Obama at Notre Dame

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 20, 2009

President Barack Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame was what you've come to expect from him; full of platitudes about his respect for the pro-life movement covering for his pro-abortion radicalism. In short, your beliefs are sincere; go jump off a cliff.

As many have noted, Obama's acceptance of the invitation and honor is understandable. Notre Dame's choice to extend the invitation is what was questionable.

As The Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn noted:

Pro-lifers are used to this. They know their stand makes them unglamorous. They find themselves a stumbling block to Democratic progressives -- and unwelcome at the Republican country club. And they are especially desperate for the support of institutions willing to engage in the clear, thoughtful and unembarrassed way that even Mr. Obama says we should.

With its billions in endowment and its prestigious name, Notre Dame ought to be in the lead here. But when asked for examples illuminating the university's unambiguous support for unborn life, Mr. Brown could provide only four: help for pregnant students who want to carry their babies to term, student volunteer work for pregnant women at local shelters, prayer mentions at campus Masses, and lectures such as a seminar on life issues.

These are all well and good, but they also highlight the poverty of Notre Dame's institutional witness. At Notre Dame today, there is no pro-life organization -- in size, in funding, in prestige -- that compares with the many centers, institutes and so forth dedicated to other important issues ranging from peace and justice to protecting the environment. Perhaps this explains why a number of pro-life professors tell me they must not be quoted by name, lest they face career retaliation.

At a Catholic institution, that last line is both outrageous and disturbing.

However, it may not be uncommon. For those who missed it the first time around, I encourage you to read this testimony by Notre Dame alumna Lacy Dodd.

There have been many things written about the honors to be extended to President Obama. I’d like to ask this of Fr. John Jenkins, the Notre Dame president: Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama—the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?

Notre Dame would've been better off honoring Dodd than Obama.


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May 2009



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