Monday, May 18, 2009

THIS CATHOLIC'S VIEW: He Came, He Spoke, He Conquered

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.'"


President Obama did exactly what he needed to do at Notre Dame. He challenged the students to take on the problems of the day, he spoke beyond them to the wider audience of Catholic citizens and presented a demeanor that contrasted with those who tried to paint him as a demonic, anti-life fanatic. His message was the need to work together to solve the problems and challenges facing the world not by exacerbating divisions but by bringing people together......

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