This is why we have so much respect for Fr. Theodore Hesburgh...
Fr. Hesburgh supports Notre Dame’s decision to invite Pres. Obama
Reporter: Maureen McFadden
Posted: 5:26 PM May 14, 2009
Last Updated: 11:07 AM May 15, 2009
The man who acted as Notre Dame's president for 35 years regrets the controversy over Barack Obama's choice as commencement speaker, but he thinks the university made the right decision.
Maureen McFadden sat down with Father Hesburgh Thursday to discuss the matter. He says the Catholic Church, the majority of the student body, and faculty are against abortion.
But he says an institute of higher education has to be a lighthouse and crossroads so that their graduates are ready to go out into the world prepared.
“That's what universities are about,” says Father Hesburgh. “It's like a commonplace where people who disagree can get together, instead of throwing bricks at one another, they can discuss the problem and they can see different solutions to difficult problems and those solutions are going to come out of people from universities. They aren't going to come from people running around with signs.”
Father Hesburgh believes the president will get an enthusiastic welcome from the graduates and that the president himself will leave Notre Dame a better man.
During his presidency, Father Ted has invited presidents Eisenhower, Ford, Carter and Reagan to deliver commencement addresses.
He says our leaders aren't 100 percent correct on everything, but he believes having a U.S. president speak at graduation, our first African-American president, is a learning experience for both the students and president.
“We have invited a number of presidents here. None of them have agreed on all issues, but I think just coming here and seeing another point of view and mingling with people who look upon abortion as an abhorrent thing -- that will have an effect on them,” Father Ted says.
“We're not a place that hides out in the corner and says we believe this and that's that and we're not going to talk to anybody that doesn't agree with us. We know we disagree on things, let's get together and talk.”
Father Ted believes Obama will give one of his most powerful speeches yet and that many graduates will leave Notre Dame able to find better solutions for all social conditions -- including abortion.
Meanwhile Alan Keyes and 17 other anti-abortion protestors were arrested for trespassing on the Notre Dame campus. It was Keyes' 2nd arrest in 8 days. I wonder what it will take for the South Bend police to decide to hold Keyes as a repeat offender at least until after Commencement....