May 21, 2009

It was supposed to be about Jenky

My last blog post wasn't supposed to be about Obama or Notre Dame as much as it was supposed to be about the silence of the Bishop of Peoria. However, it seems pretty clear that I missed that target.

One commenter made some good points on my past post, but the one I want to address is about George W. Bush, who was also honored by Notre Dame in 2001. I agree with Bill's statement, "this has not been the first and will not be the last person they invite to speak who is both simultaneously "for" and "against" life."

To majorly oversimplify, Obama is much more pro-life than Bush in areas of social justice and torture, ie waterboarding. Bush, on the other hand, is against abortion. Obama, as reported by the Washington Post "strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion."

To be honest, I don't remember if anyone was upset that Bush was honored by ND. I think some eyebrows should have been raised and that we should have been upset. There are plenty of people who are in complete agreement with the Church's teachings and ND could have honored them. But should we have been as upset about Bush as we are about Obama? I don't think so; when it comes to whose policies are de-humanizing and killing more people (innocent or guilty), Obama wins.

Here's a good article about comparing abortion and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't address all the horrible things Bush let happen, but I think it makes a good point.


  1. Hi Bonnie:
    Thanks for clarifying your previous post, and I probably jumped the gun a bit in my comment.

    Although I do take issue with a variety of the points Dr. Longenecker makes in his article, I understand where you are coming from and think you've been treating people who sometimes disagree with you (i.e., me) with respect.

  2. Thanks, Bill. Sometimes it's amazing I can walk because of how often I put my foot in my mouth, so your comment is very appreciated.

  3. I don't think you missed the mark. I was disappointed when I heard the news about Bishop Jenky not making a statement about the controversy. Our Bishop Robert Morlino in Madison was one of the Bishops against Obama being given an honorary degree at Notre Dame. Which by the way isn't this the biggest reason for the upset? If he were to just speak there I don't think there would have been such an uproar.

  4. Bill continues to raise great questions about moral evaluations and comparisons in light of the integrity of the gospel of life.

    In the article Bonnie posted, Fr. Longenecker offers these criteria: "proportionality of both numbers and time", "innocence", and "intention".

    On the other hand, previously Bill has said that "a quantitative argument ... simply does what the pro-life movement is tentatively meant to stop: it creates a hierarchical value system that places more value on some lives and less value on others." This is worth considering seriously. So, where do we go from here?

    In 2004, then-Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of "remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons." Yet, "proportionalism" is condemned by the Church, for example in Pope John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis Splendor. What's the difference, and what difference does it make to us?

    These are only a few of the big questions that confront us. I propose that they require 1) sustained and systematic reflection from us, and 2) a guide for us. Bill and Bonnie and any other interested parties - what would you think about starting an online reading group for the JPII encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life)? It's certainly not a voter's guide pamphlet, but rather, a foundational text where we could study the questions that Bill raises. We're all busy and it would be a big task, but "to whom much is given, much is required." On Sunday, Fr. Jenkins and President Obama invited further dialogue and emphasized the value of listening. So, let's listen to JPII, and hope that he can help us build that culture of life in its full integrity.