Skip to comments.Notre Dame Pro-Life Efforts a "Mockery" While Pro-Life Protesters Face Charges: ND Law Prof
Posted on 09/24/2009 3:34:33 PM PDT by wagglebee
The controversy surrounds the arrest and charge of trespassing imposed on 88 pro-lifers who traveled from across America to peacefully witness against the University's honoring of President Obama, who issued the commencement speech and received an honorary law degree on May 17 of this year.
Individuals carrying pro-life messages - including images of aborted children, a large cross, and images of Mary - were singled out for arrest, while several other trespassers with pro-Obama or pro-Notre Dame signage were not arrested.
Dr. Rice criticized Jenkins' Chief of Staff Frances Shavers' claim that the protesters were simply arrested for trespassing as disingenuous.
"Those 88 defendants were on the other side of the campus, far removed from the site of the Commencement," Rice wrote. "They are subjected by Notre Dame to the criminal process because they came, as individuals, to Notre Dame to pray, peacefully and non-obstructively, on this ordinarily open campus, in petition and reparation, as a response to what they rightly saw as a facilitation by Notre Dame of various objectively evil policies and programs of Notre Dame's honoree, President Obama."
Rice also pointed out that while Notre Dame does not have direct control of prosecution under St. Joseph County, "it is only because of the actions of Notre Dame that they are treated by the law as criminals in the first place." Thus, he said, "Notre Dame ought to state publicly that it has no interest in seeing those prosecutions proceed in any form and that it requests the prosecutor to exercise his discretion to dismiss all those charges unconditionally."
As an example of the injustice on the Notre Dame campus that day, the law scholar pointed to the arrest of Fr. Norman Weslin of the Lambs of Christ, whose treatment by Notre Dame he called "a despicable disgrace, the responsibility for which falls directly and personally upon yourself [Fr. Jenkins] as the President of Notre Dame." Weslin's arrest has been widely broadcast on Youtube as a symbol of Notre Dame's abusive treatment of the pro-life presence on campus. Weslin later asked that Fr. Jenkins meet with the arrestees, but Jenkins ignored the request.
"The theme of Notre Dame's honoring of Obama was 'dialogue,'" wrote Rice. "It would have been better for you and the complicit Fellows and Trustees to dialogue with Fr. Weslin rather than lock him up as a criminal. You all could have learned something from him."
Rice said that the school's obligation to ask for leniency "has nothing to do with one's opinion of the tactics of rescue at abortuaries. It is simply a matter of you, as President, doing the manifestly right thing."
In the meantime, he said, Fr. Jenkins' attempt at rehabilitating the school's pro-life identity - by establishing a new Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life, and by attending the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., - would ring hollow while the Notre Dame 88 continue to face persecution for their witness.
"It would be a mockery for you to present yourself now at the March, even at the invitation of Notre Dame students, as a pro-life advocate while, in practical effect, you continue to be the jailer, as common criminals, of those persons who were authentic pro-life witnesses at Notre Dame," wrote Rice.
"If you appear at the March as the continuing criminalizer of those pro-life witnesses, you predictably will earn not approbation but scorn - a scorn which will surely be directed toward Notre Dame as well."
Click here to learn more about the campaign to help the "Notre Dame 88."
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
88 Pro-Lifers Arrested at Notre Dame Still Facing Jail Time: Thomas More Lawyer Again Asks Fr. Jenkins for Leniency
ND Prez Jenkins Has "No Interest" in Asking for Leniency for ND Protesters Despite Calls for "Dialogue"
Ping for your lists.
So where is the Pope on this? Surely the Vatican is aware of this travesty.
I was lucky to have Prof. Rice as a prof. in law school. Despite the administration’s efforts to marginalize the legend, he never backed down. He was the same man we read in the article. God bless him!
To think these people are calling themselves Christians. (Not a reference to denomination. I’d say the same thing about Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, etc. who sold others out for the handful of Caesar’s lucre known as political correctness.)
Rice: "As long as you pursue the criminalization of those pro-life witnesses," wrote Rice, "your newest pro-life statements will be regarded reasonably as a cosmetic covering of the institutional anatomy in the wake of the continuing backlash arising from your conferral of Notre Dame's highest honor on the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world."
Once again, Professor Rice is right.
The liberals in the president's office are wrong.
“Luck” is no longer on the side of the “Irish.” That’s why they lost to Michigan.
ND can expect more losses because they have offended all they once stood for.
There is no father John Jenkins in my book. Just plain old John Jenkins Pro-death advocate.
You either are or you are not pro life, pro christian, pro logical. Where are you Father Jenkins?
Charlie Rice should be president of ND.
Where does ND Law School Dean Emeritus Dave Link stand on the whole Obama at ND issue?
I’m impressed by the fact that after he raised his four kids and his first and only wife died he became a priest and works full-time with prisoners at a maximum-security prison, but I don’t take anybody’s moral character for granted anymore.
1) Based on the many alumni I know, I think the vast majority won’t care. Afterall, the university and and the Church in America never would have declined so percipitously if a lot of people cared.
2) I’m and alumnus, but I can’t currently bring myself to follow ND sports. When I think of how the University has been turning its back on God for decades now, culminating most flamboyantly with the Obama invitation, even the temptation to read about ND sports makes me feel dirty.
Of course I don’t doubt you, but I have no idea who the alums are you’re referring to.
Within the circles I travel (Chicago Metro Area ..... gee ANOTHER thing to be proud of - not!) most I have spoken to are incensed.
(Exceptions noted for those closely married to the Daley machine.)
I am, by the way, fully familiar with that “dirty feeling.”
It seems to me that the Pope allowed this to happen in the first place.
I’m from the Chicago Metro area as well (Wilmette). I would be startled if there is much lasting protest when you consider how many alum have for decades usually turned a blind-eye when their politicians, or their co-workers, or their friends or their children or they themselves have had to choose between the culture and the Gospels.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.