U.S. PRESIDENT Barack Obama is presented with an academic stole (photo) by the chairman of the University of Notre Dame’s board of trustees, Richard C. Notebart, and university registrar Harold L. Pace. The stole signifies the honorary degree President  Obama received during the commencement ceremony at the University of Notre Dame, Ind., on May 17. Notre Dome is a Catholic university run by the Jesuits.


The Obama-Notre Dame affair has stirred enormous controversy within the Catholic Church. Some 70 U.S. bishops and numerous prominent lay Catholics have criticised Notre Dame’s actions. Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and former U.S ambassador to the Vatican, decided not to accept the prestigious Laetare Medal from Notre Dame. She was to receive it on the same day the president was scheduled to give the commencement address and receive the honorary degree. Some graduating students decided to boycott the ceremony but others were elated at the president’s presence. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, appears favourably disposed toward the president and to his speech. What about you?

  • Do you think Notre Dame University should have invited President Obama to make the commencement speech and confer an honorary degree on him?
  • Do you think President Obama is serious about wanting to reduce the number of abortions?
  • Do you think his words and actions, so far, are indicative of someone whom the U.S. church can trust and work with?
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