretched life conditions of American poverty; the high probability of being raped, tortured, murdered, or conscripted in the Sudan Genocide going on, or as one of many hungry souls amongst billions of starving and diseased children world-wide."

Rape, incest, oovert, etc. are "circumstances" that 3.5 billion women are at high risk of experiencing daily world-wide. 7.5 billion human beings kill and murder 24-7, 365, for a multitude or reasons, including war. But none of these realities, circumstances, trump the pro-life belief, politic, and movement agenda to protect "life at the point of conception and every second afterwards until it exists the female wommb" -- then this afterwards this baby/child is at the life and death mercy of its circumstances.

If the circumstances in which it was born should result in its death (as a baby, child, teen, or adult) then so be it. Such is the will of god -- that cryptic unknown divine plan. Should the baby, child, teen, or adult survive and do well, great! Should it become a monster, evil, such as a female (and male) prescribing to pro-choice, and then aborting, well then these protected/saved babies (when they become adults) deserved to be persecute, criminalized, imprisoned or put to death by the state -- the enforcement arm of the pro-life belief, politic, and movement enacted into laws (local, county, state, federal, constitutional, and foreign policy).

If the pro-life belief, politic, and movement could make its agenda a foreign policy issue, how the U.S. uses its military power, it would do so. But at present, such a manifest destiny agenda is not politically palatable to most Americans. But let America over turn Woe v Wade, and let pro-life become the absolutist value-system and law of the land, and watch how it then becomes U.S. foreign policy (to be enforced by our military) as a condition for any nation to be our ally or to co-exist on the planet with America.

In the mind, hearts, and soul of pro-life Americans, GOD's WILL is universal, not just American, and 7.5 billions souls (whether christian, agnostic, or atheists) must and will comply with it, absolute. Freedom of Choice doesn't exist in the minds, heart, and souls of Pro-Lifers -- Their Belief and Agenda is ABSOLUTE. Pro-Lifers and only Pro-Lifers can "decide the reproductive rights and decisions" of 3.5 billion females, starting with that of 158 million American females.

Posted by: GroupThink | May 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

As an agnostic, this bru-ha-ha about the president addressing a religious university is nothing more than annoying. It seems that the frothing at the mouth elements of the far right wing don't wish to join America in the 21st century. Maybe a quick removal of their tax free status would bring them back to their senses.

Posted by: monel7191 | May 16, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

just a bunch of cafeteria catholics..pick and choose..the pope is against the death penalty and the war and yet they fall in lock step with the bushies...but god forbid someone gives the woman the right to choose..if you don't want to have an abortion, then don't have one..if you don't want to marry a same-sex person, then don't marry one..

Posted by: rmcgolden | May 16, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the basis for the uproar over Obama's appearance at Notre Dame has been fuzzed up to further some political objective.

The objection is the granting of honors. It has nothing to do with the man delivering a commencement address. PERIOD.

I find Quinn's letter not surprising from a retired bishop from SAN FRANCISCO. Sometimes I wonder why our Pope puts up with all the idiocy that burbles out of some of our bishops. I'd be tempted to cut the whole continent loose and let us fend for ourselves.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | May 16, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This whole debate is misguided. There is little to be gained debating whether people should or should not exercise their legal rights. The real debate, to me, should be the legal definition of when life begins. In the US, it is a grey definition - certainly not at the time time of conception but certainly before the third trimester of a pregnancy. Change the law to define life as beginning at the moment of conception, then we won't have to debate abortion, since it will clearly be murder. Then we can change the debate to how seriously we will prosecute all women who do not deliver a live baby for any reason.......

Posted by: blatt11 | May 16, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, they did not invent torture - but they may have perfected it in the inquisition. If not, it was not a lack of effort and thought.

I have no reason to want them inpower again.

Abortion restrictions are always on the poor and never on the rich. It is an unfair suystem to manage lives.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 16, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"The real debate, to me, should be the legal definition of when life begins."

There is no begining. The egg is alive and so is the sperm. Life comes from life. Who knows about the soul or where it comes from? I don't. But there is no reason to think it has a begining either. This is a meaningless debate.

Many fertilized eggs never attach. Is that a lost life? If so, it is very natural.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 16, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The Vatican ought to take Notre Dame's franchise away. They, there, have lost the faith. That is obvious.

It's a sad end to a, once great, tradition.

B.O. is a great promoter of abortion.

Maybe that's why the latest Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans opposed to abortion.

The tide can turn.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 16, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

the real issue is the separation of church and state..obama should never go to this cult school..

Posted by: rmcgolden | May 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering who would make the first knee-jerk reactionary comment regarding San Francisco. Listen up, Bishop Quinn was also Bishop of Oklahoma City, that bastion of liberalism. Not to mention his service as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is hugely respected by the Vatican. So spare us the utterly cliche, erroneous, and intellectually lazy "oh he's from S.F., that explains it."

Posted by: SoCal_Distortion | May 16, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"On the question of abortion, however, Obama is the most radical president of them all. He fully supports a women's right to kill. To put it bluntly.

Posted by: mhr614"

To put it bluntly, you are wrong. Barack Obama, like many moderates such as myself, supports a woman's right to choose. Your blatant ad hominem argument neither enhances the debate nor makes you look like a thinking and caring Catholic.

Posted by: donspecht | May 16, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's get real.

The "issue" isn't that Obama is Pro-Choice.

And it isn't that he will give the commencement address at Notre Dame.

And it isn't that he will receive an honorary degree.

The real "issue" here is that Obama had the audacity to win the election over the candidate endorsed by the Radical Religious Right, thereby diminishing their effectiveness as "key players" in the electoral process and limiting their seats at the King's Table.

For that, Obama should be punished, defamed, dis-invited and humiliated. It's the "Christian" thing to do.

Posted by: EyesWideOpen8 | May 16, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

On the question of abortion, however, Obama is the most radical president of them all. He fully supports a women's right to kill. To put it bluntly.

==

I wasn't aware that "blunt" was a synonym for "wrong."

If vicious hate-crazed hyperbole like this is what we get from the anti-abortion side, it's no wonder that it's a losing issue at the ballot box. If the opposition is as enraged (and unfocused) as this, I'd say Roe is on firm ground. Compare this ridiculous extremity to the Archbishop's calm, respectful, commonality-seeking missive and it's pretty easy to see where the sense lies.

And oh, if you don't want abortion, then work for ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Ways that work. But you're against all that too, aren't you.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama, said at Saddleback that his favorite scripture is, "What you do for the least of My brethren...." Obama, aren't babies that depend on adults for EVERYTHING the least of his brethren?
Then how can you approve of Partial Birth Abortion, a barbaric practice that allows for the pushing of a fully viable human back in the birth canal, pulling off his or her limbs with forceps and sucking out his or her brains...Outrageous for any other human being to allow this. Whether or not he is a citizen, bishop or the president.
If you approve of this don't be a Hypocrite and talk about the harsh interrogation of 3 high profile terrorists to gain information when the very existence of America was in jeopardy after a major security breach.
Just like Republicans that have their Republicans in name only (RINOs) the Catholics have their Catholics in name only (CINOs)and some are priests and bishops.

HYPOCRITES.


Posted by: ekim53 | May 16, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"The Vatican ought to take Notre Dame's franchise away."

And I was afraid there would be no humor in this ridiculous conversation. Yes, just as Chrysler and GM are cutting off dealers, the Pope will force Notre Dame to take down its signs and stop advertising as Catholic.

As an ND grad, this entire embloglio reminds me of two things:

1. Okie from Muskogie had that silly line "Folks here still respect the college dean," which signalled that Merle Haggard had never been near a college campus.

2. Throughout the entire turbulent Sixties, the only time there was any violence at Notre Dame was when a bunch of self-righteous outsiders from the community came in and tried to tell the students what they ought to think and do. And they were right-wingers.

Posted by: MikePeterson1 | May 16, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Why are those who are silent about sexual abuse are so vocal towards a president has never been involved in an abortion, is it hypocracy or racism.

Posted by: hduckson49 | May 16, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

There may well be a "debate" between Obamaists and Catholic bishops ....
=====================

Better an "Obamaist" than a fascist Rethuglican. Your lunacy should be kept on the Fox Channel and AM radio and not be part of real policy making.

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | May 16, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

It is not the fetus that anti-abortion activists are protecting. They are protecting the idea that God not the individual decides what is moral. But there are those that have their own moral compass and believe they have a right to their own private lives. The battle of Notre Dame is between the individual and the collective. It will be won by free thinkers not by those that want to chain the mind.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | May 16, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

As for the morality of abortion ... until someone can show me that even a partial-birth abortion "kills" something with more of a mind than any of the cats, dogs, parrots that are euthanized or killed by neglect or cruelty every single day, then I see no moral issue.

Because if the issue is the sanctity of HUMAN life, we just have yet another variant of racism, a clearly idiotic bit of religious tomfluffery that declares an anencephalic deformity more valuable than all the whales in the ocean, and only of interest to fundamentalist zealots with less mind than one of those dogs.

If the issue is human DNA, then we need to protect fingernail parings and dandruff with the same zeal as fetuses.

No mind, no murder.

Want to stop abortion? Stop unintentional pregnancy. But the "prolife" people are against that too, so to hell with them.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the distortion of facts, always a fan fave. The recent Gallup poll did indeed show 51% considering themselves "pro-life." Hey, who wants to be thought of as pro-death? But the same poll showed 23% in favor of abortion under any circumstances, and 53% in favor of abortion under certain circumstances. For the mathematically challenged, that equals 75% who do not strictly oppose abortion. So let's not get too pumped up about the poll.

Posted by: SoCal_Distortion | May 16, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

First, let's clear the air.

1. McCain and the Republican party believe in the right to abortion in certain instances.

2. Obama and the Democratic party believe in the right to abortion in certain instances.

3. Both parties and candidates believed in restrictions on abortion in certain instances.

4. The ONLY difference is one of degree, that is, McCain and the Republican party believe in more limitations on the right of abortion than Obama and the Democratic party.

THEREFORE, it is not a spiritual issue. it is not a religious issue. If the Republicans believe it is acceptable to have an abortion in the event of incest, rape or to save the life of the mother, then they, too, believe in the "right to kill" for the woman. Therefore, the true Catholic position should be: NO to all politicans who support the right of abortion in any instance. That would invalidate the Republican party position, and no Republican should be allowed to speak at commencement either.

Folks, this whole issue is political, hyppocritical, and not at all religious.

Posted by: santafe2 | May 16, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

A character writing here complains of "Obama's radical pro-abortion stance."
This is either a simple lie or lamentable ignorance stemming from 10th century thinking if the Catholic Church.
Modern bishops disagree with the absurd proposition that an elected official's, a Catholic's or any other moral human being's position on abortion defines that person's goodness or evil.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | May 16, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"religion is the opium of the masses" f- religion, it is the root of all controversy.

if folks could stop deluding themselves and trying to spill their delusions and insanity onto others -- the world would be a better place.

the catholic bishops and lay members would rather destroy one of the most important times in a young person's life -- celebrating academic accomplishment, and make a circus out of notre dame as a premier academic institution. all in the name of pushing their delusion and beliefs onto our nation (and the world for that matter).

good grief charlie brown.

Posted by: FranknErnest | May 16, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Norte Dame see's no problem with the Church abuse of children and torture of innocent men/woman/children. This is a samll group of Republicans who still dislike the fact a black man is President. Many paid students aren't Catholic yet the school sees no problem excepting the money. Now Norte Dame will be looking for Govenment help during this recession as other colleges are. We're heard of Priest, Bishops even Pope's who have committed greater sins then our President. The Lady that refuse to show for the Graduation should have checked out the large graves in back of the Church of Rome as she'll see how Priest had money have abortions and bury the fetus in the graves in the back. Pope's have always had sex with woman and it's not a secret if people just read. Take a look at Leo X, Clement VII and Leo XI. then check out the Medici Pope's who got the job as the church was paid. What's really strange is the Jewish Priest had Jesus killed and the Catholic Church became a business and had more money then any country in the World. Yes God did say Satan would be sitting in church and Greed would take over Religion.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | May 16, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

FrankNEarnest: I wish we could have a world without religion, but we can't. Here's why.

Recall what so many of them say about morality, that the idea of morality without God is nonsense to them, incomprehensible. Well, for the majority of Americans, and maybe the majority of the world, believe in an omniscient God takes the place of a punishing parent. For a kid it's "wait till your FATHER gets home!"; for the religious, it's "wait till your immortal soul goes to H-E-double hockey sticks!"

Take away fear of God, and nothing prevents ta typical goon from killing his neighbor for his 3"-wider screen TV set to watch ESPN or NASCAR.

The cops can't be everywhere, and something has to keep people like that in line. I wish it were otherwise.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Leaving out all the endless and unresolvable arguments about when human life begins (after all, even St. Augustine admitted defeat by the question of "ensoulment"), I'd have more respect for the good faith of the anti-abortion hardliners if they would show the same fervor for supporting human life after birth.

Question: If abortion is murder, then should not the doctor who performs the procedure and the woman who solicits it and permits it be tried and punished as such? If you can't face this consequence, then all the railing you do about innocent babies (ironically, this is not so: according to both Catholic and Lutheran doctrine, we are all born in sin and so no one is innocent) is just self-righteous posing.
But if you were to be honest and support this logical conclusion, you would find that a great deal of your "support" would melt away pretty fast.

I put quotes on "support" to respond to some of crowing in this thread the results of a new poll. If you look at how the questions were actually posed on this poll, you could interpret the results somewhat differently then that "pro-life" is now a majority position. Anyone with a little stat in their background and a little experience with looking at polls knows that the phrasing of the questions has a significant effect on the result.

Posted by: jprfrog | May 16, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

There are not left and right winged Catholics...
The are just Catholics, or non Catholics.

