Notre Dame reaction continues

The University of Notre Dame’s choice of President Barack Obama as commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at the university’s May 17 graduation has been a topic for columns in secular and Catholic publications alike.

In the April 19 edition of Our Sunday Visitor Greg Erlandson, OSV’s president and publisher, said the  controversy “gives us a chance to tackle issues of identity, authority and academic freedom.”

The March 29 issue of the Chicago Tribune included columns with opposing points of view on the commencement controversy. George Wiegel,  a senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, called the university’s decision “an egregious error” while Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University praised Notre Dame for being “an inviting place of common ground.”

A Los Angeles times editorial said that by resisting pressure  to rescind Obama’s invitation, Notre Dame has “kept faith with both its religious and its academic missions.”

Kenneth Woodward, contributing editor at Newsweek, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed piece that as a graduate of Notre Dame and someone who is “adamantly pro-life,” he did not think the invitation meant the university was “signaling its approval” of Obama’s policies.

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields, also a Notre Dame alum, took this view: “I believe that Notre Dame will be good for President Obama and that President Obama will be good for Notre Dame. They both will benefit from the visit.”

Those in favor of Obama as graduation speaker and those against his presence on campus May 17 also have a home on Facebook which nonmembers can view.

9 Responses

  1. George Bush, a war monger, liar, and supporter of torture, spoke at the university with no complaints from the Church. Now it objects to a man of peace and good will. I was raised Catholic, my parish had TWO pedophile priests who preyed upon us, one of whom came from another school where he was a known predator. What a disgrace the so called “faith” shows in its hypocrisy. I am not embarrassed to say I was a Catholic, but I’m proud to say I am no longer in the cult.

  2. Nora, you have seem to have forgotten 9/11. In the absence of 9/11 there would be no invasion of Iraq and Saddam would still be gasing is own people. Fact more children are aborted in two days in the United States than have parished althogether in the war in Iraq. Aproximately 3,000 abortions per day in the United States. Say it, THREE THOUSAND PER DAY. Both are a tragedy, correct!! But which is a greater evil? Bush did not ask for 9/11, it came to him (us). Abortion policy came to Obama, and what has he done but expand it by using tax payers money to pay for abortions not only here but elsewhere. Some friend of piece???

    About pedaphile priests, I understand your anger but these people are everywhere including the police department and the classroom. You wont hesitate to call for police help if your life is threatened knowing of crooked cops would you??? For every 12 priests there is one Judas, that I know from the New Testaments. That other about a cult is mere personal opinion.

  3. In his first 11 weeks, already President Obama has allowed taxpayer funding for abortions and embryonic stem cell research, nominated pro-abortion Catholic Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced anti-Catholic activist Harry Knox as an advisor on faith-based partnerships, and threatened conscience protections for Catholic healthcare workers. As my dad would mockingly say ‘we oughta give him a medal’.

  4. It’s interesting to see who ND has aligned themselves with on this issue and to read their comments.

    http://letters.salon.com/opinion/walsh/politics/2009/04/01/notre_dame_obama/view/?show=all

    Is this the ally Father Jenkins wants to cater to? Does Fr. Jenkins and the ND share these views? I sense ND does not know what they opened their door to and will come to regret this real soon.

  5. Notre Dame is not the first. In 2003 the ostensibly Catholic womens college, Mount Saint Mary’s in Los Angeles California invided Gliria and Linda Sanchez. These two politicians are staunchly “pro-abortion.”

    Mount Saint Mary’s is also under the auspices, founded by and currently sponsored by the Los Angeles Provence of the Congregation of St. Joseph.

  6. Are we not a country of religious freedom? I am sure Notre Dame is a university with a tremendous amount of academic freedom and religious freedom and is in no imminent danger of losing these. But freedom means freedom and works both ways. Catholics have a right to protest to defend their religious core principals without being debased and scoffed at. Catholics are a whole and are worldwide and are called to defend life at all costs. The right to be born is the ultimate freedom on which all other freedoms rest. So without the courage to defend the Catholic Church’s insistence on this what good is any of it? Catholics need to be courageous on this issue–enough is enough. Have not we learned anything from history? Of standing idly by? Of burying our heads in the sand? Let us not be lukewarm.

  7. As a faithful and practicing Catholic, I have no problem with Notre Dame’s decision. Inviting a high profile public figure to be the commencement speaker is not an endorsement of every political position that person holds.

    George Bush (who fought a war that the Vatican denounced) and John Ashcroft (who supports the death penalty) have both been commencement speakers at several Catholic universities, and there was no such uproar from the faithful.

    This is not an issue of Notre Dame betraying their Catholic identity–this is an issue of religious conservatives’ reverse cult-of-personality surounding President Obama.

  8. Abortion is a much different issue than either war or the death penalty. The Catholic Church does not hold those issues at the same level even though some Catholics refuse to accept this. Abortion hits most Catholics way deep, deep down. It is at the top of the moral consience formation pyramid. No other issue is equal to it. It is a non-negotiable. It is a sure and violent attack on completely innocent human beings. Most politicians do not have a clean record on these issues as far as Catholics are concerned. This makes it tough for Catholics to vote and wrestle with their consciences. Presidents cannot singlehandedly reverse laws that were in place when they came to office and sometimes world events push their hands, but this is not the case with abortion and President Obama. In just a short time he has promised to and actually has taken action to increase funding for abortion and embryonic stem cell research. If he had not so recently, openly and continually taken such actions and made such promises to further an agenda that so deeply attacks core Catholic beliefs there would not be such an outcry. This is just the beginning of his presidency and on the horizon Catholics can already see the possibility of losing their right to conscientiously object to aiding in abortions and other practices that are morally reprehensible to them. It is not President Obama that Catholics object to, it is his stance on the issues of life.

  9. I find it interesting that the president of the USCCB has come out against Obama’s appearance, but the USCCB’s news service obviously supports it or at least wants to provide coverage of those who support it.

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