Being Right – Pro-Choice or Anti-Logic?

Christopher Neefus

Since the University of Notre Dame proudly announced that its 2009 commencement speaker would be pro-choice President Barack Obama, 223,607 people have voiced their opposition to his coming to campus, or about 720 signatures per hour. Northern Indiana Bishop John D’Arcy immediately denounced the invite, and three other bishops quickly joined him in boycotting the May 17 event.

As of this week, American Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has also thrown his hat into the ring, reminding ND’s President, Fr. John Jenkins, that the Bishops of the United States have asked “Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life.” Most troubling, he says, is that Obama will also receive an honorary Juris Doctorate for his 40 minutes of speaking, despite the fact that the Catholic Church detests much of what he’s done with the one Harvard gave him.

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, was most strident with his words: “Whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation”

While it seems to me that a Catholic University, where faith and reason are said to intersect, is the right place to carry on an open debate about abortion, Notre Dame is going to become the next victim of Democrats’ incessant need to have it both ways on abortion.

During an appearance on Meet the Press in August ’08, House Speaker Pelosi made the outrageous claim that the Catholic Church has not definitively come down against abortion, saying, “over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition.” She also tried to pin St. Augustine with having somehow suggested that life didn’t begin until the end of the first trimester. She then tried to apply Roe v Wade to church teachings, and lost her ever-trying battle with logic.

On the same program, Joe Biden told Tom Brokaw that he personally believed that human life began at conception, but was in no position to tell others, “just as devout” as he, that their own beliefs were wrong. Yet Biden has not made a move to legalize robbery or assault, even though he couldn’t possibly pontificate on the morality of those things. Archbishop of New York Egan quickly smacked Biden down, saying, “Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput piled on, pointing out Biden’s “poor logic.” Chaput also said Biden, “demonstrated his lack of understanding of biology, the Natural Law, the separation of Church and State, authentic pluralism and the proper role of Catholic elected officials.” But, along with Biden’s confusion on which Constitutional article is which, that’s for another column.

While Democrats’ arguments about Supreme Court jurisprudence and personal faith may be valid, they simply cannot be squared with a profession of Catholic faith. Whether they are also denial or just lying, they are trying to argue on weak semantic grounds that, hey, Catholics can vote Democrat too.

President Obama himself has dodged the issue, saying that it was “above my pay grade.” Yet repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions through programs like Medicaid, is apparently not above that pay grade. And when he goes before Notre Dame in a few weeks, he’ll also have shown America that, yes, it’s okay to vote Democrat, because even the foremost Catholic University in the nation has given its tacit approval.