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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Pope seems to have gotten over the whole Obama controversy

Despite all the uproar over President Obama being invited to give the Commencement Address at Notre Dame last Spring (he's pro-abortion!), it seems that Pope Benedict nonetheless respects the important role the University plays within the Church. From the South Bend Tribune:

Notre Dame associate professor receives papal appointment

Tribune Staff Report

SOUTH BEND — John C. Cavadini, an associate professor and chair of the theology department at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed to the International Theological Commission by Pope Benedict XVI.

The International Theological Commission consists of some 30 theologians from around the world. An advising body to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, its members are personally appointed by the pope.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said that Cavadini’s appointment "brings honor to our diocese and to Notre Dame, especially to its theology department."

A member of the faculty since 1990, Cavadini also is director of the university’s Institute for Church Life.

Congratulations to Professor Cavadini!

5 comments:

Titus said...

My understanding is that Dr. Cavadini is something of a Catholic rock star. Even to the extent that a) his appointment is the product of serious personal attention by His Holiness and (quite unlikely) b) His Holiness paid attention to and perceived the delicacy of May's controversy (somewhat unlikely), I don't know that the two are related in the least. Dr. Cavadini received the appointment based on his own work and so that he can work on the commission in his personal capacity, not, in either case, as a proxy for the University. This is a bit (not entirely, granted) like saying that Obama is over the Bush administration because Texas receives federal highway funding.

Fr. Andrew said...

Titus is right. I think you're exercising some eisegesis here, OC; you're reading into things a bit.

OC Domer said...

Fr. Andrew -

Great to hear from you again! I might be reading into things a bit. Or I could just be right.

People used a very broad brush to paint the University in a negative light and to attack its adherence to Church doctrine based upon the Obama invitation.

I think I am entitled to use that same broad brush to paint the University in a positive light when the Pope (who is infallible on matters of Church doctrine if I remember my Catechism) taps the Chair of the Department of Theology for a Papal appointment to a key theological position.

If Notre Dame really ran afoul of the Church by inviting Obama to speak (and I argued strongly that they did not run afoul), then I doubt the Holy Father would have honored the University by so elevating Prof. Cavadini.

My point in this post is that inviting Obama to speak and giving him an honorary degree was not the major breach of Church doctrine that so many asserted it to be at the time.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Andrew said...

OC-

"People used a very broad brush to paint the University in a negative light and to attack its adherence to Church doctrine based upon the Obama invitation." The critiques that mattered most to me: namely Bishop D'Arcy did not use a broad brush. Neither did Marian Glendon, the Laetare Nominee. The broad brush was usually wielded by cracks or attention seekers.

"when the Pope (who is infallible on matters of Church doctrine if I remember my Catechism) taps the Chair of the Department of Theology for a Papal appointment to a key theological position." Well, not every papal action is infallible, you remember poorly. Infallibility is not impeccability. Popes make mistakes (I am not saying Pope Benedict is making one here). What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as "truth" something that is, in fact, error. Infallibility is not exercised in daily appointments- let us remember some bishops who were appointed by the Pope and led their flocks scandalously astray. Infallibility is in matters of declarations and clarifications in matters of faith and morals and has rarely been invoked.

"If Notre Dame really ran afoul of the Church by inviting Obama to speak (and I argued strongly that they did not run afoul), then I doubt the Holy Father would have honored the University by so elevating Prof. Cavadini." I imagine that the Holy See is mature enough to separate the good work of a man from the mistakes of his superiors: namely Father Jenkins and the BoT.

"My point in this post is that inviting Obama to speak and giving him an honorary degree was not the major breach of Church doctrine that so many asserted it to be at the time." You are wrong. From conversation with my own bishop- who was not painting anyone with a public brush in this affair- this issue has only just begun on a larger scale in relations between Catholic Universities and the Bishops.

The students at my university are leaving and I get to wind down a bit. It'll be odd to be at a Christmas away from large parish bustle but should be fruitful praying the mysteries with the professors and staff who remain around. Have a Blessed end to your Advent.

Anonymous said...

Papal infallibility was not formally accepted until 1870. Hardly an ancient tradition.