For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mt.6:21 RSV)I hope you are as encouraged as I am over the controversy at Notre Dame. First kudos go to Mary Ann Glendon for selflessly declining the Laetare Medal. Her letter to Fr. Jenkins is a fine example of grace, courage, clarity, and solid morals.
Many of the students have also demonstrated remarkable vision in simply declining to participate in their own commencement ceremony. They prefer to remain true to their core principles, and that is very edifying and encouraging. Likewise, the local ordinary, Bishop D'Arcy, has exercised his proper role of teacher of the Faith in his openly published statements on the matter.
All these have responded admirably and at personal sacrificial cost, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. But, in my opinion, the most effective response has come from the alumni. More effective because more concrete. As stated in their website,
Although we love Notre Dame, our conscience requires that we withhold all financial support from our University until such time as Father Jenkins is replaced as Notre Dame's President with someone who will be more loyal to the teaching of the Catholic Church.which is to say, these men and women have put their money where their mouth is. And, let's face it, money talks.
Notice that this is not crass materialism. The primary intent is not to use wealth to leverage or coerce Notre Dame into doing the right thing. The first motive is that of conscience. The way we invest our money is necessarily a reflection of what we hold most dear. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The desire to prod Notre Dame is important as well, but secondary.
As to this secondary reason, the actions of the Notre Dame alumni are also more likely to be effective. The Notre Dame Trustees appear to be ideologically and politically in bed with Obama (see this report), and so are unlikely to be swayed by any of the above acts of conscience. But when they see their funds dwindle, they may be moved to see the light. It's the human condition. Money talks.
Do you suppose the above ideas could be applied beyond the situation at Notre Dame? Is Notre Dame a sort of microcosm of a larger picture?
It occurs to me that we have a very similar scenario in the public sanctioning of abortion on demand. As with the Notre Dame scandal, there are many people responding faithfully, sacrificially, heroically. Yet the slaughter of the innocents continues unabated. Even as we work to turn things around and pray for the conversion of hearts, the killing and the money flow continues.
Hey, I have an idea! Let's take the example of the Notre Dame alumni to heart. In addition to all the other fine pro-life work that is being done, let's stop funding the abortion industry with our tax dollars. Our primary motive will be that of conscience - that we can in good faith no longer pay for death while we pray for life. But, think of the secondary effect, too: If the flow of money is disrupted, the powers that be may actually begin to get it, though they laugh at our other prayers and protests.
Let's see - we could call this effort a Pro-life tax strike, or an abortion boycott. What do you think? Let's do it!
Now... why didn't somebody think of this before?
Related: A citizens' movement to refuse abortion taxes