Inconsistency and Unending Irony

I do not want to wade into the who-gets-to-be-honored-by-a-Catholic-university debate, but I do wish to focus on the oh-so-typical inconsistency, and a little piece of perhaps unintentional irony. For I doubt that many of those who are huffing and puffing about Obama’s visit to Notre Dame were doing the same when Reagan, Big Bush, and Little Bush (all who had their own contribution — in one form or another — to the culture of death) received similar honors. Would these guys have shown this cartoon had the issue been Bush and dead Iraqis? I realize of course that many Catholics who protest this decision are indeed consistent on the issue, and some did indeed protest Bush’s reception by Notre Dame. This consistency deserves credit, but it unfortunately does not extend to many of the noisiest Catholic bloggers.

Now for some irony: apparently the National Review has taken it upon itself to host a symposium called “A Moral Exemplar?” whereby various Catholics debate the merits of Obama and Notre Dame. It turns out of course that all contributors have the same opinion. It starts with George Weigel, the man who believes the Republicans lost because Bush did not do a good enough job explaining how important his war was — yes, folks, that would be the same Iraq war that two popes and the universal Church (outside a small group of American neocon Catholics) deemed unjust and immoral. But it’s not all bad — Rick Garnett is there, and he always has interesting things to say. My point is this: why is this outfit hosting what amounts to an intra-Catholic debate? National Review is by no means a Catholic journal. Indeed, it takes positions that directly contradict Church teaching, going so far as offer a vigorous defense of torture, something we know as intrinsically evil. Are not Catholics who use this venue for such a symposium not guilty of the same kind of scandal that they accuse Notre Dame of bringing upon itself by associating with Obama?

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  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    And, by this logic, could not the same be said of any Catholic bishops who write Op-eds for the New York Times?

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    That is precisely the point…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    Perhaps, but simply writing an op-ed or an article is one thing, hosting a symposium is another altogether. I would expect the latter debate in Commonweal or First Things, but not the NYT or the National Review.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    My point is that this is a pretty bad analogy. A university inviting a politician to speak at commencement, and conferring an honorary degree is an entirely different thing than publishing a piece in a journal or newspaper. The former implies an endorsement of views that the latter simply does not. I don’t find it scandalous at all that Catholics publish in periodicals that disagree with the Church; I’ve never met anyone who has. But plenty of people are offended by Notre Dame’s conferral of an honorary doctorate of law on a politician who is a radically pro-choice.

  • http://southernappeal.org Feddie

    MM-

    I think there are reasonable/persuasive arguments that the Iraq was unjust under the Church’s teaching, primarily that two Popes believe that to be the case. That having been said, I do question your assertion that the “universal Church” issued such a declaration. I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of the Church opposed the Iraq War, but I do question whether one can say that the Church, speaking with one voice, did.

    Am I off the mark here?

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    Perhaps, but simply writing an op-ed or an article is one thing, hosting a symposium is another altogether. I would expect the latter debate in Commonweal or First Things, but not the NYT or the National Review.

    Ah, so the NYT or Newsweek can run one article by Catholics; but if they solicit an opinion by twelve Catholics, it’s a scandal. Frankly, MM, I don’t find this very convincing. I don’t think it was scandalous that Kmiec, Weigel, etc. engaged in a lengthy back and forth about Catholic matters in Newsweek last year either. And, by your definition of scandal, one could argue that Catholics shouldn’t appear in the National Catholic Reporter (for instance, because of their ongoing vocal criticism of the Church’s position on contraception). Where you see unending irony, I see apples and oranges.

  • http://regularthoughts.blogspot.com Paul, Just This Guy, You Know?

    For I doubt that many of those who are huffing and puffing about Obama’s visit to Notre Dame were doing the same when Reagan, Big Bush, and Little Bush…

    Right, they all shared Obama’s views on infanticide, and had as their greatest regret their own failures to encourage faster euthanasia.

    Your partisan equivalence is off-base, and wearying in the extreme.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    I care less about consistency than correctness.

    If I boff the secretary, must I also boff the babysitter so as to ensure consistency? And if someone had criticized me for doing so, would their failure to have criticized me for boffing the secretary be a devastating argument for my righteousness?

    Let’s presume that UND was incorrect to invite Reagan and both Bushes.

    Must UND persist in its error and also invite Obama? Or is it posssible for the institution to grow and repent and do better than it did before? Ans wouldn’t this be something to celebrate rather than whine about consistency.

    This is thread of commentary is very, very tired, and given this blog’s chater, I expected better from it than these Kinsleyesque consistency gotcha games.

