Friday, September 18, 2009

Olive branch?

So I've been thinking a bit about this letter, from Fr. Jenkins, which was emailed to Notre Dame students Wednesday. I appreciate the commitment to pro-life action, and I'm glad that Fr. Jenkins will be attending the March for Life. But I can't help thinking - why not last spring? Why not demonstrate this commitment when all eyes were on Notre Dame? Now that the cameras are gone, now that everyone has forgotten the commencement, now he wants to tell us that he's committed to the cause of life? It makes me kind of mad, because the greater public won't see this. They saw what they wanted to see last spring, when ND and its administration blew a giant raspberry at the bishops and the established teaching of the Church and honored the most pro-abortion president this country has ever had. It feels like he's closing the barn door after the horses have already run off.

I know I need to be charitable, and that I should just take it for granted that this is a sincere effort on the part of Fr. Jenkins to demonstrate ND's faithfulness to the teaching of Holy Mother Church. But the cynic in me wonders if it isn't an effort to attract donations from alumni which might have been lost last spring. (Did I also mention that I'm heartily sick of the hackneyed phrase "constructive dialogue?")

I sincerely hope this "task force" Jenkins proposes will be truly effective and not just a token. I know Prof. Cavadini has a reputation for orthodoxy - hopefully he can use his position to effect real change. And I'm delighted that the Women's Care Center was mentioned. They do great work and they really do give the lie to the notion that "pro-lifers don't care about women."

In short - I appreciate the conciliatory gesture and hope pro-life and orthodox organizations will respond in charity to this olive branch. But Fr. Jenkins can't undo what's already done.

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