Joseph Pecar
May 5, 2009
If Obama speaks at Notre Dame, more innocent lives will be lost!!!
By Joseph Pecar

On March 20, 2009, Notre Dame President Reverend John Jenkins announced that Barack Obama accepted Notre Dame's invitation to be the principal speaker and recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University's 164th Commencement Ceremony — an announcement that immediately precipitated a major controversy.

The Cardinal Newman Society pronounced Notre Dame's action scandalous and quickly established a website to collect signatures petitioning him to rescind Obama's invitation. Ever since, media focus has been on a debate between a diverse set of individuals and groups over the advisability and ramifications of rescinding, or not rescinding, the invitation.

Assessing the moral turpitude of rescinding, or not rescinding Jenkin's offer to Obama

Although not yet "headlined" in the media, the most ominous reason for not allowing Obama to speak at Notre Dame is the fact that allowing him to do so will indisputably increase the number of Abortions and therefore the number of victims of so-called "Botched Abortions" — that is born-alive infants who either later die or who survive but are condemned to lifetimes of unimaginable suffering resulting from the pernicious side-effects of attempted Abortions that fail.

In accordance with the provisions of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA — Public Law 107-207 enacted in 2002), among "newly born" but unwanted babies are those, who after having been subjected to an abortion procedure, are afforded the same critical life-saving medical or palliative care and attention as the old, infirm, and terminally ill are entitled to, but who sadly succumb anyway.

Tragically, there is another group of newly born, post-Abortion babies, who heartlessly and shamelessly, are simply left to die — a practice equivalent to Infanticide. An article in London's Evening Standard entitled "66 babies in a year left to die after NHS abortions that go wrong" is evidence that the ignominious practice occurs worldwide. Of critical relevance herein and treated in more detail in what follows is the fact that three times, in 2001, 2002, and 2003, while an Illinois state senator, Obama opposed BAIPA legislation.

However, preventing such lost innocent lives and lifetimes of misery is not the most frequently appearing reason in the media in favor of "rescinding" the invitation. What is the most frequent reason rendered is that despite the University's statements to the contrary, Notre Dame's decision to honor Obama will undoubtedly be viewed by many as an approbation of his current and past beliefs, policies and actions — that Obama himself has gone to extraordinary lengths to make perfectly clear — to include his unrelenting support not just for Abortion, but as noted, Infanticide as well.

As a result, Catholics and others are likely to conclude as does Helen M. Alvarι, that "the decision makers at Notre Dame — and perhaps the many Catholics they represent — do not believe that the right of vulnerable persons not to be killed is as important an issue as centuries of Catholic teaching have made it out to be." Otherwise, how else could one explain why Notre Dame, a supposed Catholic University would have extended the invitation in the first place.

And herein lies the irrefutable basis for "scandal charges" made by those who feel that Notre Dame has knowingly already corrupted the consciences of countless ordinary citizens as well as those of legislators and others with the power to enact policies and laws that the Catholic Church has and continues to declare evil and immoral.

In this matter there are only two possibilities. One is that as an institution, Notre Dame actually no longer believes or espouses the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church that prohibit Abortion. If that be true, then the scandal arises from the fact Notre Dame has not yet been honest enough to publicly acknowledge the fact that the University no longer speaks as one with the Church, and that it no longer subscribes to one of its most important moral teachings — important to the Church precisely because precious, innocent human lives depend on it.

The only other possibility is that, Notre Dame still does espouse the belief that Abortion and Infanticide are grievous moral evils, but has decided that other reasons take precedence over or are more important than the increased number of lost innocent lives and other abominations related to abortion that allowing Obama to speak will cause.

For example, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) seems to be asserting that the need to ensure or prove that "the Catholic university must have true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical" alone justifies inviting and honoring Obama. In fact, their statement disavowing banning Obama from speaking, makes no mention at all about the probable relation between his speaking and the calamitous impact that it can have on the incidence and practice of Abortion and its tragic consequences in America.

In its own statement, the Notre Dame Faculty Senate mimics and quotes the AAUP. Beyond AAUP's championing "academic freedom" and "freedom of expression," the Faculty Senate suggests still another reason for supporting Father Jenkins — adding that it affirms "the invitation to deliver the Commencement address and to receive an honorary degree" on the basis that it "reflects the University's tradition of honoring our nation's leaders." Noteworthy again is the fact that the Faculty Senate is also silent on the impact Obama's speaking will have on the incidence and practice of Abortion and its tragic consequences in America.

Thus, even in the absence of being able to identify any other offsetting Obama qualities or noteworthy accomplishments, the Faculty Senate avers that the University is justified in — or may even be obligated to — confer a high honor on Obama, simply because he was not only elected President of the United States, but is the first man-of-color elected to that Office.

Shockingly — and dismayingly — this means that those who speak for the University hold that the "duty to invite our nations leaders" and "the pursuit of academic freedom" are reasons that trump or excuse 1) the physical death or lifetime injuries that abortion procedures necessarily inflict on innocent victims, 2) the moral desecration of the consciences of millions of people, and 3) as will be noted below, the Black Genocide that results from the way Abortion is practiced in America.

