Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama to the Vatican: Give Me Cover

I have met Austin Ruse and heard him speak. His wife, the former Cathleen Cleaver, chief pro-life spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is an even more dynamite paraclete for life than he is. What a couple!

He writes in The Catholic Thing, "A reliable source tells me that someone representing the Obama administration is about to put pressure on the papal nuncio to the United States to get Archbishop Raymond Burke to be quiet."

Now why does the President want to gag Cardinal Burke? You need a bit of background.

Katherine Sabelius is my governor. She was an early and effective supporter of Barak Obama who carried the Kansas caucuses very nicely. Sebelius is a professed Catholic whose views and actions on abortion among other issues are very pro-death. In addition to her legislative and administrative record, her association with Dr. George Tiller is notorious. He is one of the few late term abortionists in the country. His evil work occurs virtually within walking and certainly within easy praying distance of where we live. A jury has just voted to acquit Tiller of 19 counts of violating the state's abortion laws, but is now under investigation by the state medical board. He was one of the largest contributors to Sebelius's campaign and she in turn gave him the use of the Governor's mansion to host a fundraiser for his pro abortion organization.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Bishop of Kansas City, Kansas, is her bishop. He has privately counseled her on the threat to her soul of actively promoting abortion. He has admonished her privately not to present herself for communion and offered her counseling. She spurned his pastoral efforts. He then repeated his injunction publicly. Archbishop Naumann appears to be of that solid central European stock whose hard work tamed the Kansas plains.

President Obama has nominated Sebelius to head Health and Human Services. Naturally enough, if her pastor in Kansas has admonished her not to present herself for communion at home, the same advice applies in Washington, her new base of operations. If A, then B, as John Chamberlain used to say.

Does B follow A in cannon law? Yes it does according to Archbishop L. Burke, formerly archbishop of St. Louis, bishop of La Cross and now Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the cannon law equivalent to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Now candidate Obama got some cover on the abortion from the formation of some "pro abortion Catholic" (an oxymoron?) organizations such as Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance. They remind me of the popular front strategies of the old Communists. In these front groups they could always find "useful idiots" as Lenin described them.

Ruse tells us the Obama administration has commissioned a former Republican office holder to work behind the scenes to shut Burke up. More than one Catholic Blogger has used his blog to put Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" into the President's mouth.

And the call the Mexico City policy a gag rule!


Anonymous said...

I wonder… What would you think of Notre Dame were they to receive Obama if he accepted the nomination as their graduation speaker, but declined the honorary degree out of respect for this difference of opinion over this most volatile issue?

Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...

I think that would be very rather discerning on the President's part.

What would Notre Dame do? They have already invited him and he has accepted. This development would cause them to issue a very "nuanced" statement. The battle among Notre Dame's students, faculty, and alumni would continue (I suspect it is only now building up steam.)


I had a little trouble parsing your comment, did I understand what you were asking?

These could equally be appended to the previous posting.

The best,


Anonymous said...

No, I think you probably got the gist of what I was asking. It seemed to me from reading both your, Ruse's and the Bishop's opinions that there is no doubt great consternation w/ Catholic institutions asking non-Catholics who differ in position on the issue of abortion, to be held up as honorable in any light regardless their other attributes. And I understand this principled position, though, I may disagree w/ it. But that is a different argument. So in my previous remark I was trying to narrow the field to determine what exactly is the main pressure point in the disagreement between conservative Catholics and a Catholic University's decision to invite and honor a sitting President. If I understood correctly the thrust of the Bishop, he was against the university giving the President an honorary degree which would be seen as honoring him and undermining the beliefs of the supposed 'Catholic' institution. I could not clearly discern if, however, he was altogether against even inviting any particular President to speak, if in fact their beliefs on the abortion issue ran counter to that of the Church. My point, thus, was, if they are against the institution honoring Obama w/ the honorary degree, then as a compromise, would the conservative Catholic community still be outraged if the University and he agreed not to honor him in that fashion, but still welcomed him as they have many preceeding Presidents, honoring the 'Office of the President' w/ the opportunity to speak to their next generation of American leaders. If the honorary degree is the only sticking point, I would think Obama would very much welcome the opportunity to speak and to respectfully bring this difference to light to give the respect deserved by the institution for adhering to their principles while remaining open and communal to others w/ differing beliefs. I think he would appreciate the chance to bring to the fore the common ground on the issue while respecting the alternate position and most notably, w/o forcing them to compromise their beliefs. I don't know, it just seems pretty trivial to still ask him to speak, but to state publicly beforehand that they will not honor him w/ the degree b/c of this well known position. Everybody wins. Do you see where I'm coming from? Now, if simply asking him to speak is considered an honor too high, a step too far, I would personally disagree with that decision as I think it symbolizes a view too narrow for an institution of higher learning, but at least I would understand their motive. However, I did not take away that notion from the Bishop's remarks. Perhaps I misread them.

Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...

Dear not so anonymous, Anonymous,

I think part of the problem is that it is not simply a matter of someone with whom we "differ in position on the issue of abortion." We are not talking about differences in opinion. I expand on this in the posting "George Weigel: An Honorary Degree Is Not The Same As an Invitation to Dialogue," which I thought I had posted when I responded above. (I have now.) In that I quote and link to George Weigel's comments which are worth reading in full.

Secondly, as you know, I am not comfortable with the adjective, "conservative," in this context. The orthodox teaching of the church is quite clear from the Didache to the present. If to act on Vatican II's documents and twenty centuries of clear teaching is to be conservative, then I stand convicted. However "orthodox" or "traditional" or simply "catholic" would be more accurate. At least since Edmund Burke, "conservative," has been a term of political, rather than theological, discourse.



Anonymous said...

I applaud the strong and consistent stance taken by some in the Catholic Church. I am not Catholic but evangelical.
It is always difficult to stand for truth while the winds of change and waves of protest crash against you.

Keep fighting. Keep standing.


Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...



The challenge of the Culture of Death and the increasing assertiveness of secularism is creating common ground across the chasm open up by the Reformation.

With Julius II or his immediate successors as popes, the reformers in Luther's time railed against successors of Peter who manifested themselves too much as Princes and to little as signs of contradiction. For their sins, the church suffered.

Popes like Paul VI, John Paul, and Benedict are manifesting the true meaning of the Primacy of Peter: to stand athwart the age and proclaim the teaching of Christ when no one wants to hear it, to be the lonely heralds of Truth.

In 1968 Paul VI warned that if the church's teaching on contraception were abandoned, the world would soon become opened to abortion, forced sterilization, and euthanasia. He was dismissed as alarmist. Sadly, his forecast was swiftly vindicated.

If the papacy becomes a rock standing firm against the age's flood on which both Catholics and Evangelicals can find sure footing, it will become a source of reunion rather than division.

Prayerfully yours,