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Pontifications

This should get the Irish fighting, along with lots of other Catholics. Or am I wrong? Via The South Bend Tribune:

Obama will be the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the university’s 164th commencement ceremony [on May 17], which will be in the Joyce Center, Notre Dame officials announced Friday.

Obama will be the ninth U.S. president to be awarded a Notre Dame honorary degree and the sixth to be the commencement speaker.

President George W. Bush spoke about faith-based and community initiatives when he was the commencement speaker in 2001. His father, President George H.W. Bush, gave the commencement address in 1992.

Hat tip to Amy Welborn (check out her Via Media blog at Beliefnet) who in her post opines thusly:

“I think it would be easier on everyone, frankly, if Catholic universities cut the cord with politicians completely. I don’t care how prestigious you aim to be, how much you want your graduates to contribute to the fabric of American civic life, even a sitting president cannot help but associate you with a political ideology.

I’m not arguing for the ghetto, at all, but we’re not talking noble statesmen here. We’re talking politicians who are divisive figures and who,  Obama’s case, are pursuing policies that directly threaten Catholic institutions.

(Bush is a worthy object of criticism, too, IMHO, but remember his speech was 2001 – before the Iraq war was pursued. And I don’t necessarily want to get mired in that conversation, but we might as well bring it up at the beginning.)”

Notre Dame certainly seems to be leading with its (her?) chin, but I think it’s a fine choice for many reasons: One, they invited Bush after he was elected, so the invite is justified if not imperative. And two, it offers Obama a Catholic setting to talk some about issues of central importance to Catholic, which have not received the hearing (so far) that he promised.

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