This stance is consistent with what Mariangela Sullivan describes in her related article to be "An increasingly trendy view for Catholics" which she then depicts as "a logical house of horrors: A fetus is a person, has rights, and can be legally killed."

Exposing the inanity of this rationale, columnist Bruce W. Green quotes the words of long-time Notre Dame law professor, Charles E. Rice: "Notre Dame is not a public utility. It has no commitment to honor at its capstone ceremony every politician whom the political process deposits in the Oval Office." Corroborating the regrettable consequences enumerated above, Green continues, "Yet, for some reason Notre Dame has chosen to honor at its capstone ceremony the most assertively pro-abortion president in American history. And, it is not lost on orthodox Catholics that the conferral of an honorary doctorate plainly implies a general commendation of the recipient and, in the case of a politician, his policies."

If when he accepted Father Jenkin's invitation Barack Obama was unaware of the crisis, confusion and turmoil his speaking at Notre Dame would produce among Catholics, from the relentless media coverage ever since he certainly knows that now. Because being elected President of the United States is perhaps the highest honor that can be bestowed upon anyone, the reception of an additional honor from Notre Dame is clearly not a prospect of great relevance to Obama. The obvious question is then, knowing the anguish among those in the Catholic Church hierarchy and laity that speaking at and being honored by Notre Dame will cause, why does he not now do the gracious and considerate thing and rescind his acceptance?

Understanding Obama's intimate knowledge of and experience with the "take-no-prisoners" tactics of Chicago-style politics, the answer is as obvious as the question. In terms of his pro-Abortion, pro-Infanticide, pro-Black Genocide quest, Obama is keenly aware of the fact that the Catholic Church, and universities publicly supporting Catholic doctrines, pose a major obstacle to those ambitions. Politically, therefore, he views the controversy that arises from occasions like his appearance at Notre Dame to be one of the most powerful and effective weapons in his arsenal to eradicate such threats.

Why that is so is as follows. On the one hand, of those people who in the past thought Abortion and its awful consequences to be immoral, after observing Notre Dame's inviting Obama to speak, bestowing a high honor on him and his acceptance, many now doubt their moral convictions and as a result will in the future themselves support Obama's "Culture of Death" and other policies and actions reasoning, "If Notre Dame can support and honor Obama, why cant we?" On the other hand, among those who judge Father Jenkins's actions as morally reprehensible, shameful and a betrayal of Catholic doctrine, are a large number of past contributors who have already announced that will no longer financially support Notre Dame.

It is on these grounds that Obama justifiably views what is now transpiring as "win-win" opportunities. Controversies like Notre Dame's increase the number of people whose consciences can be corrupted to allow them to support his policies and executive orders, and at the same time create situations in which he gets the very people in favor of and who support Catholic Universities, to be his agents to help him discredit and put them out of business.

Switching attention now to other often cited reasons to rescind the invitation that are worthy but of lesser immediate consequence, we find that they include the alarming rate of secularization and a vanishing emphasis on religion at Notre Dame and other Catholic or non-Catholic institutions with Christian origins; the defiance of specific 2004 United States Catholic Confraternity of Bishops (USCCB) directives; the astonished dismay, deep disappointment and sadness felt by Notre Dame students and Alumni; and, the lamentable willingness on the part of Notre Dame to trample upon the sensibilities of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Catholics and others who have tirelessly worked nearly four decades in support of human life.

Additional reasons advanced by those favoring letting the invitation stand are sparse but harken back to the need to respect the dignity of the high office of the Presidency; the need to conform with norms of Presidential protocol and etiquette, and claims by some partisans that criticism of Notre Dame's invitation is based on ideological intolerance of Democrats and their policies and not on moral turpitude considerations. These and many other pro and con arguments appearing recently in the media are worthy reactions to Notre Dame's actions and should be taken into account and resolved on an ongoing basis.

But, when it comes to zeroing in on the most crucial factor on which to decide to revoke or not to revoke Notre Dame's invitation and tribute, unless one believes Presidential protocol, etiquette, the appearance of academic freedom at the University, et al, to be superior to the obligation to preserve and uphold the sanctity and infinite value of human life, one needs only ask which decision is more likely to result in an increased number of physical deaths or lifetime injuries that by necessity are inflicted on innocent victims of Abortion and Infanticide — and then act accordingly.

In this instance, what is at stake is plainly revealed in the answer to the following five questions:

  1. Will the decision to let the Notre Dame invitation and tribute offer stand result in a greater number of lost lives after so-called "Botched Abortions"?

  2. Will it result in a greater number of lifetime medical disabilities or impairments suffered by survivors of "Botched Abortions"?

  3. Will it result in a higher mortality rate and lost lives at birth attributed to the greater number of pre-term deliveries by women who have had one or more induced abortions?

  4. Will it result in a greater number of lifetime medical disabilities attributed to the greater number of pre-term deliveries among women who have had induced abortions?

  5. Will it accelerate and exacerbate the scourge of Black Genocide in America that, without doubt, directly results from the way Abortion is practiced in the United States?

Now there is a single overall question, which if answered in the affirmative, establishes the correctness of an affirmative answer to all of the above five questions. And that question is "Will the decision to let the Notre Dame invitation and honorary stand, result in higher probability that Barack Obama's pro-Abortion (pro-Death) agenda will be successful and that, in particular, as he promised, he signs into Law the dreadfully malevolent Freedom of Choice Act. And for the reasons expounded below, surely it will.

In a September 24, 2008 article, Matt Bowman, an attorney with the pro-life Alliance Defense Fund, quantifies the deadly impact of enacting FOCA, predicting there will be an increase in the number of abortions in the United States of "125,000 per year" because of the abolition of laws in states that have parental involvement, informed-consent laws and funding restrictions. "Even with this minimum," Mr. Bowman adds, "that's 125,000 children that were not killed this year because we (still) have these laws, and 125,000 (added to the existing 1.3 million abortions) who will be killed in 2009 and beyond."

Since the number of "botched abortions" is proportional to, or scales with, the absolute number of abortions, so must the likelihood of live-baby deaths (infanticidal or not), and the incidence of lifetime physiological disabilities and impairments also scale with the number of abortions.

As to the exacerbation of Black Genocide, the article posted February 12, 2009 on the RenewAmerica Web site, presents overwhelming evidence that the way Abortion has and is yet practiced in the United States clearly constitutes and increases the incidence of Black Genocide. Important elements of that evidence are summarized below:

1. "The number one cause of death in the African American community has been abortion. . . . . Since 1973, twice as many Black Americans have died from abortion than from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined." From an Oct. 16, 2008 article by Black Catholic Bishop Martin Holley.

2. "We make up about 12% of the population and about 34% of all abortions are Black babies. In the last 36 years over 17 million African American babies have died by abortion alone." (That is one third of our present Black population.) From a speech by Black Pastor Luke Robinson at the March for Life in Washington D.C., Jan. 22, 2009.

3. "The early seduction of Black Americans by the Birth Control League and Margaret Sanger's (Planned Parenthood's founder) eugenics programs set into motion today's dilemma. From the beginning, the birth control movement's 'Negro Project' (launched in 1939) was especially appealing to eugenicists determined to check the climbing birthrates of those they defined as the 'unfit.'" From an Oct. 28, 2008, Witherspoon Institute publication by Anne Hendershott.

4. "The aim of ... [The Negro Project] was to restrict — many believe exterminate — the black population. Under the pretense of 'better health' and 'family planning,' Sanger cleverly implemented her plan. What's more shocking ... is Sanger's beguilement of black America's crθme de la crθme — those prominent, well educated and well-to-do — into executing her scheme. Some within the black elite saw birth control as a means to attain economic empowerment, elevate the race and garner the respect of whites." From a May 10, 2001 article, "The Negro Project — Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Plan for Black Americans" by Tanya L. Green.

5. Rev. Johnny M. Hunter, National Director of Life, Education and Resource Network (LEARN) exposed Planned Parenthood's nefarious extermination motivations and the monumentally effective duping of Black leaders by declaring at the "Say So" March on Columbus Day 1999, that the Negro Project has had lasting repercussions in the black community: "We have become victims of genocide by our own hands."

6. "We must demand an end to the victimizing of African American children, women, families and communities by Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry. Over 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in minority neighborhoods." From Bishop Holley's article.

7. "Nearly half of all African-American pregnancies end in abortion." From Anne Hendershott'a article.

8. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr., Black Pastor of The New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, NJ and founder of blackgenocide.org summarizes the situation with this revelation. "According to Allan Guttmacher's statistics, today the most dangerous place for an African-American to be is in the womb of their African-American mother."

If we take Obama at his word that for over twenty years, although he was closely associated with, admired and considered Reverend Jeremiah Wright a mentor, he never once suspected him of being radically anti-American, it might be reasonable to attribute Obama's legislative record, campaign rhetoric, and viciously pro-abortion ideology to inexperience, naivetι and bad judgment.

However, inexperience naivetι and bad judgment is the best we can think of Obama. If he is and was fully aware that the practice of Abortion in America directly causes Black genocide, and to get elected or for some other nefarious reason he supports and promotes this morally repulsive atrocity anyhow, then the only conclusion one can reach is that he is a most despicable person — and a traitor to his own race. As one who doesn't recognize the evil of Infanticide whilst both Houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously did, serving as the first Black President, Obama may disdainfully also become the infamous face of America's Black Genocide.

Obama's role aside, should it not be a matter of great National shame and outrage that America overtly supports genocide within its own shores, and now wants to expend tax dollars to export the practice to indigent people worldwide? Are our Government leaders and those who control the media degrading the moral fiber of the country to the extent that, like the Roman Empire, it will lead to the ruination of what was once the freest, fairest, most productive, wealthiest and most powerful nation the World has ever known?

