notre dame

Religious Liberty: No Exceptions!

For months, the Catholic bishops and major Evangelical and Jewish groups have urged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to exempt conscientious objectors from mandatory health insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortifacients. The current regulations exempt churches and church-controlled organizations that hire and serve primarily members of the same faith, but many … Read more

Redeeming Alma Mater

As the reader may have realized, I’m a man of many hats. Sometimes I wear the mortarboard of a college English teacher; at others, the battered fedora of a patriotic, pro-family columnist. For the past few columns, as an observer of economics, I’ve donned the green eye-shade, but this week I’m putting on the Tyrolean … Read more

New Government Scrutiny for ‘Catholic’ Colleges

Increasingly, Catholic colleges and universities are struggling to find sure footing when it comes to the rocky terrain of proving their Catholic identity. For many of these institutions, the days of being able to shrug off outside scrutiny may be gone. On May 26, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that one Catholic college … Read more

Honoring a pro-life hero

Many Catholics were justly upset when the University of Notre Dame awarded an honorary doctorate to President Barack Obama last year. But there are some good things happening at the school as well, and they should be recognized and encouraged. Most recently, the Notre Dame Fund created the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, established “to … Read more

The USCCB and Cultural Diversity

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has set five goals to pursue until the end of 2011. They are: Strengthening marriage Faith formation focused on sacramental practice Priestly and religious vocations Life and dignity of the human person Recognition of cultural diversity The USCCB Web site contains a link to a timeline for … Read more

The Unfinished Reform of Catholic Colleges

Twenty years ago, the opposition of certain Catholic college leaders and professors to Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae was strident. They claimed the Vatican’s guidelines for Catholic colleges would encourage dictator-bishops to violate academic freedom. Non-Catholic faculty members would sue bishops and colleges for discrimination. Colleges would become second-rate catechetical programs. Many others … Read more

Lady Gaga Changing Her Tune?

Admittedly, I like Lady Gaga, or used to like her. She reminds me of a type of a younger Madonna – someone who is theatrical, a rule breaker, line crosser but talented and able to reinvent herself.   Lately, however, her theatrics have become  increasingly bizarre in a way that is following the trend toward … Read more

Culture and Catholic Identity in Australia

In a few minutes I will be leaving the Radisson Hotel in downtown Sydney to meet a group of local Catholics Jessica Langrell has pulled together. We will dine and I will talk with them about “Culture and Catholic Identity,” using the bruhaha at Notre Dame over Obama has a starting point. I plan on … Read more

Is It Time for a Catholic Tea Party?

Over 750 “tea parties” were held on April 15 of last year, protesting the excesses of the Obama administration — in particular, the pork-stuffed stimulus bill. Initially, the mainstream media tried to ignore the movement. They downplayed its size and influence, until the steady slide of President Obama’s popularity, the growing opposition to Congress’s health-care … Read more

The Good News about Our Bishops

For those who may be lamenting the seeming resurgence of the Catholic Left in the Age of Obama, I would like to point out some good news: This year’s spate of bishops’ assignments have been quite heartening. Since the beginning of 2009, there have been ten appointments announced by the Vatican. All of them should … Read more

The ‘Rhetoric of Rant’ and Religious Controversy

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) was a scandalous bishop, adroit foreign minister, and quintessential survivor who served the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the restored Bourbon monarchy with equally cold-blooded skill. Slippery character though he was, however, Talleyrand also was a wit. In Earthly Powers, his valuable history of the interaction between religion and politics in … Read more

Catholics in Congress: The Ongoing Scandal

The scandal of President Barack Obama receiving an honorary degree at Notre Dame yesterday pales in comparison with the ongoing scandal of Catholics in Congress. Of the 161 Catholics presently serving, only 26 have 100 percent pro-life voting records, while 28 have a zero percent rating. Sixty-five have less than a 20 percent pro-life rating … Read more

Smash the Secular State

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for Barack Obama to speak at the University of Notre Dame — if only because it will put a stop to the flurry of news stories and commentaries about the scandal. (Such as . . . the one you’re presently reading. And my piece from two weeks ago … Read more

The Bishops Who Speak… And Those Who Don’t

  A popular pastime among Catholic commentators lately could be called “counting the bishops.” In the last election, we counted the bishops who spoke out regarding their document on voting, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” or on the qualifications of Barack Obama as a Catholic candidate. With the latest controversy over the upcoming Notre Dame … Read more

Notre Dame Fumbles Its Obama Offensive

Bishop Thomas Wenski celebrated a Mass of Reparation this past Sunday in Orlando at the Cathedral of St. James. Although the Mass was offered in reparation for transgressions “against the dignity and sacredness of human life,” the one specific transgression prompting the liturgy was the decision by the University of Notre Dame to invite President … Read more

Anybody Need a Used Laetare Medal?

As years go, 2009 so far hasn’t been one for the ages. Our economic crisis continues to worsen (my 401ks have tanked so badly I’m thinking of putting what’s left of my retirement money into Chinese armament futures), while our government’s response consists of borrowing money to fund bankruptcy as usual. In Iowa, gay marriage … Read more

Americanist Universities

Was it Oscar Wilde who remarked that life imitates art? Whoever said it, the University of Notre Dame campus is living proof that it’s so. Just look at those trees. Last time I visited Notre Dame it was June. The weather was splendid, with that crystalline splendor that only June — no longer tremulous spring, … Read more

‘The Right Is Mean, and the Left Is Foul’

The rising temperature of the debate over President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Notre Dame has created some heated rhetoric on both sides. Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg criticized Notre Dame’s decision but was himself criticized for complaining about the “uncivil and venomous” comments made by those opposing the honor being bestowed on President … Read more

Notre Dame’s President at a Crossroads

    For the past few years, the buzz about Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame since 2005, has been very positive. In spite of his refusal to ban The Vagina Monologues from the campus, Father Jenkins was viewed as strengthening the Catholic identity of the nation’s most beloved Catholic institution.   … Read more

When Catholic Education Gets ‘Ludacris’

When Pope Benedict XVI addresses Catholic college presidents and diocesan superintendents in Washington, D.C., on April 17, his topic will be the importance of Catholic education. He is likely to urge universities to remain faithful to Catholic teaching, preserve the unity of faith and reason, and prepare young people for the challenges and the suffering … Read more

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