Conservative Catholics send hypocritical message

By Megan Ferringer

It’s an official all-out warfare, sort of, though it’s nothing entirely new—Catholics are on the front lines of a political matter, causing yet another rift between the Roman Catholic Church and its pushy American flock.

Since President Barack Obama made the announcement back in March that he would be addressing the University of Notre Dame’s graduating class on May 17, nearly 65,000 people have signed an online petition against his appearance—including denunciations from at least nine bishops—that claims “Notre Dame has chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality.” The petition also said Obama’s views on abortion and stem cell research directly contradict Roman Catholic teachings.

Put simply, they vehemently oppose lending a platform to a politician who rejects the church’s firm anti-abortion stance.

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George is voicing a similar concern, among many others, such as South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy, who made it known that he will boycott the ceremony.

George is urging Catholics to call, e-mail and write letters to protest the “extreme embarrassment” Notre Dame has caused the Catholic community by inviting Obama to speak at its commencement.

“Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be a Catholic when they issued this invitation,” George told a crowd of anti-abortion advocates last weekend, proving that, these days, U.S. bishops are becoming more bold in speaking out. This shows just how straight the line has become between the church and the Democratic Party on important political issues.

They’re treating this whole thing like a giant smack in the face to Catholics, but really, it’s just a terrible case of overreacting. And one by one, bishops seem to be jumping on the bandwagon and speaking out in an unnecessarily brash way.

On April 7, the bishop of the Fargo Roman Catholic Diocese made a statement addressing the president of Notre Dame, saying the decision “diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.” Others are trying to rescind the invitation.

All the dramatic headlines and finger-pointing aside, at the core, this situation begs to point out a dilemma that many of the opposing Catholics are too stubborn to acknowledge. By blackballing and ostracizing those who do not have views that fall within the Catholic doctrine, they appear as hypocritical, to say the least.

As a Catholic, this nearly month-long controversy has made me feel nothing but embarrassed.

If anything, this age-old anti-abortion fiasco demonstrates just how pigheaded and inconsiderate many domineering Catholics can be. Their actions and statements show how they too can be just as “un-Christian” as they like to claim Obama is.

They should feel honored, at the very least, to have the president of the United States speak at their university.

After all, if their goal is to help the world lead a more Christian life,  Catholics need to realize they can’t change the world if they shun the people they are so desperately trying to persuade.