God bless the African American leaders, and others, who continue to advance the truth in hopes that American's of all races may one day behold that blessed dream of equal rights, including what Pope John Paul II called the foundational Right to Life on which all other rights depend.

Highlights of recent and incisive media commentaries

While to date, although none of the articles appearing in the media — either decrying or praising Notre Dame's Obama invitation — have focused the loss of human life in the womb, Infanticide, inflicted lifetime suffering or the Genocidal tragedies that hang in the balance, they nevertheless provide important evidence and support the conclusion that these are the most important criteria to consider in making the rescind/not rescind decision. Why that is so is evident from the corroborating light shed upon these key issues by the authors of those articles, examples of which are highlighted below.

Surely at the heart of the controversy are two disparate facts. First, Notre Dame has been widely recognized as America's premier "Catholic" institution of higher learning. As such it has traditionally been assumed that the moral values it holds and teaches are entirely consistent with those of the Catholic Church, which — most germane in this instance — include unequivocal condemnation of Abortion, Infanticide, and Genocide.

Second is the fact that as a senator, during the campaign and since his election, Obama has made his pro-Abortion, Infanticide, and Genocide stance abundantly clear. As summarized below, his statements and executive and legislative actions identify him as unremittingly hostile to the moral claims of the unborn — and accordingly — to a central teaching of the Catholic Church.

In 2001 Obama was the only member of the Illinois Senate to speak against bills written to provide medical care for abortion survivors (Babies who were routinely left to die on cold steel tables without even comfort care — or placed alone in soiled linen containers until they died). On January 22, 2008 — the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — Obama touted: "Throughout my career, I've been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice and have consistently had a 100 percent pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America." On July 17, 2008, at a Planned Parenthood meeting he stated that the first thing he would do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which he co-sponsored.

Within weeks as President, Obama lifted the Mexico City policy ending restrictions preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortions overseas; in a press-dodging announcement, he opened a path for using more taxpayer dollars for abortion and to encourage the destruction of embryos for research; he has taken aim at a "conscience clause" designed to protect doctors, nurses and others from being forced to participate in procedures (including abortion) that violate their consciences; and he has produced a list of radically pro-abortion cabinet nominees, including Kathleen Sebelius — who as Governor of Kansas is well-known for shielding her abortionist crony from prosecution — as his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Helen M. Alvarι's article, already referenced, illustrates the cataclysmic nature of the conflict between Obama's "Culture of Death" actions, ambitions and beliefs and the Catholic Church's "Culture of Life" teachings. If the decision to honor Obama — who by virtue of being elected President has become the most well-known, and now the most powerful, radically pro-Abortion person in the world — actually does reflect a "watering down" among decision makers at Notre Dame of the Catholic Church's Culture of Life doctrine, then it truly would be scandalous for Father Jenkins, and to the extent that he represents the University, Notre Dame itself to continue to represent itself as a Catholic institution.

Apparently because he holds that view, in a March 31 letter to Father Jenkins, Bishop Thomas G. Doran expressed his own outrage — and that of the Catholic community of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois he represents — charging that "This decision of yours flies in the face of the expressed directive of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the year 2004, that Catholic institutions not so honor those who profess opposition to the Church's doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem cell research."

Bishop Doran continues, "I would ask that you rescind this unfortunate decision and so avoid dishonoring the practicing Catholics of the United States, including those of this Diocese. Failing that, please have the decency to change the name of the University to something like, 'The Fighting Irish College' or 'Northwestern Indiana Humanist University.' Though promotion of the obscene is not foreign to you, I would point out that it is truly obscene for you to take such decisions as you have done in a university named for our Blessed Lady, whom the Second Vatican Council called the Mother of the Church." (Notre Dame is French for "Our Lady")

In defense of his decision to extend the invitation and to confer the degree, Notre Dame's student newspaper The Observer quotes Father Jenkins as saying, "The invitation does not mean that Notre Dame supports all of Obama's positions," "but rather can be used as a catalyst for dialogue" and that it can "be the basis of an engagement with him." In a letter to Notre Dame's Board of Trustees explaining how he arrived at his decision, Father Jenkins argued that he had prudently consulted "canon lawyers" and others responsible for guest-speaker selection. In response to this letter, Dr. Edward Peters, a prominent American canon lawyer issued a stinging criticism of his reasoning calling Father Jenkins' argumentation "too bizarre for words."

Supporting Peter's assessment, Alvarι also questions Father Jenkins reasoning declaring, "Commencement ceremonies and the granting of honorary doctorates are not occasions for persuasion, dialogue and engagement on controvertible issues . . . . The 'message' received by all — the one honored and all of the onlookers — is that the honoree somehow embodies the values of the institution granting the degree, and the aspirations of the graduates. This is common knowledge."

