Saturday, May 2, 2009

Respecting Authority...

Recently, in my barrage of hate mail, I received one that caught my more so than others. In this particular message, its writer, who claims to be pro-life, Catholic, and "disagree with many of Obama's policies," cited a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, chapter 13, in which Paul instructs his readers to respect those in authority. As this person writes, President Obama ought not to be protested at Notre Dame by virtue of the fact that he occupies the Office of the President of the United States.

First, I (and all of ND Response, for that matter) take issue not with the fact that the president is coming. We take issue with the fact that the University has invited and intends to honor an individual who aggressively has used the law to further an agenda that is inherently and thoroughly anti-life, and thus anti-Catholic. It is unfortunate that this person happens to be president. However, despite the fact that he is president, we believe that it is our moral duty to voice disappointment and opposition towards his policies and our University's intention to honor him.

Second, though she is correct to point out the Romans 13 passage regarding respect to authority, I believe that she has mis-ordered her priorities in respecting authorities. Christ said, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's; and to God what is God's." I, as well as all those who disagree with Mr. Obama and the University, render the respect that is rightful due to whomever occupies the Office of the President, as well as to the Office itself. However, we recognize that, as Catholics, we can not sit idly by as the authority of the Church, which we believe supersedes that of the Office of the President, is not only disrespected, but scandalously disregarded.

Because this University has the privilege of identifying itself as Catholic, it is obligated--evermore so than individual members of the Church--to respect as well as robustly uphold and defend the teachings of the Church. In view of the fact that more than 40 US bishops and over 600 priests (10 of whom are Notre Dame-C.S.C. priests) have declared openly their sentiments regarding their disappointment in Notre Dame, all the while respecting the Office of the President, impresses upon us students that we are called, in our capacity as students, to respectfully oppose this situation as well.

I am sorry that people do not agree with those of us who choose to take issue with ND's invitation and intention to honor President Obama. We do not mean to offend. However, we do not think that we are out-of-line to feel compelled to voice openly our disagreement, especially if we do this in line with those voices of authority who have expressed similar sentiments.

Love thee, Notre Dame.


Brandon said...

If I am not mistaken, that same passage is the one that justified the divine right of kings back in the day. This is not a monarchy in America. We started eliminating the divine right of kings in 1215 with the Magna Carta, and to invoke that passage now is anachronistic at best.

Anonymous said...

I am a priest, so of course am supportive of your organized objections to ND giving the Laeatre Award to Pres. Obama. Good work, young people. God reward you. I have two questions for you. First, I have been wondering, how have the large number of non-Catholic students at Notre Dame been responding to this conflict? I understand that one needn't be Catholic to be opposed to abortion, but the particular point of difficutly in this case is beyond the fact that Mr. Obama's pro-abortion policies are opposed to the Church's "choice for life" teachings, rather our opposition involves a Catholic entity's awarding (and, I suppose, giving a platform) to a man who holds such views. Since defense of the Church would not ordinarily be on the agenda of non-Catholics, I have wondered if non-Catholic students have weighed in on this one way or the other. I surely hope thyey have not exhibited a dismissiveness toward preserving ND's Catholic identity. Secondly, I am aware that several Catholic nuns are on ther faculty/staff of Notre Dame. One would presume that consecrated Sisters would be on the front lines of support for life and therefore outraged at the Obama invitation. Please inform us about how the various Sister-professors and Sister-rectors have demonstrated or shown their activism against the Obama invitation. It would be interesting to read about both of these issues. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the idea suggested above is cooool. Since it behooves a watchdog to bark, let's do have a ROVER report about how Catholic the nuns on the faculty and in the dorms are behaving. Everyone knows that today's habitless nuns are experts at demonstrating: how are the Sisters at ND demonstrating for life, for the dignity of the Church and the Catholicism of ND? What are their demonstrations looking like this month? Flush them out, especially those in the theology dept.