May 15th, 2009
03:22 PM ET

Obama and Notre Dame: To Speak and Not to Listen

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Chuck Donovan and Teresa Donovan
Family Research Council

President Obama will be making his much-anticipated address at Notre Dame this weekend. As graduates of the University of Notre Dame (1974 and 1986), we look forward to hearing what he has to say. We hope, however, that the President, who has taken listening tours overseas, will be open to hearing from members of the Notre Dame community, like us, who strive to speak for a particular group of voiceless Americans.

Besides the two of us, four additional siblings, three brothers and a sister, also graduated from Notre Dame. As a close-knit family that shares the Catholic faith and deep personal values, we've talked about the Obama invitation and, to a man and woman, we regret that it was tendered to a politician whose agenda on life issues is diametrically opposed to those values and the faith that informs them. The bestowing of an honorary doctorate on the President aggravates the disappointment, as the university clearly could have foregone this recognition even as it continued its tradition of hosting American presidents at commencement exercises.

University officials rightly point out that Notre Dame is not a partisan institution. It is also true that the election of President Obama represents, both symbolically and substantively, a step forward and away from the history of racial bias that has long divided this nation. If the President speaks to Notre Dame students, as we hope he will, about the role Catholics played in the civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, he will both echo a profound theme of engagement that Notre Dame embraces and encourage others who, in our day, carry on the struggle. Such encouragement is especially needed among those who labor for the civil rights of unborn children.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Barack Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. dan b

    WHOA! Talk about your culture of death. Hey Cathi how about culling out the old and sick next? The retarded (including yourself), the unemployed. What next Cath – the Jews???

    Heil Cathi!

    Quoting Cathi O

    Ever read Freakonmics? Giving a woman the right to choose can significantly decrease crime rates in a community. When a woman chooses to abort an unwanted pregnancy, she is often choosing so because she does not have the means to support a child, emotionally or financially. Would you rather force someone to bring a child into this world that she cannot support or pay attention to, potentially creating a criminal or an abuser? That model is often the unstable environment, both for the mother and her entire family.

    I would rather my tax dollars go to one abortion and counseling than to pay for a lifetime of welfare or crime from a person who is brought into this world to a family that doesn’t have the time or ability to care for a child.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  2. Greg

    There can be debate in good faith as to whether a particular case deserves the death penalty or as to what our policy should be in care for the poor. The churches teaching is clear in the catechism. However, there is no debate as to whether the unborn are deserving of Life, no debate at all. Liberals have to being to debate these topics with honesty and resist the urge to name call. Obama was asked to speak at ND so that a dialogue could take place. I heard no dialogue from Fr. Jenkins or Pres Obama. I guess Pres. Obama idea of compromise is just to kill a fewer number of unborn babies. The Donahue's analogy to slavery would be appropriate here – A liberal Democrats compromise in 1860 would be just to have fewer slaves.
    If abortion, just as in slavery, is intrinsically evil, then no abortions should be allowed. There is no compromise on this.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  3. Gary Watson

    The contributions (or lack of them) to Notre Dame in the next several years will let Jenkins and the other liberals who invited Obama know loud and clear about what the conservatives think of their decision. By the way, the majority of contributions to universities and charities come from conservatives, not liberals!

    May 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  4. carol

    The unborn are innocent. To take the life of an innocent is the highest form of a hate crime. To punish those who have commited a crime is a just punishment. Many have become so desensitized by the evils in our society and know not the difference.
    God is in control of the World and will allow people to have choices.
    This is God's way of loving us. To agree with the Word of God, truth is born in us, this is eternal life.
    Presidents, politics and all else will fail.
    So keep your faith in the right fight students of truth at Notre Dame and press on to your higher calling in Christ Jesus. Amen

    May 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  5. Laura

    It used to be an honor to have an uncle who graduated from Notre Dame. However, with the current University President, it is no longer an honor. I'm just grateful that the Graduating Senior, who do not approve of Obama receiving an honorary degree, have been allowed to have an alternate ceremony. Their choice of a commencement speaker is Fr Frank Pavone, who has already given the commencement address at Ava Maria University and Christendom College this year. Obviously the students' choice of commencement speaker has been much more appropriate than Fr Jenkins' choice,

    May 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    It's not just abortion, but a man who staffs his cabinet with people who oppose basic Christian morality, who supports and promotes homosexuality and homosexual marriage, who supports hate crime legislation which will endanger honest Christian testimony, who is pushing so much legislation that undermines the basic foundations of a Christian society - for a school that claims to promote Christian values to invite such a man to speak on its campus - US president notwithstanding - is unconscionable, indefensible, and destructive to its own cause.

    May 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  7. deb

    The issue here is the school has decided to give him an Honorary Law Degree to a person who is not in agreement with the Catholic Religion. The people who will be able to show their approval or disapproval will be the alumni and those who make donations to the school. They will be the ones to determine if ND will be a school with the true Catholic beliefs or one that is going to do what it wants and puts politics before religion.

