Friday, May 01, 2009

Missing the moment

Now that Notre Dame has refilled their graduation program, I have been reflecting on the controversy the University unwittingly provoked. I mean, they were just doing business as usual (as usual has lately been defined). They did not notice that the sea was quietly changing around them, so that what they interpreted as a triumph (getting the President of the United States as a commencement speaker) would instead be seen as a sell-out to the already too dominant culture in all too urgent an issue. The whole thing blew up in Father Jenkins' face. I kind of wonder if he will be able to stay on in his office after this.
I think something similar happened earlier in the decade with Cardinal Law. The issue was certainly serious, and the Cardinal, from all that seems to have come up, had earlier dealt with it in what was, back then, the usual approach (an approach that supposedly "worked" well in the '50's). As things came into the news, the Cardinal didn't seem to recognize that the world had changed around him, and that the old, acceptable way of addressing things not only wouldn't work, it would and could only make matters much worse. The whole thing blew up in his face. He didn't know the signs of the times.
I hope things keep changing and keep us all on our toes, ready to question our unquestioned assumptions and expectations, practicing real discernment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was also the probable assumption that since a majority of self-identified Catholics voted for Obama, Catholics as a whole would not see any contradiction between their voting for him and Notre Dame honoring him.