Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Catholic Crisis: Georgetown and Notre Dame controversies

The Catholic Identity Crisis

What the Georgetown and Notre Dame controversies reveal.

By Rev. Robert A. Sirico

In his speech this week at Georgetown University, President Obama made an interesting comment about economics. “We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” he said. “We must build our house upon a rock.”

I doubt that anyone would accuse him of plagiarism, but what he was quoting came from Jesus’s parable. The man who built his house on sand paid a price when the winds took it down, while the man who built his house on stone saw it withstand the storm.

It is quite appropriate that a parable was quoted at a Catholic university founded by Jesuits. The entire campus is filled with religious symbolism. Crucifixes, statues of Mary, and other religious items are everywhere, revealing the rich tradition here.

Oddly, however, although the president didn’t mind quoting Jesus without credit, his advance team insisted that all religious symbols be covered in the place in which he was speaking. Incredibly, Georgetown officials complied. At the request of the White House, officials at the university placed cover over the letters IHS — the Greek abbreviation for the name of Jesus.

This incident followed the uproar over Obama’s planned speech at Notre Dame, at which he will be given an honorary doctorate. The Notre Dame development department reports widespread anger at the decision to invite him. (Continued here)

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