Pontifications

Pontifications


Holy Cross head writes to Obama re Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

When I first saw the text of the 13-page letter from U.S. Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, to President Obama, regarding Obama’s scheduled commencement address at Notre Dame, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It seemed to circle around on itself so much I thought it was a hoax. But it’s real.

It strikes such odd chords, welcoming Obama and complimenting him with one hand–often the left one–then painting him with the broad brush of “intrinsic evil” and saying Catholics can’t get a hearing from the government. Even though, of course, Catholics make up nearly a third of Congress, just as an example, and five-ninths of the Supreme Court, and the Vice-Presidency, etc.

And he accuses Obama of using the same tactic of “shunning” that is being used against him, and laments it, but indicates it is the only recourse for Catholics? He says he can’t in good conscience vote for any major party candidate–but did he protest Bush’s 2001 speech at Notre Dame? And the comparison to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami? Wassup with that? All the stuff about pope-bashing, a persecuted church…

In any case, I don’t know Father Cleary, but this whole thing seems odd. Saying he has no control over the invitation, as well, though he also indicates he could make Father John Jenkins, the Holy Cross priest who is Notre Dame’s president, do something. 

Whether Clearly’s letter is convincing or effective, I guess we’ll see. He seems not to oppose Obama’s appearance, though it’s hard to tell. He wants dialogue–of a fashion. Other, more perceptive reactions/analyses welcome. John Thavis has the write-up from Rome here.  



Advertisement
Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Cindy

posted March 31, 2009 at 8:11 pm


The letter from Fr. Cleary is the kind of letter, and the kind of discussion, that I believe should be taking place within the Catholic Church – healing our divisions and making space for people to articulate their thoughts and feelings, while sharing a common belief in the Church’s teaching authority.
I think the thing that rang most hollow for me was his plea for President Obama to embrace Catholic teaching. Why should he? How could he? We do not ask RCIA candidates to read a letter and then pray and then embrace the Church. We invite them to a lengthy, in-depth study of the history, Tradition, Doctrine and teachings. We invite discussion, reading, reflection, prayer, spiritual direction and participation in Mass.
To suggest that the President should or could simply reflect on the furor surrounding Notre Dame and come to the Catholic table is absurd. While he was able to bring a serious issue of race to the forefront during the campaign, that was based on a lifetime of experience, study, reflection and thought. Unlike this idea that a simple prayer and change of heart/mind should suffice.
I also was unhappy to see references to Hitler and to Iranian politics. Really unnecessary. It seems he didn’t really run this by anyone else, but was composing out of a heartfelt space, and a deep conviction in the rightness of his position. I can’t argue with that. It is a powerful place to stand.



report abuse
 

Cindy

posted March 31, 2009 at 8:25 pm


Also, to be clear … I believe Fr. Cleary’s objective is sane and the absolute best course for Catholics.
We should indeed pray for a change of heart and mind — that President Obama would and could revision his idea about when life begins and how it must be protected. It really does fit within his ideal for a just society.
I just don’t think he has to embrace “the Catholic” view … just the right view.
(I think I’m clarifying but I may just be muddying the waters more … sorry if that’s true)



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That means, in short, that I'll have to sign off from blogging h

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, "Patr

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have chec

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's contribution in developing countries" were key topics of discussio

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.