May 18th, 2009
09:40 AM ET

He Came, he Spoke, he Conquered

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/16/obama.notre.dame/art.obama.nd.cnn.jpg]

Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University
For The Washington Post


President Obama's reception at Notre Dame showed once again that a new generation of Americans, including Catholics, is looking for a different kind of leader, not one who speaks down to his audience, demands strict loyalty and demonizes opponents, but one who addresses complexity with honesty, acknowledges disagreements and tries to bring people together for the common good.

President Obama showed himself to be respectful of Catholic views, of Catholic institutions like Notre Dame and of Catholic leaders like Notre Dame's former president, Father Ted Hesburgh, and Chicago's former archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

In his speech, he praised Notre Dame for being, in the words of Father Hesburgh, both a lighthouse and a crossroads. "The lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, while the crossroads is where 'differences of culture and religion and conviction can coexist with friendship, civility, hospitality and especially love.'"


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. earle,florida

    Mixing metaphors, is an alchemist nightmare,...when common sense comes back in vogue!

    May 19, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  2. John

    I think he did a very good job at showing everybody how to handle controversy and difference with dignity. Leadership. I will say that in the last 8 years the country has been operating on "auto pilot" for devisiveness. It was refreshing to see the cheers and the welcoming especially on the heels of last weeks Miss CA devisive speech.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm |