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MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME IS NOT A CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY

April 22, 2012

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Bishop Who Compared Obama To Hitler Urged To Resign From Notre Dame Board By Members Of Faculty

Bishop Jenky

Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky is continuing to feel the heat for a sermon in which he preached that President Obama’s policies were following a ‘similar path’ to that of Hitler and Stalin.

A spokeswoman for the diocese attempted to explain that the comments were taken out of context, according to the Chicago Tribune:

“Based upon the current government’s threatened infringement upon the Church’s religious exercise of its ministry, Bishop Jenky offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions,” said Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Peoria Diocese.

The explaination hasn’t stopped Americans United for Separation of Church and State from filing a formal complaint, asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the diocese and claiming that the sermon was poltical at its core. As the group’s executive director, Barry Lynn explained: “No rational person could believe the bishop was doing anything but saying vote against Obama.”

And now members of the Notre Dame faculty have drawn up a petition asking for the resignation of Bishop Jenky from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to “renounce loudly and publicly’ this destructive analogy.”

The letter, addressed to the University President and the Chair of Board of Trustees is below:

Dear Father Jenkins and Mr Notebaert,

As you will be aware, the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Fellows, has been widely quoted for a homily in which he described President Obama as “seem[ing] intent on following a similar path” to Hitler and Stalin. Bishop Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment. We accept that Bishop Jenky’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, but we find it profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved university’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the President’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews, and other minorities for their faith. We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement. Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Bishop Jenky resigned from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.

Sincerely,
Katrina Barron, Mathematics
Laura Bayard, Library
Patricia Blanchette, Philosophy
Kevin Burke, IEI
Joseph Buttigieg, English
Robert Coleman, Art, Art History, and Design
Suzanne M. Coshow, Management
Mary Rose D’Angelo, Theology
Margaret Doody, English
Julia Douthwaite, Romance Languages and Literature
Kevin Dreyer, Film, Television, and Theater
John Duffy, English
Stephen M Fallon, Program of Liberal Studies & English
Carolina Arroyo, Political Science
Barbara J. Fick, Law School
Christopher Fox, English & Irish Studies
Stephen Fredman, English
Laura Fuderer, Library
Agustin Fuentes, Anthropology
Patrick Gaffney, Anthropology
Jill Godmilow, Film, Television, and Theater
Daniel Graff, History
Stuart Greene, English
David Hachen, Sociology
Richard Herbst, Law School
Peter Holland, Film, Television, and Theater
Raúl Jara, Institute for Latino Studies
Felicia Johnson-O’Brien, Center for Social Concerns
Janet A. Kourany, Philosophy
Sean T. O’Brien, Irish Studies
Julia Marvin, Program of Liberal Studies
Maria McKenna, Africana Studies
Mark McKenna, Law School
Sarah McKibben, Irish Studies
Dianne Pinderhughes, Africana Studies & Political Science
Ann Marie R. Power, Sociology
F. Clark Power, Program of Liberal Studies & IEI
Ava Preacher, College of Arts and Letters
David Ruccio, Economics
Valerie Sayers, English
Kristen Shrader-Frechette, Philosophy & Biological Sciences
Anne Simons, Psychology
John Sitter, English
Cheri Smith, Library
Donald Sniegowski, Emeritus-English
Laura Walls, English
Robert E. Walls, American Studies & Anthropology
Andrew Weigert, Sociology
Richard Williams, Sociology

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3 Comments
  1. As a person who did research for my dissertation at Notre Dame, I would like to say something about what is behind all this Notre Dame protest against Bishop Jenky, something that will sound outrageous, but which I believe is true and not just true at this Catholic University.

    An odd fellow who few have heard of and even less have read has become the unquestioned authority on rationality in universities like Notre Dame and in the whole world: Immanuel Kant. This man’s thought has become literally the air we breathe. Even those who have never heard of him, think like him. What did he say? He said that the voice of Being-in-itself cannot and can never be heard by human beings. As a result humans can only hear echos of that voice in the postulates of practical reason. [incipient pragmatism here] Practical reason is the only pinhole through which man can make any contact with the light of Being-in-Itself. And a tiny, tiny pinhole it is. And therefore, all that is left to us are the categories of phenomena: the positive, the empirical, the scientific.

    Do you get a little uncomfortable when you hear the word metaphysics, soul, Being, ontology? Thank Kant for that. Do you shift in your chair when you hear the word supernatural, miracle, Virgin Birth? Thank Kant for that, through his two students Dibelius and Bultmann. Do you feel a bit unsettled when you read the ontological argument of St. Anselm or the the cosmological arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas? Thank Kant. When “Scripture scholars” speak of creation myths, biblical legends, words placed on the lips of Jesus by later disciples. You can thank Kant for this. Him and his students. Do these expressions sound familiar to you: word over event, discontinuity between early proclamation and later development, discontinuity between Pre and Post-Easter Jesus, the antithesis between Hellenistic and Palestinian Christianity, the antagonism between primitive revelation and later cosmic, cultic and apocalyptic additions, the discontinuity between priestly and prophetic, the discontinuity between grace and law. This is Kantianism applied to Biblical scholarship. Human’s have no access to Being-in-itself but only a little light through that tiny tiny pinhole of Kantian hermaneutics applied to Sacred Scripture.

    If Being-in-itself is inaccessible, then so are its transcendentals: truth [thus gnoseological relativism and sycretism], goodness [therefore moral relativism] and beauty [thus subjectivism].
    Natural theology is impossible and so is natural law. What is left is fideism. But wait. Fideism is also subject to the Kantian limitations: it is a very little teensy weensy pinhole of light type of fideism. Philosophy is not science nor is theology. They are dead: Kant. God is dead was only inevitable after Kant. Only the physical and social sciences are true and they are methodologically atheist.

    What happens when this Kantian air suffuses the hallways of universities, even Catholic universities like Notre Dame? Well, then you get the kind of people together who can write letters like the vicious protest letter against Bishop Jenky.

    But people have never heard of Immanuel Kant. It doesn’t matter. He looms large. His faulty ideas are dogma: philosophy and metaphysics are impossible. The voice of Being itself in Sacred Scripture: impossible. The notion of the impossibility of miracles and everything distinctive in Scripture first subverted the Protestant world, then the Catholic world. At the risk of being called totally loony, I would venture to say that every one who signed that letter against Bishop Jenky is a Kantian of one sort or another. Read “Biblical Interpretation in Crisis” by Pope Benedict if you think I am wrong.

    When Kant said ontology was impossible, his students set about to undermine Platonism in Sacred Scripture. Entering a modern theology department one only has to ask whether it is Kantian or not to know what one will find. If the courses are called theology of myth, hagiography of the saints, religious anthropology, comparative mythology . . . well . . . ? If a college philosophy department advertises itself as a survey of the historicity of ideas . . . well . . . ? When philosophy and theology commit suicide with the gun of Kant, what are the other college disciplines to think? Do they respect religion and philosophy more because of this suicide? Or does it just confirm the opinion they held all along that all we have are the hard sciences and ethical and judicial positivism?

  2. ilovethomisticstraw permalink

    Not only is Notre Dame uncatholic, it is unreasonable.

  3. ilovethomisticstraw permalink

    The fundamental and unalienable right to practice religion freely is not given to man by the government, nor can it be taken away by the government. Rather, this right (among others) is given to man by God. Governments are instituted among men to cooperate with “the laws of nature and nature’s God” by protecting this God-given right. Any government official that thinks that he should not protect freedom of religion, but violate it and take it away, is acting like he himself is God, the true one that can bestow and remove that right. In short, Obama is acting like he is God. Further, he and his media are creating a religious euphoria around his actions by propaganda. People can only follow him by sacrificing reason and being drawn into a a lie, wherein he is raised to a semi-divine status. The bishop is right to compare the climate of Hitler’s Germany to that of Obama’s America.

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