Thursday, June 2, 2011

Notre Dame And Emily's List, Part 2

One of the major groups to attempt to maintain the "Catholic Identity" of Notre Dame is The Sycamore Group.
One of the more distinguished leaders of this organization is Daniel Boland, Ph.D. He has responded to the situation at Notre Dame and has asked if I would print his responses.  Without a moments hesitation...the following are two letters to very important people at Notre Dame with direct access to the meat of the problem.  The first on this post and the second on the following  post.

Please let us know your thoughts on Dr. Boland's comments.

Jesus Is Lord!

Tim M

May 23, 2011

Fr.  John  Jenkins

University President
Notre Dame, IN 46556

My Dear Fr. Jenkins:
I write to you with reluctance tempered by the desire to preserve the virtue of charity in what follows, and with the intention not to offend by exaggeration or excess … but there is an adage floating about these days which addresses the idea of speaking truth to power. So, with candor, write I must.  
I hope you will accept that I write with good will. Despite differences in our moral vision about what is the best Catholic course for Notre Dame, I have always assumed you have acted in good will, according to your sincere insights about what is best for the moral and spiritual, as well as academic, benefit of the University (although I not convinced this is true of all University Fellows). There are a number of decisions over the years I might address, but I will confine my comments to pro-life issues.
With countless Notre Dame Alumni, I have watched for four decades as the Catholic tenor, vitality and credibility of University leadership have slowly but surely diminished. For years, I have stated my concerns in writing to various CSCs, to no avail. Like many others, my affection for Holy Cross has been life-long, but in recent years my loyalty has been sore-tested, my trust in the wisdom of CSC leadership exhausted by the morally precarious decisions made by your Administration.
Doubts and apprehensions about the Catholic stewardship of the University Fellows are brought to a breaking point by the your appointment of Ms. Roxanne Martino as a University Trustee and, worse, by the reasons (some say lame excuses) you and Mr. Notebaert employ to defend her long-term financial support of pro-abortion agencies, and your willingness to include her in Notre Dame’s leadership class.
One once hoped that it would be self-evident to you, to Mr. Notebaert and to the Fellows that authentic Catholic leaders never approvingly invite pro-abortion supporters to share governance of their institutions, even in an advisory capacity, even if the pro-abortion person possesses financial expertise. One readily asks: Are there no faithful, serious pro-life Catholics who possess similar expertise? Does academic freedom, secular notoriety and politically correct inclusion demand that you embrace moral equivalence, eliminate fundamental Catholic standards for leaders and allow anyone with financial standing and/or political visibility to act in a leadership role for Our Lady’s University?
It seems unnecessary to say that every mature and faithful Catholic can comprehend the profound evil which defines abortion. For you and the Fellows to celebrate persons who actively support abortion and its agents is to court grave evil. To Christian people who recognize abortion for what it is, the Martino decision is yet another morally precarious dalliance, nay, an outright rejection by you and the Fellows of your responsibility to uphold fundamental Catholic moral principle. It is an insult to the moral beliefs of the Church, to the Mens Ecclesiae, to the Magisterium and an insult to Our Lady’s heritage at Notre Dame. Indeed, the very idea of the University Fellows welcoming abortion supporters, rewarding them with a variety of favors and openly celebrating, responding to and soliciting their influence should be anathema to you.
It is deeply disturbing –  and sadly revealing -- that you and the Fellows even need to be reminded.
The Obama Incident was (or so countless people thought) a critical turning point in the decline of the moral credibility of the Fellows and of CSC leadership at ND. It was additionally disheartening – and needlessly provocative – of you to publicly reaffirm (after your appearance in the March for Life) that you would repeat the Obama episode, even as evidence of Mr. Obama’s pro-abortion policies is made even more clear (in this regard, many have wondered about the nature and frequency of the University’s “dialogue” with Mr. Obama, one explanation you used for awarding him University honors).
Though you claim pro-life allegiance, we were even further confused by your adamantine insistence -- for two years -- that the ND88 pro-life protestors be prosecuted (while you chose to exempt pro-abortion, gay rights and anti-military demonstrators), as if prosecuting the ND88 would somehow, as you indicated, add to the stability and tranquility of University life.
