Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Catholics around the world may have heard of the recent controversy surrounding the honorary degree given to the US President Obama by Notre Dame, a Catholic University like Sophia. The controversy concerned Obama's track record and position on abortion & stem cell research, which, some Catholics maintained, made him unfit to receive an honorary degree from a Catholic university. The critics didn't like him to deliver the key note address at the graduation ceremony either. Some Catholics, of course, didn't see any problem at all. Whatever group you may belong to, you may find Obama's speech at Notre Dame worth listening to.
This is one of his most religious speeches as he frequently refers to God, faith, and Catholics, acknowledging gracefully the good Catholic influences he has received, e.g., from the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago and the former Notre Dame President Fr. Ted Hesburgh. Without advocating any stand pro or con abortion, Obama calls on all opposing parties to strive for mutual understanding and accommodation in a civil manner. He supports his call for mutual accommodation by pointing out that it is an unavoidable option and that it is in fact a Christian mission. Note also his final 'May God bless the United States of America,' a phrase that some atheistic intellectuals want abolished.
So here is the video: (CNN video, about 30 minutes).
For a brief description of the controversy, see
(1) CBS News: Inside The Obama Notre Dame Controversy
(2) PBS: Obama Notre Dame Controversy