The Prez is Going to Notre Dame

President Obama is headed to South Bend to deliver the Commencement Address later this spring, and already the howls have begun. A website that is the brainchild of the Cardinal Newman Society has been launched: www.notredamescandal.com.

Of course, the fringe on the right hates Notre Dame as much as it hates Obama. The University does not stand up to their "More Catholic Than The Pope" standards. The university’s decision to allow a presentation of the play "The Vagina Monologues" was only the most recent controversy, one that even involved a scolding from the local bishop.

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Politically, the decision is smart for Obama. The people objecting would never vote for him anyway. For the rest of the nation, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, Notre Dame is an icon for the entire Catholic educational vocation. When he was planning Liberty University, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said he wanted to build "an evangelical Notre Dame." Obama’s speech will be an opportunity to honor the Church’s tradition of teaching.

But, what will he say? He and his administration spoke of a dichotomy between faith and reason when they defended their decision on embryonic stem cells; Notre Dame is dedicated to the proposition that faith and reason must walk hand in hand. One of his advisors even spoke disparagingly of "dogma" although the Lady honored in the name of the university is patroness of America under her dogmatic title of the Immaculate Conception. More than most liberals, Obama has defended the right of religious voices to be heard in the public square, but it is not clear that he understands how those voices challenge the hyper-(better to say, crimped) rationalistic worldview he imbibed at Columbia and Harvard.

Concern about the limits of the President’s intellectual disposition, a concern that I suspect extends to ninety-nine percent of politicians, is no excuse for bad manners of the type demonstrated by the Cardinal Newman Society. (Newman, of course, is turning over in his grave at the behavior of those who invoke his name.) A visit by the President of the United States is a great honor and all Catholics should revel in it. The colleges and universities our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents built are expressions of the engaged Catholicism that has always marked the life of the Church in this country. We had to build them because we had been forced into a ghetto, but they became the vehicle for entering the mainstream of American culture. President Obama is not coming for a football game or other entertainment. He will be coming to address the graduates of a great Catholic university and, by extension, the members of a great local Church, the Catholic Church in America. We should all be proud and, as Newman would instruct, we should all be gracious.

 

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8 years 8 months ago
THANK YOU ! and AMEN !
8 years 8 months ago
Mr. Winters states, ''A visit by the President of the United States is a great honor and all Catholics should revel in it.'' I say that to honor one of the most pro abortion politicians in the United States with an honorary degree from Notre Dame is a disgrace. Shame on Notre Dame. Bernie Tracey BSEE, Summa Cum Laude ND, Class of 1955
8 years 8 months ago
Whoa!
8 years 8 months ago
Gracious? That's hardly a trait of the fringe right, either within or without the Catholic Church. This 'HUGE OBAMA-ND SCANDAL' is fund raising gold. The rightwing of the church will be howling non-stop, demanding punishment for those 'so-called Catholics' who dared invite Obama the Anti-Christ to speak at 'so-called Catholic' Notre Dame. There will be warnings of a coming chastisement and petitions demanding that Obama be dis-invited and those responsible for inviting him be fired immediately. Believe me, I've seen it all before.
8 years 8 months ago
The US bishops have issued a statement called “Catholics in Political Life”: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Most people would understand this to mean that a Catholic university should not honor Barack Obama with an honorary degree because of his aggressive promotion of abortion and the destruction of human embryos. But fortunately, we have Michael Sean to inform us of a SECRET CODICIL to the bishops' statement which apparently says ''Notre Dame can do whatever the hell they want to.'' Thank you, MSW, for clearing that up for us.
8 years 8 months ago
Greetings. It's Sunday, 3/22, before mass in Norwood, MA. I am an honorary alumnus of Notre Dame. Long story concerning an accident at ND and a great, though unsucceessful, recovery. I mention that to show how much the smbolism of Notre Dame means to me. My year, media mogul Peter Uberroth spoke at the graduation. Barack O'Bama (a more suitable spelling, perhaps) will be speaking. My year ('89) was at the end of a Republican decade where we had a successful economy and military success. (the Cold War seems ancient, now!) Inviting a Democrat to speak at graduation would just not have sat well with a class whose fotball team had just won the national championship. Now, 20-years later, the shoe is on the other foot. The Democrats are the successful political party. And unfortunately, the football team is hurting. So don't you think it is a good idea to have a success (Democrat) speak at the graduation? I do. Kevin Hurley, ND'89
8 years 8 months ago
I agree with most of what you say but I think that it is important to remember that apart from an expression of rage there is also the belief that to keep a vigilant eye on these things is neccessary to keep us from a continuing relativism.The President has hardly shown himself a friend of Church teaching ,but sees little to lose lauding its secular aspect.But you are right in saying that we must show hospitality to others especially the President of the United States who must be kept in touch with other ways of seeing life including the Christian one from which 20 years of going to Church have not yet had any effect.It will be a good opportunity for everybody to learn.
8 years 8 months ago
Since Cardinal Newman's grave is empty, he could not be turning over in it no matter what.
8 years 8 months ago
As the father of two Notre Dame Graduates, I was deeply saddened to discover I am a “fringe on the right” hater of President Obama and all things Notre Dame. I will of course modify my views so as to become liked and acceptable by Mr. Winter and the fringe on the left. I will also ignore the “Catholics in Political Life” statement approved by the full body of bishops in 2004 which stated: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. “ I do honor the office of President. But, I will strive to become much more accepting and much more cafeteria, and will greatly honor and defer to those who support the death penalty, NARAL principles, the rescission of the Dickey Amendment and federal funding of human therapeutic cloning research human experimentation, support to overturn conscience protections for healthcare workers, promotion of abortions overseas, and funding of forced abortions in China.
8 years 8 months ago
I fail to understand Nancy's comment'Whoa!' Am I alone in not understanding ?
8 years 8 months ago
I think it very irresponsible of Notre Dame to invite the current President of the United States seeing as how he is the most agressive pro-abortion President we have EVER had in our beloved United States of America. He separates morals from his decisions as he sees fits for science to progress without conscience. IF Notre Dame is truly a Catholic institution, then it should abide by our Church's teachings. If not - take away their Catholic statis and quite playing with the thoughts of being Catholic. The President SHOULD be disinvited. This is a definite outrage against the Catholic Church's teachings.
8 years 8 months ago
President Obama is smart enough to realize that an invitation and honorary degree from Notre Dame gives him credibility with Catholics. It gives his policies credibility with Catholics. Mr. Winters himself acknowledges this. Given Mr. Obama's adamant support for expansive abortion rights, his insistence on funding abortion abroad, his declared intent to do the same at home (through FOCA), his expansion of funding for embryo destructive research, his administration's disregard for conscientious objection to abortion and other anti-life "medical" procedures, his refusal to protect abortion survivors in law for fear it might offend the sanctity of Roe, his removal of restrictions on "therapeutic" human cloning -- given all this and given that the USCCB explicitly, politely requests that Catholic Institution not honor such politicians specifically to avoid giving confusion and scanda, isn't it just perhaps ever so slightly imprudent for Notre Dame to invite Obama? Just a little? I understand Mr. Winters enjoys watching the spitting fury of the "conservatives" but is it worth it? Is confusing the faithful worth the thrill of being able to point and say, "Oh Joy! Look at how the conservative Pharisees squirm!"

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