Thursday, April 9, 2009

Notre Dame Invites Obama - So What?

I've been following the growing controversy over Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to speak at their 2009 commencement ceremony and award the President an honorary degree. The central issue of opposition appears to be that Obama is pro-choice - a view that runs contrary to Catholic Doctrine.

As I sip my Flavor Aid (grape is great!), I seem to recall that an important man once said: "He who is without sin, cast the first stone."

A commencement ceremony that includes only those who are 100% in lock step with Catholic Doctrine will be one lonely party.

Notre Dame has welcomed presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush to speak at their university. Not a single one of these presidents were Catholic. Not being Catholic a serious departure from Catholic Doctrine.

Most of these presidents supported the Death Penalty. Last I checked, that was a no-no.

George W. Bush's administration supported torture. Does the Catholic Church support torture? How about a preemptive war that has so far led to the brutal death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis - not to mention thousands of our troops and tens of thousands more wounded. Does the Church support the death of our troops?

The economic policies under the two Bush presidents resulted in recessions and hundreds of billions of dollars lost in financial crises. Savings & Loan, deregulation, sub-prime lending, ponzi schemes, credit default swaps, etc all left millions of families in a perilous position. Untold numbers of people suffered in smaller, more silent ways. Does the Catholic church encourage poverty?

Are we to believe that Catholics should not be concerned with the death penalty, torture, bloody wars, and economic despair? Is the message to Catholics that we must only follow the Golden Rule and be pro-life?

How long has the Catholic Church supported the pro-life movement? And how much change to Roe v Wade has that support produced? What specific acts have Presidents Carter, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush DONE to reverse Roe v Wade? Faith without works...

As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed in the Church's actions over recent years. From the handling of the sex abuse scandal, encouraging a more forceful and fundamentalist view of doctrine, and turning a blind eye to massive atrocities that dwarf the issue of abortion all lead away from the path of Christ.

So let's recap here:
Rule 1) The Catholic Church opposes leaders that disagree with Church Doctrine.
Rule 2) Rule 1 only applies to the issue of abortion
Rule 3) The Catholic Church receives leaders who support torture, wars of aggression, and the death penalty
Rule 4) The Catholic Church continues decades of support to political parties and movements that have done little to reverse an important issue
Rule 5) The Catholic Church appears to forget central tenets of Christianity that emphasize tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness

As a Catholic, I would welcome anyone into my house - even those people with whom I have disagreements with. That's what my faith taught me. We are all human, we are all with sin, and we should all strive to accept and tolerate others in spite of that.