Mary Ann Glendon, a Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law Scholl, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, and a longtime consultant to the USCCB, has advised Father Jenkins that because she cannot be associated with his decision to honor Obama, she will not accept the Lactare Medal (Notre Dame's most prestigious award) or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony, concurs with both Peters and Alvarι.

In her words she challenged Father Jenkin's characterization of his Obama offer as a catalyst for dialogue or a basis of an engagement with Obama by adjuring "A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame's decision — in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops — to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice."

Father Jenkins, being a highly educated, man-of-the-cloth, does or should understand the grievous moral turpitude that results from the way in which Abortion, Infanticide and Black Genocide are practiced in America — and now advocated and enabled by Obama and his policies. For him to allege that his invitation is "a catalyst for dialogue" and a "basis of engagement" or that somehow by simply inviting him to speak and conferring an honorary degree on him, he can "change" or "moderate" Obama's extremist pro-Abortion views and policies, is therefore, either completely disingenuous, or at best, pathetically naοve. For a man of his religious background to contend that the material or worldly goal of achieving academic freedom and freedom of expression at Notre Dame is more important than the precious and infinitely valuable lives of innocent human beings, is truly inexplicable!

Even William McGourn, a secular columnist writing in the secular Wall Street Journal understands this. In his article he describes Father Jenkin's claims as laughable bromides saying, "Now, if the president were going to Notre Dame to engage in dialogue, that would be one thing. But Mr. Obama will not be going to Notre Dame to 'dialogue.' He will be going to help advance his agenda." McGourn adds, "At the center of that agenda is abortion."

Bishop Doran's scornful rebuke of Father Jenkins clearly makes the point that when religious principles upon which a university is founded are abandoned, honesty requires such institutions to no longer falsely claim an affiliation with that religion. In his April 7 article, Bruce W. Green, concurs, sadly noting that inviting Obama to its capstone ceremony is a symbolic indicator that, Notre Dame — by following in the footsteps of Harvard, Yale and Princeton — "has already begun a process of secularization" warning, "If not stopped and reversed, it will render it no longer Catholic in any meaningful sense and even eventually hostile to Christian faith."

All is not lost — Extraordinary blessings can occur if Notre Dame does rescind its offer

The dialectic above establishes the fact that not rescinding Notre Dame's invitation to be the principal speaker and recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University's 164th Commencement Ceremony will in fact help Obama sell his radical pro-abortion ideology to citizen voters as well as to legislators and others with the power to enact policies and laws by creating the false impression that the Catholic Church does not regard his Culture of Death beliefs and policies as evil as once portrayed. Indeed, Obama himself may now be convinced that the invitation is a sign that the Catholic Church no longer judges his pro-Abortion, pro-Infanticide, pro-Black Genocide beliefs, policies and actions to be intrinsically evil — a conviction that can only encourage him to be even more aggressive.

In short, allowing Obama to speak would irrefutably enable him to implement additional policies and executive orders that will result in more lives lost and more innocent victims of unspeakable suffering. What makes this fact particularly grating is that the threat of these dreadful results happening is not the result of some external culture-of-death force — like a Roe v. Wade Supreme court decision. No, sadly the present danger and crisis exists solely because of a "voluntary" action taken by what once was a proud and highly regarded Catholic institution.

Not minimizing in any way the horrifying results of "not rescinding" the invitation, nevertheless, if rescinded, the "evil" of inviting Obama to speak in the first place, may actually foster "good" results by creating opportunities for extraordinary blessings to now take place.

To begin with, consistent with the Hippocratic Oath that says "Above all, do no harm," the first and most obvious benefit of "rescinding" is that the "probabilities" of more carnage and other harmful effects are reduced from what they would be if Notre Dame's offer is let stand. But, maintaining the status quo is only one facet of the incredible opportunities for good that will be possible should Notre Dame — either on its own volition or in response to some outside force(s) — rescind its invitation to and encomium of Obama.

At this point, because of the immense grief and sorrow felt by millions of people over this scandal, it is difficult for many to envision how anything good can come from what they view as Father Jenkin's blatant disregard for the Church's Culture of Life Doctrine. And yet, we know from Romans 8:28 that "To those that love God all things work together unto good." From this we can all take solace knowing God has the power to cause good to come from the evil acts of men.

In teaching that the one purpose of evil in the providence of God is to cause us to seek Him, C. S. Lewis explains, "God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." Perhaps in this case, God saw that the pain and anguish resulting from Notre Dame's offer to Obama as necessary to "rouse a world deaf to the greater evil of Abortion and all its nefarious consequences" and to instill in us the hope, confidence, and courage to carry on with increased vigor our pro-Life efforts.

How that possibility is likely to materialize in this case is as follows. At this late date notifying the Whitehouse that Notre Dame is rescinding its offer would cause a worldwide firestorm in the media. Every media reporter and pundit in the business would seek comments and explanations from virtually any official Church representative to comment on and explain why, and under whose direction, the action was taken. Such a bold action would surely dominate cable news, talk shows and Internet blogs for days or weeks.

