Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Notre Dame's actions belie its bull

"Woman, behold your son."

Thus said Jesus to Our Lady -- the Virgin Mary -- just before He died on the cross. What did Jesus say next?

A) "Remember, woman, that dialog is paramount, and you must not be doctrinaire. Pilate, after all, made a compelling point about truth."

B) "Always look on the bright side of life."

C) Speaking to John, "Behold your mother."

D) "Arrest him!"

If you answered A, B or (especially) D, you probably are an administrator at the University of Notre Dame -- the university of Our Lady. You long ago stopped contemplating what it means to be a Catholic school named for the Mother of God and, truth be told, you probably think Jesus was a sucker for turning down a devilish deal after 40 days in the desert.

Then again, we live in interesting times, and it should be no surprise to us that evil should roll in and out of Catholic chanceries and colleges like trains roll in and out of Grand Central Station. Or would if Amtrak were half as efficient as Beelzebub.

ANOTHER hell-bound train left the station Friday. Left the station named for the mother of Jesus.

After meeting at the front gate for prayer and speeches, Alan Keyes, a conservative politician and commentator, pushed a baby stroller onto the Notre Dame campus.

Two hundred feet past the front gate, he and 20 other protesters were arrested.

Keyes — a long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, 2004 and 2008 — came to Notre Dame on Friday to protest the University's invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at commencement.

"We are walking onto this campus of people, visiting what ought to be a kingdom of God," Keyes told a gathering of about 75 who met outside the campus gate, "but instead has been a kingdom of darkness."

As two dozen students looked on, Keyes and the other protesters pushed the strollers — each containing a doll covered in stage blood — along the sidewalk shortly after noon. Officers, who had been waiting for protesters to enter campus, quickly stopped the procession.

THAT'S the South Bend Tribune's short version of events. The video above is the protesters' long version. And if you search YouTube, it's not difficult to find videos of Notre Dame security officials confronting Keyes, et al, outside the university gates -- on public property -- to forbid them from stepping on campus.

Leave aside for the moment that Alan Keyes is a well-known nutwagon and, in fact, is matched in the "their zeal consumes them" department by Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, arrested a week earlier on the Notre Dame campus. What the video shows is security forces stopping an understated, peaceful and prayerful protest march against abortion . . . on the campus of a Catholic university.

Cops, with paddy wagons standing by, busting up a protest against abortion by a bunch of Catholics praying the Rosary. Busting up the protest and arresting the protesters on the orders of a Catholic priest.

What's wrong with this picture?

ALAN KEYES DOES one thing in his life that's not marred by intemperate rhetoric or -- let's face it -- plain old crazy talk, and the president of the country's most prestigious Catholic university makes sure he goes to jail for it. All because Keyes and his band of protesters find it offensive that the Catholic academic, the Rev. John Jenkins, will honor a notoriously pro-choice president at his Catholic institution in defiance of the nation's Catholic bishops.

Imagine, if you will, Bull Connor as a regular at the faculty club. Fascist repression over brie and a tasteful chablis.

The pictures of peaceful Catholics being arrested on a Catholic campus for upholding Catholic teaching speaks louder than any of Notre Dame's public-relations bunkum in defense of its giving props to Pilate. One's gut can recognize evil when it is encountered, and sophistry thus can persuade no longer.

And it no longer matters that Alan Keyes and Randall Terry love TV cameras like a hog loves slop. It becomes irrelevant that PR-challenged yahoos are driving around -- and flying over -- South Bend with giant pictures of aborted babies.

IT'S ALL DWARFED by a single spectacle: prayerful Catholics being set upon by cops under orders from a priest, all because the prayerful Catholics had the temerity to insist that a Catholic university not render unto Caesar -- a Caesar with the blood of innocents on his policy prerogatives -- the blessing of an institution dedicated to the Mother of God.

Notre Dame. Our Lady.

Now back to that devilish deal in Matthew, Chapter 4:

Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."
At this, Jesus said to him, "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'"

NOTRE DAME is prostrate. Has been for a while now. And it doesn't even have the kingdoms of the world to show for it.

Or, for that matter, a decent football team.

Notre Dame sits within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. And it is within the purview of Bishop John M. D'Arcy, who is boycotting the university's graduation exercises, to decide which institutions within his diocese may -- and may not -- call themselves Catholic.

Given the university's recent actions -- actions which follow a pattern over the past quarter century -- is it too much to ask that the good bishop put Notre Dame, at long last, out of our misery?

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