Posted by: dottydo | May 16, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Abortion on demand is probably the most divisive issue in America today. It is not near to resolution.

Posted by: crossroadsteam | May 16, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Divisive, perhaps.

Important, no.

Urgent? Not at all.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm male. I'll say it again. I'm male. So what I cannot grasp, even with all of my degrees, life experience, and cognitive skills is why 52-52% of the American population (namely females) and a similar female percent of the world's 7.5 billion humans permit, buy-into, prescribe to mostly elite male occupied decision-making institutions (be they government, churches, colleges, businesses, non-profits, or male-head of households) dictate the "reproductive moral and legal rights" of ALL females? 75% of my education is women and gender studies, feminism, sociology, political science, and government. Yet to date, after 4 decades of witnessing this debate, I still don't "get it women" -- explain it to me, please.

Procreation is the most ominpotent power the human species and control, regulate, exercise. But all women occupy a unique, exclusive, authentic voice/experience when it comes to human procreation. Only they, NO MALE, has a womb, can carry a baby to term, will experience that reality, unless and until our species developes and practices artificial incubator procreation.

So why do mostly males get to dictate this decision about "female reproductive rights", not just those 8 out of 9 judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, but all those elite male policy-makers and citizens. If I were a female, and I'm not, it would be inconceivable for me to permit any male on the planet to dictate whether I can abort, where that line of abortion (at conception, tri-semester, before or after begins and ends). If I were a female, I would demand, fight life and death, for all women EXCLUSIVELY to make this moral and public policy decision -- and if women having that omnipotent power over their bodies (how and whether our species procreates) scares most or all men, then they can humble themself to this female-power-reality or women as collective can choice to ensure the species becomes extinct. This inquiry isn't pitting all men against all women, as though that reality doesn't exist on many levels already. It simply asks: How do men get to be equal and the majority decision-makers about an issue they cannot biologically contribute to equally, unless our artificial-male-wombs are an emerging techology I'm unaware of.

Can any women posters here please give me (A MALE) any valid authentic reasons why males should have this "equal" and "majority" voice/decision-making power over "female reproductive rights". I'd love to have my male-consciousness raised, but only by women -- I already know the male-perspectives, pro and con. BTW, isn't the Catholic Church (Vatican) ruled by 100% male decision-makers -- not one single female Pope, bishop, priest, etc?

Posted by: GroupThink | May 16, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

A woman's choice emperor to do with her body as she see fit?

What about the body of life that mother is carrying? Where is the empathy for that living person within her body? Who speaks for this child she is carrying?

Where do you and the like minded people get this hogwash about everything being about the other carrying the child and not about the living child growing within her? The same child I am sure you would mourn if it died by accident while she was carrying it yet you would not object to your wife terminating it because it is HER body? Whatever happened to "We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are LIFE"!

And Joy 2. Glad you are no longer a Catholic! I think you got it wrong with the subservient woman attitude and must be thinking of Islam.

And as for Obama speaking at Notre dame, all I can say is that my parents must be rolling in their graves as they were such devoted and proud Notre dame fans.

As catholics we have a moral obligation to bear witness to the TRUTH. The DUTY of Christians to take part in the life of the church IMPELS them to act as witness of the Gospel and the obligations that flow from it.

Notre dame's invitation to the President to speak and receive an honorary degree is the antithesis of Catholic witness to the Truth!!!

Posted by: reneethereseperry | May 16, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Bishop John D'Arcy is against Obama's appearance and is praying with the students.


Why are police dragging away people praying on the school grounds?

Posted by: dottydo | May 17, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

"What about the body of life that mother is carrying? Where is the empathy for that living person within her body? Who speaks for this child she is carrying?"

And the answer to this question is, what do 52% of the American and world population have to say -- not men, because the above inquiry isn't:

"What about the body of life that FATHER is carrying? Where is the empathy for that living person within HIS body? Who speaks for this child HE is carrying?"

Again, why do a male majority elite (or men in general) get an "equal" and "majority" decision-making voice, regardless of what questions one raises as they relate to the "female body" and "anything in it"?

As "catholics" you have a "brain". It is that "brain" that defines morality and truth, each of which our species has yet to define in any absolute way, be via any notion of god, science, or the unknown. For example, as a male, "my brain" tells me I cannot have a baby, only donate sperm. My brain tells me only women have a womb, that artificial incubators have yet to become the non-gender-technology our species uses to "grow that life" that women at present have the exclusive ability to "choose to do".

The inquiry I raise is not about "women vs what's going on inside her". It is about "who gets to make the decision as to what will and can go on inside her" a priori and then a posteriori -- mostly males or exclusively women? For example, if 80 million women out of 158 million decide America will be a 100% abolute abortion free nation (where no female can abort under any circumstances or only certain circumstances) then I as a male would support that decision (even though the minority group of women will suffer).

Why? Because the "reproductive decision regarding the female body" wasn't made by me and most other males, those who don't have to experience the direct impact of that decision, at least biologically. If I as a male don't agree with this female-majority decision, then I can keep my penis in my pants or 100% strap it up, and if such should malfunction, dig deep into my pockets for some child-support.

I ask again, any female posters want to offer any valid reasons why "male elites" should have equal voice/decision-making power over "female reproductive rights"?

Posted by: GroupThink | May 17, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Could someone please explain to me why Obama keeps getting invitations from colleges for commencement speeches and then they protest him?

As a former Catholic who turned down a scholarship to Notre Dame, let me quote Sr. Mary Ellen OSJ: "The CHURCH is not a democracy!". Call this one in, Obama. You have nothing to gain, and they don't deserve any publicity on your coat-tails.

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | May 17, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

As catholics we have a moral obligation to bear witness to the TRUTH. The DUTY of Christians to take part in the life of the church IMPELS them to act as witness of the Gospel and the obligations that flow from it.

==

You don't sound like a Catholic. You sound like a fanatic.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 17, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: chrisfox8
As for the morality of abortion ... until someone can show me that even a partial-birth abortion "kills" something with more of a mind than any of the cats, dogs, parrots that are euthanized or killed by neglect or cruelty every single day, then I see no moral issue.
_______________________________________

I've read enough of your babble to determine that you're in the low level parrot category. You'd better not get even close to those places that euthanize animals.

Posted by: ekim53 | May 17, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Why are police dragging away people praying on the school grounds?

Posted by: dottydo |

==

Because the campus is private property and the protesters are not students. You could go to the front page of any news site in the US and learn this simple information for yourself, if you had enough neurons to make a synapse

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 17, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

This nonsense with Catholic clergy politiking from the pulpit and telling people who to vote for and threatening excommunication for Catholic politicians over the abortion issue must stop.

If Catholic clergy is against abortion, then let them minister to pregnant women who are lost in their personal dilema.

But everytime one of the clergy takes a political position on abortion then I want the tax meter running.

It's one thing to say from the pulpit abortion is murder and an abomination to the will of God. Fine. That's a religious statement.