Should this happen, in the process of endorsing and justifying the decision to rescind the Notre Dame offer, our Catholic Bishops and others affiliated with the Church, would thereby also be given an unprecedented — perhaps a singular opportunity — to explain, defend and promote the Church's long-standing "Culture of Life" doctrine. Importantly, being besieged for interviews, those messages would rapidly become manifest to nearly every American, and everyone around the world tracking the controversy's progress. In essence, if prepared for and handled properly, the entire episode would create the equivalent of a "bully-pulpit" from which to "preach" about the Church's Culture of Life and proclaim its benefits to all mankind. It could literally be an opportunity to Evangelize on a scale never before possible in the history of Christianity.

To capitalize on and accomplish the maximum pro-life advantage of such an opportunity the Catholic Church must be prepared to speak with "one voice" of our respect for human life; otherwise, it would project confusion and uncertainty on this most basic of issues. To do this, the Church must be able to unequivocally cite a resounding endorsement of the rescinding action from as many American Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, priests and pro-life Catholic and religious lay people as possible. The USCCB must also publish an unambiguous and easy-to-understand statement establishing the moral probity of preventing Obama from speaking at Notre Dame, and ideally produce a similar official affirmation from the Pope as well.

Unfortunately, as of April 29, only 50 Catholic bishops in the U.S. have publicly castigated the University of Notre Dame for extending its offer to Obama. With 197 Dioceses in the United States and perhaps 430 or so Bishops total, there are still many in the hierarchy to hear from.

While it may not be possible for all Bishops to issue personal statements, they should all be able to take the time to log in at the Cardinal Newman Society's, Project Sycamore's or other websites — perhaps set up specifically for use by the hierarchy — and sign petitions to rescind Obama's invitation. Similarly, the evangelization and pro-life impact of rescinding Obama's invitation would be enormously enhanced if the majority of some 40,000 US priests were also to take the time to sign one of the petitions. Lastly, if we really want to capitalize on this extraordinary life-saving and evangelization opportunity, the Church should mount a full court press to get as many of the 19.8 million Catholics who voted in the 2008 Election to also sign the petition.

Lessons learned from the 2008 Election and Notre Dame's "Invitation" Experiences

In short, if we want to accomplish the greatest good from this opportunity, we must avoid the mistakes made during the 2008 Election Campaign. In that Election, of the 19.8 million Catholics who voted, the majority, that is 11.1 million or 56% of them cast their vote for Obama, who, as noted, by virtue of being elected President has become the most well-known, and now the most powerful, radically pro-Abortion person in the world. The answer as to why that happened when before the Election Obama himself had already made known his pro-Abortion stance can be conveyed in two main parts.

First of all, prior to the Election, among 433 U.S. Bishops only 150 spoke up and explicitly declared the moral imperative of "not voting for candidates supporting or promoting the Culture of Death whenever alternative life-affirming candidates are available." Because of this, the most probable reason why the majority of voters, especially Catholic voters, supported Obama may very well be laid at the feet of the majority of Bishops, who by remaining silent about the immorality of voting for a pro-Abortion, pro-Infanticide, and pro-Black Genocide candidate, led many voters to wrongly conclude that "such practices could not truly be evil, because if they were, surely most Bishops would not have remained silent."

A simple numerical example indicates what the results of the 2008 Election might have been had the Bishops been able to convince more of their laity of the moral repugnance of voting for a candidate supporting Infanticide and Abortion. Among 88 million Americans who voted in 2008, about one in four were Catholic. Understanding McCain lost by 8.5 million votes, if roughly 4.3 million more Catholics had voted for McCain, meaning 4.3 million fewer votes for Obama — then Obama would have lost the popular vote.

In that case, instead of 44 percent of Catholics voting pro-life for McCain, 66 percent would have voted for him, and while it is the Electoral College that determines the ultimate winner — certainly had the Bishops been more successful inculcating the Catholic Church's culture of life doctrine within the hearts of just its own lay-members, a McCain win was a doable feat.

This lesson applies now. If the majority of Catholics are not incensed by Notre Dame's Obama decision, then the reason they are not may also be laid at the feet of the majority of Bishops, who by remaining silent with regard to this scandal, lead many voters to wrongly conclude that "knowingly taking a voluntary action that directly inflicts death and other human tragedies on innocent victims could not truly be evil, because if it were, surely most Bishops would not remain silent."

The second part of the reason why the majority of Catholic voters cast their vote for Obama has to do with the 36-page "Faithful Citizenship" brochure published by the USCCB — a document with the stated purpose "to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God's truth." While Paragraph seven (7) declares that "the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience," it goes on to say that "we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote" — and that was the rub.

Since the prime, and for many, the only way in which the vast majority of laypeople make choices in political life is by deciding which specific candidates they should vote for, how then can the stated purpose of Faithful Citizenship "to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God's truth" be reconciled with the also stated declaration that "we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote" — even when it is known that voting for certain individuals will perpetuate and even increase the slaughter of innocents?

