The University of Notre-Dame is getting a lot of negative attention for inviting President Obama as the commencement speaker. It seems though, that most students are quite happy about the selection of the first African-American President for this special moment in US history. Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre-Dame responded to the criticism. as reported by CNS. There’s also in interesting comment by Jesuit Thomas Reese.
“We will honor Mr. Obama as an inspiring leader who faces many challenges — the economy, two wars, and health care, immigration and education reform — and is addressing them with intelligence, courage and honesty,” he said.
“It is of special significance that we will hear from our first African-American president, a person who has spoken eloquently and movingly about race in this nation. Racial prejudice has been a deep wound in America, and Mr. Obama has been a healer,” he said.
Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington, said he found it curious that Notre Dame would receive so much flak about its choice of commencement speaker, given that no such outrage occurred when the archbishop of New York invited Obama to speak at the 2008 Al Smith dinner.
The annual see-and-be-seen political roast is named for the famed 1920s Catholic New York governor.
“This is absurd,” Father Reese said in a statement. “If Cardinal Edward Egan of New York can invite Obama to speak at the Al Smith dinner in October of 2008 when he was only a presidential candidate, then there is certainly nothing wrong with Notre Dame having the president speak at a commencement.
“Other pro-choice speakers at Al Smith dinners included Al Gore and Tony Blair, a Catholic,” he continued. “What is OK for a cardinal archbishop is certainly OK for a university.”