Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father Gordon MacRae: Honoring Father Norman Weslin as Light Finally Dawns Upon Notre Dame

By Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

Five days after Fr. Norman Weslin’s death, the University of Notre Dame joined 42 Catholic groups in religious liberty lawsuits against the Obama Administration.

Father Norman Weslin left this life behind on May 16th.  He will not be easily forgotten. He did something that many on the outer fringes of leftist religion in America wish he had done three years ago. He went quietly, something that he was not at all accustomed to doing in this life. I am proud to say that Father Norman Weslin is forever present on These Stone Walls in an image that I cannot erase from my mind’s eye of late. The image is an enduring Catholic scandal.

One of my TSW posts, “The Last Full Measure of Devotion: Civil Rights and the Right to Life,” featured a haunting and now famous image of the nearly 80-year-old Father Weslin being arrested for a pro-life protest on the campus of a  major American Catholic University in 2009.  Juxtaposed next to that haunting image is a photo taken simultaneously of a triumphant President Barack Obama bestowed with an honorary degree by the president of the University of Notre Dame after delivering the Catholic school’s 2009 Commencement Address.

That photo of the elderly Father Weslin on the ground being arrested for his protest is a monument to the greatness of this quiet priest. The image says everything that needs to be said, for Father Norman Weslin, above all, departed faithfully, having served his Lord, his Church and his faith with the last full measure of devotion. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, about whom I wrote in “The Duty of a Priest,” wrote of Father Weslin’s death that “our loss is Heaven’s gain.”

He wrote that Father Norman Weslin believed “that a priest’s place was not behind his people, lending encouragement, but out in front, leading the way.” As a result, Father Weslin spent many days and nights in jail, as did John the Baptist and the Apostles. That scene at Notre Dame three years ago will prove itself to be a proud and defining moment for the Catholic Church in America. As one writer put it succinctly at the Voices Carry blog:
“While the millstone of Notre Dame is placed around [our President's] neck and 12,000 at Notre Dame stand giving a thunderous ovation, all Heaven stood to honor an 80-year old priest as he received Heaven’s high honor for peacefully taking a stand for life and the plight of the unborn . . . That little jail around the neck of this bound man of God is a high honor in the kingdom of God...”


No comments: