Tormenta corpori mentive inflicta

This is perhaps an odd time for a former Bush appointee to take a moral stand.  But Bush's former ambassador to the Holy See–that's the Vatican, see–has declined an award (the Laetare medal) from Notre Dame on account of their offering Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States of America, an honorary degree.  In favor of this (to me childish) decision writes Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post:

Here on planet "What About Me," principled people are so rare as to be oddities. Thus, it was a head-swiveling moment Monday when Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, quietly declined Notre Dame's Laetare Medal.

Glendon — a Harvard University law professor and a respected author on bioethics and human rights — rejected the honor in part because Barack Obama was invited to be commencement speaker and to receive an honorary degree.

In a letter to Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Glendon wrote of her dismay that Obama was to receive the degree in disregard of the U.S. bishops' position that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."

She means "Catholic" principles.  Like these (in Latin because of the profound moral thinking of the Ambassador can only be transmitted in Latin):

Vehementer iam deflevit Concilium Vaticanum II, suo quodam in scripto tristius etiam nostra ad tempora pertinente, complura contra vitam humanam scelera et conata. Easdem sententias in Nostram nunc suscipientes partem, triginta post annis, simili vi rursus universae Ecclesiae nomine, una cum illo conciliari congressu ista lamentamur crimina, nihil profecto dubitantes quin omnis rectae conscientiae veros interpretemur sensus: “Quaecumque insuper ipsi vitae adversantur, ut cuiusvis generis homicidia, genocidia, abortus, euthanasia et ipsum voluntarium suicidium; quaecumque humanae personae integritatem violant, ut mutilationes, tormenta corpori mentive inflicta, conatus ipsos animos coërcendi; quaecumque humanam dignitatem offendunt, ut infrahumanae vivendi condiciones, arbitrariae incarcerationes, deportationes, servitus, prostitutio, mercatus mulierum et iuvenum; condiciones quoque laboris ignominiosae, quibus operarii ut mera quaestus instrumenta, non ut liberae et responsabiles personae tractantur: haec omnia et alia huiusmodi probra quidem sunt, ac dum civilizationem humanam inficiunt, magis eos inquinant qui sic se gerunt, quam eos qui iniuriam patiuntur et Creatoris honori maxime contradicunt” (Gaudium et Spes, 27).[Evangelium Vitae, 3]. [Translation of this passage here]

I would point out in any case that Barack Obama does not act "in defiance" of "our" fundamental moral principles in that he does not share them–he's not Catholic.  Besides, as the above cited passage demonstrates, standing against of the moral principles of Catholicism involves a lot more than not being "pro choice."  I can't say, whether the Ambassador herself has been selective, but I have to wonder:


2 thoughts on “Tormenta corpori mentive inflicta”

  1. Maybe I have it wrong, but here’s what I think :

    Is Obama acting “in defiance”against Catholic “fundamental moral principles”? No. He is not Catholic.
    Is Obama acting “against” Catholic “fundamental moral principles”? Yes, if they include being pro-life as one of the Catholic fundamental moral principle.

    Now, there are other things to consider here: Is Notre Dame really a Catholic insititution? Does acting against one principle mean that you act againsts all principles? …

    As for the ambassador, she was planning to go even after she knew that Obama was going to give the commencement speech: “Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.”

    I think that her real reason is revealed later in her letter:
    “Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

    “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

    “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

    Notre Dame was trying to use her and she said no. I give her credit.

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