Predictably, President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, which included a call for us all to be nice to each other even as we fundamentally disagree on abortion, is being hailed as a great step forward, and those who protested decried as religious vigilantes. Not so predictably, L'Osservatore Romano seems to have come out on the side of President Obama!
Appeasement and its dangers
Personally, on this one, I think Fr Z has called it right:
"On Sunday we heard resound from Notre Dame well-crafted speeches well-delivered.
They were designed to shift the present controversies from the basis of reason to that of emotion and they succeeded.
The backdrop was perfect. Controversy insured high reportage. Thousands of cheering young fans, products of the education they just received, blithely drank up their obviously deserved praise. Gray-haired veteran liberals whose skills were honed by a real education and decades of progressivist trench warfare provided the spear-carriers of an more authentic ecclesiastical establishment, a Church establishment as it truly ought to be if we lived in a more just world. A few pathetic court-jesters shouted incoherently during the President’s speech. They provided the students with some entertainment and gave the Doctoratus in Chief his chance to reveal his patient benevolence by means of a prepared one liner.
Who needs The Tudors?
This was like watching Henry suborn the English Church away from the interference of Rome.
Neither President, Jenkins nor Obama, needed to say much of substance. And they didn’t. All they had to do to vindicate the inevitable rightness of their agendas was to sound reasonable...
President Obama, wise realist, offered astonishing insight. For example, you surely noted his stunning admission that the two sides in the abortion debate – wait for it – have irreconcilable differences! In the final analysis we heard various expressions of "can’t we all just get along" even as we were being told to "shut up".
A great goal has been held up for us. Gaze with wonder upon the new calf. Our new goal is dialogue. Common ground is our promised land. There we will find healing from divisions and lots more talk. Endless dialogue and then more dialogue. Our side might not be able to say very much, but that is neither here nor there. It’s the dialogue which is important.
But this dialogue must not be allowed to become mean-spirited. Forefend! We must not "demonize" – a favorite new word – anyone with their past records or the Church’s clear principles about the sanctity of human life. In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.
The progressivist side knows they will not win by arguments. They win by projecting the image of deep-caring, of brow-furrowed nuance, of struggling with those hard decisions..."
Fr Z is pessimistic in the wake of the positive coverage of the event, of any action being taken to make Catholic University's behave in a catholic manner. Hard to argue. Particularly given the mixed messages coming out of Rome...
Remember the Brazilian excommunications - supported by the Congregation for Bishops, but criticised in L'Osservatore Romano by Archbishop Fisichella of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Then, when most American blogs wrote up President Obama's first one hundred days in Office as a litany of pro-abortion measures (starting with allowing them to be funded using foreign aid, support for embryonic stem cell research, and moving up to legislation to remove conscience exemptions for health workers), L'Osservatore carried a relatively positive piece on the President.
A week ago, Archbishop Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura gave some fairly tough messages on the need to stand up for the defense of life in the US. But now L'Osservatore has come out in support of President Obama's Notre Dame appearance.
Now L'Osservatore Romano is not 'the Vatican' in the sense of being magisterial teaching per se. Still, it is often used to indicate the directions the Church's officialdom is heading in. So strange stuff indeed...
Wake up friends
We're engaged in a war. We always have been. But at the moment it is switching from being a cold war to a hot one. Trying to ignore it won't help.
Fr Z advocates right liturgy as our prime weapon. I'd argue that it is a necessary weapon - but not a sufficient one. Sedevacantists, schismatics and their fellow travellers after all, use the traditional mass too.
The recovery of orthodox belief and knowledge of the faith has to be one of the weapons in the war.
So too does action by catholics in the public square.
We need to be building stronger links between those on the same side - working together, not attacking each other instead of the real enemy.
And we need to pray, pray, pray!