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……