Notre Dame Students Speak Out About Commencement
April 5, 2009
I went to a Catholic law school. At my commencement, the invocation involved a priest, a rabbi, and a muslim cleric (stop me if you’ve heard this one) who prayed for “the day Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham join hands and welcome their children into the kingdom of heaven.” I was ducking for cover, expecting fire from heaven. I think they found a way to offend every true believer of each of those three religions, as each of those religions lays claim to being the exclusive truth.
I came with a very skeptical eye toward commencement anyway, knowing the worldviews of those in charge of the ceremony. However, if I were graduating this year from a Catholic school that actually took itself seriously as a Catholic school, and Obama was invited to the commencement, I’d be inclined to respond the way these students are:
In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.’s invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principal commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages. Further, the University’s decision runs counter to the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians. We cannot sit by idly while the University honors someone who believes that an entire class of human beings is undeserving of the most basic of all legal rights, the right to live.
I would encourage the students to protest the commencement ceremony openly. The tragic thing in all this is that the families of the graduates are cheated out of what should be a time of unmitigated celebration.