Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hard Hearts at Notre Dame


As part of a group of pro-life lawyers, I had the privilege to assist in the defense of several priests, religious and laypeople who were arrested for praying the Rosary "too close" to abortion clinics back in the 1990's during the Clinton administration. As anyone who has been wrongfully arrested can tell you, when the full weight of our legal system comes bearing down it takes a lot of resources, strength and stamina to withstand the assault. Our clients were ultimately found not guilty by a federal judge who was a devout Catholic. However, this was not enough for that extremely pro-abortion administration, who took the case all the way up to the full bench of the federal appeals court. The defendants, a small group consisting of a priest, a bishop and a young friar, were ultimately let go. I will always remember this case for the requirements imposed on the legal team by the defendants: we were only to use natural law in their defense. They were willing to go to jail to defend the unborn.

Now, here we are, over a decade later and I can't believe my eyes. I am reading a column from Catholic Exchange written by an attorney, Thomas M. Dixon, of Indiana. He has been recruited to represent 88 defendants who have been arrested for praying at the University of Notre Dame in protest of President Obama receiving an honorary degree. This group includes clergy and lay people, young and old, ordinary people and well known people. According to attorney Dixon, Father Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, refuses to meet with him to discuss the case or to hear about the plight of these defendants. Can this be true? The "Catholic" university that was using the defense of dialogue to justify its honoring of the most pro-abortion president in the land, is now refusing to meet with the representative of the people they have had arrested. Where is the dialogue? Can they show no mercy to these protesters?

Please help with the defense of the "Notre Dame 88". I know that the costs involved in litigation can be enormous. Most of these people do not have the resources and the attorneys are working pro bono. There is a website entitled "Free the Notre Dame 88" with further information. In addition, contributions can be made to the Thomas More Society in Chicago (www.thomasmoresociety.org) a wonderful organization that has defended other pro-life advocates. May God bless these dedicated attorneys and the people they serve. And, may God change the hearts of the administration of Notre Dame.

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