    Let’s pursue truth, rather than consistency with perhaps incorrect decisions that were made many years ago.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom

    Suppose some quorum of commenters here grant that many of the noisiest Catholic bloggers are inconsistent.

    Then what?

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    I am rather busy, and won’t be able to comment much here (or other posts) for the rest of the week, but I think people need to understand the point. If the Obama invite was invalid, then other, similar actions, giving honor to papers/places/things with similar, questionable morality would also be invalid. He is pointing out how ironic it is that one must do that which they complain about — not that he thinks the Obama invite is invalid, or writing for NR and giving it the honor of presence for an intra-Catholic discussion is invalid. He is just pointing out that by their own reasoning, they condemn themselves; but of course, he doesn’t think their reasoning is valid and is trying to show how most people, in ordinary circumstances, don’t make the connection of “engagement means honor.”

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    Or, to put it more clearly: by priting out the dialogue and discussion as they do, they are helping National Review to make money, and to profit over the debate itself. Interesting, no?

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    Hk,

    Do you really think that what this culture needs at this point in history is more discrediting of pro-life advocates for their lack of consistency?

    Or might we have bigger fish to fry than George Weigel?

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom

    Do most people, in ordinary circumstances, make the connection of “honorary degree means honor”?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    It’s not apples and oranges, it’s fuji apples and gala apples. There is a key difference you are missing. If the NYT or Newsweek does an article on an internal Catholic debate, they do so because they think it is newsworthy. They certainly don’t hold the Catholic positions and don’t treat them with much respect (ask Peter Steinfels). On the other hand, the tone of this NR symposium is different, from the title onwards. They are using the cover of the Catholic church for their own ends, all the while embracing intrinsically evil positions.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    don’t make the connection of engagement means honor.

    Exactly the point. Engagement doesn’t mean honor. Conferring an honorary degree is an honor, as is giving a commencement address. And that’s why I think MM’s analogy is very poor.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    He is just pointing out that by their own reasoning, they condemn themselves.

    Exactly! Much as those who are so loud about applying canon 915 to abortion-supporting politicians do not seem to realize the implications of their argument. Since we are talking about the NR, I’ve argued before that (by this logic) Catholics like Kathyrn Lopez should be denied communion for her manifest public support for torture (it doesn’t get plainer than that).

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    If the NYT or Newsweek does an article on an internal Catholic debate, they do so because they think it is newsworthy.

    Newsweek hosted the debates I was referring to with Kmiec, Weigel, etc. They did not write an article about it; they hosted it. Just as NR hosted this ‘symposium’. But everyone understands that publishing an article or debate in a publication does not mean you agree with the editors of the publication. It is very different than conferring an honorary degree or inviting them to speak at commencement.

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    John Henry

    Confirming the mantle of expert is also the kind of honor a journal can give, so they are “giving an honor” too.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    HK – Uh, right. But in that case the journal is conferring an honor on the Catholic, rather than the Catholic on the journal.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    HK,

    You are grasping at straws, and I think you know it.

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    John Henry

    I think everyone who works with a university realizes that if a person is asked to give a commencement speech, that does not mean the university is univocally supporting all the person stands for or believes. No one I know, off the net, believes Notre Dame is saying “abortion is ok” by this. They think Notre Dame is saying, “The President of the United States, as an office, deserves respect, no matter the person in it, and the office deserves honor.” It’s because Obama holds the office he is being asked.

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    John Henry

    The point is we can all grasp at straws and find “honors” given when we want. The whole “they are honoring abortion via Obama” is grasping at straws. That’s the point. They are honoring the office of President. Even St Paul said that we should honor our leaders, and that during the time of Nero.

  • S.B.

    Even St Paul said that we should honor our leaders, and that during the time of Nero.

    Did you guys ever mention that Scripture when Bush was President?

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    They think Notre Dame is saying, “The President of the United States, as an office, deserves respect, no matter the person in it, and the office deserves honor.”

    I think a more interesting debate than the one about how inconsistent those nasty pro-lifers are is whether this is something that UND should be in the business of doing.

  • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

    JohnMcG

    Wait one minute. Stop.

    The discussion here is ALL from pro-lifers, as far as I can tell. MM and I are pro-life. It is not against pro-lifers; don’t confuse a portion of the movement as all pro-lifers. More importantly, if pro-lifers cannot be consistent in their ethic of life, than it becomes suspect whether or not their position is for political rather than ethical reasons. Pro-lifers, as a movement, will be ignored as long as people try a Stalin-esque silencing of criticism of anti-life proclamations by those who are claimed to be its spokesmen/women.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    HK,

    They are honoring the office of President. Even St Paul said that we should honor our leaders, and that during the time of Nero.

