Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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President Obama at Notre Dame

Notre Dame has invited President Obama to be its commencement speaker this year. Since Jimmy Carter, every President except Bill Clinton has done so.

Perhaps Clinton was excluded because of his stance on abortion. As retiring Notre Dame professor Ralph McInerny and WSJ columnist William McGurn note, Obama's position on life issues ("safe, legal, and government funded"?) has certainly not disqualified him.

The University promises a dialogue, to engage him. The President likes dialogues, but only when others are open to being persuaded by him. Certainly the most prominent lectern in American Catholic higher education is a bully pulpit, so to speak. I predict that his approach will not be much different from that of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, speaking at Boston College, who gave lip service to the diversity of American higher education but ultimately urged subordination to national goals, quoting Woodrow Wilson to this effect:

"It is not learning," said President Wilson, "but the spirit of service that will give a college place in the public annals of the Nation." "It is indispensable," he said, "if it is to do its right service, that the air of affairs should be admitted to all its classrooms... the air of the world's transactions, the consciousness of the solidarity of the race, the sense of the duty of man toward man . . . the promise and the hope that shine in the face of all knowledge .... The days of glad expansion are gone, our life grows tense and difficult; our resource for the future lies in careful thought, providence, and a wise economy; and the school must be of the Nation."

As The President has reminded us in other contexts, he wants all hands on long as he's the one steering the ship.

Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 5 Comments

The National Review Online ( symposium dated yesterday, 3/24, nails this issue pretty effectively.

My kids are going to St. Thomas Aquinas or Christendom or some place that offers an authentically Catholic education and world-view. Maybe they should invite Archbishop Chaput instead, or at least get his advice on this invitation.

I just read the President will receive an honorary law degree from ND. My friend was the editor of their law review and is probably quivering with rage thinking of all of those discussions of natural law as well as classroom prayers to the Virgin Mary that he had while he was there, and now to be slapped in the face with the supporter of partial-birth abortion.

The American Catholic Clergy gave us a billion dollar liability in verdicts and settlements because it chose to hide the wicked sexual abuse of children by priests.

Now priests that run a Catholic university named in honor of the Blessed Mother decide to give an award to the most prominent advocate of killing babies in their mother's womb.

For some time, it has been obvious that the diminishing number of American Catholic priests is the work of the Holy Spirit.

"The President likes dialogues, but only when others are open to being persuaded by him."

Come on, that's pretty shameless. Firstly, that critique applies to most people who have opinions on anything.

Are you open to being persuaded that using federal money to promote abortion is a good idea?

"As The President has reminded us in other contexts, he wants all hands on long as he’s the one steering the ship."

Oh, so he's The Decider, then? I trust such a strong, boldy assertive president will have your vote in 2012!

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