Scandals at Catholic colleges create little more than a blip on the radar screen these days. But even among perversions like the V-Monologues, homosexual film fests, and porn peddler Larry Flynt speaking at Georgetown, etc. Notre Dame's invitation to Barrack Obama to give the 2009 commencement speech and receive an honorary degree stands out. America Magazine, the mouthpiece of the dissent-ridden Jesuits, featured an article yesterday (Three Cheers for Notre Dame) by Michael Winters chortling that he is "thrilled." Apparently Winters gets the same shiver up his leg as Chris Matthews when Obama pontificates, which may explain the vitriolic and extended ad hominem attack he launched against the "right wing of the Church" who opposed ND's action. After decrying the supposed lack of charity among the protesters, Winters (no doubt patting himself on the back for his own charity) described them as "so crazy, so uncharitable, so frothing-at-the-mouth unreasonable." He went on to smugly label all those with whom he disagrees "Pharisees."
As I read Winters' article I thought of the psychological term "transference" which applies when someone accuses others of his own faults. The "conservatives" protesting Notre Dame's action aren't the Pharisees. That designation more aptly applies to Winters himself, Notre Dame, and Barrack Obama.
I'll make my case.
Why did Jesus condemn the pharisees? It wasn't because of their "judgmentalism" as Winters suggests. It was for their hypocrisy. And who are the hypocrites here?
First Obama: Isn't it the height of hypocrisy to claim to want to make abortion rare while doing everything in your power to advance it and force those who object to fund it? Isn't it hypocrisy to pay lip service to "choice" while coercing medical and health care workers to perform and facilitate abortion or lose their jobs? Isn't it hypocrisy to force pro-life taxpayers to fund abortion in the third world and pay to cannibalize little babies for their stem cells while you continue to claim your actions don't expand abortion? If Obama were a Catholic his evil deeds would fall under the condemnation of Canon Law 915. As a public and obstinate sinner promoting abortion he would be denied Communion (if he had a faithful bishop).
But Notre Dame invited him anyway illustrating that they are Pharisees as well, welcoming the chief priest into their midst. The Pharisees knew what was right, true, and good, but chose evil out of human respect. That is exactly what Notre Dame is doing and it is exactly what Jesus condemned. What makes them even more guilty is the pretense that they are Catholic. Like the Pharisees who paid lip service to Yahweh while failing to follow His decrees, Notre Dame pays lip service to Christ and his Church while advancing His enemies. Isn't that the essence of hypocrisy?
The pharisaism of Notre Dame will be exposed for all the world to see on graduation day when the administration, the faculty, and the honored speaker (in the words of Matthew 23) metaphorically "widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels" in the academic procession. They will "take places of honor...and front seats" at the ceremony and look for "marks of respect in public." Obama and Notre Dame's administration will stand out as the "frauds," "blind fools," and "whitewashed tombs" that Jesus condemned. Many times Jesus reminded the Pharisees that their fathers killed the prophets who challenged them to forsake their evil ways. Which brings me to Winters himself whose article aims to destroy the reputations of Notre Dame's critics as they speak prophetic words of warning.
Those gathered outside the campus on May 17th will be atoning for the hypocrisy inside, when the true descendants of the Pharisees honor a man guilty of "the blood of the just ones shed on the earth." The protesters, like the prophets before them, will be calling for repentance. Matthew 23 is clear. Notre Dame's Pharisees will gather as "whitewashed sepulchres" to honor a politician steeped in the dead bodies of Christ's babies. "I yearned to gather your children, as a mother bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused me," Jesus says. Notre Dame's actions will scandalize the graduates and further enable the killing of the unborn by giving the murderer-in-chief cover for his evil deeds. Like Herod's adultery, Notre Dame's betrayal calls for a John the Baptist to arise and condemn it.
The ivory tower of Catholic academia has too often become a temple of empty words. Jesus, the word made flesh, who spoke with authority, is unwanted. His truth must be silenced as "intolerant and judgmental" because it contradicts the desires of the world. But Jesus warned what would happen when He is rejected. "Recall the saying, 'You will find your temple deserted.' I tell you, you will not see me from this time on until you declare, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" And that fearsome day will be the end of the world.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. Notre Dame cannot serve both God and money no matter how many fellow Pharisees cheer their evil actions. When the Lord returns, as He will to judge, will He find any faith at Notre Dame?