I have to confess I think most public protesting is a pretty lame operation. When I listen to NPR, they usually play a five second clip of people chanting some weak slogan (“One, two, two-point-five, three: out the door with AIG!”) that’s barely in rhythm. I joined many protests in the 80’s. I felt strongly about the issues, but the methodology used by my friends wasn’t very well thought out. A celebration of Mass at the fence of a nuclear weapons storage facility: what was the point? A candlelight procession through city streets: a bit better.

I think a good protest needs a liturgy committee, or at the very least a liturgist. Somebody who knows drama and ritual. Someone like the prophet Ezekiel.

I’m not advocating that Notre Dame pro-lifers show up for graduation like Hare Krishnas after burning and scattering their hair and chasing it down with swords, but you have to give the Jewish prophetic tradition credit: their symbolism was great and enough of a head-scratcher to make the dull among the leadership sit back and wonder.

The book of Ezekiel is filled with great images: a fiery chariot, hearts of stone, water flowing from the temple, eating the sweet scroll.

Those protesting President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame graduation think six-figure signatories is good stuff. I think they’ve been smoking something liberal. Of course the Republican idea is to rent an office. Give me a candle and a lame slogan any day over that one. Rent an office? Isaiah got branded on the lips by angels singing “The Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and this is the best Randall Terry can come up with? Sheesh.

Notre Dame’s Young Republicans are upset, I read. Good for them. They’re thinking of boycotting graduation following Bishop D’Arcy’s lead. Gee, that’s sure a loss for the Obamanoids in commencement attendance. Would Jeremiah boycott the city of Jerusalem because things weren’t going his way? Not! He spent the weekend sinking in the bottom of a cistern. What happened to those bishops who were ready to die to save the unborn? I sure hope the boycotters have something else to do besides watching Saturday afternoon sports or heading to one of South Bend’s finer restaurants with mom and dad.

The very least they could do is attend and engineer some silent protest, like wearing no shoe on their right foot in honor of the naked foot of the unborn child, but remembering the motto of the liturgist: explain nothing; let the symbols speak. The only Old Testament prophet that allowed himself to be run out of town was Elijah, but before that retreat was his one-on-450 smackdown of the priests of Baal. And on his return, we had the devouring of Queen Jezebel in Stephen King fashion in the streets of Jerusalem.

That’s not to say that we need trash talk and dog food in South Bend, but surely some imaginative ND student could come up with something. Imagine if they could have scored Bishop D’Arcy as a co-conspirator.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Politics, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Protest

  1. JC says:

    1. The late great John Cardinal O’Connor called for a boycott of ND in 1993. The way I see it, ND hasn’t changed since then, and I really don’t see the evidence that ND was ever really that Catholic to begin with.

    2. What are conservatives doing as students of Notre Dame, anyway? Hoping to catch a glimpse of Ralph McInerny??? Why would anyone who is truly orthodox want to attend the school that employs Richard McBrien? A school which openly defies implementation of _Ex Corde Ecclesiae_?

    3. Mass held outside a Catholic Church without proper permission is sacrilegious.

    4. I think we’d be more “successful” with “prayer protesting” if we always did it the old fashioned way: public Eucharistic processions. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant. We have something greater than the Ark in every Catholic Church, yet we don’t use It.

  2. Michael says:

    What are conservatives doing as students of Notre Dame, anyway?

    Getting a good education.

  3. Lee says:

    One suggestion I’ve heard is that when Obama starts to speak students drop to their knees and begin saying a rosary.

    That assumes there’s enough students there who know what a rosary is, own one, and actually know how to say it. (If they went to typical parish catechetical programs they are probably clueless.) :-)

  4. Todd says:

    Lee, you’re suggesting an old Corpus Christi tactic: use prayer as a gesture of protest. It’s not totally without merit, but it’s not what the prophetic tradition of Judaism of Christianity would suggest.

    You don’t need to have a string of beads to say a rosary. I had five bumps on each handlebar of my bike, and it got more use during my college days and early work days than my actual beads. Till it was stolen, that is.

    I find the students in Iowa can pray the rosary. I don’t find it to be a problem.

  5. Jimmy Mac says:

    I imagine that, going back to at least FDR, any US President invited to speak at the commencment of any Catholic University would have SOMETHING in his quiver about which SOME Catholics could and would find objection.

    It guess that means that the Holy Sanctified Guardianship of All Things Bright and Beautiful would therefore ensure that no POTUS would ever speak at any Catholic institution of education, no matter the level.

    That would take us right back to the insularity of the early 1900’s. Right were we need to be, you betcha.