    Sometimes I think you have an ‘inapposite analogy generator’ application on your desktop. Whatever St. Paul’s commendation to ‘honor’ our leaders meant, I’m fairly confident it didn’t mean we should lavishly bestow honorary degrees on them. While I think Notre Dame can invite Obama, and can bestow honorary degrees on him, acting in conformity with the bishop’s statements, I’m disappointed that they did given his statements (we’re freeing science from religion!) and actions over the past several months.

    • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

      John Henry

      The point is some people think we are not to honor him anymore, just because he is wrong (very wrong) in some things. It’s not inappropriate, it is to point out that we can and should still honor the office. Even Bush, as President. Which is why I said before, I saw no wrong in giving him the same kind of honors, because of his office! So, while St Paul didn’t think of the university system itself, nonetheless, people saying “don’t honor him” seem to contradict Paul. One could question it, of course, but the kind of questioning should not be “Notre Dame just lost its Catholicity” since nothing in such an action is such.

      Well, lunch is over. Time to get to work.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    don’t confuse a portion of the movement as all pro-lifers.

    If a pro-choice person or someone on the fence were to stumble upon this post, or Forrest’s down the blog, do you think they would see it as a targetted criticism at a segment of the pro-life movement, or would they incorporate it into their narrative of pro-lifers being sanctimonious hypocrites who don’t care about people once they’re born?

    They would be exposed to this inconsistency argument, but no engagement with Rick Garnett’s commentary, which both MM and Forrest acknowledge has merit.

    One retort is that the response should be to stop providing material that supports this conclusion, and I agree. But I would also expect writers that wish to be pro-life to highlight the best of the pro-life movement (which does exist) rather than the worst.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    Well, lunch is over. Time to get to work.

    On that, at least, we can agree.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    HK,

    That may be a valid point.

    And I think a straightforward argument that it is appropriate for UND to honor the office of president would have been better received than this, “Many of those who are upset about the invitation are inconsistent.” gotcha argument.

    I don’t think I would agree with that, but I think it would be a more productive conversation than about what a hypocrite George Weigel is.

  • David Nickol

    Isn’t it an important principle in a country with a democratic government that even people who have major disagreements don’t write each other off? If inviting a president to Notre Dame, or even giving him an honorary degree, constitutes an endorsement, then Notre Dame shouldn’t invite any politician — local, state, or federal.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    If inviting a president to Notre Dame, or even giving him an honorary degree, constitutes an endorsement, then Notre Dame shouldn’t invite any politician — local, state, or federal.

    I’m not sure that’s necessary. It seems like it would be possible to draw a line that would, for example, include Gandhi but exclude Pol Pot.

    There are good politicians who have pursued a consistent ethic of life. I don’t know that we need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Blackadder

    The analogy between Notre Dame having Obama speak at commencement and Catholics having their views on the subject published at National Review strikes me as being remarkably weak. Then again, most charges of inconsistency and/or hypocrisy strike me as being rather weak. When people charge each other with being inconsistent, they typically only show that two views are inconsistent on a given set of assumptions. This is fine, but what if the person being criticized doesn’t share those assumptions? To show inconsistency, one would have to establish that there is no set of assumptions under which the two views are compatible, a tall order indeed. Most charges of inconsistency and hypocrisy, then, only serve to camouflage more substantive disagreements.

  • Kurt

    The discussion here is ALL from pro-lifers, as far as I can tell. … don’t confuse a portion of the movement as all pro-lifers. More importantly, if pro-lifers cannot be consistent in their ethic of life, than it becomes suspect whether or not their position is for political rather than ethical reasons.

    Henry is right when he writes “The whole ‘they are honoring abortion via Obama’ is grasping at straws.”

    He is incorrect when he says we are all pro-lifers. I am not. And I am not because the “portion of the movement” he fears can be confused with the whole movement is in firm control of the whole movement. I am not pro-life because while I agree that the President’s policy on the legal status of abortion is wrong, I don’t believe the President is an evil man. And I have no intention of being part of a movement that holds that doctrine even if there are a few ineffective dissenters like Henry within the movement.

    With all of the troubles the country has, the President still has amazingly high approval ratings, around 3:1. Among Catholics he does even better. Among those who disapprove, most still don’t call him evil and not all of them disapprove on the abortion issue.

    John, Feddie and Paul are of tremendous help by keeping the point of social cleavage with the question “Is the President evil? Is he dishonorable?” With that, President wins, chasing 85% of the public on his side of the question. And they win, by having a narrow pro-life movement that therefore allows extremists likes themselves to be in control.

