Current Articles of Interest

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama and the ‘Real’ Catholics

The president inserts himself into a religious debate.

By George Weigel

Passionate debates over doctrine, identity, and the boundaries of “communion” have been a staple of the American religious landscape for centuries: Trinitarians vs. Unitarians in 19th-century New England; Modernists vs. Fundamentalists in early-20th-century Presbyterianism; Missouri Synod Lutherans vs. Wisconsin Synod Lutherans vs. Other Sorts of Lutherans down to today. Yet never in our history has a president of the United States, in the exercise of his public office, intervened in such disputes in order to secure a political advantage.

Until yesterday, at the University of Notre Dame.

The principal themes of President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement address were entirely predictable; indeed, in some offices I know, betting pools were forming last week on how many of the Catholic Left hot buttons Obama would hit. In the event, he hit for the cycle several times over, mentioning “common ground”; tolerance and reconciliation amid diversity; Father Hesburgh; respect for those with whose moral judgments we disagree; problem-solving over ideology; Father Hesburgh; saving God’s creation from climate change; pulling together; Father Hesburgh; open hearts; open minds; fair-minded words; Father Hesburgh. None of this was surprising, and most of it was said with the president’s usual smooth eloquence.  (Full story at Narional Review Online)

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