My Day at Notre Dame

There was an eerie stillness and silence across the Notre Dame campus as my colleagues, a few of the seniors and I walked across the campus very early on the morning of Commencement Day. It was the calm before the storm of what we knew was an historic day.

I started with a national Foxnews interview along with Fr. Richard McBrien. We were asked our views of the Commencement. My message was: Everyone can imagine people they would protest speaking at a commencement: an avowed racist, anti-Semite, or advocate of terrorism. So the failure to object to one who is unwilling to call for an end to abortion is the failure to see that abortion is as bad or worse than those other evils. We have to stop trivializing abortion.

Moreover, the university gave the President an honorary law degree. Law exists to protect human rights; but this president has admitted that he doesn’t know when a child receives human rights. How can he defend human rights when he doesn’t know who has them?

After speaking to various media, I greeted people on campus who were coming from all over the country to stand with the courageous students who boycotted their own commencement and invited me to lead them in an alternate ceremony.

After I greeted and blessed the demonstrators who were at the campus entrance, and concelebrated a special Mass for Life, I led the Class of 2009 Vigil for Life. We meditated on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, on the victory of life over death, and on the fact that Jesus is King over every nation, over the courts, the Congress, and the White House. As I gave the students and their families reflections on these truths, the current occupant of the White House was calling the graduates to have “open minds, open hearts” and a spirit of dialogue.

Now dialogue with our opponents on this issue is something we at Priests for Life specialize in. I maintain friendships with abortion advocates and practicing abortionists. The clarity of our own convictions never means we despise, demonize, or shut out other people. And yes, we are willing to collaborate with others in morally legitimate ways to reduce the numbers of abortions.

But the President’s remarks had a glaring omission. While willing to dialogue and to promote adoption, he gave no indication of any willingness to protect the children in the womb. And that’s the crux of the issue. In his remarks, he referred to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Certainly, his call for open minds does not include openness to reconsider the segregation issue. There’s a right answer to it, period.

So it is with the protection of the unborn. And as quiet again descended on campus at the end of the day, I reflected… Open minds, yes, but for the purpose of eventually firmly closing upon the truth! And isn’t that supposed to be the purpose of Catholic universities?

Fr. Frank Pavone

By

Father Frank A. Pavone is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard.

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  • goral

    Back in my “smarter” days I used to think that the brain through the mouth could solve all problems. Many Good Fridays I was dismayed that the Lamb refused to talk to a guy who wanted to reason with him and hopefully would let Him go.

    Now I’m getting closer to understanding the silence. How do you talk to someone who asks – What is truth? How do you dialog with those who ask – where is life in the womb?

    We are living in mediocre times. The speaker reflected the crowd. Their lukewarm hearts and minds loved his uninspiring and spineless messianic poppycock.

    They looked upon him whom they pleased.

  • http://4marks.com DonHudzinski

    I love you, has surely messed thing up, it as made us all into idols, little gods of weaken love due to our sins.

  • MichelleGA

    God bless Fr. Pavone!!

  • Ann

    God bless each and every one of the students who boycotted their own graduation, and God bless Fr. Pavone and his leadership in our fight for life!

    May each of these young men and women be true examples of the Catholic life before our broken world.

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