Saturday, April 11, 2009

President Obama & Notre Dame

A lot of press has been given recently to the upcoming commencement ceremonies to be held at Notre Dame University in May. Why? Because President Obama, a noted pro-choice supporter, has been invited to give the commencement address as well as receive an honorary doctorate degree. This has outraged many pro-life Catholics because of the President's record on abortion as the Chief Executive, US Senator, and Illinois State Senator. They are calling for the rescinding of the invitation for to have Obama speak at the university would be an abomination.

I do see their point. The president has not been coy about the subject. He has always been in the open about his very liberal support of abortion or as the pro-choice supporters now see to call it more often, women's health care issues. The fact that the president has, throughout his career, supported and promoted abortion is an indisputable fact. For a Catholic institution such as Notre Dame to invite a pro-choice advocate such as the president is completely contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. So the question arises, should ND disinvite the President of the United States?

It may come as a surprise to those of you who know me to find out that I say let the president come to the university! Let him speak at the commencement exercises. The polarization in this country has become unbearable! But beyond that, we must look to Jesus as our model. Jesus never avoided those who shared differing viewpoints and ideas from him. He ate with tax collectors who were seen as the scourge of the earth by good practicing Jews. He dined with members of the Sanhedrin, teaching them through parables and example. When Mary Magdalene, a known prostitute, approached him and bathed his feet in her repentant tears, Jesus did not push her away like some disease. Rather, he accepted her for who she was, a wounded person who sought healing. The woman caught in adultery was told by the Master to "go and sin no more." He did not reject her.

Those of us who believe in the sanctity of life at every stage must follow in Christ's footsteps. We must not for a minute give in to the other side's viewpoint or pressure but we must seek out dialogue so that they, like the sinners Jesus ate with, can experience the love of God for his littlest ones and come to see the abomination abortion is. There are many who may say that this approach is naive and will never work. While it may take time to change anything regarding abortion, nothing will be accomplished if we remain in two camps slinging disparaging remarks at one another, failing to see each other as we are. . .children of God. Let the president speak and pray that the Word of God made flesh will one day penetrate his heart to see the error of his ways! God's love sometimes takes time and we cannot lose faith or patience in the will of the Father.