  6. Cy says:

    One need not attend a graduation ceremony in order to receive one’s diploma.

    Why not plan a beautiful liturgy for that same day and time to thank God for the gift of the life and the accomplishment of a degree.

    Any opposition by school authorities could be countered as interference with religious practices.

    And who knows perhaps invite his Excellency the Bishop and Mary Ann Glendon.

  7. Kevin in Texas says:

    Jimmy Mac, keep on knocking down those straw men, my friend–you’re doing a great job of it at the moment!

    How do you rate President Obama on life issues relative to the last few U.S. presidents? For clarity, let’s assume that we all agree that abortion, euthanasia, and ESCR are the absolute intrinsic evils here, far clearer cases than support for the death penalty, war, lack of government support for social justice issues, etc.

    Just as a frame of reference, Obama is an orthodox and absolute declared supporter of all of the following, each of which are 100%, no doubt about it, antithetical to Church teaching:
    1) rescinding of freedom of conscience clauses for medical workers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) opposed to performing or recommending abortions or providing contraceptive drugs
    2) heavy Federal support for both abortion on demand with no limits whatsoever in individual states and for contraception, including Plan B and other abortifacient drugs
    3) an absolute right to partial-birth abortion for any and all reasons, including “mother’s mental health issues”
    4) Federal taxpayer support for international programs that provide abortions and contraceptives in 3rd-World countries
    5) Federally-supported provision of Plan B and contraceptive drugs to minors without the need for parental notification, let alone consent

    I’m sorry, but this moral equivalency argument among Obama and past presidents that I read from some Catholics is bullshit. Enough with trying to one-up Douglas Kmiec in defending Obama as somehow “truly pro-life” and “open-minded and willing to work thoughtfully with pro-life Christians”. The people who make such absurd arguments are either lying to themselves, lying to others purposefully, or blinded by secular moral relativism completely detached from the Natural Law and from clear Church teaching. There is simply no other option.

  8. Kevin in Texas says:

    Oh, and I nearly forgot, Obama supports ESCR and the use of “unused embryos” unequivocally and can’t make a moral argument for its use, despite his pitiful attempts! Nor does he even argue that there have been any medical advances from embryonic stem cells, nor does he acknowledge that there have been a number of these with adult stem cells.

    And FWIW, Todd, thanks for writing the first politics or Church politics-related post about which I have agreed with you over the past two weeks or so! ;-)

  9. Holly Hansne says:

    30 million former catholics in the US, 30 million heading for the door. Why on earth would Prez. Obama want to speak to any catholic institution in light of our sorry recent history. The church I love has become a laughing stock, with no credibility. On another subject, why no word from the church on the financial crisis? All we seem to talk about is matters of reproduction and other peoples sex lives. I guess I answer my own question, the church and money, OH BROTHER !

  10. JC says:

    Jimmy Mac,
    “I imagine that, going back to at least FDR, any US President invited to speak at the commencment of any Catholic University would have SOMETHING in his quiver about which SOME Catholics could and would find objection. ”
    My point exactly. Let’s start with the fact that most, if not all, of them are members of Lodges, or at least share the condemned beliefs of the Freemasons (for example, that all religions should act together for a common purpose of making a “better world,” and theological differences don’t matter).

  11. Kevin in Texas says:

    Hi Holly,

    You may want to spend some more time researching what is actually happening in the Church before making the kind of critiques you make.

    Pope Bendict’s third major encyclical, which addresses social justice head-on, has been delayed so that the Holy Father can specifically add a section addressing the current world economic and financial crises, and what Church teaching has to say on those fundamental problems.

    Less time knocking over straw men, people, and more time doing research to find the answers to your own questions, is always a positive step!

  12. JC says:

    Michael says,
    “Getting a good education.”
    That’s a laugh. People don’t go to Notre Dame for an education, and they don’t go there for Catholicism. They go there to participate in America’s State Religion: football.

  13. Jimmy Mac says:

    POTUS Lodge members?

    Worry about this, then:

    Pius Xii’s “the smell of sulfur” is alleged by this man to do with Freemasonry in the church:

    Here’s a catchy little quote from his article:

    “For Luigi Villa, director of the magazine Chiesa Viva, there was no doubt that the Popes John XXIII and Paul VI were freemasons, but the arguments given to justify such an opinion do not support even a sneeze, that’s how flimsy they were… although many current conservative prelates are still repeating those in private, making freemasons out of Paul VI, the Cardinals Casaroli, Cardinal Pio Laghi, Agostino Bea or Benelli, and Lanza Montezemolo -designer of the new papal coat-, and any other who would smell like progressivism.”

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