Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Notre Dame and the National Championship

In case you missed it, last night the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame lost to the Crimson Tide of Alabama.  When I went to bed, the score was 35-7.

One of the newsy blogs I read, Hotair.com, had an open thread post up last night for the game.

In the post, the author links to an article by Michael Leahy at The Washington Post and quotes a bit of it.  Here is a small portion of that quote:

[T]o this day, Notre Dame remains a political and social battleground for American Catholics. The university’s invitation for President Obama to deliver the 2009 commencement address became a national controversy, with conservative Catholics opposing the president’s positions on abortion rights and stem-cell research. And last year, the university filed suit against the federal government, seeking to overturn a requirement in Obama’s health-care law that employers offer insurance plans including contraception coverage — a move that more politically moderate church members resented, concerned that Notre Dame would seek to deprive women, Catholic or not, of such coverage.

The rest of the quote at Hotair.com goes on with Leahy positing that due to its Catholicness and ethics as far as recruiting players who are academically capable (as opposed to the SEC schools who are just out to gain talented football players at any cost),  ND is somehow carrying on the tradition of the Church of his youth with its nagging, dogged adherence to standards of old.

That's an interesting narrative Leahy (and Hotair.com by extension) is pushing, but it's also wrong.  I'm not going to go out of my way to illustrate why beyond just looking at the excerpt I give above.  Leahy says that the invitation to the president became a national controversy with conservative Catholics opposing the president's positions on abortion and stem-cell research (his words).  He misses the fact that conservative Catholics (let's just ignore his use of secular terminology) were as much up in arms with Notre Dame itself as they were with Obama and his well-known positions.  ND invited Obama and when it blew up in its face, it gave out a wishy-washy justification about dialogue.  Then it went so far as to prosecute eighty-eight people for their protesting Obama's speech.

Leahy asks if Catholics have a duty to root for the Irish?  The answer is only if Catholics are willing to accept the Notre Dame narrative at face value.

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