Endine Ameerika Ühendriikide suursaadik Püha Tooli juures, Mary Ann Glendon, teatas katoliiklikule Notre Dame’i ülikoolile, et loobub nende Laetare medalist, mis pidanuks talle üle antama 17. mail ülikooli lõpuaktusel.
Praegune Paavstliku Sotsiaalteaduste Akadeemia president ja Harvardi ülikooli professor Glendon kinnitas Vatikani uudisteagentuuri Zenit teatel, et oli mullu sügisel selle tunnustuse saamise teatest väga liigutatud. Mitu kuud hiljem kuulis aga, üleandmistseremoonia kõnet on kutsutud pidama president Barack Obama, kellele antakse sama ülikooli audoktori kraad.
“Pikaajalise USA katoliku piiskoppide konverentsi nõunikuna ei saanud ma midagi parata, et olin pettunud, kuuldes, et Notre Dame kavatseb presidendile ka aukraadi anda,” tunnistas Glendon.
Glendoni (just nagu ka paljude USA piiskoppide, k.a. Notre Dame’i ülikooli piirkonna piiskopi) hinnangul pole see vastavuses USA Katoliku Piiskoppide Konverentsi 2004. aasta dokumendiga “Katoliiklased poliitilises elus”, mille kohaselt ei tohiks katoliiklikud institutsioonid autasudega tunnustada inimesi, kes ei austa kiriku fundamentaalseid moraaliprintsiipe, sest see jätaks mulje, nagu toetataks nende inimeste tegusid. Obama on aga olnud radikaalne abordiõiguse eestkõneleja (vt detailsemat teavet siit).
Notre Dame’i otsus pärjata Obama audoktori kraadiga on tekitanud USA-s katoliiklaste seas suure skandaali. Otsuse vastu on praeguse seisuga avalikult protestinud juba 52 USA piiskoppi (vt protesti avaldanud piiskoppide nimekirja siit) ning oma allkirja andmisega on meelepaha väljendanud enam kui 350 000 inimest (vt siit). Mõne päeva eest alustas Notre Dame’i kampuse kohal oma meelepaha väljendamist ka The Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR), kelle väitel annab Notre Dame oma otsusega katoliiklastele väära signaali, et sündimata inimeste tapmine ei ole poliitiliselt kuigi oluline küsimus. Siin on mõned pildid sellest, kuidas CBR veab Notre Dame’i kampuse kohal lennukitega hiiglaslikke abordipiltidega postereid.
Aborti on poliitilise küsimusena võimalik eirata seni, kuni ühiskonnas eiratakse abordi reaalsuse teadvustamist.
Kas abordi reaalsus ei ole mitte isegi katoliiklike institutsioonide poolt maha vaikitud?
Harides mõistust ja südant …
CBR-i äsjaalanud kampaania on juba põhjustanud palju vastukaja. Siin kohal toome näitena välja ühe viimase kursuse üliõpilase kirja ning CBR-i juhataja vastuse sellele:
Dear Gregg Cunningham,
My name is Francesca Jimenez, and I am a student here at University of Notre Dame who will be graduating in May. I am writing to express my extreme displeasure and disgust with your billboards, plane banners, etc. with the disturbing images of fetuses and abortions. I do not believe it is fair to have to have my “home,” the place I attend class, inhabit, and spend my time bombarded with such disgusting images. The majority of the student body voted for Obama, and the MAJORITY of the senior class is excited to have the president of the United States speak at commencement. It is important to express opinions, but there is a fine line between expression and disrespect. Regardless of opinions on the issue of abortion, bottom line is this…I am graduating. Commencement is celebrating the accomplishments of myself and my classmates. This is NOT an opportunity to push your opinions about abortion on others. Obama is coming to honor my classmates with his presence as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES of America, he is not coming to discuss pro-life issues. So why are you making this about abortion? I find it disrespctful to be bombarded with these extremist advertisements, and am absolutely horrified that my family is going to have to witness these images on the day of Commencement. Families are coming to share in this important milestone with their graduate, not to be bombarded with abortion images. Out of respect for my classmates, I am asking you to please STOP with all the advertisements that are making my life not only uncomfortable, but also extremely upset being on campus. Thank you for your time in reading this statement.
Francesca Jimenez, class of 2009
* * *
Thank you for writing to the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform to complain about our abortion billboard trucks and planes flying the campus of Notre Dame. As someone about to graduate from Notre Dame, you say you “don’t think it is fair to have your home bombarded with disgusting [and disturbing] images.” Come on now, Ms. Jimenez: If these babies were just blobs of tissue, would you be so distressed at these pictures? How could the images be “disgusting” unless abortion is “disgusting?” And if you think abortion photos are “disturbing” who aren’t you more disturbed by abortion itself? Why do you care more about your own “comfort” than you care about the survival of the little children who are being slaughtered? Is that what the priests taught you at Notre Dame; that your comfort is more important than someone else’s life?
You admit that the “majority” of Notre Dame students voted for Mr. Obama. That means they must not be allowed to graduate in comfort. No one should be allowed to become comfortable with baby killing. Many of your classmates have had abortions and many more will have them in the future. Some of these students, at least those with functioning consciences, could be talked into saving their babies if they were forced to look at what abortion is and does. We know that from our extensive experience with these pictures. You can read their testimonials for yourself at www.abortionNO.org. These students need truth more than they need comfort. If pro-abortion students are going to revel in the presence of this serial-killer president, they need to squirm in the presence of the babies he is killing. Most abortion supporters want to be able to kill babies and have the evidence swept under the carpet. No more, Ms. Jimenez. It is only fair that pro-abortion students be forced to look at the carnage their votes are making possible. Then we will see if they are still so “excited,” as you say, to have Mr. Obama address them.
You say Mr. Obama is coming to honor you. We are going to make your class look at the hidden reality for which he stands and then you can all better decide how much of an honor his presence actually confers on you and your classmates. You say he is not coming to discuss abortion. That is correct but he IS coming to signal that abortion should be of little concern to Catholics. We intend to forcefully rebut that contention, not with arguments, but with pictures. You find it “disrespectful” that we would force our “extremist” message on your class, but as I asked above, how could an abortion photo be “extreme” unless abortion is “extreme?” We find it disrespectful to butcher babies. If you think the use of the term “butcher” is an exaggeration, then why do you find abortion photos so “upsetting,” to use your term?
We want your family and the family of every graduating senior in Joyce Center to have these sickening pictures gaging them as they applaud the man who glorifies this carnage. Our avowed purpose is to respectfully, lawfully, ruin this ceremony; not to be vindictive but to force people to stop acting as though everything is normal at Notre Dame. It is not normal for a Catholic institution to honor a man who supports infanticide. The sewers of South Bend are literally running red with the blood of Notre Dame’s children. We are going to figuratively pry open the manhole covers and force the entire university community to smell the stench of death. No more business as usual. I assure you that by the time the Class of 2009 has received their diplomas, both “town and gown” will be more bothered by abortion than they ever dreamed possible. Every time they look at that diploma, framed on their wall, we want them to see a dead baby. Then perhaps they will take this issue as seriously as the graduate of a famous Catholic university is obligated to take it.
Gregg Cunningham, The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform
Lõpetuseks toome ära Mary Ann Glendoni kirja Notre Dame’i ülikooli presidendile, isa John Jenkinsile:
Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.
Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
– “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
– “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision-in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops-to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon