Notre Dame and the President

I overheard yesterday an argument between two fairly prominent individuals from our Region.  Rather heated. All about Obama’s scheduled address and honorary degree of Law from Notre Dame in a few weeks.

I find it surprising that most people seem to be making a political issue out of this.  Political in the sense of civil politics, and political in the sense of church politics.

Anytime you are talking about the President of the United States, you will be talking politics to a certain extent.  I understand that.  Yet, I do not see this whole issue essentially being a political issue.

It is a moral issue.

As Pope John Paul II so often taught, our moral decisions must enjoy freedom, but freedom not from the truth, but freedom IN the Truth. There is no freedom without recognition of objective moral truth rooted in natural, divine and eternal law. The clearer we are about those moral goods, the freer we are.  And we must be clear about the hierarchy of what is good.

So I would ask, “What is the greater good here which we must orient ourselves to and freely choose?

Is it to carry on a tradition of inviting presidents to offer a commencement address and subsequently honor with a degree?

Is it academic freedom?

Is it freedom of speech?

Is it respect for the teaching authority of the Church as expressed by the local bishop and the national council of bishops of one’s country?

Is it maintaining unity in the Church and avoiding confusion?

Is it protecting unborn human life?

Is it maintaining the integrity of a university’s Catholic identity?

This issue is being debated, if you can call it that, based on disordered passions, inflamed by political allegiances rather than by informed conscience, prudence and justice.

My two cents worth……

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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2 Responses to Notre Dame and the President

  1. karen querna says:

    okay bob, not sure where you are on this, but I have a major concern when any group religious, political, or academic judges/deems/approves of what the masses should or should not hear. This slippery slope leads to consequences which in history mankind tends to not be a good thing. Having freedom to speak, and the freedom to hear is a right that should not be denied to individuals and organizations religious, political, and academic should embrace that.

  2. admin says:

    I agree with what you have said, Karen. We all need to have the freedom to express ourselves and to listen respectfully to each other. To do less is to infringe on another’s human dignity.

    I also think the Church has the duty to be clear in its witness to the truth.

    I have a problem with how this whole Notre Dame issue is being debated. Too many emotions flying around, clouding people’s thinking which leads them, it seems to me, into precarious moral positions. I listen to the rationalizations people are using to shore up their positions and shake my head.

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