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Notre Dame Becomes the Symbol of Catholic Dissent

By Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D.
May 20th, 2009
Inside Catholic (

The saddest thing of all, and the most tragic, Notre Dame has committed a scandal.

WASHINGTON (Inside Catholic) - The "party's over" at Notre Dame, as the old Comden and Green song says:

The party's over
It's time to call it a day
They've burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away
It's time to wind up the masquerade
Just make your mind up the piper must be paid

Notre Dame chose to honor President Obama. Fr. Jenkins defended the choice with arguments that should make a freshman blush. The mainstream media glossed over the widespread criticism, the withdrawal of Amb. Mary Ann Glendon, and ridiculed demonstrators, like Fr. Frank Pavone, praying at the university's gate.

But at the end the day, the party's over and Notre Dame will pay for the piper for many years to come.

What is the price?

ND has become the symbol of dissent in the Catholic Church (a designation actually deserved by Boston College).

Many bishops will no longer support the institution and many prospective students and their parents will look elsewhere. Without those students, and the goodwill of the bishops, ND will become even more secular than it already is.

Until Fr. Jenkins leaves, and the board membership is overhauled, ND has destroyed its relationship with thousands of alums and hundreds of significant donors. Millions will be lost by the university over the next decade.

The saddest thing of all, and the most tragic, Notre Dame has committed a scandal that, for the time being, has seriously divided and weakened the evangel of the Catholic Church.

The commencement itself, if you watched it, was a spectacle of non-stop self-congratulation, supercilious flattery, and scripted self-justification. Eloquence was not to be found, though every inane claim to the moral high ground received thunderous applause, until even the robed dignitaries placed carefully behind Obama began to look bewildered. Except for Fr. Jenkins, of course, whose face beamed with the delight of a boy who had avoided punishment for coming home with a failing report card.

I recommend everyone put this behind them and pay attention to the meeting today between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House. The president is far better on the issue of Israel and Palestine than he is on the Catholic Church and its teaching on life issues.

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