Sunday, May 17, 2009
Our Lady of the Lake Is Likely Weeping
In my opinion, Notre Dame blundered big time when it extended an honorary degree to Barack Obama.
President Obama's summary reversal of the Bush policy on funding embryonic stem cell research demonstrated clearly that his views and actions are antithetical to the traditional Catholic position on the dignity of human life.
For some odd reason, the reports I've seen in the press fail to draw the distinction between adult and embryonic stem cell research. A totipotent embryonic stem cell is a cell capable of becoming any cell in the body. It is essentially a clone of an embryo.
The goal of the Bush Administration was to find a way to fund adult stem cell research while avoiding the more problematic embryonic stem cell research. It is adult stem cell research where researchers are finding the promising cure for diseases.
Rest assured, I am happy to swallow the pink pill that says George W. Bush was a horrible person. The summary dismissal of the debate, however, was not simply a jab at Bush. It was an affront to the people who threw effort into an extremely important debate. It was a very clear affront to a position fundamental to the Catholic Church.
The debate about the respect for life is not simply a new issue that arose after Roe v. Wade. The Christian position on abortion and infanticide was a fundamental difference between early Christians and pagan Rome. This is a debate with a two thousand year history. It is something very deep and fundamental to Western culture.
Even though the Catholic view on the dignity of life may be quaint and archaic, the summary dismissal of arguments created the situation where Notre Dame's handing out an honorary degree would be extremely divisive.
The United States is filled to the brim with Universities holding the Modern Progressive world view. These Universities would bowl over each other for a chance to witness the historic first commencement speech by the historic first half black American president.
I am extremely puzzled as to why Obama would go to the one place where his historic commencement speech would be controversial. Either the most politically savvy administration of the last half century was somehow unaware of a two thousand year history of Catholocism, or the event is a calculated effort to create division and marginalize political enemies.
Regardless of the President's motives, Notre Dame du Lac should have been savvy enough to know that a President that summarily dismisses the Catholic position on the dignity of live would cause controversy. Sadly, small private schools are often forced to forego honors in the effort to hold to principle.
Such is the way of life.