Westchester’s own Ken Woodward has a fine column on Newsweek.com about the “lessons” of Obama at Notre Dame.
Woodward is the former longtime religion editor at the newsweekly and now serves as a contributing editor.
A graduate of Notre Dame and a self-described “pro-life Catholic,” Woodward approves of Obama’s invitation. He writes that both Obama and ND President Father John Jenkins showed “courage” for following through with the program.
But he takes Obama to task for not using the opportunity to reach out to Catholics:
For example, he could have signaled his support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, a common-ground initiative that Democrats for Life have introduced in the House and Senate, which has the endorsement of the Catholic bishops Pro-Life Committee.
He might have reassured the Catholic community, beyond a passing phrase, that new regulations governing health-care providers will contain strong clauses protecting the consciences of doctors and nurses who find abortion evil. American Catholics, after all, operate the largest private-hospital system in the world.
As a political gesture, he might have announced a White House liaison to American Catholics. A hundred days into his presidency, there is no one in that post.
Above all, he could have clarified his stand on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a bill that would remove all state and local restrictions on abortion. As a candidate, Obama declared his support for FOCA; since then he has said that it is no longer high on his list of legislative priorities.
In the end, Woodward writes, Catholic universities actually enhance their religious identity by “respectfully engaging” those who disagree. He writes: “The message of Notre Dame is that thoughtful Catholics wish this president well. They will work with him if he will work with them.”
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)