As I prepare for classes tomorrow, I notice that a number of good and interesting things have been written about President Obama’s forthcoming visit to the University of Notre Dame to deliver the main address at this year’s commencement exercises.
As someone (at the age of 13) who watched President Ronald Reagan deliver his famous address there on May 17, 1981, and who graduated from there in 1990, I’ve been especially interested in the controversy.
Most recently, Father Schall of Georgetown published his reflections at Catholic World Report.
Jim Otteson (U. of Notre Dame, class of 1990), a professor of philosophy and economics at Yeshiva University in New York, has published this.
Greg Scheckler (U. of Notre Dame, class of 1990), a professor of visual arts at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an avowed atheist, has published this piece.
The bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, John D’Arcy, has issued this condemnation.
As of 4:30 today, 223,607 persons have signed a petition protesting President Obama’s visit to Notre Dame.
The University of Notre Dame holds great significance and meaning to American Catholics. This visit clearly reveals profound tensions within American Catholicism, broader American Christianity, and American politics and culture.
It’s worth ending this post with Reagan’s masterful words, delivered at Notre Dame nearly 28 years ago: “When it’s written, history of our time won’t dwell long on the hardships of the recent past. But history will ask — and our answer determine the fate of freedom for a thousand years. . . . Did a nation borne of hope lose hope? Did a people forged by courage find courage wanting? Did a generation steeled by hard war and a harsh peace forsake honor at the moment of great climactic struggle for the human spirit?”