The Catholic schools in America that have adopted state standards and seek state accreditation have left the path of wisdom

As Monsignor Ronald Knox said: “We are here to colonize heaven not make things better on earth.” Our beloved Catholic schools seem to have blurred the line between first and second things. Pope Benedict elucidates the first things that concern Catholic schools. First things are permanent things: charity, Christ, Church doctrine, principles of truth, and the virtues. Second things are temporary: material goods, contributing to society, and committing to action.

The reason that a Catholic education must not focus on improving conditions in society is best explained by C.S. Lewis, who said, “When you put first things first, second things are not suppressed, but increase.” Improving material conditions in society is a second thing that follows the first thing of a well-ordered character, especially a character conformed to Christ. C.S. Lewis further explained that “when you put second things first, you lose both first and second.” A proper philosophy of Catholic education is concerned solely with the first things as is demonstrated by Pope Benedict’s clear statement; the second things, like societal welfare, will take care of themselves.

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Editor’s note: This is almost diametrically opposed to the teachings of our current pope.

If you can use the millions of dead unborn to justify a murder, this time, then you can use other rationales for other murders.

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If you can use the millions of dead unborn to justify a murder, this time, then you can use other rationales for other murders.

Once you have justified the killing of a George Tiller, what is to stop you from finding a means to justify other killings, or the whole concept of assassination?

In a so-called late-term abortion, a baby is delivered vaginally, and feet first. The body and shoulders are delivered, but the infant’s head is held within the birth canal, until the doctor can slip a scissor into its skull and suction out its brains, at which point he will deliver a dead child and avoid a charge of infanticide.

We are told that these abortions are necessary to spare the life or mental health of a fragile mother who may not be able to endure the physical or psychological rigors of childbirth.

The American Medical Association has quietly conceded that—as we do not live in the nineteenth or even the early twentieth century, when a cesarean section was all but a death sentence for a woman—there really is no medical reason for such an abortion. One may additionally argue that delivering a baby feet first, then shoulders, is by no means a simple or easy sort of delivery, so the dangers it purports to spare a woman are not obvious.

George Tiller specialized in aborting advanced pregnancies and he is being held up as a hero and martyr by those who can read the previous paragraph and not find the word savagery forming on their lips. Those of us who call ourselves pro-life take a very different view, and cannot call Tiller a hero, but neither can we support his murder.

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So, this is the man on whom the University of Notre Dame wants to bestow an honorary doctorate of laws?

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Obama, in spite of all his personal talents and accomplishments, explicitly and unapologetically rejects the intrinsic dignity of the human person, the proper subject of the natural and canonical laws on which the university’s jurisprudential patrimony rests. It is a jurisprudential patrimony that the university not only claims to believe, it claims both to believe that it is true and that it knows that it is true.

I have no doubt that Notre Dame would never bestow an honorary doctorate in science to an astronomer who vigorously advances the agenda of geocentricity or a chemist who refuses to teach his students the periodic table, or award an honorary doctorate in divinity to a theologian who is an unrepentant apologist for racial apartheid and white supremacy, regardless of what these three individuals may have accomplished or how well their celebrity may be received by the wider culture and its influential institutions.

Why then would the University of Notre Dame bestow an honorary doctorate of laws on someone who for his entire public life has enthusiastically fought for a segment of the human population, the unborn, to remain permanently outside the protections of the law? Not only that, he has also demanded that our legal regime require that his fellow citizens, including Catholics, underwrite the destruction of these prenatal human beings. And not only that, he is right now preparing to remove by executive order protections that were put in place so that pro-life physicians, nurses, medical students, and others in the health care field may not be forced to participate in abortions or be discriminated against for refusing to do so or even harboring such beliefs.

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A Notre Dame student’s personal story about the reality of abortion and choice

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“On campuses all across this country, abortion is the status quo. We need to change that with an unambiguous stand for life, and Notre Dame needs to be in the lead.”

Lacy Dodd, a 1999 graduate of the university, explained in a May 1 essay for the website of the journal “First Things” how she had become pregnant by her boyfriend in the last semester of her senior year at the school.

Read the article for some surprising insights

Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium

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Looking back at the life’s work of the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, I came across this important document from 1994, which he co-authored along with Charles Colson and a number of other distinguished writers, scholars, theologians, teachers, and preachers … and which remains just as significant today. 

Click here to read it

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus: Rest In Peace

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Richard John Neuhaus, 1936–2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o’clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering. He lost consciousness Tuesday evening after a collapse in his heart rate, and the next day, in the company of friends, he died.

My tears are not for him–for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted.

I weep, rather for all the rest of us. As a priest, as a writer, as a public leader in so many struggles, and as a friend, no one can take his place. The fabric of life has been torn by his death, and it will not be repaired, for those of us who knew him, until that time when everything is mended and all our tears are wiped away.

Funeral arrangements are still being planned; information about the funeral will be made public shortly. Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.

In Deepest Sorrow,

Joseph Bottum
Editor
First Things

Click here to go to First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture,  and Public Life 

Fr. Neuhaus’ Essay About Death