Why shouldn’t Obama embrace an opportunity to be honored at Notre Dame?
An understanding of the strong emotions of practicing Catholics regarding abortion and the rift this political tribute would exacerbate among those Catholics should have been enough to prevent him from being invited and honored. However, the same understanding and a moral conscience would have guided Obama to graciously turn down the invitation.
“It is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation,” said Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). And Cardinal James Francis Stafford, one of the highest-ranking Americans at the Vatican, has declared Obama an unfit honoree because his statements on abortion reflect “an agenda and vision that are aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.” A decided majority of practicing Catholics disapproves, according to the latest Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life Poll.
The president is merely taking advantage of a mistake made by the Catholic University. As he finds it is necessary for him to continue to sell himself, he will use the words that have been written for him to discuss compromise, the importance of open dialogue…and to urge the graduates to do their part, move forward and use their religious passion to make a difference in the world. It will be powerful, well stated, and will undoubtedly reinforce the warm feelings of those in attendance who care only to have a celebrity president at their commencement. Many of the students are there only to obtain a degree from the prestigious Notre Dame, thoughtless of the Catholic Church affiliation.
I do not believe there is a politician who acts entirely on behalf of or in alignment with the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church. I do not believe anyone with a political agenda should be invited to speak at a Catholic institution, let alone be honored with a degree. In fact, it seems quite simple, doesn’t it? The Catholic Church should never consider honoring politicians.