Loading
Pro-Obama ‘political operators’ trying to divide Catholics, George Weigel claims
George Weigel
George Weigel

.- Saying that Notre Dame is acting as if it is not a member of the local Church in its response to the controversy, Catholic commentator George Weigel has charged that "political operators" in the Obama administration are trying to divide Catholics from their bishops by co-opting Catholic intellectuals and their institutions.

In his May 13 column in the Denver Catholic Register, Weigel noted Boston College theology professor Fr. Kenneth Himes’ charge that there is a "political game" going on in the dispute over the University of Notre Dame’s commencement invitation to President Barack Obama.

Fr. Hines had commented in a Boston Globe story about former Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon’s decision to decline Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal.

He granted that some "well-meaning people" think Notre Dame has given away its Catholic identity. However, he also warned of a "political game" which results in demonizing those who disagree with you, questioning their integrity and character, and branding them as "moral poison."

"Some people have simply reduced Catholicism to the abortion issue, and consequently, they have simply launched a crusade to bar anything from Catholic institutions that smacks of any sort of open conversation," he said in the Boston Globe.

Responding to Fr. Himes, Weigel said if Fr. Hines was referring to the leading critics of President Obama’s Notre Dame honors, the priest was "perilously close" to committing calumny.

"Yes, there are self-serving nuts in the forest, some of whom have seized the Obama/Notre Dame issue for their own purposes," Weigel said. "But why does Father Himes waste time bashing fringe crazies? Why not engage the arguments of the serious critics?"

Weigel cited as one such critic Notre Dame graduate Prof. Russell Hittinger, a professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa.

Hittinger has said that Notre Dame has adopted a "purely American low-church" position of institutional autonomy by acting as if its local bishop is not worthy of attention.

The Obama controversy, Hittinger said, has nothing to do with academic freedom or ecclesiastical supervision but is "ecclesiological all the way down."

"What Church is Notre Dame ‘in,’ if any?" Hittinger asked. "Notre Dame is speaking and acting as though it were not a member of the local Church, let alone Rome."

Weigel said this comment was "exactly right," alleging that the actual "political game" is being played by "very smart political operators" in the Obama administration.

He charged that these operators, noting the presidential election results, have sensed the possibility of "driving a wedge through the Catholic community in America, dividing Catholics from their bishops and thus securing the majority Catholic vote."

Weigel said they are targeting Catholic intellectuals and their institutions and journals, which he described as "the soft underbelly" of Catholic resistance to the Obama administration’s "radical agenda."

"It’s a clever move on the political chessboard, and barring extraordinary actions from the bishops, it will likely meet with considerable success," Weigel continued.

He closed by again reiterating the question: "Just what Church are Notre Dame and its supporters ‘in,’ anyway?"


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
25

Liturgical Calendar

April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 21:1-14

Gospel
Date
04/25/14
04/24/14
04/23/14

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Mark, the Evangelist »

Saint
Date
04/24/14

Homily of the Day

Jn 21:1-14

Homily
Date
04/25/14
04/24/14
04/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: