Several blogs are reporting about the graduation speech given yesterday by Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity University, an alma mater of Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi and Mary Hathaway (she took a graduate course from Trinity several years ago).
McGuire’s thesis? (From the Catholic News Agency article):
“”A half-century of progress for Catholic higher education is at risk of slipping back into those insular, parochial pre-Vatican II days,” when, according to McGuire, “academic freedom was not valued within the Catholic Church.””
There it is again: “Catholic ghetto”, the greatest evil that Liberal Catholics seek to avoid.
A half century of progress? Progress towards what? Not being Catholic?
You know, one thing that non-Catholics almost universally admire the Church for is the rigor of her education. While they usually attribute it to the Jesuits, it is really the Dominicans who deserve the credit. But it is precisely the rigor of education in pursuit of orthodoxy that makes “Catholic education” special, yet modern Catholic institutions, by avoiding orthodoxy, have also avoided logical vigor. They have traded logical vigor for rhetorical equivocation.
The “real scandal”, according to McGuire (CNA again):
“The real scandal is the misappropriation of sacred teachings for political ends. The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the commencement address of the nation’s first African American president.”
Why does this matter so much? I thought we weren’t supposed to judge people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character?
Why do liberals care so much that Obama is our “first African American president”? Why is that supposed to override everything he does?
Why do they play the “race card” so readily in Obama’s case, especially when it’s disingenuous?
The man is not “African American” in the sense they mean. If his ancestry embodies American racism and hatred in any way, it’s his *Irish* heritage that counts (and one would think that, at Notre Dame, he might have been willing to bring that up to get “points”). Obama is closer to me ethnically (English and Irish heritage) than he is to my African American neighbours.
Africa is the second largest continent in the world. I’ve been helping Mary with some world history research, and it’s amazing how many great civilizations Africa had that I’ve never heard of before. Africa has a quite diverse range of peoples. Yet it is ironically an aspect of racism that anyone from Africa is “Black” or an “African,” while the nuances of European ethnicity are emphasized very carefully. This is a heritage that the American Left has retained from the racist ancestors they supposedly reject.
Several years ago, I watched a history video hosted by some celebrity Harvard professor who happens to be black. I can’t think of his name offhand, but he was doing a video on African civilizations. He was walking through this city in Africa, calling everyone he met “Brother,” and they all looked at him like he was nuts.
Most African slaves who came to the U.S. came from *West* Africa. Obama’s father was from Kenya. That would be like some guy whose father was Russian coming to South Carolina and saying he identifies with the Irish indentured servants who died building the Columbia Canal.
It would be like me moving to Slovakia and claiming to represent the Slovaks who suffered persecution under the Communists.
Plus, Obama was raised in privilege: his biological father was one of the most powerful politcal figures in Kenya. His stepfather was a wealthy Indonesian. He was raised in a jet-setting lifestyle, traveling around the world, and he attended various private schools.
If Obama were a Republican, the Left would say he’s just an “Uncle Tom,” that he’s not “really Black,” etc.
But the color of his skin is so important to them that they mention it every chance they get. Interestingly, that seems to be the best thing they can muster to defend him.
Because it is a liberal premise that everyone who votes Republican is a racist.
That is a self-evident truth in their minds, and they will accept no evidence to the contrary.
Check the next snippet:
“This ugly spectacle -McGuire continued- is an embarrassment to all
What “ugly spectacle”? First, she’s speaking *while* it’s happening. How does she know? What Fr. Pavone’s alternative commenncement an “ugly spectacle”?
Was it an “ugly spectacle” when liberal activists protested Bush at Notre Dame 8 years ago?
Is it an “ugly spectacle” when liberal activists put posters of torture and genocide and starvation on the walls of high schools and colleges?
“The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one
marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred.”
What “hatred” does she mean? The hatred of racism, since the comment frequently made since the election has been that pro-lifers are just using abortion to disguise our secret racism.
McGuire knows that her audience knows what she means. The syllogisms would break down thusly: “All Repulicans are racists. Anyone who’s part of a Right Wing Third Party is even more racist than Republicans, since ‘States Rights’ is code for ‘racism.’ Most pro-lifers vote Republican or Third Party. Therefore, all pro-lifers are racist. “
“Barack Obama is black. Barack Obama is charismatic. The majority of Americans [allegedly] like Barack Obama [even though, if you go by the numbers who voted for him, only about 25% of Americans like him]. Barack Obama talks of ‘unity’ and ‘peace’ and ‘dialgoue.’ Those are all great liberal buzzwords for ‘nice guy.’ There’s no reason *not* to like Barack Obama. If you claim to disagree with him, you must be misrepresenting his position. Why would you misrepresent his position? Because you don’t like him. Why wouldn’t you like him? Because he’s black, and you’re a racist.”
From the CNA:
McGuire continued, “The religious vigilantism apparent in the Notre Dame
controversy arises from organizations that have no official standing with the
church, but who are successful in gaining media coverage as if they were
speaking for Catholicism. . . ”
Bishops have “no official standing in the Church”? Fr. Frank Pavone and Judie Brown, both of whom are affiliated with the Pontifical Academy for Life, have “no official standing in the Church”? Notre Dame students who organized the alternative commencement rally have no official standing with the university?
“. They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can
No question there, just as hers is a belief system any pre-1960 Catholic would recognize as Episcopalian.
“Theirs is a narrow faith devoted almost exclusively to one issue. They
defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living. They mock
social justice as a liberal mythology.”
Aha! She who is condemning “vilification” and “hatred’ now turns to the most basic straw man used against pro-lifers.
First, she’s implicitly denying that the “unborn” are “living.”
Second, she’s claim that pro-lifers do not practice charity. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Yes, we may not support government social programs that merely keep the poor dependent upon government hand-outs yet don’t offer real assistance and just mask the rampant corruption and graft that goes on inside. Yes, we may condemn–as the Catholic Church has traditionally condemned–coerced “charity.”
But we do not oppose *true* charity. Pro-life conservative Catholics are the most truly generous people I’ve ever known.
I write as someone who is disabled, who lives squarely in the lower-middle class bracket, paychecks away from the US poverty level. It’s fascinating that, whenever I confront a liberal like McGuire with my actual experience, they tell me I’m “whining” or that my economic situation is “My own fault” (I’ve known some economically conservative, Christendom-type Catholics who’ve said the same thing). Liberals like to say this stuff about concern for the poor, but, when actually confronted with it, they are repulsed.
At their heart, liberals are just as greedy and materialistic as the Republicans they condemn. They don’t want to help the poor; they want to “solve the problem of poverty,” because it aches their consciences to know there are people who are starving while they sit and watch Oprah on their HDTVs and worry about their 401(k)s
From the CNA:
[Regarding pro-abortion alumni like Pelosi],
McGuire responded in her blog saying that “the tactics of vilification, condemnation and excommunication will only serve to distance politicians from any faith expression, and to make the general electorate even more wary of any candidate who is Catholic. We need to return this discussion to the high moral ground of teaching persuasively, not lobbing hate mail.”
Refer to the words she says above regarding pro-lifers to see the hypocrisy here.
Also surprisingly hypocritical is that, in her recent blog posts, McGuire has written more of an actual graduation speech, talking about the world the 2009 graduates are entering, versus the world when she was graduating in the early 1970’s. Interestingly, she *praises* the dawn of new media, and the way the Internet has opened the door to wider grassroots activism. She also talks of a greater voice for laity in the Church.
So, one day, she’s praising the blogosphere and online activism in the presumption that such activism is liberal, and then, on Sunday, she condemns what she calls “religious vigilantism” and speaks of people who “do not officially represent the Church” when the grassroots lay activism disagrees with her. Very typical.
From the CNA article:
Trinity University was originally founded in 1897 as “Trinity College” by the
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
No surprise there. I am very familiar with the “Sisters of St. Mary No More.”
In contrast, I recently suggested that Francis Cardinal Arinze ought to be the “standard graduation speaker” at all Catholic institutions. Well, the Cardinal Newman Society reports that he did speak at the graduation for Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH, and his comments were very pointed:
(Oh, by the way, do liberals who hate Cardinal Arinze and walk out on his speeches hate him because he’s Black and they’re secretly racists?)
Echoing his speech at Georgetown several years ago,
He noted that the marker of success for Catholic colleges and universities is having “succeeded in forming and turning out model Christians who are good citizens.”
Hinting at the true nature of “academic freedom,” Arinze spoke of an “attitude of ‘courageous creativity and rigorous fidelity.'”
Contrasting the relativism taught at Notre Dame, Trinity & co., His Emminence stated,
“A Catholic college or university educates students to appreciate that moral rules of right and wrong apply also to science, technology, politics, trade and commerce, and indeed to all human endeavors.”
Precisely because of today’s pluralistic society, Arinze observes, “a university student needs a clear and viable orientation on the relationship between religion and life.”
Showing his typical bluntness regarding the “freedom” taught at most universities:
“But what does it profit us if a student is an intellectual giant but a moral baby… if he or she can shoot out mathematical or historical facts like a computer but is unfortunately a problem for the parents, corrosive acid among companions in the College, a drug addict and sexual pervert, a disgrace to the school, a waste-pipe in the place of work and Case number 23 for the Criminal Police? It is clear that intellectual development is not enough.”
And he addresssed true academic freedom:
“The exercise of freedom in pursuit of the truth is very much a part of integral education. If a Catholic College or University does not help in this way, should we not say that it has failed in one of its important roles?”
G. K. Chesterton compared an open mind to an open mouth:
“An open mind is really a mark of foolishness, like an open mouth. Mouths
and minds were made to shut; they were made to open only in order to shut.”
(Illustrated London News. October 10, 1908)
“The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” (Autobiography. Collected Works Vol. 16, p. 212)
Just as freedom of conscience really means the freedom to do what one believes to be right without government coercion, but does not mean one has the right to deliberately reject the teachings of the Church, so academic freedom means the freedom to *pursue the Truth* without interference. But if one is speaking falsehood on a matter known to be true, that is false freedom.
Again, if, in the name of “academic freedom,” a professor were to refuse to teach Darwinian Evolution, the administration would likely dismiss him, and the media would villify him as being “backwards” and “ignorant” and rejecting known scientific dogma.
But if a college professor says that contraceptoin is OK if it’s “OK with your conscience,” or if she tries to explain away the miracles in the Bible with natural phenomena, or if he says that the Eucharist is “just a symbol,” all on the campus of a “Catholic” university, *that* is considered “academic freedom.”