Notre Dame’s most esteemed soon-to-be professor emeritus comments on the recent events at the University where he has worked for over 50 years. The highlight:
All that is an old and oft-told story, still largely ignored officially. There grew up the notion that dissent from clear Church teaching was okay. With time, the difference between the moral teaching of dissenters and what was dismissively called “official” teaching blurred. Generations have been given a distorted notion of the faith. It is no wonder that Catholic politicians undertook to support policies in flat contradiction to what they purportedly believed privately. And so it was that on Sunday at Notre Dame faithful Catholics were regarded as dissenters. To such disfavor we have come.
If the Obama invitation has stirred such passionately prayerful reaction from an heroic band of students, from alumni and Catholics across the country, and – mirabile dictu – from more than seventy bishops, it may prove to have been providential, an opportunity for Catholics to recognize that their house is indeed divided.
Anathemas have been called for. Some long to have Notre Dame declared non-Catholic. Perhaps it will come to that, but the awakening of the laity, simple priests, a large number of the bishops, suggests that this is a possible epiphany. The sad fact is that people act contrary to the faith without realizing that that is what they are doing. A heretic chooses the opposite of the faith, but when in the present confusion as to what is in and what is out, heresy is not the appropriate word.