Barack Obama: The second Catholic president?

Obama at ND2.jpgAt the Immanent Frame, the sociologist of religion Michelle Dillon sees a “Catholic sensibility” in Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame:

“I am not thinking of Obama’s references to the “imperfections of man” and to “original sin,” or to the invocation of “God’s creation”–though these religious references are important. More striking was how Obama, a non-Catholic, showed his ability to think and to talk like a Catholic. He empathically did this by vividly using in his address very particular experiences as grounds legitimating the validity of universal claims. During his speech, Obama exemplified the translation that necessarily occurs in everyday lived experience between universal principles of morality and the particularistic ways in which those principles get worked out on the ground by (imperfect) human beings. This he accomplished not by abstract talk about lofty principles but by the stories he told…”


Those stories would be the references to Father Hesburgh and Cardinal Bernardin. As intriguing as anything was Dillon’s, outro, in which she says that “Obama has put religion back in civil religion, and has achieved this not by simply invoking religious words in public setting (“God bless America”), but by deploying a narrative style that both fits with, and gives lived experience, to the theological argument that universal moral principles are a society’s foundation and anchor.”

She also notes that Obama’s speech is “unlikely to change the passions and fundamental moral divisions that exist around abortion.” And the comments below her piece have some interesting pushback from the likes of Rick Garnett and Tom Farr. Check it out…

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posted May 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Apparently many people are unaware of the work Obama did for the Catholic organizations in that helped the poor and marginalilzed in the Chicago..He is NOT hostile to the Catholic Church…He has expressed his admiration for the work they do…

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Jimmy Martello

posted May 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Obama’s work with “Catholic” groups in Chicago have been exaggerated. Most of those groups have been associated with activities that the Church increasing separates herself from. Those are just the facts on the ground. Another interesting little fact that apparently is aggressively overlooked by liberal Catholic is that Obama’s only positive connection to Christianity is his over reliance on Liberation Theology with the Church has condemned. (See: Instruction on Certain Aspects of “Theology of Liberation”. Given in Rome, at the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on August 6, 1984, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.)
To say it very simply, there is nothing Catholic about the man.

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posted May 24, 2009 at 8:03 am

There is nothing Catholic in these statements by Obama at Notre Dame:
“The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.”
I do not see Obama on middle ground here. On true moral issues there cannot be middle ground. In the first statement, his discussion of HIV/AIDS appears to pit condom distribution against abstinence. There’s no middle ground. Next he is suggesting a moral equivalence between rescuing embryos and sacrificing them in order to benefit someone else. (I undrstand juv.diabetes is not always fatal!)

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posted May 24, 2009 at 8:13 am

Catholicism is not about compromise!

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Anonymous as the Sun known by another name

posted June 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm

………….to a blind indiviual with perception, verifiably unanswered questions of significance leave doubt in their wake ultimately leading to a jusifiable lack of BELIEF,TRUST and FAITH.
HUMANITY without JUSTICE produces a world without PEACE.
An idividual who has access to everything needed to survive including FAITH except JUSTICE is an individual whose life is not of the significance of even a freshly slaughterd lamb………….

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