Friday, September 05, 2003

Give me a break

Jeff Miller informs us of Madeline Albright's recent speech at Georgetown University, wherein she called for greater access to contraceptives as a solution to the AIDS epidemic (she apparently thought that such a suggestion was "bold at a Catholic university").

With Jeff, I wonder if anyone in the audience -- student or faculty -- walked out in disgust and protest, as some did in response to Cardinal Arinze's commencement address at graduation ceremonies in May when he said, "In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography; desecrated by fornication and adultery; mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut into two by divorce."

One brave graduate, Gabriel Wartofsky, said something to the cardinal as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma; what was it? He told the reporter whose story I just linked, "I said it was disgraceful," Wartofsky recalled later. "It was the most disgraceful speech I've ever heard in my four years." Another graduate, Rachel Bouttenot, was so exasperated at Arinze that she was making faces to her faculty mentor, according to the same story, which also relayed the thoughts of graduate Joylynn Holder... you have to read the story to believe it: "'I just didn't expect it at all,' she said. 'I was shocked.' A theology major, Holder wondered what her professors were thinking about what she considered "undeveloped theology" represented by Arinze's comments."

Undeveloped theology? C'mon, Ms. Holder... an ounce of respect for the Cardinal, if you can muster it! I don't question the sincerity of these students, but I do wonder about their Catholic formation, if they were surprised to hear a Catholic cardinal speak negatively about realities which the Catholic Church has always pointed to as being detrimental to the family. My guess is that many of them might reconsider their remarks if they were given an moment more to reflect. At least, I'd hope so. If not, I hope they are able to articulate an rational explanation for their position.

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent...

Anyway, the dichotomy in response to the two speeches is, well, interesting, and perhaps a bit telling.

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