Faithful Citizenship may be an excellent "outline" of conscience-forming principles, but it is so nuanced that expecting laity to use it to make a judgment about a specific election or candidate is equivalent to asking someone to construct an automobile from nothing but an artist's sketch. Beyond not being effective or adequate as a guide for making moral decisions, the document actually aided Obama in his inexorable Culture of Death pursuits.

For example, in his article "Will 'Faithful Citizenship' Win the Catholic Vote for Obama?", Deal Hudson observes, "As I have watched the campaign unfold, especially Obama's outreach to Catholic voters, the USCCB document has played a decisive role. "Faithful Citizenship" provided Obama's Catholic supporters the escape clauses needed to convince Catholics they could vote for a pro-abortion candidate in "good conscience."

Hudson continues, "Many bishops have spoken out forcefully that the document was being abused. Bishop Robert Vasa, for example, pointed out that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is never justified when the opponent is pro-life. Similarly, Bishops Kevin Vann and Kevin Farrell insisted there are no "'truly grave moral' or 'proportionate' reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year."

Faithful Citizenship turned out to be so valuable a tool in misleading Catholics that the entire document was placed on several of Obama's web sites. Why? Because pro-Abortion Obama supporters saw that the message most readers would likely glean from Faithful Citizenship was that "Catholic voters can ignore Obama's pro-abortion record because of mitigating factors" — a message that we can only hope was neither anticipated or intended by USCCB Bishops.

One valuable lesson to be learned from Faithful Citizenship is that when producing a statement or a booklet, the Hierarchy must not tend just to doctrinal veracity, but must anticipate and take into account extant political and anti-Christian forces that can, and often do, completely thwart the best efforts of the Church to instill Christian principles into the fabric of American society. Of course this is much more likely when instead of unmistakable clarity, Church proclamations are shrouded in complex language that can be interpreted in many and often contradictory ways.

The occasion of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama is an example of the terrible consequences that can result when various official representatives of the Catholic Church utter statements and take actions that have grave Culture of Life, moral implications but which are, or can be, interpreted in contradictory ways by the laity, by the public, and by both Culture of Life and Culture of Death advocates in the media.

The following paragraph from Project Sycamore's petition to rescind the invitation extended to Obama illustrates how the ambiguous message Notre Dame's action delivers can be, and is used to advance Obama's Culture of Death objectives. Here is what it says.

"Notre Dame is the nation's leading Catholic institution. Its action will be publicized widely by enemies of the Church and by pro-abortion advocates as a sign that the pro-life position is too 'inflexible.' Notre Dame will be praised by condescending secularists and anti-life advocates for its display of 'tolerance.' But to those who honor steadfast commitment to principle and respect for the lives of the unborn, the University's action will be seen as the sacrifice of fundamental moral values in an opportunistic grasp for secular acclaim and, perhaps, federal favor."

Among the spectrum of lessons learned from the Election 2008 and Notre Dame Obama invitation experiences (debacles?) one stands out as truly supremely preeminent. That is in matters of Faith and Morals, in matters of life or death of innocent victims, in matters that result in or prevent lifetimes of human suffering and agony, it is simply unacceptable for Bishops to simply remain silent. As noted, silence by the Bishops is often is taken to mean approval.

Perhaps next in importance, it is crucial for the USCCB to issue (not avoid) written statements treating all these matters, taking every precaution to use plain, unambiguous language by applying its teachings to specific examples (and specific people) in a way that minimizes the possibility of readers interpreting the same set of words in diametrically opposed moral senses — an outcome that as shown above projects confusion and uncertainty on the most basic of issues.

A final word to the Pelosi-ites, Biden-ites, and other Troglodytes

Clearly not all Americans agree that Abortion is a grave moral transgression. However, even among those who generally approve of abortion, there are many who nonetheless find Infanticide and Black or any other form of Genocide, if not morally abhorrent, completely unacceptable in civilized societies.

Because it is only when or after Abortion is practiced that the instances of Infanticide and Black Genocide thus far treated can occur, it is profitable to review on what basis our Government and political leaders justify their support for at least some forms of Abortion. For example, Madam Pelosi, who still regards herself as a good Catholic, relies on her contention that because we cannot specify exactly when a baby in a womb becomes a person, (or as Catholics and Christians put it — when God infuses a soul into human life), Abortion, that is stopping the beating human heart still within a womb, is an amoral act.

One wonders if there was complete agreement that a baby in a womb became a person in the 23rd week of a pregnancy, and Madam Pelosi agreed with that contention, would she be willing to say that Abortions beyond 23 weeks would be murder? This question and the issue of when a baby becomes viable is at the heart of the debate discussed in the aforementioned London Standard article that arose because too many babies aborted after 23 weeks were surviving. One further wonders whether Madam Pelosi thinks there might be a moral consideration involved when being unable to determine exactly when a baby becomes a person, one willing to take the risk of being wrong and aborting anyhow? And what about the moral responsibility if one is wrong?

