Obama at Notre Dame, a Moderate Opinion


| 4/1/2009 10:14:42 AM


Tags: Spirituality, Church and State, University of Notre Dame, Obama and Catholics, Commonweal,

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Pundits continue to wrestle over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement, with a growing online petition against the visit, outrage from the likes of Newt Gingrich, and subsequent outrage at the outrage from liberals. Sometimes it’s hard to find a moderate voice between all the shouting back and forth, but J. Peter Nixon presents a restrained, thoughtful opinion over at Commonweal.

Nixon recognizes the politics involved in Notre Dame’s invitation:

“There was a time, of course, when Catholics were on the outside looking in at mainstream American society.  The fact that Notre Dame could entice a president to speak was a mark that we had arrived and were part of the mainstream.  Is that the message we want to send?  That the nation’s leading Catholic university has ‘bagged another one,’ so to speak?  Is our ability to attract the attention of the powerful a mark of our success as followers of Jesus Christ?”

And as for Obama, accepting the invitation signals “that at least some portion of the Catholic community is ‘okay’ with him.  I don’t blame him for this and it doesn’t particularly upset me.  This is what politicians do.” 

Nixon cops to voting for Obama in the election but remains openly conflicted on the president’s positions on stem cell research and abortion: