Shake Down the Thunder on Notre Dame

"Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame! Wake up the echoes cheering her name. Send a volley cheer on high; shake down the thunder from the sky. What though the odds be great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all, while her loyal sons go marching onward to victory" (Notre Dame Fight Song)

I used to sing these words with tremendous zeal while a student at Notre Dame (ND) in the ’80s and especially as a member of the ND Glee Club for a year. How proud we were to belt out this most famous of college fight songs and rally the troops for battle on the gridiron — and elsewhere! ND alumni do not need to be reminded how deeply embedded in our hearts this tune and these words are; we only need to be assured that they still mean what they indicate: namely, that Notre Dame’s loyal sons are still "marching onward to victory" (of Catholic orthodoxy, that is.)

The decision of Notre Dame President, Fr. John Jenkins, to invite our nation’s abortion-promoter-in-chief to speak at the May 17th commencement is such an egregious violation of our loyalty to our alma mater that it’s hard to see how these words actually to Notre Dame apply any more. Who wants to "wake up the echoes cheering her name" now? Fr. Jenkins has just shaken down a sort of spiritual thunder on what used to be the country’s premier Catholic university, and woe to him and the rest of the ND leadership for their decision to put Notre Dame definitively outside the scope of Catholic orthodoxy. It’s worse than that, of course, because Fr. Jenkins and his team have reaffirmed time and again, in the face of massive protests, their commitment to having President Obama speak at graduation and to receiving an honorary doctorate. It just doesn’t get more tragic than that.

Let’s be honest: all the hand wringing and justification for Fr. Jenkins’ decision is just fluff. Despite the unprecedented tour de force of close to fifty US bishops objecting to this travesty, Fr. Jenkins’s claim that his decision is "consistent" with the bishops’ 2004 directive on speakers at Catholic colleges — simply because Barack Obama is not a Catholic — is, well, absurd on its face. No person in his right mind buys it.

And that’s the point — Notre Dame leadership is not "in its right mind" any more. The ones who made or endorsed this decision are not thinking with the mind of the Church let alone the Mind of Christ. This doesn’t just apply to Fr. Jenkins either. It also applies to his superior, Fr. Hugh Cleary, who has an obligation to demand Jenkins’ immediate resignation from his post to end this scandal but who chose instead to make a sappy, glowing, politically-correct statement which dares call this hurtful fiasco a "teachable moment."

No, Father Cleary — a "teachable moment" would be your removing Fr. Jenkins from office to show the world that the Church really means what she says in calling abortion an "abominable crime" (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes , 51).

As far as I am concerned, a thunder of judgment has just been shaken down on Notre Dame, its Board of Directors and any faculty, students or alumni who endorse the decision to bring Barack Obama to Notre Dame’s campus to sully Our Lady’s good name and our deepest loyalties.

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  • goral

    What’s on display here is the continued insolence of clearly half of catholics in this country. That is substantial. They are following a proud American tradition of bucking the conventional wisdom.
    Catholic orthodoxy is a burden these sinister citizens don’t want to bear. They tolerate it until it’s the right moment, then they display their bent and bias for the rest of us to witness and be amazed.
    Well, I’m neither amazed nor surprised. We know who the messiah of the catholic left flank is.
    If they voted him into office, not to honor him would be a denial of their true loyalty.

  • “Bucking the conventional wisdom” is a fault line that runs through American society and culture going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. We threw off the lawful king’s authority by force of arms, remember? And to this day we still don’t like for anyone to tell us what to do. It’s the great flaw of the American Church that we dislike and suspect authority, and we’re seeing that flaw on lavish display before the whole world with the Notre Dame scandal. A scandal it remains, but a typically American one. Pray to Our Lady, Queen of the Americas and Patroness of the United States. I think she’s the only one with the remedy.

  • goral

    Your comment, PrairieHawk is pretty much along my line of thinking. American success dictates our thinking and extends it into the spiritual realm. It follows then that it is in heaven as it is on earth.

    Notre Dame is also a victim of it’s success. As other Catholic institutions, she has become a whore in the secular world. The name in the mind of various commentators doesn’t even bring up images of Our Lady but rather some… French dame.

    As with other scandals the responsibility for them rests at the top.
    Fr. Hugh Cleary’s name needs to be trumpeted as the cleric who fell from grace.
    Fr. Euteneuer is doing this with his article.

  • bwnasca

    Isn’t it amazing that the grace-aided intellect tells us something is true, but
    the “will” deliberately trumps it. That’s what’s happening here. Fr. Jenkins
    knows it’s wrong to honor Obama, but has deliberately exercised his “will” in a
    harmful way. Wake up, Fr. Jenkins.

  • AllisonC

    Notre Dame and the Jesuits have been leaving Catholicism behind for several years, as evidenced by the almost yearly presentations of “The Vagina Monologues”, gay pride weeks, and other festivities that fly in the face of our faith. Georgetown University is no better. They should have moved the location of Mr. Obama’s speech to the gym rather than covering the IHS as was demanded. The universities are all showing their true status. If my child was attending college today it would be at Franciscan in Stuebenville or at John Paul II in Oceanside, because they are truly Catholic, not only nominally. Prairiehawk is absolutely right, we need to pray to Our Lady for her help in our time of trouble. Just as the vandals attacked the Roman Empire when they were too concerned with the debauchery, sexual excesses and blood and circuses, so too will the enemies of the United States bring us down. We have lost our moral compass and our willingness to work, and I fear that this may lead to the fall of our soveriegnty.

  • bluestorm

    AllisonC: It is the Congregation of Holy Cross, not Jesuits, that is in charge of the University of Notre Dame. See