To say don't vote for John Kerry because he supports abortion is a political statement and the collection plate amount for that sermon should be reported to the IRS and taxed.

Posted by: noaxe397 | May 17, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne conveniently forgets to mention that, thus far, 62 Bishops have spoken out against Obama speaking at Notre Shame.

Additionally, as of April 27th, N.D. alumni have pledged to withhold $8.1 million in contributions.

President Obama is undoubtedly this nation's most accomodative President ever when it comes to abortion. His inexcusable, shameful four votes against the "Born Alive Infants Protection Act" as a state Senator, 100% NARAL voting record while a Senator, reinstatement of the Mexico City policy which provides taxpayer funding to international groups that offer abortion, authorizing abortions in military hospitals
by executive order, taking steps to remove the conscience clause established to protect pro-life medical personnel exercising their "choice" not to participate in evil and his promise to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" irrefutably underscore that observation. Although this nation's "Abortion Accommodator in Chief," Obama would be wise to avoid addressing life issues including *EMBRYONIC* stem cell research, human cloning or the intersection of morality and science, etc. Doing so will only inflame
the sensibilities of those Catholics who faithfully follow the moral teachings of the church. If Obama foolishly decides to speak about life issues, he would be wise not to make those issues morally relative, trivialize them, relegate a pre-born child's life to a "choice" or resort to his hokey charm to dilute or distort the seriousness of those issues. It is not the right place or time for Obama to espouse his misguided ideology. Obama speaking on life issues is analogous to Mae West speaking on chastity.

Foreign or domestic policy or a biblical theme such as Mathew 25:31-46 (corporal and spiritual works of mercy) are a few of the plethora of topics Obama could address without further alienating Catholics.

Catholic Dionne, the election is over. Stop schillin’ and covering for “the one.”

E.J., get in line with the teachings of the Magesterium or go elsewhere.

Posted by: furtdw | May 17, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

I simply shake my head at the people who have found a way to kill a baby and think that it's ok. They call it pro-choice, a womans right to do with her body what she chooses, etc.

If you have children, look at thm right now. Hug them, hold them, talk to them, kiss them, tell them a story.

Then think for yourself for a second. Not what the news or the paper, or your friend, your parent, your priest, you minster, your neighbor, or boss thinks.

Should this child be here?

I know it's not what the subject of the article is. But it always boils down to the issue.

You say the church is archaic, some call that history. Many of us choose to follow it because it stands for something. And that "something" doesn't change when a new fad or "progressive" way of thinking appears. It takes awhile to change because the Church wasn't created last weekend in a basement nor does it jump on the idea that killing babies helps anyone. It's based on several thousands of years of history, tradition, and moral respect.

Many point to the fallacy of the members of the church. Fine, there have been bad seeds. But they have existed in many forms of organization. I'm not saying it's ok. But they are pointed out only because the Church lines up on "liberally wrong" side of many of the hot button issues.

We've had presidents that have commited crimes, whether they are outlined by legal law or moral law. We stood by and watched millions die in WWII before we decided to make a stand. Our leaders find way to opress people on a daily basis. Our presidents have had affairs (a Catholic, no less) and lie to "Us" as a whole. Our corporations cheat many of us daily. We headhunt them for a news cycle and then move on to the next victim. Catholics are under attack because we don't backpeddle, change our story, or disappear. We shout from the rooftops our beliefs and genuinely want you to join us.

My post here isn't to defend the Church, even though I have started down that road. My real reason was to ask everyone to take a step back and ask a fundamental question...

Is it ok to kill a baby?

Posted by: chrisfernandez | May 17, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

What is most disconcerting in this whole Notre Dame fandango is the absence of moral authority of the Church hierarchy and the extremeist protesters. This is the Roman Catholic Church whose Priests sexually abused tens of thousands of innocent children in America, which abuse was covered up by many of these same Bishops and Cardinals. We now know that there was similar abuse and similar coverups in Canada--nearly 100,000 Native American children abused in Catholic-run schools--Ireland, Germany, etc. And what was the response of the hierarchy and of these self-righteous protesters as thousands of lives were diminished and in some cases destroyed? What was their response? Silence. Silence. The Roman Catholic Church has absolutely no moral authority anymore. As is clear, they have failed to show proper contrition; they have not begun to complete their penance; and they need to take a very long look in the mirror before they judge others. The Roman Catholic Church has proven that it is corrupt to its core--and it is the Bishops and the anti-abortion extremists who continue to lead it into darkness.

Posted by: northlite | May 17, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, one of today's headlines trumpets a new gallup poll reporting that for the first time in a very long time, an outright majority of Americans identify themselves as "pro-life," and support for relatively liberal abortion policies falling to an all-time low. Perhaps the conservative catholics aren't as marginalized as you think or hope.

Posted by: gadstian | May 17, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is not pro-Catholic and he is not anti-Catholic. President Obama has demonstrated his judgment is based on sound legal, moral, and ethical grounds. President Obama is much more mature than any of his detractors. ...........


http://thefiresidepost.com/2009/05/15/liberal-blog-proud-of-president-obama/

Posted by: glclark4750 | May 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Dionne for shining some light on the other side of this debate. And, thank you Archbishop Quinn for your courage in being a voice of reason among the few very loud voices of right-wing ideologues hiding their politics behind their religion.

Far too much slanted media attention has been given to the dissenters on the 24 hr. cable news channels. CNN is just as guilty as Fox in disengenuously reporting about the "many" students and "many" Catholic protestors in order to drum up ratings.

Why isn't anyone asking these "pro-life" protestors like Alan Keys, what they have done to work in their own communities to reduce the number of abortions performed instead of lazily resting their entire movement's success on changing the Supreme Court's legislative decision? I would guess not very many of these picketers have ever lifted a hand in helping the poor and uninsured women in their community to give them more viabel options over abortion.

The television media needs to cover ALL sides of this issue.

Posted by: VAreader | May 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I wish all the protesters would donate to their nearest charity, food bank, safe home for domestic abuse victims who have fled to save their children, or neighbor who is too afraid to leave.

And do that in support of ALL the suffering children who come from these awful homes, rather than support a hypocritical church and their molesters who they move around to unsuspecting communities.

The catholic church has really lost all credibility, and needs to go away.

All you right-wing fringe: STFU.

Posted by: dematheart | May 17, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

EJ always sets up his Catholic colleagues with tags like conservative or moderate.As an Obama supporter and cheer leader,EJ is simply offended that all Catholics can`t ignore Obama`s strident,consistent pro abortion actions as President.We read the same old rationalizations of moral eqiuvalence:social justice,capital punishment,world poverty.When you string them all together,they trump the 45 million plus abortions since ROE.We have a President who is a constitutional lawyer and proclaims he has no clue when life begins and is comfortable in concluding you can extiguish a life even if it survived a botched abortion!The protests at Notre Dame are directed at the travesty of an honorary degree being bestowed on a President who holds many Catholic principles of faith in contempt.We can respect the Office of the President.However,we have no need to welcome him to a prominent Catholic university as a role model.We can accept that he is a brilliant politician.His presidency has just begun and it is sprinkled with some success and some failure which is par for the course.