Clearly this uncertainty and line of thinking has produced the need to perform what is now referred to as "partial birth" Abortions, a hideous practice of stabbing or crushing the head of a baby "half-in and half-out" of the birth canal during parturition. Anyone who believes stabbing and crushing the head of a live baby just moments after its birth is murder, but that it is not murder to do that while still half-in the birth canal, must therefore also believe that the human life half in the canal is not a person — that "personhood" takes place instantaneously in the moment that human life is expelled from the canal.

This line of logic or reasoning seems too preposterous to even be taken seriously. Yet, what other reason could possibly be given to support adding such a complex step to an Abortion procedure? Nevertheless there are those in leadership positions who continue to support Abortion without ever revealing how they feel about some of its most gruesome consequences. And there are those like Obama and others who in supporting FOCA, want Abortion without restrictions of any kind to be an absolute right.

While those who hold such radical positions on Abortion are probably beyond the reaches of rationale debate, others may be receptive to at least some questions. For those who currently see no moral problem with Abortion, without resorting to high-minded theological arguments I often simply ask them, "If Einstein's mother Pauline had chosen to abort him, would you deem that a moral implication might have been involved?" Or — regardless of one's religious belief in Christianity — would there have been a moral implication had Mary the mother of Jesus had Him aborted? Or better still, "Do you see a moral issue involved had your mother chosen to abort you?"

Relative to the last interrogative is reminiscent of what President Reagan once said about Abortion, "I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."

A final petition to Father Jenkins

I would like to add my prayers to God to those of throngs of others that before it is too late you rescind your invitation to Obama to be the principal speaker and recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University's 164th Commencement Ceremony.

From what is written above, I and many others fail to see how any material benefit to Notre Dame's reputation for academic freedom, or from performing what you apparently understand to be a duty to honor our Nation's leaders, or any benefit that your graduating seniors might derive from hearing words directly from Obama, or any of the other reasons that might be thought of for honoring Obama, can possibly justify or ameliorate the loss of just one life that is sure to occur if Obama's quest for unrestricted abortion is aided by even the appearance that somehow Notre Dame approves of and condones his Culture of Death ambitions.

Do you really think that covering up "IHS" for an Obama appearance aided Georgetown's manifestation as a campus that heralds and celebrates academic freedom and freedom of expression? When and if Obama goes to Notre Dame, are the statues of our Blessed Mother going to be wrapped in black plastic bags?

And as for the support you received from the Faculty Senate and the "egg-head" professors in AAUP, to most they appear to be acting like shady Philadelphia lawyers who see no moral transgression in attempting to get a client known to be guilty set free on the basis of finding loop-holes in imperfect Laws. No need for such actions to be morally upright, just legal.

To ignore or conclude that there is no probability that an Obama Notre Dame appearance will advance his pro-death policies and actions, or to deny that millions of consciences may be corrupted from the appearance that Notre Dame supports those pro-death policies and actions, is surely a head-in-the sand tactic that cannot stand any form of enlightened scrutiny.

The same assessment goes for those who have admonished you for extending the invitation, but advise that once given, it should not be rescinded. If precious human lives and unimaginable suffering is at stake, I'd like to hear them explain exactly how that advice could possibly be correct.

On the other hand, canceling the invitation affords a monumental opportunity to reduce, rather than increase the number of lives lost and suffering caused by Abortion and to make progress eliminating the judicial basis for considering a women's choice to terminate human life in their wombs as an inalienable right. By increasing the odds that this will happen, canceling will deliver a strong message to millions of Catholics, and others, who might otherwise develop ill-formed consciences that permit or even encourage them to support pro-death candidates and officials in the future.

While by extending your invitation to Obama, you may have unknowingly taken an action that can do mortal damage, if I remember my Catechism lessons properly, it is not enough to simply be sorry for endangering or harming others, we must whenever possible make reparation. In this case the perfect reparation is simply canceling the invitation.

More than compensating for actual or possible damage, I truly believe that if you rescind the invitation, that this action will pave the way for an opportunity for the Catholic Church to evangelize on a scale never before possible, to correct the errors in the way some Catholics view their need to oppose Abortion, and to deliver a spiritual Culture of Life Christian message to all Americans.

It seems clear to me that if you rescind the invitation to Obama, Mary Ann Glendon would again gladly accept Notre Dame's Lactare Medal and with joy show up to deliver her acceptance speech on Graduation Day. It also seems clear that you will have no problem in replacing Obama with another distinguished speaker. If necessary, you could even deliver the principal graduation speech yourself. I am confident that all in attendance would bring down the rafters with applause to be honored to hear the words of a such a righteous man who dared to do the right thing under the most trying of circumstances.

May I profusely thank you and petition God to bless you should you take this bold step! It could be the finest example in history of why it is a man's actions, more than his words, are ultimately the most effective way to teach.

© Joseph Pecar

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Joseph Pecar

In 1983, following fifteen years of employment, Joseph Pecar left IBM as a Senior Engineer/Manager to found his own company... (more)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Joseph Pecar: Click here

Latest articles