    The best advice I can give to Henry is to face reality that a sensible and effective pro-life movement is a pipe dream. Either quit or accept the extremism of the controlling forces. There are no other real options.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholicblogspot.com jh

    “and the universal Church (outside a small group of American neocon Catholics) deemed unjust and immoral.”

    Uhh when did that happen.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    Kurt,

    Has there ever been a movement in history that did not include extresists who were prone to wild statements?

    And if the problem is that they are the ones calling the shots in the pro-life movement, or are the loudest voices, etc., then don’t posts like this one, where more moderate voices call out the extremists and all but ignore more measured criticism continue this cycle?

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    Kurt,

    John, Feddie and Paul are of tremendous help by keeping the point of social cleavage with the question “Is the President evil? Is he dishonorable?”

    I would appreciate it if you did not put words in my mouth. Nowhere have I said that Obama is evil; what I’ve said is that I would prefer that a Catholic university which disagrees with him on an issue of serious legal significance not confer on him an honorary doctorate of law.

  • Kurt

    JohnMcG,

    You are right the issue is not that the movement includes extremists but that it is dominated and controlled by them. As for the cycle, it is not reformable. To compare it to a field, it needs to lay barren for a season before it can be planted with anything fruitful. As for what to do in the down season, the President’s call for non-criminal means of reducing the rate of abortion increasingly looks like the best use of time and energy.

    John Henry,

    I think I meant John McG. Sorry.

  • awakaman

    Notre Dame Professor Ralph McInerney writes

    By inviting Barack Obama as commencement speaker, Notre Dame is telling the nation that the teaching of the Catholic church on this fundamental matter can be ignored. Lip service may be paid to the teaching on abortion, but it is no impediment to upward mobility, to the truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society, whether on the part of individuals or institutions.

    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/content/view/1346/2/

    Since the end of WWII the objective of Catholics and Catholic leadership in America has not been to influence America with Catholic ideals but to become accepted as Americans. It has also included making sure that their hat is not left empty when the federal government is handing out its largess. This has included paying homage to the current batch of secular potentates no matter who they are or what viewpoints they represent and a willingness to compromise ideals in the name of “dialogue”.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    @Kurt,

    Is there any historical precedent for your proposed strategy of starving the current movement that is controlled by extremists so that a more moderate one can come in its place?

  • David Nickol

    Notre Dame Professor Ralph McInerney writes . . .

    Is Professor McInerney going to resign? Is he under any moral obligation to do so?

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    As to the National Review and Catholics thank God for them. At least they are defending Catholic Supreme Court Justices at the moment from Know Nothing anti Catholic attacks in the mainstream press

    http://opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com/2009/03/anti-catholic-attack-by-cbs-on-justice.html

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    Let me point out the BUSH was honored in 2001 by Notre Dame

    Therefore issues such as Iraq are not even at play as to that event

  • Kurt

    It seems Professor McInerey is supporting abortion by support a university that supports a President that supports abortion. Another effective pro-choicer on a Catholic faculty. Someone call the Cardinal Newman Society.

    JohnMcG,

    I’m not proposing a strategy (if you are looking for examples of that, I would recommended the UE/IUE split).

    I’m doing on my own what hundreds of thousands of Americans already have done — walking away from the pro-life movement because I cannot accept the demands the movement requires of its adherents and because I believe it to be on balance a negative (maybe even dangerous) social force. It’s not my vocation to reform its stinking, rotting carcass. If someone else wants to try, go ahead but I think their chances of quick success are slim.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    Kurt,

    The “stinking, rotting carcass” is the only entity standing up for a group that is currently subject to arbitrary killing and cannot speak for themselves.

    If one believes that abortion is an injustice against the unborn, then to abandon the fight against it because some of them do things like protest when a Catholic university gives an honorary degree to a president who has ushered in expansions of the abortion license, then that strikes me as very immature indeed.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    Two more examples of hypocrisy at play:

    * The National Right to Life Commitee called the invite to Obama “an affront to all who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life.” This is the very same group that invited a person to give a keynote address who was intimately involved in a scheme to defend those involved in forced abortion and forced prostitution. I speak of Karl Rove and his role in backstopping Jack Abramoff’s clients in the Northern Mariana islands.

    * Newt Gingrich has jumped on the bandwagon, suddenly defending Catholicism. Setting aside the many issues in his personal life (ahem!), this is also a man who supports torture and war.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    As to the National Review and Catholics thank God for them

    Really? We should thank God for a group that public supports and promotes the evil of torture? I think not.

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    YAY! MM has found more hypocrisy!

    That’s a good thing, because I know that I was just short of writing the Holy Father to nominate Newt Gingrich for prehumous canonization. Good think MM pointed out his hypocrisy! Saved me a huge embarassment. I had not idea that some politicians were hypocrites.