Posted by: bowspray | May 17, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

E.J. - coverage of this controvery is entirely focused on protest - but I have yet to hear how many protesters, how many of them are students, what percentage of students/faculty are they, what outside groups are involved? Or what do polling numbers (of Catholics) show about attitudes? Whenever I see TV coverage, I see upclose video but none that shows the size of the crowd. Sadly this isn't journalism even of the laziest sort. Saddens me greatlfy.

Posted by: maureenholland | May 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

These E.J. Dionne columns are a complete waste of time. Never in the lifetime of any presently living person will the Catholic Church stop obsessing about fetuses, bashing gay people, and spreading AIDS in Africa. Fair-minded Catholics have only one choice: join a different church!

Posted by: uh_huhh | May 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"Morally pro-life" and "legally pro-choice" are not mutually exclusive opinions. One can espouse both positions fervently.

Posted by: Jimdotz | May 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse


It appears some bishops/archbishops want to return to the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church ran all things Christian and secular.

They are trying to dictate public policy. They seem to have forgotten this is the United States of America and not 15th century Spain. The bishops no longer have the right or the power to order torture, enslavement, and gruesome executions. Maybe they want to bring back these "good" old days?

Their grandstanding has caused every anti-abortion loonie to converge on ND. And most of these loonies are also anti Catholic. Way to go!

Posted by: wj_phillips | May 17, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Is it ok to kill a baby?"

It was for millions of whites during slavery and Jim Crow segregation -- black babies that is. It was okay for the white founding fathers to define black babies as property, slaves, and then 3/4 of a human being, at the point of conception, during, and after leaving the womb. It's okay for the pro-life movement to ignore all of the wretched circumstances that poor babies are born into, in this nation and world-wide. The pro-life movement didn't prevent 500 million women and their babies, kids, being raped, tortured, multilated, and conscipted in the Sudan, which is still on-going. The pro-life movement isn't eliminating all the sexist, mysognist, heterosexist conditions that make women's lives a daily risk, in ways no male can or will ever experience.

The pro-life movement was absent when my black mother (and father) were born in the 1920s, experienced savage racism and wretched poverty, and no human rights, and their kids were subjected to similar after being born. I only recall my white catholic nun school teachers, and the white male priests, hiding behind their lovely architectural church walls, whipping my black hands with rulers for not getting my spiritual lessons correct, but then driving home to their safe suburban homes, while my blackness as a child/teen had to life and death survive on a daily basis in the hood, and against daily racist-mobs/hate-crimes, racist national guards, and wide-spread institutionalize white racism.

Yes, the pro-life belief/movement has an impressive "historical and present-day" track-record for protecting the sanctity of ALL life -- before conception, at the point of conception, during, and most assuredly after babies exist the womb.

Posted by: GroupThink | May 17, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, one of today's headlines trumpets a new gallup poll reporting that for the first time in a very long time, an outright majority of Americans identify themselves as "pro-life," and support for relatively liberal abortion policies falling to an all-time low. Perhaps the conservative catholics aren't as marginalized as you think or hope.

==

(sigh) Another marginalized GOoPer clutching at straws as his party goes under the waves for the last time.

Read. The. Poll.

Add it up and you will see that 76% support abortion under some or all circumstances. If any credible move is made that could remove women's control from their own bodies you will see a response from Americans that will curl your hair. When abortion was illegal women still got them, they just died a lot. Women who have inadvertently become pregnant but don't want a baby will throw themselves down stairs.

You guys try to pose this as some sort of murder, but your humanitarian claims fail the consistency test; not a one of you "pro-lifers" gives a damn what privations the baby endures AFTER birth and you guys are at the front of the crowd protesting using tax dollars for infant nutrition, education, and medical care. And almost all of you are pro-death penalty, pro-war, and so on, hardly the "culture of life" you're always going on about.

If a fetus is a "child" then so is a flake of dandruff. Both have human DNA.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 17, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

This is in response to Blakely's post as to whether Notre Dame is secular or Catholic. The truth is, it's both.

And that's precisely why I fail to see why Obama's honoring is even an issue.

As long as Notre Dame accepts federal student funding, Pell grants, gov't subsidized loans, research money from the NEH and NS, as long as Notre Dame accepts non-Catholic students, Jewish students, Muslim students, atheists, etc., as long as Notre Dame doesn't discriminate when they hire faculty, then of course Notre Dame is not going to be an institution with a body of students/faculty who are in total agreement with Catholic principles. Obama isn't even Catholic.

Notre Dame is a Catholic educational institution situated among the best universities America has to offer. If you want to make it a totally private religious university ala Bob Jones University, then you can stop accepting students and faculty who don't ascribe to Catholic teachings, stop accepting gov't money as well. You can give up accreditation too. But you can't be both 100% Catholic AND a school that does not demand total agreement with Catholic teaching. Choose: one or the other.

Consider: the Bishops are saying ND should not honor someone who acts against Catholicism. What if a Physics student is pro-choice, do they deserve to receive a Science medal? Or another student a poetry award? Will ND then not honor its own students and faculty who are not Catholic?

That's what the Bishops want. Some might argue that the commencement speech is very different than an academic award, but since when can Catholics pick and choose the moment to apply principles? Are we arguing for a selective choice? Awards are granted except at commencement? If you can't honor ANYONE who acts against Catholic teaching, then you can't honor students and faculty as well. Not to mention the fact that some of the very people inveighing against ND wouldn't qualify for an honor under the Bishop's own standards. One might argue certain Bishop's wouldn't either.

Posted by: Dan25 | May 17, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not Catholic, so I really don't have a dog in this fight, but it strikes me as somewhat juvenile to protest based on a single issue.

Looking at the broad agenda Obama has laid out, there is much to appreciate in terms of human service programs, health care and faith-based initiatives (which I disagree with, but which Catholics should appreciate).

If religious people and conservatives insist on applying the abortion litmus test to everyone, then I think they should also take an equally principled stand against the death penalty, war and the GOP's continued attempts to slash welfare.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 17, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

" 'Morally pro-life' and 'legally pro-choice' are not mutually exclusive opinions. One can espouse both positions fervently."
Posted by: Jimdotz | May 17, 2009 12:18 PM
==
You are absolutely right, Jim.
Four years ago, I had the opportunity to consult my local Catholic bishop about the pressure to "single-issue" vote in the coming election.
As I told him, I am much more "pro-life" than most of my friends in the "pro-life" movement.
I am "pro-life" on the death penalty.
They aren't.
I am "pro-life" on helping young unwed teen mothers with government assistance when they need help raising the children they bring forth.
They don't believe in "welfare".
I am "pro-life" on applying much more strictly the concept of a "just war" to the current conflict in Iraq.
And I am a military wife, who objected to the invasion of Iraq from before its inception (and consider the way the so-called "war" on Iraq has impacted our country economically and humanly a certain punishment we ricly deserve for daring to contravene our treasured values).
All of these are issues on the table in our current election.
My dear kind bishop was very clear in his statement to me.
He said, "You must weigh the damage caused by different political parties and by different candidates.
You must be free to make the best choice you may make, considering the circumstances, and consider the entire range of issues being debated."
And so, I voted for Senator John Kerry, who was denied Communion in a very few dioceses in the country.
I voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, when Biden was denied Communion by a larger numter of dioceses in the country.
Because I support laws which treat human life as precious, I also believe that it is wrong to attempt to impose one's religious strictures on those who do not hold the same religious faith.
To do so is to abuse our right to building an open political community and is against the most basic establishment of a free America where people can be free to think for themselves and not be browbeaten into submission to any one canon of thought.
Everyone in America has a right to come to the table and cast a vote that represents their personal opinion about the direction our government should take.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | May 17, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Good to see the left embrace anti-left protests with such a good attitude......

