Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Obama and Notre Dame

Today, of course was the day that President Obama gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame. Here is what I wrote in an email to Father Jenkins, president of Notre Dame:

Dear Fr. Jenkins:

I urge you to rescind the invitation to President Obama to speak at Notre Dame's commencement this year. During his short time in office, President Obama has been relentless in spearheading assaults on human life and dignity as regards the Mexico City policy, embryonic stem cell research funding, and health provider conscientious clauses, as well as the potential for passing the "Prevention First" bill or the "Freedom of Choice Act." Please do not both embolden him in these pursuits and cause scandal and confusion among the Catholic faithful. God has made you the shepherd of an important Catholic institution, and your flock needs you to stand up for the most vulnerable in our society, and to firmly and loudly oppose such devaluing of human life and constriction of religious liberty. Otherwise, some day Notre Dame will simply become just another school reflecting contemporary cultural values, indistinguishable from secular universities, and the university's Catholic trappings will be but tokens of a forgotten purpose, like walking into a room and not remembering why you went there.

While we must voice our objections to President Obama and Fr. Jenkins, we must do so in charity and reason and temperance, and that part I agree with in President Obama's speech today. We must also take comfort in Jesus' words to his disciples in the "farewell discourse" in the Gospel of John:

Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1).

Let us put our trust there.


the booklady said...

Thanks for writing Pete. It's an excellent letter. I wrote too--for all the good it did. (sigh) I wonder if Father Jenkins actually read any of the letters he received...

I love your concluding Scripture and concur with your comment: we must Trust in Him!

Pete Caccavari said...

Thanks, Booklady. I hope that Fr. Jenkins did read some of the letters. We must pray for him, certainly. I think Fr. Jenkins truly believes that this was a form of engagement with the President. I hope that the President can be engaged in this great struggle. What I think is most important is to catechize Catholics on this issue because so many cultural Catholics believe that abortion is not a sin. We can't hope to change the culture if we can't change the hearts of such people as those who believe themselves to be in communion with the Church but consider abortion a "right."