Today, lots of news occurred here in Chicago. The Bears got a quarterback, our Governor was indicted, and the International Olympic Committee is touring the city (good timing with the indictment). But the story that got under my skin, as usual, was political.
Cardinal George has announced that Notre Dame’s invitation to the sitting president to speak at commencement is an extreme embarrassment.
For months, I have pondered if I should remain in the Catholic church. I used to go every day during lunch in law school, I was an altar boy for several years during middle school, and for a number of years, I wanted to become a priest. And now, I am considering leaving the church because I cannot take this political infighting.
Having the President of the United States speak at an institution is never, repeat, never an extreme embarrassment. If George W. Bush spoke at Kent’s commencement, I would have been first in line against any protest or statement. The elected leader of the nation you live in is going to wish you well in your future. It’s an honor no matter if you agree with his or her political positions on war, peace, death, and life.
Yet, again, the Catholic Church wants to have its cake and eat it too. Last year, Condaleeza Rice, who is also pro-choice and who worked in an administration that condoned torture and the death penalty, was allowed to speak at the university without a word against it from the higher-ups in the Church.
This is an abortion/gay marriage/stem cell issue and the Church will not take off its blinders. More importantly, it wants to separate anyone who disagrees with its official positions from the Church. This is not a Christian move and this is not something that Jesus preached.
I am ashamed of the statements by my Cardinal and I question whether I can continue to follow a man who would say such things. The Church is not an institution based on opposition to abortion or homosexuality. At no point was I taught about either of these issues in church. I was told about love and compassion and the ability to instill hope and goodwill in my neighbors by the word of the Lord.
I call hypocrisy. I call distastefulness. I question my role.
Should I be a continuing member in these actions or should I move on?
When I first went to Holy Name Cathedral, I fell in love. I love the works of many great Catholic saints and members, but this is getting out of hand.
I cannot stay silent.