Professor Rick Garnett, who teaches law at the University of Notre Dame and runs the blog Mirror of Justice, has taken issue with my article yesterday about the Ground Zero mosque, specifically where I called out Professor Robert George for failing to defend, not the Muslims who wish to build the mosque, but the principle of religious freedom at stake. He objects specifically to my calling Professor George and Mr. Charles Colson frauds and says that the charge is “unworthy” of me.
Last week, I was back home in Connecticut and, as mentioned, enjoyed curling up with my old 1970 Compton’s Encyclopedias. As a child I used to fall asleep reading them, and I reverted to this practice again. It seems to ensure a sound sleep. Among the entries that caught my attention was five paragraph entry for “Islam,” an amount of consideration that now seems woefully inadequate. (Curiously, John Calvin also merits a mere five paragraphs.) The entry for Islam begins thus:
This week at Q & A, we are focusing on the contributions made to America, and to the Catholic Church in the United States, by those whose parents were immigrants and who might, therefore, lose their citizenship if this ridiculous tinkering with the 14th Amendment were actually to be enacted. Our first example is James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death in 1921. Gibbons was one of the “anchor babies” the right wing is yapping about. He was born in Baltimore in 1834 but his family moved back to Ireland in 1839, only returning to the United States in 1853. Commenting on Gibbons and his extraordinary contributions to America and the American Church is Sean Caine, communications director for the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
In a time when Catholic leaders wince at the thought of being photographed with a politician for fear of being branded “pro this” or “anti that” it is nearly impossible to imagine a Prince of the Church among the most trusted advisors to several U.S. presidents. In doing so, Cardinal James Gibbons not only showed—but personified—how Roman Catholicism was a natural part of American life.
When the NAACP asked the leaders and members of the Tea Party to call out racist expressions in their midst, there were hoots and howls – and deceitful splicing of video – to show that there are no racists in the Tea Party, that raising concern about racism is a smear tactic, etc.
I missed, until last night, a post at the New York Times’s “Opinionator” by Linda Greenhouse in which she notes the way cultural and social changes that are “in plain sight” are often missed until a judge is forced to confront them in deciding a case.
In an interview with National Review shortly after the release – perhaps it is better to say the promulgation –of the Manhattan Declaration, Professor Robert P. George, one of the main movers behind the Declaration, said: “I hope that President Obama will understand that the signatories to the Manhattan Declaration are determined to defend the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage, and respect for religious freedom. On these issues, they cannot compromise, and they will not remain silent.”
The President spoke about the proposed mosque and community center to be built near the site of the 9/11 attack yesterday. The headline in the New York Times reads “Obama Strongly Backs Islam Center Near 9/11 Site” and Politico.com runs with the headline “Obama stands up for Ground Zero mosque.” I have just read the actual text of the President’s remarks and these headlines are not quite right. And, this is a distinction with a difference.
We close out our week of asking about Ex corde Ecclesiae with Professor John Cavdinia, Theology Professor at the University of Notre Dame and McGrath-Cavadini Director, Institute for Church Life.
The question: What is the impact of Ex Corde Ecclesiae looking back from our vantage point today?
I have a complex reaction to this question.
The following is a Guest Commentary from Bishop David O'Connell, C.M., who was recently ordained as the Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton, New Jersey, but who previously served for 12 years as the President of the Catholic University of America.