When legal settlement was finally reached with the ND88, we were yet again surprised by your comment that you were on the same side as the demonstrators all the while, a statement which, be assured, tests the limits of credulity of a great many interested observers.
And, yet again, in what seems further contradiction to your pro-life claims, you now choose to appoint Ms. Martino, an action which heightens the moral stakes even more. One can be forgiven for re-stating the obvious principle that a pattern of decisions speaks far more convincingly than words.
It is inexplicable that CSC Fellows – five priests and a bishop -- could possibly support this latest decision to bestow influence and recognition on someone who, for many years and with significant sums, repeatedly chooses to support agencies which promote pro-abortion politicians. This is a morally astounding, morally inexplicable decision, a decision made worse by the reasons offered by you and Mr. Notebaert, reasons (some again might say empty excuses) which seem to proceed on the assumption that your target audience is bereft of intelligence and lacking in fundamental common sense. Or, one might ask, is it Ms. Martino who is thus afflicted, given the many years of her studiously uninformed distributions of thousands of her dollars to assist pro-abortion politicians into power.
Furthermore, as I read the reasons you and Mr. Notebaert provide, I cannot help but ask: What "wide range of important services and support to women" does Emily's List provide in its drive to elect pro-abortion politicians? How are your or ND’s pro-life credentials affirmed by Ms. Martino’s appointment? Perhaps the most direct way to phrase the matter is this:
What has happened to the Administration’s basic respect for the Catholic Church’s inspired ideal of giving sturdy moral example both to individuals and to American culture by demonstrating unwavering respect for life from conception to natural death? Why do you and the Fellows, including your brother priests, find it increasingly necessary to make unseemly compromises with pro-life Catholic principles? Why do you dance around the fact that Notre Dame should be the first to defend and the last to diminish pro-life values, the first to vigorously and vocally defend life, the last to celebrate and reward life’s enemies? Whatever your intentions, are you unaware of the consequences of your actions, unhearing of the messages you send? How far on this slippery slope will you go?
Fr. Jenkins, it would be ever so refreshingly honest and far more deserving of respect if you, Mr. Notebaert and other University Fellows would simply “Man Up” and admit one of two truths:
1) We made a serious but avoidable mistake in our vetting of this candidate. We now intend to make it right and uphold Catholic pro-life priorities by asking her to withdraw;
2) We do not care that Ms. Martino is a significant financial supporter of abortion-promoting organizations. So what? We run the University; we make the decisions and we compromise as we wish. We are accountable to no one. The conflict between pro-life principles and pro-abortion principles does not matter to us. It is only a political issue; we are unconcerned about the moral content and nuance of our actions. Furthermore, outside criticisms and challenges are not welcome and will not be answered.
So, after years of troubling, morally precarious decisions, bewildering actions and the decrease of evidence to the contrary, especially the cumulative impact of these pro-life contradictions,  many people are finally -- sadly but finally -- driven to conclude that your priorities and the priorities of the University Fellows are now fully focused on the academic and financial advancement of the University. Despite your claims to value the Church’s pro-life principles, your actions convincingly say otherwise; we are at last persuaded that upholding these fundamental pro-life principles of Faith and Nature is no longer a priority for the Fellows and, consequently, for the University.
One cannot help but be further convinced that the Fellows -– clergy and lay -- are now thoroughly and primarily enamored of the pursuit of academic celebrity, political correctness and world class research status. It is as the Faculty Senate urged two years ago when they recommended that the Administration and Fellows no longer regard the University’s Catholicism as a priority over its academic status.
One may be excused for concluding that we have finally arrived at the point in ND’s history (as many now believe) at which the word “Catholic” seems to have become an empty, even cynical, appendage, useful mainly for public relations and fund-raising purposes.  
Finally, I shall continue to add still further prayers for you and your colleagues. May God keep us and help us, one and all. May God help you choose what is best for the unborn and may He grant you and the Fellows the wisdom both to see the consequences of your actions and to use for His Will the extraordinary power you hold.
Daniel M. Boland, Class of 1956

Daniel M. Boland, PhD

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