Tag archives: Notre Dame

Notre Dame and Standing on Principle

by Family Research Council

September 8, 2014

It is a sad day for Catholic education when a Catholic institution of higher learning ignores core doctrine. It is worse yet when it happens to be the leading Catholic institution of higher learning. Recently The National Catholic Register reported that the University of Notre Dame voluntarily offered a student health insurance program that pays for the contraception and abortion services required by the HHS mandate. In essence, the University has thrown in the towel in its fight against the mandate’s encroachment on religious liberty. This move is particularly strange given the University’s pending lawsuit against the federal government.

In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate derivative of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires all employers to provide, free of charge, a number of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs to their employees. On May 21, 2012 the University of Notre Dame filed an official legal complaint against the federal government because funding contraception and abortifacients is contrary to the school’s identity as a Catholic institution. Since then, all requests for an injunction on the mandate have failed. The HHS has made eight revisions to the initial contraceptive mandate all of which have been summarily rejected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The revisions fail to address underlying religious liberty conflicts in the ACA. Although Notre Dame’s lawsuit is still pending, the University has decided, nonetheless, to comply with the mandate of its own accord.

Catholic doctrine expressly forbids the intentional use of contraception or abortion:

Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370).”

and again

Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense (CCC 2271-2272).”

Whether Notre Dame or any other Catholic university ignores this teaching is no indication of a change in Church doctrine. This violation of Church doctrine is yet another illustration of the collapse of doctrinally sound Catholic education. Notre Dame is following in the footsteps of many other Catholic institutions which have acted contrary to Church teaching. One does not have to look far for examples of this. St. John’s University recently slated Hugh Evans, a strong contraception advocate, to receive an honorary law degree at commencement. Loyola Marymount University earlier this year named Dr. Robbin Crabtree (who previously served on Advisory Board and Media Relations Committee of Planned Parenthood) dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. The University of San Diego’s drag show created such shockwaves within the Church that the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education called them out on it saying the event caused “scandal.” Purportedly Catholic universities acting contrary to the Magisterium is so widespread that Pope John Paul II years ago issued an apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae to remind Catholic universities of their identity, mission, and general norms.

As education goes, so goes the next generation. The Church and all its members have the right and the duty to pass the time-tested teachings and traditions on to next generation. Let us work to promote Catholic institutions of higher learning grounded in sound Church doctrine and morals.

Obama at Notre Dame

by Family Research Council

May 18, 2009

Sunday’s speech and the reaction of the Notre Dame community, and Catholics and others worldwide, will be the subject of much comment in the coming days. Some quick thoughts and first impressions:

Without doubt, Obama was eloquent, charming, and seemingly at ease. He had the advantage (a faculty and administration behind him, and the media framing it as the man of reason versus the rabble in the street, with, obligingly, Randall Terry performing that role as if on cue), and he seemed once again to know it. The students, who prepare for this day with years of labor and the love (and labor and cash) of their families behind them, were respectful and, as students tend to be around our rock-star President, wowed by his skill with words, his symbolic meaning in transcending our historic racial divide, and his graceful humor.

As for his speech, it was un-Barackesque in one sense - he came down from Olympus, where pay grades are seldom referred to at all, and made it plain that on the issue of human life, he does in fact disagree with those who stand for its sanctity. But he was Barackesque in striving to minimize those differences, in implying that there is “demonization” of opponents afoot (not from him, of course, just unnamed others), and suggesting that, to borrow an irritating catchphrase from a recent era in U.S. Catholic politics, he is all about “dialogue” with those who disagree with him.

There is the rub. Obama is a man of many mellifluous words, but he is also a man of many unambiguous actions, and every action he has taken to date has been a forthright dismantling of the culture of life and the wall of separation that has existed between taxpayers and abortion. A complete list would include all of his key personnel in White House domestic policy, HHS, State and the Justice Department. His policy enactments include rescinding the Mexico City policy that kept the international abortion industry out of the federal Treasury, rescinding the Bush conscience regulations designed to protect medical and health research personnel from having to participate in or facilitate abortion, eliminating all but a smidgeon of abstinence funding for the pregnancy centers that deal directly with women in need, lifting the ban on the use of District of Columbia funds to pay for abortion in his proposed budget, providing federal funding for experiments that rely on killing embryonic humans in fertility clients, and sending Planned Parenthood an additional $10 million federal love note, matching what they spent to elect him last year.

The President’s efforts to spur “dialogue” involve a low-level White House meeting where groups — including, for the record, FRC — are asked to come in and help craft a plan to “reduce the need for abortion.” To be credible, that plan would have to begin with reversing every decision Obama has made on abortion to date. But note the phraseology, which suggests a fundamental disagreement. Who speaks of a “need for child abuse”? Or a need for white collar crime? Or a need for bribery of public officials? If there is a need for something, just how wrong is it? Planned Parenthood and its allies secured this language in the Democratic Platform last year because they did not want any suggestion from their party that the act of abortion is a moral wrong. But if it is not a moral wrong, then it is hardly something that needs to be reduced, particularly if, as Planned Parenthood insists, it is physically safe and negligible in its mental health implications.

President Obama and his administration have extraordinary message discipline when it comes to these matters. That discipline will be on display again soon in the health care debate when the Democrats on the Hill insist that they are deferring that question to some other body (likely an HHS commission that will likewise pronounce itself for “dialogue”) for resolution. Is there any chance that an Obama-endorsed, government-financed health plan will exclude abortion and taxpayer participation in it? As a state legislator, Obama stood out as a man so concerned about protecting abortion in all circumstances that he led opposed laws to provide care for infants who survive the procedure.

Yesterday Notre Dame gave a high honor to such a man. He spoke eloquently. But the Jesuit fathers who taught me in high school and even a few of the Holy Cross priests who taught me at Notre Dame impressed on me to pay attention to what men do, not just what they say. They cited the Good Book on knowing people by their fruits. With Obama, that begins with what is being done to the fruit of the womb.

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

May 13, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.