Excerpts from an advance draft of Obama’s Notre Dame remarks:
This day reminds us about the basic meaning of Catholic.E Catholic with a small cEmeans broad, inclusive, universal. So it means above all generosity of spirit, warmth, and welcome. And that’s what you stand for. You are more catholic now than ever.
We see it in your campus. Notre Dame now contains women as well as men. People of all faiths, whose ancestors came from all over the world. This is the sort of campus where my mother and father could have met, romanced and married.
Notre Dame today is not exactly what we saw in that wonderful old movie, Knute Rockne: All American. We see in that classic film Notre Dame’s struggle for equal recognition with other schools. It is a moving story about Catholics becoming equal in an unequal society. It is an immigrant’s storyE
When I was in high school, the football teams I would root for would be the ones with black quarterbacks. One of the charms of the Knute Rockne movie for me was the black quarterback in Knute’s first sandlot scrimmage.
Nation-wide, all of this diversity leads up to this amazing situation: a black guy with a name weirder than Knute Rockne gets elected President. This is the only country in the world where this could happen. And it happened because, with all our wonderful diversity, we share a common faithE
America is more than having common enemies. As Lincoln implored the South, in his First Inaugural: “We must not be enemies, we must be friends.E Yet it is not enough for Americans to cease hating each other or even just competing with each otherE
What is at the heart of Catholic higher education, what is at the heart of America, is the chance to be better Americans in a more generous America. A black kid has no need to look for the team with the black quarterbackE
We can agree on this, even as some of us obviously don’t agree on others. We differ in our religious convictions, for example. You might be cradle Catholics; I came to my faith fairly late in my life. Yet we have had presidents of all sorts of religious convictions and they have managed to be presidents of all the people. What we can all have in common is something people of all faiths and even those without faith can share in, and that is hopeE
I was raised by a mother in a family that was not in any conventional sense religious. But they were all deeply spiritual people.
When I was conceived, my father and mother were not married. As you may know, he was a graduate student from Kenya, she an undergraduate of 17. They were not religious people, in any ordinary sense. In such instances abortion would be advised and taken as the easy choice. You might even know of people who faced such circumstances.
So I am thankful, and I have prayed every day of my life, once I learned the power of prayer, that my mother did not take the easy choice. She had the right to abort me, but, thank God, she did not exercise it. Because she had hope. She did not make her choice out of religious conviction but because she had hope.
And isn’t that the meaning of your school motto: Vita, Dulcedo, Spes; Life, Sweetness, Hope.
That’s how she lived her all too brief life: with sweetness and hope, and she gave to her son the audacity to hope great things for my life. She inspires me still to live my life in the hope of bringing sweetness to many others, for whom life has lost savorE
As Pope Benedict the 16th said in his encyclical on Hope: “In hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to usE Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present”….
Faith, hope, and love—these are the values we live by, the values that make us live and sacrifice. They make us strive beyond mere lifeE
You know well this date: November 26, 1842. In that same month and year that Fr. Sorin founded Notre Dame, Abe Lincoln married his wife.
Think about the hopes that young couple must have had. (The more I read about that marriage, the more I’m glad I’m married to Michelle.) Consider all the good Lincoln did this nation. It would not have been possible without that hope.
Abraham Lincoln gave hope for a new birth of freedom that brought us out of the Civil WarE
Confronted by the challenge of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt gave hope to a demoralized nationE
Confronted by malaise and drift, the Gipper, Ronald Reagan, gave hope to a nation buffeted by domestic and foreign perils.
So let us give our future mothers, fathers, citizens, and people of the world hope that their lives will be sweet ones. Hope in the goodness of life. Hope that His justice and mercy will prevail, the whole wide world aroundE