It was heresy when the University of Notre Dame invited pro-abortion President Barack Obama to speak at its 2009 commencement a few weeks ago. To bestow such an honor on a (non-Catholic) public figure was an insult to pious Catholics everywhere and was an act of blatant disobedience to Church teaching. The controversy spawned a movement seeking the ouster of Father John Jenkins as University President. Alumni groups banded together to cease donations to Notre Dame. The intended recipient of the Laetare Medal (the highest honor the University bestows) snubbed and publicly embarrassed Notre Dame by declining to accept the award because of the Obama invitation. Thousands of articles were written, harshly condemning Notre Dame for its faithlessness, for selling out, for abandoning its Catholic tradition. Numerous American bishops joined the chorus of criticism and fed into the feeding frenzy.
Notre Dame and Father Jenkins weren't entirely without allies, but it can't have been easy to stand behind the original decision to have Obama speak. I'm sure there were moments when Fr. Jenkins was a very lonely priest.
So it was with great interest that I read today that during his trip to Europe for the G-8 summit, President Obama will take some time out of his busy schedule to drop by the Vatican and pay a visit on Pope Benedict. That's right, the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church is inviting pro-abortion Barack Obama over to his pad for a photo-op and a little one-on-one visit. I know His Holiness probably won't give Obama an honorary degree, but I'd still have to rate a private audience with the Pope as an extremely high honor.
[Insert sound of crickets chirping here]
So, is the Pope now a heretic too? Will the critics call the Holy Father's Catholicism into question? Will there be a campaign calling for his ouster, accompanied by a donation boycott?
I didn't think so.
You can e-mail your apologies directly to Father Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.