    Yes, MM, not everyone objecting to this has a strong and consistent record on life issues. Conceded.

    As Tom said, now what?

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    Wow, MM. You really have a smoking gun now! Btw, Gingrich has recently said he plans on becoming Catholic. If you want to comment on his previous behavior that’s fine, but it’s considered common courtesy not to mock people converting to Catholicism for their past indiscretions. Of course, when the hypocrisy police are out in force, no one is safe.

  • ari

    Some dedicate themselves to the saving of innocent life whilst others dedicate themselves to the taking thereof.

    What’s worse is the fact that there are those who have emerged, who themselves have come to adopt the rather sad (and notably horrendous) opinion that the saving of innocent life is not worth it. at all.

    Better that these be killed on the altar of the State than to seek to change the manner of unjust laws which no real Christian would surrender their souls thereunto.

    Of course, we should account for the fact that there are those who actually worship the Christian God while, on the other hand, those who would simply pay homage to pagan ones, including Moloch.

    At any rate, let the man Kurt have his “Wales” and let the outright selling of his soul be.

    Thank Jesu that there remains Catholics as John McG who have it right: that the fight opposing the injustice against the unborn (the very innocent who Our Lord Himself had declared precious in the Gospels, opposing any harm that would come to such as these) must be continued no matter the difficulties.

    At any rate, I suppose these are the very things that determine who actually follows Our Lord to the end as opposed to those who would outright betray Him.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    Yes, MM, not everyone objecting to this has a strong and consistent record on life issues. Conceded.

    Fine, then people in this position should not be pointing out that others need to set higher standards in this area.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    M.M the views over at National Review are a tad more diverse than you think.

    I don’t always agree with NRO. Goodness I rant against the most vocal Catholic voice Mrs Lopez so much that she knows I am not a huge fan.

    Still it is a place where Catholic issues are discussed. I think it is good that Archbishop Chaput had a forum there for instance

    How The national Review seems to have always been plugged in the influential Catholic D.C. circle I do not know. But I welcome the forum and the fact that issues are analyzed and debated back and forth at many places

    I am not sure why Commonweal and American should have a monopoly on the discussion

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    John Henry,

    Well, there are past indiscretions and then there is abandoning your wife in hospital with cancer for a mistress — but we are a Church of sinners and that’s what confession is for, so fine. I am more concerned with somebody becoming a Catholic who does not appreciate that torture is non-negotiable and that war must only be the absolute last resort. Too many of these recent converts bring their political baggage with them. Then again, the Weigels of the world make it too easy for them.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    JH: NR has supported torture in its editorial position, and Lopez has done so on her own. Sorry, but that’s non-negotiable. It is no more Catholic than the New Republic is Catholic. And Commonweal and America do not have a monopoly, I believe organs like First Things and Inside Catholic are doing just fine. These are all Catholic journals who differ on some issues. As far as I know, none of them supports something that is non-negotiable. That is not the case for NR.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom

    Fine, then people in this position should not be pointing out that others need to set higher standards in this area.

    Granted.

    Now what?

  • http://madprof.home.mindspring.com ron chandonia

    I hate to agree with Morning’s Minion, but I think the National Review “symposium” was profoundly unhelpful to the discussion. I understand that Randall Terry, the Religious Right’s answer to Al Sharpton, has now signed on to the anti-ND campaign as well. Sigh!

    Nonetheless, characterizing the debate as “huffing and puffing” (implication: over nothing that really matters) is also profoundly unhelpful. As an ND grad, I believe the issues are very important; they concern the role of Catholics and Catholicism in American public life today. The local bishop did well in articulating those important issues. Mirror of Justice has also provided thoughtful comments. More discussion of that caliber is warranted.

  • http://dprice.blogspot.com Dale Price

    As Tom said, now what?

    Why, uncover even more hypocrisy, of course!

  • http://forthegreaterglory.blogspot.com/ Michael Denton

    MM:

    Fine, then people in this position should not be pointing out that others need to set higher standards in this area.

    Really? Don’t priests have this responsibility? Or should they say “well, I have problems praying, so I won’t ask you guys to pray?”

    Isn’t one of the main points of the Christian life to push other towards holiness despite our own failings? I agree with you that many people offering criticism have very strong flaws; but that is merely an ad hominem observation that does not detract from the merit of their arguments. The Church’s words in 94 and Benedict’s reception of Pelosi suggest that honor is not to be given to these rapidly pro-abortion and pro-ESCR supporters.

  • Kurt

    Ari and JohnMcG are happy to see the pro-life movement drawn smaller and more pure, free of those who are “immature” or “Welsh” and I’m happy to join the others who have exited, leaving the movement smaller and close to impotent. We all get what we want. YAY!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Blackadder

    Two more examples of hypocrisy at play:

    The National Right to Life Commitee called the invite to Obama “an affront to all who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life.” This is the very same group that invited a person to give a keynote address who was intimately involved in a scheme to defend those involved in forced abortion and forced prostitution. I speak of Karl Rove and his role in backstopping Jack Abramoff’s clients in the Northern Mariana islands.

    Okay, so I guess by that logic someone who objected to Karl Rove appearing at the NRLC but thought Obama appearing at Notre Dame was unobjectionable would also be a hypocrite? Or does it only work one way?

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    Ari and JohnMcG are happy to see the pro-life movement drawn smaller and more pure,

    For my case, just the opposite. Read my posts. I am dismayed that people like you are content to stand on the sidelines and point out the flaws of those who advocate on behalf of the unborn rather than work alongside us. And I am concerned that this will perpetuate a cycle leading to this smaller, purer, and ultimately less effective pro-life movement.

    To be sure, oftentimes the pro-life movement seems more concerned with driving out heretics than winning converts. I don’t think that’s the case here. Nobody is compelled to oppose the Obama invitation. I’m not convinced I should oppose it myself.

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  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    MM,

    I apologize for the tone of my last comment. At the same time, I think the search for hypocrites does little to advance the discussion vis-a-vis Notre Dame and President Obama. Sure, some people are hypocrites in any movement; that doesn’t mean the movement as a whole is discredited or even that the a hypocrite can’t be right on one issue while being wrong on another. For instance, I think Democratic politicians are almost complete hypocrites on education reform for inner city schools; that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong necessarily on health care reform. Pointing out that some conservatives are bad just doesn’t get anyone very far; that’s the nature of ad hominems.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    Okay, so I guess by that logic someone who objected to Karl Rove appearing at the NRLC but thought Obama appearing at Notre Dame was unobjectionable would also be a hypocrite? Or does it only work one way?

    Nice try, but that would only work if Obama were invited to address a pro-life conference at Notre Dame.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/ John Henry

    Nice try, but that would only work if Obama were invited to address a pro-life conference at Notre Dame.

    Is the University of Notre Dame not officially pro-life?

  • S.B.

    Nice try, but that would only work if Obama were invited to address a pro-life conference at Notre Dame.

    So now you want complete analogical precision even though you already compared the ND situation to something far more removed (i.e., Catholic individuals publishing something in National Review).

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    John McG, John Henry (and Tom is still searching for meaning in all of this!):

    We are slowly getting to the heart of the matter. The point is not to pull some gotcha-style hypocrisy moment. The point is that I do not think the pro-life movement has any chance of success with the direction it seems to be taking. By aligning itself with an ever-shrinking political movement, a movement with serious culture of death issues itself, it will never make inroads with the broader public or culture. To do so, it must stand up for the gospel of life on every front, not just abortion and ESCR but also war, torture, and economic issues. Either that, or it retreats further into the Weigel bubble.

    On the matter at hand, the issue is not whether or not Obama should be invited to a Catholic university, but whether Obama should be singled out for special attention on this front. And let’s face it, that’s what most of his Catholic critics are doing.

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  • http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/ Zippy

    Isn’t it an important principle in a country with a democratic government that even people who have major disagreements don’t write each other off?

    I think that when it comes to, you know, murdering the innocent and stuff, that making nice at cocktail parties might not be the highest priority.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    And it continues:

    Here’s torture-supporting Kathryn Lopez on Condi Rice’s commencement address at Boston college: “I don’t think BC is compromising any fundamental values by having her speak.” Don’t even pretend that this is not a partisan issue and — whatever the merits of inviting politicians who deviate from core Catholic teaching — we all be dismayed that people like Lopez are using Catholic teaching to wield a partisan cudgel.

  • http://madprof.home.mindspring.com ron chandonia

    MM seems happy with pro-life people when they bring up any of the life issues EXCEPT those involving human life before birth. The only alternative now on the scene to the “ever shrinking political movement” he mentions (the GOP, I guess) is the one represented by President Obama. I guess pro-lifers could align themselves with that movement by joining the “Against abortion, but . . . ” crowd. The University of Notre Dame seems to be officially jumping on that bandwagon. But how many babies will be saved as a result?

  • http://ManBitesBlog.quiblit.com JohnMcG

    Wiegel, Lopez, etc. are not going to go away regardless of the withering criticism they receive. And they are not going to change their minds on war in response to shouts of “hypocrite!” any time soon either.

    Yet, so long as there is movement against abortion, they are probably going to be a part of it. It’s not as if they are going to stop advocating on behalf of the unborn because their inconsistency has been pointed out to them, and I don’t think we should want them to.

    Indeed, the more moderates distance themselves from the pro-life movement as this post does and Kurt advocates, the more these voices will rise in relative prominence.

    There will always be political conservatives in the pro-life movement. There were some whackos in the anti-war movement, and some who opposed the war for less then pure motives. It would have been wrong to support the war on that basis, or make the whackos in the anti-war movement a prominent feature of criticism.

    We have to do what is right, not wait for the movement to prove itself worthy of support of people as great as ourselves.

  • http://www.rimatara.blogspot.com Sam Rocha
  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

    The only alternative now on the scene to the “ever shrinking political movement” he mentions (the GOP, I guess) is the one represented by President Obama.

    No it isn’t. Why are we restricted to US political categories. The whole point is to develop a pro-life movement that cannot fit into these categories (can’t believe I have to say this explicitly but no, I don’t want the pro-life movement to capitulate to the Democrats either).

  • http://www.augustphotos.com Gerald A. Naus

    Zygotes are popular with conservatives, until they want to form a union.

  • http://regularthoughts.blogspot.com Paul, Just This Guy, You Know?

    As to toning down the pro-life movement, didn’t I just see video of Doug Kmiec complaining that he couldn’t support McCain because he wasn’t sufficiently pro-life? Wasn’t he complaining that bishops and priests don’t make these arguments?

    So, someone cannot criticize, unless they criticize everyone?

    Because I didn’t say “Bush is evil,” does that necessarily mean that Obama cannot be evil?

    When the president’s only actual accomplishments thus far have been in the area of increasing access to abortion, with no announced plan for — let alone actual success at — reducing abortion, does the mere fact that he is president necessitate that Catholic Universities honor him with commencement addresses and honorary doctorates?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Blackadder

    Nice try, but that would only work if Obama were invited to address a pro-life conference at Notre Dame.

    Okay, so it is hypocrisy to oppose Obama speaking at Notre Dame while supporting Rove speaking at NRLC, but it’s not hypocrisy to oppose Rove speaking at NRLC but support Obama speaking at Notre Dame.

    Likewise, I assume you think that there’s no inconsistency involved in objecting to Dick Cheney addressing the Republican Convention, but not having a problem with Obama giving the Notre Dame commencement.

    As a wise man once said: “Don’t even pretend that this is not a partisan issue.”

  • scriblerus

    I’m no friend of neocons, Catholic or otherwise, but they got one right this time. We’re not going to get tarred by their theological confusions if we just once say “yeah, you’re right.” What JohnMcG said at 4:13.

  • S.B.

    MM, suppose you come across someone who says that he opposes the Iraq War. At the same time, he vociferously advocated for the election of Bush in 2004, and never, not once, unequivocally criticized Bush’s conduct without simultaneously 1) lambasting anti-war activists as hypocrites for supporting abortion, and/or 2) ridiculingthe anti-war movement for affiliating with extremists and Stalinists, on the purported grounds that he wish for the anti-war movement to have broader appeal.

    Would you be convinced that the person really, deep down, did object to the Iraq War?

  • ari

    All this finger-pointing at who is more of a hypocrite than the other is but mere distraction from what should be the main focus of everybody here and that is the ongoing murder of innocent children, which is being promoted even globally by Herr Obama himself!

    People who are engaging in all this finger-pointing, trying to distract from the issue herein all just to show that their opponents are the bigger hypocrites does nothing whatsoever to either detract from the substance of this main issue nor does it actually go on to justify it.

    If a minister at church were to preach one Sunday that prostitution is a sin but that same person happens to be caught sleeping with a prostitute; the fact that he is found to be doing so doesn’t actually take away from the validity of his sermon that, regardless, prostitution still remains a sin.

    Thus, I find Morning Minion’s attempt (as well as the other Vox Novans here) similarly pointless.

    The best they can do is to show up who is the worse hypocrite than the other.

    Yet, in spite of all their deplorably puerile stunts, the fact yet remains that the holocaust Obama wishes to enlarge not only within the United States alone but with plans of extending it all over the world through various financial support for foreign countries who seek to do likewise, is a point that these Morning and his several minions have not addressed satisfactorily addressed nor, dare I say, is even the slightest desire on their part given the actual purpose behind all these distractions they continue to barrage an unwitting audience, which basically boils down to since, it seems, time immemorial:

    “Well, so what? We subscribe to the killing of innocent babies, but you guys subscribe to the killing of innocent military soldiers and civilian casualties all for the purpose of unjust wars!”

