Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion:  three words I would have never expected to be used in the same sentence, yet the past month, numerous articles, blogs, and news reports have uttered those three words together.  How it came to be that so many people used those three words together is the question of the day:  Why did University of Notre Dame, the most preeminent Catholic university in the United States, invite the most pro-abortion President of the United States we have ever had, to not only speak at the graduation ceremony, but also to receive an honorary law degree?

The President of the University, Rev. Jenkins, has given his “reasons” for the invitation, all of which on its face, sound well and dandy, with the exception that, Mr. Obama, as President of the United States, has the unique position to demonstrably and effectively make decisions on the life and or death, of millions of unborn children throughout the world.  As an example, in just two quick movements of his pen, within weeks of taking office, President Obama “overturned” the Mexico City policy, which now will allow U.S. taxpayer money to go to countries to be used to specifically abort/murder children.  President Obama next changed the policy on Embryonic Stem Cell research:  now hundreds of thousands frozen embryos can be used and killed in the name of science, a science that has achieved no actual results yet, even though billions of dollars has been given to this research over the last ten years.

So President Obama, in just his short time in office, has changed the fortunes of millions due to his view that abortion is not murder, and that life begins, well….he doesn’t know when life actually begins, but it is okay to kill unused and unwanted life in the name of science.  That is Mr. Obama’s view, and I may add, the view of many Americans.

But getting back to Notre Dame, why, in light of these views, could Notre Dame invite this kind of President of the United States to speak and give an hononary degree to?  The only legitimate and honest answer is that  by extending this invitiation, Rev. Jenkins failed his University, his students, his country, and most importantly, his faith.  

President Obama, in his speech at Notre Dame, said that the pro-life and pro-abort/death/murder camps can reach common ground on these issues.  Really?  What common ground can there be when the other side believes that persons who are walking and talking on this earth, are “superior” to those who are in their initial stages of  of life.  What common ground can there be with people who believe that puncturing the skull of a full term 9 month old, and then sucking the brain out of the skull so the head can collapse in order to remove it from the womb and then the mother, is a “privacy right” to the mother?  Or what common ground can there be with people who believe that killing the smallest humans is okay because science may be able to learn to save others from their deaths?  There is no common ground between the pro-life and pro-death groups.  I think in order to move forward, we need to be honest and at least admit that there is no common ground.

 By making this statement of false “hope”, President Obama missed the mark and continues to sound like just another “pol”, rather than a statesmen he believes he is destined to be.

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion?  Let’s hope Notre Dame and other Catholic institutions have learned a lesson that they will never repeat again, so those three words will never be in the same sentence in the future again.

Father Bart’s Trip to Cuba: Part I


Father Bart de la Torre

Father Bart de la Torre



Dear Fellow Dominicans, This is part one of four on my recent trip to Cuba. Were I to send it altogether, you may be discouraged from reading it all. With much love and prayers,Fr. Bart, O.P.

To Cuba and Back, 2009, Part I: Indecent Exposure Shocks Nun

Thank you very much for your prayers. My March 9 – April 3 loop through the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Habana, Santiago de Cuba and Cobre (also Cuba), and then back to Mexico City and Mexicali, was one big miracle. There was no way all the good things that happened could have come about without many praying together. “If two or three of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven.” (Mt. 18:19) There were those of you who received my request for prayers by personal contact, and when I got back parishioners told me that our pastor, Fr. David Bello, O.P., included my trip in the Prayer of the Faithful of every Mass.

Here is the background. Mother Teresa of Calcutta for many years had Fr. Emmerich Vogt, a priest of the Western Dominican Province, to which I belong, go to India to give her and the Sisters of the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, their annual spiritual retreat. After she died in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity continued inviting Fr. Emmerich. However, in Jan. of 2007, Fr. Emmerich was elected the Prior Provincial, i.e., was put in charge of the Western Dominican Province. He continues to be invited but sends someone else in his stead. This year he sent me, and it was to the annual seminar and retreat for the Missionaries of Charity in Cuba from March 18 to 31.

Thanks to the generous permission of the aforementioned Fr. David, I flew from Mexicali on Mon., March 9, to Guadalajara, Mexico. There my relatives had a family get-together so I could visit many at one time, and it was a very happy occasion. They are a cheerful lot, and because are all degreed in their various careers they are doing well despite the economic recession.

On Thurs., March 12, I flew to Mexico City, where the Missionaries of Charity met me at the airport and drove me to their convent where I was given a warm welcome, a nice, private room, and delicious meals. They are very well organized, and had asked me if I had a special diet. I told them that because of cholesterol I avoided red meat and shell fish, but could eat the white meat of chicken and turkey and fish. From the first day, I was given every part of the chicken cooked in many ingenious ways, but after some 10 days, I was pretty tired of chicken, and they were feeding me the dark meat of the chicken anyway. I even got chicken on Fri., March 13, and reminded Sister it was a Friday in Lent; they didn’t repeat that mistake.

The convent’s guestroom, in which I stayed, was next to the nursery for abandoned children. One mentally ill 6 y/o girl yelled all night, so I hardly slept.

On Fri., March 13, a lady friend of the Sisters drove me to the Basilica of O.L. of Guadalupe, where I prayed the Rosary before the 477 y/o tilma of St. Juan Diego (1474-1548). During my prayer, 24 priests in black cassock, white surplice and purple stole had a Liturgy of the Word and then processed down into the church and began hearing confessions. All 24 were still busy when my guide and I left the basilica (see, and She then gave me a tour of all the other holy sites in the Guadalupe compound. Though I had visited Our Lady of Guadalupe twice before, there was no way my heart could let me be in Mexico City and not visit the country’s most important religious and civic site. Kneeling before the artistic masterpiece painted by heaven to represent Mary as a Latin American mestiza, a race that did not yet exist, I prayed for all of you. Then we went to a pharmacy where I bought earplugs so that the poor little girl’s wails would not keep me awake this night.

The next morning, one of the Sister Rita, the guest mistress, wanted me to meet the child, so she called out to her. The little girl came out through the curtain stark naked. The shocked Sister tried to get her to go back, but the innocent orphan was so fascinated by the priest-visitor that she did not want to leave. Eventually Sister Rita’s remonstrances intimidated the 9 y/o to disappear back through the curtain.

On Sat., March 14, I visited relatives in Mexico City, and we met at the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies because it is near the home of my 84 y/o first cousin on my father’s side, Dolores Ruiz Esparza. This large and very popular shrine houses a small image of Mary from Spain, brought over to invoke Mary’s protection by a captain in Hernán Cortez’s army of conquest. In the June 30, 1520, in the battle of the Noche Triste (, as he fled with Cortez’s army, the captain hid the image on a hillock in a small Aztec shrine. The image was found 20 years later, and the present church ( was finished in 1575 to house the statue, which has turned out to be miraculous.

Happy Feast Day of O.L. of Fatima and of Bl. Imelda, O.P.

Fr. Bartholomew de la Torre, O.P.

Western Dominican Mission, Mexicali, B.C., Mexico

First Post

Okay, here we go.