No doubt Obamacrats would have no problem with any future Bill Ayers moments which trickle their way.......

As we heard for the last 8 years... dissent is patriotic....

Bet we see a lot more patriotism in the future....

Bet the left rethinks how patriotic dissent is now that they are the object of the patriotism.......hah!

{The Democrats started the last civil war too}

Posted by: georgedixon1 | May 17, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"... Sometimes I wonder why our Pope puts up with all the idiocy that burbles out of some of our bishops. I'd be tempted to cut the whole continent loose and let us fend for ourselves."

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | May 16, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

-----------------------------------------

Perhaps he "puts up with it" because -- unlike you -- lives by Christ's values.

You remember, don't you? Faith, hope, and charity, the greatest of which is charity? Jesus' commandment to "love thy neighbor"? Or hos statement from (1 John 3:14) "... He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

Sounds like you and other hate-filled posters here forgot that it is Jesus teachings that are paramount, not the Catholic Church.

Repent, old fool.

Posted by: phoenixresearch | May 17, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I am a practicing Catholic, but as a citizen of a secular society, I recognize that my personal moral beliefs will not always translate into laws that everyone must obey. Only when there is broad consensus among citizens, should lawmakers pass laws to enforce morality. As Catholics, we take positions against the use of artificial birth control, against divorce or against sex between unmarried people. However firmly Catholics believe in these principles, most would not support laws to enforce those beliefs throughout the nation. Other religions hold fervent positions against alcohol or that limit the role of women – beliefs that are not widely supported. As Catholics, we need to understand and accept there is not a national consensus to outlaw abortion. We need to present and discuss our beliefs in a civil fashion. If we can change the consensus -- fine. If not, then as with all religions, we should let our faith to guide our personal decisions and try to be of service to others.

Posted by: Ballen375 | May 17, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I am an ex-catholic that left when I became an adult because I didn't really believe in any of the tenets of Catholicism (or Christianity, etc). I think the liberals just claim to be Catholic just so they can carp about the church. They're certainly just as, if not more, self-righteous as the Catholic hierarchy. I'm pro-choice because it's none of my d*mn business. I think more people should be executed for their crimes once they establish that they are irredeemable, worthless pieces of s**t that are a danger to the rest of us. Life is in no fashion sacred, because nothing is sacred. It's really quite simple. Notwithstanding my non-belief, I also would not be Catholic because it and I don't agree.

Posted by: cletus1 | May 17, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Obama has drawn a backlash from those opposed to abortion and embryo stem cell research. That is not the same as a "right wing" backlash which gives a far different connotation to Mr. Dionne's argument.

Posted by: hz9604 | May 17, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I am a practicing Catholic, but as a citizen of a secular society, I recognize that my personal moral beliefs will not always translate into laws that everyone must obey. ... If not, then as with all religions, we should let our faith to guide our personal decisions and try to be of service to others.

==

I wish we heard more from people like you and less from strident fundamentalists who see it as their duty here on earth to reduce the world to subhuman misery. Thank you for a most excellent post.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 17, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Bet we see a lot more patriotism in the future....

==

Is that what you call those tea parties? Dissent?

Pictures of swastikas like fourth grade boys carve into desktops? Hammer-and-sickles from disgruntled sore loser who don't have a single fact straight?

You ninnies go ahead and "dissent" away and we on the other side will make sure you get plenty of coverage, with as many close-ups and interviews of your most repellant members. I'm sure you'll provide plenty of ways to radicalize voters away from the GOP.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 17, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Dottydo wrote:
//There are not left and right winged Catholics...
The are just Catholics, or non Catholics.//

Good definition of what extremism is...

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | May 17, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Hi. Moderate here. Pro-choice in fact. How about this? You can call me baby killer if I can call you pro-fetus but anti-child. Or soldier-killer. Or woman killer since you care nothing about the health of the mother and you see her as a living incubator. Or pro-rape and pro-incest since you care more about the fetus than you do about the victimized mother. You're also pro-rapist because you blame the victim. Simplistic? Yes. So is yours. Your move.

Posted by: raduodogi | May 18, 2009 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Where were all the protestors when the information came to light of the widespread homosexual rape of children by priests? It doesn't work for the members of an absolutely corrupt church to protest about anything.

Leo Coughlin
Lutherville, Maryland

Posted by: LeoCough | May 18, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Christ rejected negotiations with evil when he rejected the devil's temptations three times. Like the devil, Mr. Obama wraps his abortion views in terms that are intended to lure Catholics into negotiations or acceptance of abortions for some promised good results in other areas. Apparently some 'Catholics' with their subjective conscience have swallowed Mr. Obama's lure and join those who claim that Jesus was a big-government socialist provider with regard to helping those in need and reducing individuals personal responsibility to "Love the Neighbor' and replacing it with government programs is a misreading of His message. Jesus Christ made the point "to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" with no guidelines as to how the Romans were to spend the tax monies.
"For you will have the poor always with you" Matthew 26.11 and nowhere in the New
Testament does Jesus Christ lay the responsibility for caring for the poor, the sick the hungry or thirsty, the homeless or any oppressed people on any governmental body. He did not cite King Herod, the priests of the temple, the local mayor or the Roman powers as the source of Charity. He made it an individual responsibility time after time in His sermons, in His parables and in His own acts. The Good Samaritan was not an example of "Love thy neighbor" because he stopped at the nearest inn and asked that a 911 call be made but because he acted, providing aid,comfort and financial assistance to his neighbor.

Posted by: mosmanpat | May 18, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

It appears that even retired Bishops drink the koolaid......

Posted by: adamsjf1 | May 18, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

So the litmus tests for Catholics is apparently abortion. No other issue matters.

Notre Dame had no problem asking George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush to speak there. Apparently the fact that they aren't Catholic didn't matter. Apparently the Pope's letter against wars of aggression is just a minor issue.

Posted by: arancia12 | May 18, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I guess he was advocating the "measured, thoughtful approach" at just about the time the most good-hearted priest I have ever met, Fr. Norm Weslin, age 80, was being arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away from the gates at the University of Notre Dame.