    In other words, we let you kill American soldiers for your petty wars when you desired, we likewise desire the same as far as those babies we want killed are concerned and should not be called on it because if you do, you’re guilty of outright hypocrisy!

  • ari
  • Templar

    Is torture intrinsically evil? What about Ad Extirpanda?

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholicblogspot.com jh

    One other question as to Bush Vs Obama

    Why should Obama be honored when it played a crtical part in defeating Immigration reform.

    A Political issue that besides abortion was the biggest we had this century

    Are we honoring Obama for hos voting of a poison pill that allows to this day people to live in th shadows.

    WHo knew Obama would be honored by Notre Dame not only for his anti life votes for but for the poltical trade off for union votes though it affected the lives of around 20 million people

    I am so proud

  • ari

    EXCERPT:

    “President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.

    This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

    My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.”

    — His Excellency, Bishop D’Arcy

  • http://civicsgeeks.blogspot.com Zach

    The irony you speak of in this post is non-existent.

  • voxnovasux

    deleted for invalid email address

  • http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/ Zippy

    There will always be political conservatives in the pro-life movement. There were some whackos in the anti-war movement, and some who opposed the war for less then pure motives. It would have been wrong to support the war on that basis, or make the whackos in the anti-war movement a prominent feature of criticism.

    We have to do what is right, not wait for the movement to prove itself worthy of support of people as great as ourselves.

    Exactly right, John. Those of us who opposed the Iraq war with integrity did pretty much the opposite of what MM is doing here. If MM were writing posts saying “outlawing abortion is critical, despite the fact that many advocates of outlawing abortion are fruitcakes” that would be one thing. I wrote about the war that way myself all the time — that the war was unjust, and that no amount of pointing out that freaky people oppose it can make it just.

    But we don’t see that kind of thing from MM when it comes to outlawing abortion. The inescapable impression is that this is because, when it comes to outlawing abortion, his heart is not in it. So where is the real hypocrisy?

  • http://www.augustphotos.com Gerald A. Naus

    “has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.”

    Looks like this bishop flunked history.

  • Kurt

    Given that Dr. Rice is pro-choice, why the silence from the right on her BC address?

    Indeed, the more moderates distance themselves from the pro-life movement as this post does and Kurt advocates, the more these voices will rise in relative prominence.

    They already have total and absolute prominence. The moderates who stay are ineffective and are like women who will not leave an abusive relationship. I will be the first to admit that I stayed and tolerated the abuse against me far too long.

    There will always be political conservatives in the pro-life movement.

    I hope so. They offer the slim glimmer of hope that the pro-life movement will come to sense. Those in control of the pro-life movement are not political conservatives, they are radicals. They have an informal truce with political conservatives that they don’t call them on the same issues they call pro-life moderates and liberals on (the exception that proves the rule being Deal Hudson’s skirmish with Senator Brownback on the fundraising letter).

    But if, as in the case of Notre Dame, you cannot honor President Obama without compromising one’s opposition to abortion, the political conservatives fail the same test. Senators Brownback R-KS), Hatch (R-UT), McCain R-AZ), and Lugar (R-IN), as well as my new friend Dr. Coburn (R-OK), are honorable men. They are men worthy of honor. And they would say the President is an honorable man, contradicting those who say he cannot be honored. They have policy disagreements (including Hatch and McCain who support ESCR) among themselves or with the President. In January, the President honored Senator McCain with a dinner and Senator McCain returned the favor. The honor, respect and kindness Senators Brownback and Hatch have shown Senator Kennedy during his current illness has been outstanding. [brace for the predictable response whenever Senator Kennedy’s name is mentioned].

    It’s popular to insult and denigrate people in public life. I will tell you, the men and women of the United States Senate, from right to left, have more honor and integrity that the freak show that calls itself the pro-life movement.

    There were some whackos in the anti-war movement, and some who opposed the war for less then pure motives.

    And many of us tried to move heaven and earth to keep them from dominating the anti-war movement. And our partial failures on that front haunt us to this day and still hold back anti-war efforts.

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  • voxnovasux

    This is a valid email address. Please repost my comment or be forever branded a mindless censor.

    Mindless censor it is. Good bye. -mz

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom

    I agree that some Catholics have weakened their pro-life voices by their complicity with certain evils, like torture and preventive war, generally associated with political conservatives.

    But to identify these Catholics with “the pro-life movement” is to give a pass to the Catholics who have weakened their pro-life voices by their complicity with certain evils, like abortion and gay “marriage”, generally associated with political liberals.

    It also gives a pass to the Catholics who haven’t even used their pro-life voices out of a snobbish distaste for “the pro-life movement.”