    May 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  8. Mabel

    Thank God, some Catholics remain firm in their resolve to defend human life from conception! It's very sad that more Christians are not so convicted!
    Here's my theory. When God is banned, more and more, from our schools and society and His loving limits are no longer respected, the foundation for our Constitution is destroyed.
    I realize there are those who will say our country was not founded on a Judeo-Christian base, but it was.
    When God's law is no longer allowed to stabilize our lives, and we, obviously, need laws, whose laws, then, will take their place?
    I believe it will be those who are the most powerful, determined, influential, who will force their notions of right and wrong upon the remainder of us. THAT should send chills up our spines! I believe that's what's taking place today and it's VERY serious!
    We've seen the consequences of the godless, secular governments and it isn't pretty. Our founders didn't want the state to dictate that a person adhere to any given church, but they clearly, by their actions and words, did not intend for Americans to dismiss God from our society.
    Even so, Notre Dame is a religious institution. Why should they adhere to the liberal ideology I understand is common in many secular institutions?
    I'm glad to hear Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano are showing their support for the pro-life effort at Notre Dame this weekend. They are the ladies who were USED to pass the laws allowing abortion and partial-birth abortion and, I understand, they are actively speaking out against these laws.

    May 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  9. Jeff

    God bless America.... I have confidence that the God I choose to place my faith would not condone the taking of ANY life at ANY stage. Fetus or death row. The invite for President Obama could serve a positive outcome if Obama is willing to listen but he is a president with an agenda- is protecting life one of them? The school should have stood up for its own values and perhaps invited Obama to attend a national town hall or debate on campus versus honoring him. I support our country's leader with prayer and that is it. Obama is not the bail out so many in this country are aching for. We have shifted the morals and values of this country in a direction that eventually will need to be righted. "...if my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face.. then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 This indeed was word for an ancient country in ancient time, but just as fitting for today and for us. So Linda B from GA I agree with you God Bless America. Perhaps He will when we start to honor Him with our lives, our values and our laws.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Christina St. Hilaire

    I pray for all those who are respectfully protesting Notre Dame's loss of Catholicity. May many more faithful Catholics and Christians have the courage to stand up and be counted!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  11. Kelly Cowan

    This all started when the Roman Empire usurped the mantle of Christianity. Now all the modern denominations of Christianity are lead by false prophets. When I see a Priest, Minister, or Preacher on TV, I see a self serving false prophet trying to gain wealth and political power for themselves.These are the very forces that had Jesus tortured and killed to maintain their political and financial positions. How can someone be pro life and still support the death penalty, war, and torture? Most who claim to be Christians are just the followers of Anti Christian false prophets. They do not follow the teachings of Jesus. It is my opinion that there are very few true Christians on earth today. Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Pet 2:2 [NIV] Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. Mat 7:15 -18 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  12. Elaine Murphy

    If Norte Dame's bi-laws states; that a speaker, must adhere to
    these rules including President Obama. tWhy was he given a free pass?

    His disrespect for Human life and the incoccent unborn babies killed each day, is outrageous.

    He has his right to his personal beliefs and choice of faith.

    However, he does not respect the citizens of the United States of America, it is all an act from Obama. His intentions
    and agenda are to persuade the House of Rpresentative and Senate that he will serve and heal our Land. God help us all!

    May 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  13. Ron F

    Sorry Terry not the same. The Church has defined abortion as intrinsically evil (always wrong). Although Pope John Paul II spoke against capitol punishment, and how it is carried out in the US could be argued as morally wrong, the Church allows for it in certain circumstances. The Church does not teach as you have claimed. Please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  14. Gina B. Boerne

    Thanks for the article, CNN! As a person who took many years to come round to a pro-life position, I'm thrilled that there's so much discussion. It is not about whether something is legal! Slavery was legal before the Civil War. Rounding up and exterminating Jews was legal under Hitler. Is life in the womb human life to be protected? Religion says "Yes," but it is not just about religion. It is about a value – life – that elevates a society. Since when do we kill people because it is inconvenient, we are not emotionally ready for them, or we cannot afford them? Valuing life in the womb moves the choice question where it belongs – before sexual intimacy!

    May 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  15. A Koelling

    Leishu, on the other hand, why should Christians take the back seat and let the left dictate what we do, or do not do with our religion??
    People of faith are being downtrodden and if things keep going in this direction, we will not be able to worship in our own churches!!
    Our country was founded as a result of people who were tired of being downtrodden because of their religious beliefs.
    Guess wnat is happening again! Where do we move, to once more start over????? There are 2 sides to this. You have a right to your beliefs, and I to mine.
    Why can't we each go our way with our own standards, and get along and not force our standards on the whole country???? Think about it.
    I just want to be able to worship with my own beliefs, without being told I cannot , just as I am sure you do.
    We are not trying to force our standards on anybody, but just want to preserve our beliefs.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Ed Nap

    ND=Non-denominational. Or how about Notre Shame?
    While pro-life can be identified as a Catholic position, certainly it is not only a Catholic issue. Moreover, identifying pro-life as a singularly religious position represents a distortion: this is a moral issue because abortion takes a human life. I don't need my faith to tell me killing a human being is wrong–my conscience does that.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  17. Gary

    Still having a tough time figuring out how abortion is "choice" but waltzing 6,000,000 Jews into gas chambers is genocide and abortion is not genocide?

    Obama...Kenyan for "murdering media created charlatan thug"!

    Hey Obambi, have ya figured out that your European pals in the G-20 played you fr the fool you are? Where is all there support for Afghanistan? THAT is now YOUR WAR. Americans fightin for opium growers, warlords and Sharia Law. More Obama Tax Dollars well spent!

    May 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
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