Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins accuses the "Notre Dame 88" of threatening peace and order on campus

University of Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins has suggested that the 88 pro-life individuals who peacefully demonstrated their disagreement with the university for honoring President Obama with the commencement address and an honorary law degree last May should face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine because they "threatened peace and order." See here.

Fr. Jenkins has a distorted notion of what constitutes peace. Our Lord wept over Jerusalem and said, "If only you knew what makes for peace" (Lk 19:42). And now we do know (those of us who are Christian in more than name). Only a life lived in conformity with the mind of Christ as shown to us by His Catholic Church can bring true peace. By contrast, "Pride inflates man; envy consumes him; avarice makes him restless; anger rekindles his passions; gluttony makes him ill; comfort destroys him; lies imprison him; murder defiles him...the very pleasures of sin become the instruments of punishment in the hands of God." (Pope Innocent III, On the Misery of the Human Condition).

It is our duty as Catholics to remind others of these truths and to expose those who are promoting sin or error. But often we will find ourselves being criticized (even by other Catholics, whose commitment toward Catholic teaching is, at best, questionable) for doing so. This should never deter us. When such people accuse us of "negativity," [or even as "threatening peace and order"], we should recall the words of Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand: "..the rejection of evil and of sin is a response which is purely positive and morally called for, and it possesses a high moral value. One cannot truly love God, without hating the devil. One cannot really love the truth, without hating error. One cannot find the truth and grasp it clearly as such, without seeing through errors. Knowledge of truth is inseparably linked with knowledge of error, with the unmasking of error.* All talk about the superiority of 'yes' over 'no,' about the 'negativity' of rejecting that which should be rejected, is so much idle chatter." (The Cult of the 'Positive').

Indeed, as John Cardinal Newman said in his Grammar of Assent, "I would maintain that fear of error is simply necessary to the genuine love of truth." In his Introduction to the Devout Life, that precious and popular work, St. Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Church, says that, "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry wolf when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock and in every way and place we may meet him."

Pope John XXIII said essentially the same thing: " long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith." (Ad Petri Cathedram No. 93).
Father Jenkins doesn't understand this. And Notre Dame is poorer for it.


Cleghornboy said...

There is the authentic peace of Christ, which is rooted in truth. And there is the artificial "peace and order" of the concentration camp. Which do you prefer?

Jonathan said...

The only peace the ND88 have threatened is Father Jenkin's peace of mind. He was getting comfortable in his dissent until their presence reminded him of the seriousness of abortion and just how morally wrong it is to honor a President (or anyone else) who is supportive of the culture of death.

Yes, shame on the ND88 for pricking his conscience and reminding him of moral absolutes. Off with their heads.

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