By George Neumayr
(Republished with permission from the author and

March 30, 2009 ( – The Catholic Church in America has bred her own destroyers, graduating from doctrinally corrupt catechetical programs, schools and colleges two generations of pro-abortion politicians. Barack Obama, in his effortless Alinskyite style, has exploited this phenomenon to the hilt, seeking out Catholics such as Joe Biden and Kathleen Sebelius to serve as his agents of destruction.

The controversy this week at Notre Dame is one more snapshot of this self-implosion. Here we have the American bishops’ most prominent university planning to confer an honorary degree upon Obama even as he accelerates the destruction of its moral teachings.

Were Saul Alinsky alive today, he would have to smile at the ease of it all. Obama can not only thwart the Church at every crucial turn and still retain the Catholic vote; he can even expect over the next few years prizes and pats on the back from Catholic colleges for doing so.

Jesuit Georgetown University is no doubt itching to honor him too; its professors ranked seventh among all university faculties in donations to Obama during the campaign, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Jesuit magazine America and Jesuit Thomas Reese rushed to Notre Dame’s defense this week.

Perhaps Obama enthusiast/fellow Alinskyite Father Michael Pfleger can travel over from Chicago for ND’s commencement exercises to fill in for the boycotting Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy.

To his credit, D’Arcy, a long and lonely opponent of Notre Dame’s secularization, wants no part in the sham, correctly noting that the school is once again panting after “prestige” at the expense of “truth.” Four decades of surrendering to secularist culture and championing progressive politics at Notre Dame have culminated in an honorary degree to the most pro-abortion president ever.

Responding to this criticism, its president, Father John Jenkins, has had to dust off the “dialogue” defense from the recent Vagina Monologues controversy on campus to justify his decision.

Out rolled from the president’s office the familiar cart of clichés. “You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them…show respect for them and listen to them,” Jenkins was quoted as saying.

What’s the logic here? To dialogue with a public figure a school has to confer an honorary degree upon him? This makes no sense, but it is the kind of head-faking non sequitur that appeals to Jenkins.

Just as he twisted the Vagina Monologues controversy into a beside-the-point discussion about the value of free speech, so he is casting this recent one as some sort of test of Notre Dame’s commitment to “positive engagement.”

The White House, sensing the drift of this script, joined in the charade, saying in response to the controversy that it welcomes the “spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues.”

Which makes one wonder: When exactly will the debate take place? Before, during or after the commencement exercises? Will it proceed like Jenkins’ “creative contexualization” panel discussions about the Vagina Monologues? Or is Obama’s interest in “healthy disagreement” about as plausible as Jenkins’ notion of “positive engagement”?

Notice also that for additional PR protection Jenkins is playing the race card. “It is of special significance that we will hear from our first African-American president, a person who has spoken eloquently and movingly about race in this nation. Racial prejudice has been a deep wound in America, and Mr. Obama has been a healer,” he was quoted saying this week.

Again, how is this relevant to honorary-degree-conferring from a Catholic university? Does opposing racial injustice absolve supporting other injustices?

Imagine a reverse scenario, say a politician who supported the Church’s moral teachings down the line but had some racist blot in his past. Would Jenkins honor him? No, he woudn’t dare. But somehow Obama’s formal cooperation in the injustice of destroying innocent lives just isn’t so bad.

George Neumayr is editor of Catholic World Report and press critic for California Political Review.
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