Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity University in Washington D.C., accused pro-lifers protesting Obama's speech at Notre Dame of being "Catholic vigilantes" that are turning back the clock to pre-Vatican II times, when supposedly the Church had no respect for academic freedom.
Speaking on Trinity's campus in Northeast Washington, McGuire devoted almost all of her speech to the controversy surrounding the decision of Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, to honor President Barack Obama despite having the strongest pro-abortion record of any previous President.
"A half-century of progress for Catholic higher education is at risk of slipping back into those insular, parochial pre-Vatican II days," when, according to McGuire, "academic freedom was not valued within the Catholic Church."
"The real scandal at Notre Dame today is not that the president of the United States is speaking at commencement," McGuire said. "The real scandal is the misappropriation of sacred teachings for political ends. The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the commencement address of the nation's first African American president."
"This ugly spectacle -McGuire continued- is an embarrassment to all Catholics. The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred."
McGuire continued, "The religious vigilantism apparent in the Notre Dame controversy arises from organizations that have no official standing with the church, but who are successful in gaining media coverage as if they were speaking for Catholicism. . . . They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can hardly recognize. Theirs is a narrow faith devoted almost exclusively to one issue. They defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living. They mock social justice as a liberal mythology."
This is not the first time McGuire has taken a stand against pro-life Catholics and has said to be "proud of having a plaque hanging in my office that says: 'Well Behaved Women Don't Make History'."
After the nomination of Trinity alumna Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, McGuire was requested by several alumni to distance the university from Sebelius' strongly pro-abortion views.
McGuire responded in her blog saying that "the tactics of vilification, condemnation and excommunication will only serve to distance politicians from any faith expression, and to make the general electorate even more wary of any candidate who is Catholic. We need to return this discussion to the high moral ground of teaching persuasively, not lobbing hate mail."
"Trinity," she continued, "is, indeed, proud of the achievements of Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius (both alumni at Trinity.) Our pride in their achievements in reaching some of the highest public offices in our nation's history does not mean that we agree with all of their political positions. We obviously disagree on the matter of abortion policy where we affirm the Church's teachings. But there are many other policy positions where their political decisions and Church teachings align quite well."
Trinity University was originally founded in 1897 as "Trinity College" by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Currently, Trinity enrolls some 1,700 students in degree programs.
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