Friday, July 29, 2011

NCR interview with Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC

In a National Catholic Register article entitled "Saving Notre Dame's Soul," reporter Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC, Notre Dame history professor and member of the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life committee. He speaks frankly and forthrightly on a number of issues related to Notre Dame's identity and future, including the Roxanna Martino affair, whether the University has yet recovered from the Obama commencement, the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life, the future of the leadership of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, and the need for the University's administration to make a more serious effort at institutionally supporting the cause for life.

Some excerpts:

On Notre Dame's pro-life efforts:
"If Notre Dame is truly going to be “unambiguously pro-life,” it needs to pursue a much stronger effort to support and sustain the pro-life cause. It should proudly be an institution dedicated to training a new generation of pro-life leaders. It must give strong institutional support to the efforts of Project Guadalupe. It should assure that her students leave more likely to be pro-life than when they enter, which is not the case presently. The institution should do something more to support pregnant students in need, such as is being done through the Room at the Inn organization associated with Belmont Abbey College. Surely, the university leadership should overcome its timidity and speak up forcefully for life in the public domain."

On Notre Dame's identity and future:
"...Notre Dame is a place that is not clear about its mission and identity. There is a debate here as to whether it will be a Catholic university at its heart or just in a peripheral way. That Notre Dame is not sure what foundational document will guide its present and future is the source of many of our problems."

On the future of the Center's leadership:
"David Solomon had the courage to speak in opposition to Notre Dame’s honoring of President Obama. This stance certainly seems to have led to recriminations against him. Already, one effort was made to oust him from his directorship of the Center for Ethics and Culture (CEC), but this was foiled because of fear of bad publicity for Notre Dame. But the administration seems determined to move him on without any concern for the damage that would do to the important work of the CEC. In doing so, the administration is removing the person whose great pro-life work was recently recognized by the national University Faculty for Life organization with its annual Smith Award. The administration seems to want to neuter the person who has been the leader of our pro-life efforts at Notre Dame. It is little short of a disgrace. We need a firm statement from the administration that David Solomon will continue in his duties until all stages of Project Guadalupe are up and running. Notre Dame should be a place that appreciates and celebrates all that he has done and is doing."

Read the full interview with Fr. Miscamble here, and comment with your thoughts on this post in our comments section.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visiting the Beach: An Act of Civil Disobedience

The New York Times ran an article today about Israeli women smuggling Palestinians out of the southern part of the West Bank to enjoy a simple day out at the beach- something many Palestinians have never experienced before. Ilana Hammerman, the Israeli woman who instigated this act of civil disobedience, wanted to protest the Law of Entry which restricts Palestinian movement in the Holy Land. Explaining her actions, Ilana Hammerman said simply, "One day in the future, people will ask, like they did of the Germans: ‘Did you know?’ And I will be able to say, ‘I knew. And I acted.’"

Read the full story here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Contraceptives likely to be included in national health coverage

According to the Washington Times, "A nonpartisan Institute of Medicine panel recommended Tuesday that contraception and a handful of other services related to women’s health be considered preventative and must be covered by insurance companies without charging co-payments." Apparently, women's health recommendations were considered too sensitive an issue to be placed in the actual healthcare bill, so now it is at the discretion of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to determine which recommendations will be adopted as part of the law. Because of the bill's ambiguous wording about the power of the secretary, Sebelius is able to force all taxpaying Americans to pay for the contraceptives of others. The conservative Family Research Council said including the morning-after pill in the insurance guidelines “essentially would mandate coverage for abortion.” “If HHS includes these mandates, the conscience rights of millions of Americans will be violated,” Jeanne Monahan, the director of the council's Center for Human Dignity, said in a statement. “HHS should focus on items and services that prevent actual diseases, and not include controversial services just to placate the abortion industry.” Read the full story here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New York's redefinition of marriage

Friend of the Center, Prof. Robert George of Princeton, weighs in on the recent redefinition of marriage by the New York state legislature. You can read his interview in the National Review Online here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Secularism and education

Irish Times columnist John Waters reflects on what teaching religion really does for children, and why the struggle in Ireland over whether to continue religious instruction in its national schools is a struggle over what education is really for. An excerpt:

"Properly understood, religion enables the opening up of the child’s natural understanding of his/her own structure and relationship with the totality of reality. True education involves the proffering of a tradition in its entirety, together with the freedom to interrogate it. Its fundamental objective is not the “inculcation” of anything, still less the indoctrination of values or beliefs. That Irish Catholicism has tended to misunderstand the meaning of the word “freedom” is insufficient reason to replace a stunted form of propaganda with an outrightly sinister one."

Read the full article here.