He was shouldering a wooden cross--- too big for his frail body to bear, actually --- and coming on campus to pray for the unborn. He must be terribly pleased, while sitting in his jail cell, to hear that the abortion advocates now have "open hearts" and "open minds". I guess now that the old priest is behind bars, Notre Dame and Obama can congratulate each other for being ready to dialogue.

Posted by: jlw5091 | May 18, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

What Dionne does not do is reveal is that this Bishop was a disaster. He was removed from his position for that reason. He was basically a left wing Catholic Bishop under whose reign in our Archdiocese (SF) traditional values long held by the Catholic Church were replaced by liberal relativist ideology. That he wrote this letter is just another typical grandstand taken by him in a long list of such actions.Far from serving as some example of enlightened catholic thinking he serves as an example of why Rome should have not allowed him to remain in his position for as long as they did. The Priest scandals literally matastized under this joker. And he IS a joker.

Posted by: mdeste2 | May 18, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"I guess he was advocating the "measured, thoughtful approach" at just about the time the most good-hearted priest I have ever met, Fr. Norm Weslin, age 80, was being arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away from the gates at the University of Notre Dame."

==

Being 80 years old provides no exemption from the law. He was trespassing, he was arrested. Deal.

Right now the same question is being played out nationally from former high executive branch officials who also believe themselves exempt from the law.

Whether it's "something one feels really strongly about" or "pertectin' 'Merica from terr'ists," the law is for everyone.

Besides, those protests had no chance of saving a single fetus from the medical waste jar, only of getting the protesters some attention. Look at that one picture widely circulated, the tall priest in his cassock folding his hands as he walks and keeping an "earnest andd concerned" expression on his face. Think he wasn't mugging for the camera?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 18, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Those who believe abortion at any stage of conception is the killing of a human being consider the following;
Roughly 1,000,000 abortions have been performed a year over the last 30 years. This would be comparable any of the genocides perpetrated in the 20th century and many ant-abortionists have made such comparisons. Such mass killings have known and predicitable effects upon the society in which the are carried out. Effectively the society is atomized into a disparet polity, societal culture is wiped out, economic activity is reduced to a shambles and such killing is preceded by an authortarian rule supressing all individual rights and freedoms. Since none of these causes and effects have occured in the United States the comparision is invalid. I would suggest that the assumption that a fetus is a human being is also equally invalid.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 18, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

kchses1 wrote "I would suggest that the assumption that a fetus is a human being is also equally invalid."
The validity of this so-called "assumption i,e. the fetus is human" was verified by very distinguished scientists who testified before Congress that human life begins at conception.
http://www.epm.org/artman2/publish/prolife_human_rights/Scientists_Attest_To_Life_Beginning_At_Conception.shtml
It is mind boggling hypocrisy that those who protect the eggs,fetuses and young(cute baby seals, kittens,puppies) of many animal species with fines and jail time have no compassion for unborn humans and approve their destruction without shame or guilt.

Posted by: mosmanpat | May 18, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, Obama's touted "ability to listen to and weigh views different from [his] own." That's been his MO since he started running for president (which was some time back before he entered Harvard). Except he's not weighing views different from his own, is he. Those "other" voices are immaterial to him. He only wants to appear as a "blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." It's all ploy and artifice and, therefore, meaningless.

When it comes to abortion, Obama is a radical. Abortion on demand without restriction or regard to time, place or circumstance. So dedicated is he to the proposition that he would deny care and, ultimately, life to a viable fetus born live. After all, did not the woman, or girl, contract for a dead fetus? A botched procedure is no reason not to give her what she came for.

President Obama and the Catholic church are in diametric opposition on this issue and to continue to pretend otherwise makes the Church look hypocritical, weak and unprincipled.

Posted by: SukieTawdry | May 18, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* What a diversion from a more troublesome problem for Catholics. The devil's hand is truly at play here. The American Church leadership is being played, absolutely played, by politicians on both sides here, and the result? The flock is being divided and diverted.

Some bishops recommended that Catholics who voted for Obama march straight for the confessional for the sin of casting a vote for a man with a different stance on abortion. Where were these same bishops after elections when men and women who support the death penalty were brought to office with the help of Catholic voters?

I long for the day when my church stays out of government and politics and government and politics stays out of my church. For one, I wish my Church would focus much more heavily on tending to it's own flock and preach the teachings and word of God, guiding its faithful on how to achieve communion with Christ rather than worrying what mere mortals decide as the secular matters of mere men and women. Because the last thing I want to see is intrusion of government into my Church and my faith, and one could foresee that as a reaction to the Church's latent advocacy of controversial political subjects.

Posted by: chumbucket | May 18, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

To mosmanpat, I read the link. I am suggesting that the above cause and effect relationship I cited, which is a known historical phenomenon, implies that Dr. Nathanson's contention that "an unborn child is simply a member of the human community" is incorrect. If it was then the cause and effects of killing human beings in such large numbers would apply. That is does not apply indicates that an unborn fetus is not an individual human being. That it's individuality comes at some time after conception.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 18, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne, the Obama Bootlicker of the hour, always has to remind us that Obama is such a good "listener." He wants us to appreciate how Obama wants to have a national "dialogue" on abortion. How open-minded. How completely "with it." Pure garbage. Dionne only succeeded in reinforcing the fact that everything he says about Democrat politicians is about as predictable as everything he says about conservatives. His opinion is completely worthless.

Posted by: billvolk | May 18, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

dionne you are so silly.

obama has an agenda-abortion is and will always remain legal and available to all women who wish to abort their fetuses. obama has no other idea thought or plan other than to do the above.

bishops must follow there tenets. they do not have a choice (despite making them anyway).

so the two can never meet, they can only argue.

Posted by: jrzshor | May 18, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Why should we the F* care what catholics think. Let their priests molest little boys like they did for the last 1000 years. Everything is fine there, as long as you go and confess to another creep.

Give me a break, you hypocrites. Live your life as you wish, but stay out of mine.

Posted by: mackiejw | May 18, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I hope someday 311 million Americans (158 million females and 153 million males) can resolve two fundamental issues about abortion:

1. Who gets to decide how the issue can and will be resolved. I, a male, argue 158 million women should have the exclusive decision-making right (moral, legal, experiential) to decide the issue.

2. What should be the consensus solution to the abortion issue. I, a male, argue 158 million women should have the exclusive decision-making right (moral, legal, experiental) to decide what this solution (or solutions) can and will be -- for 158 million women.

I, a male, argue no individual male, no group of males, regardless of our positions in life (citizen, elected official, church leader, academic, etc) should presume to have an "equal" and "majority" right to participate in the abortion debate, and especially to decide any solution to this debate. Why? BECAUSE NO MALE ON THIS PLANET HAS A WOMB/WILL EVER EXPERIENCE THE REALTIY OF BRINGING A FETUS TO TERM OR ABORTING IT.

I, a male, would like to humbly suggest 158 million American females demand our majority male elite policy-makers and minority female elite policy-makers create federal law (or amend the U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions) to exclude any and all males from making any legal decisions regarding female reproductive rights, that such legal rights will only be "decided" by a consensus of 158 million American females or the majority of the existing American female population at any time, wherein males may input their opinions/advice only if solicted by this female majority.

If GOD is a "male" then speak only if 158 million American or 3.5 billion human females solicit your input. If GOD is "female" then participate and decide as one voice amongst 158 million or 3.5 billion females. If GOD is an "it" then remain silent. More relevant, if you GOD exist, then speak for yourself, not via any male or female representative or any of our human artifacts (bible, dead sea scrolls, cryptic signs, Male-Popes, etc.).

Posted by: GroupThink | May 18, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

kchses1 "That it's individuality comes at some time after conception." What does that mean? What is "individuality "? What does it have to do with human identity and when does it occur, before birth, at birth or some unspecified age? When does a bald eagle's egg or kitten receive its "individuality"? Is it a crime to abort an eagle or a kitten as it is being hatched or birthed or do they have special status not given to human beings? The logic is illogical.

Posted by: mosmanpat | May 18, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense. Obama is a radical leftist who through political language makes every effort to appear moderate. He is not moderate in any way.

The USA religious are liberals as well. Conservatively principled Catholics do not expect the religious in the USA to espouse the Catholic viewpoint.

These religious are the same unprincipled folks who let sexual abuse of children go on for years and hid it. Too many Catholic priests are gay Catholics and that is their political position. Check out gay activists positions and you'll know where most USA religious stand on all political and religious convictions. Why do you think church attendance is down over 40%? We do not trust the majority of our religious

Posted by: Meme27 | May 18, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Claim?

Obama is a "radical leftist".

Evidence?

He uses "political language" to deceive 311 million Americans to believe he is "moderate"?

Claim?

The "USA religious" are "liberals" too.

Evidence?

They're "unprinciped". They let children be abused for years and hid it.

Claim?

"Too many" Catholic priests "are gay".

Evidence?

Look at "the politics" of Catholitc priests.

Claim?

"All gays" and "all religious Americans" share the "same political opinions".

Evidence:

Church attendance is down 40 percent.

Claim?

"We" do not trust "the majority of our religious".

Evidence?

"We" are "Conservatively principled Catholics".

--------------------------------------

My Opinion: Ignorance & Stupidity = Bliss!

Posted by: GroupThink | May 18, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Notre Dame? You mean the Bob Jones University of the midwest. I wonder if
Obama were a five star wide receiver (who
was pro-choice), would he be welcome on the
campus?

Posted by: gaga19832002 | May 19, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Source: Catholic News Service

-- A Belgian priest told a Vatican academy that U.S. President Barack Obama's pro-abortion policies will lead the United States toward totalitarianism.

"By removing legal safeguards for the protection of life," Obama will increase the number of victims of criminal laws, said Father Michel Schooyans, a retired professor of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

A democratic society that allows people in power to invoke "subjective 'new rights' that allow for the elimination of certain categories of human beings is a society well on the way to totalitarianism," he said.

Father Schooyans made his comments on the first day of a five-day plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The academy, headed by the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Mary Ann Glendon, met to discuss Catholic social doctrine and human rights.

The Belgian priest -- an academy member since 1994 -- presented his paper as a commentary on another paper by Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France. The archbishop's paper was presented to the academy the same day.

Posted by: hasinc67 | May 19, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Source: Catholic News Service

-- A Belgian priest told a Vatican academy that U.S. President Barack Obama's pro-abortion policies will lead the United States toward totalitarianism.

"By removing legal safeguards for the protection of life," Obama will increase the number of victims of criminal laws, said Father Michel Schooyans, a retired professor of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

A democratic society that allows people in power to invoke "subjective 'new rights' that allow for the elimination of certain categories of human beings is a society well on the way to totalitarianism," he said.

Father Schooyans made his comments on the first day of a five-day plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The academy, headed by the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Mary Ann Glendon, met to discuss Catholic social doctrine and human rights.

The Belgian priest -- an academy member since 1994 -- presented his paper as a commentary on another paper by Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France. The archbishop's paper was presented to the academy the same day.

Posted by: hasinc67 | May 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The best thing about this letter is its' brevity. The succinctness draws attention to the central argument.

Posted by: Heerman532 | May 19, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

To mosmanpat, individuality is when a human being becomes a sentient entity whose existance is seperate from and bodily independent from another human being. Comparing humans to animals is non-analagous.
The entire point is that many of the objections to abortion are as follows;

"By removing legal safeguards for the protection of life," Obama will increase the number of victims of criminal laws, said Father Michel Schooyans, a retired professor of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium."

There is clear historical and statistical evidence that abortion has no such impact on society. The only clear statistical impact on society appears to be a reduction in violent crime beginning 18 years after Roe vs Wade. The logical conclusion is that a fetus is not equivalent to a full born human being. I didn't make the world this way. It simply appears to be this way.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 19, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

kchses1
Your rather specific definition of individuality is not found in my Oxford dictionary and it can be applied not only to fetuses but to those in comas, alzheimer sufferers and others who are totally dependent on others for survival. "Comparing humans to animals is non-analagous." Why? It appears to be your attempt to set the rules as one can be fined heavily and spend years in jail for aborting or killing animals and birds but a partially born child on the very edge of having "existance seperate from and bodily independent from another human" can be killed with impunity. According to the President even a child born alive and using your terminology,having 'individuality', after a botched abortion can be denied needed medical care and allowed to die. This is the height of one human's inhumanity to another human.

Posted by: mosmanpat | May 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

People screaming at each other again ... and no one listening. You would think that President Obama is requiring abortions on unwilling mothers or something. He has said often that the goal should be to reduce the number of abortions that are performed. You don't do that by decree .. for there are back-alleys and con-men ready to perform the act. We need to address the reasons people ask for abortions in the first place. Improve access to pre-birth adoptions, homes for pregnant teens who are afraid of their parents/boyfriends, access to counseling and support. Where are the conservative catholics on these issues? No opinion? How hypocritical. I guess you don't care if a girl dies in an alley .. as long as sterile procedures and concerned physicians are not legally involved. Then you can go home at peace I guess .... Arghh!!!!

Posted by: crw901025 | May 19, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I sense alot of anger. My definition of individuality does not exclude people in coma's or with alzheimers. To suggest such is simply incorrect and silly. Nor do I understand the insistence on comparing what laws there are against animal cruelty and abortion. But I confess I don;t give this a lot of thought. I do notice a complete lack of answers to my very specific observation that there is no link between abortion and any harmful effects upon society. If there was surely after 30 million abortions we would have noticed the nation falling into totalitarianism or overrun by violent crime. By all historical standards we are now 29 million deaths past the point where we should be experiencing the societal effects of so many unnatural deaths. That there has been no effect should be telling us something about the relationship between a fetus and society. Namely, one should not be making an isomorphic comparison between a fully born human being and a fetus. They are clearly not the same.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 20, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

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