Catholics Who Back Obama's Visit Raise Voices With Newspaper Ad

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good defends the university's invitation to Obama.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

After conservative Roman Catholics caused a stir over President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame this weekend, Catholics who support his visit are raising their voices. The liberal group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is running a full-page ad in the South Bend Tribune this Saturday titled "Catholic Leaders and Theologians Welcome President Obama to Notre Dame."

Here's the statement that the ad is built around, and its two dozen signatories:

As Catholics committed to civil dialogue, we are proud that President Barack Obama will give the Commencement Address at the University of Notre Dame on May 17.

Eighty-five years ago to the very day, the racial and religious hatred of the KKK spilled onto the Irish campus. Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins now welcomes an American president who transcends race with hope and invites people of every faith to find common ground.

Notre Dame has a long tradition of honoring presidents from both political parties. We caution those who seek to disrupt these joyous proceedings or to divide the Church for narrow political advantage that history is not on your side.

Catholic teaching warns about the threats to human dignity posed by abortion, the death penalty, torture, unjust military engagement and the nuclear arms race. The honoring of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did not detract from Notre Dame's commitment to the fullness of faith. These former leaders were received as sitting presidents who came to speak about great issues of our time. The same standard should apply for President Obama, a Christian with deep respect for the role of faith in public life and whose commitment to universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform, environmental stewardship and an economy that works for all Americans reflect core Catholic values.

Catholic institutions of higher learning teach students to engage the world through faith and reason. On this anniversary when the Irish defeated the KKK with fists, it is a measure of human progress that today we use our minds in pursuit of the common good.

We join Notre Dame in recognizing the accomplishments of President Obama.

Nicholas Cafardi
Dean Emeritus
Professor of Law

Lisa Cahill
Professor of Theology
Boston College

David De Cosse
Director of Campus Ethics
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Santa Clara University

Charles E. Curran
Professor of Human Values
Southern Methodist University

Nancy Dallavalle
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Fairfield University

Dennis Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton

Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Associate Professor of Theology
Fordham University

Elena G. Procario-Foley
Chair, Religious Studies Dept.
Iona College

Richard Gaillardetz
Professor of Catholic Studies
University of Toledo

Elizabeth Groppe
Associate Professor of Theology
Xavier University

Kirk O. Hanson
Executive Director
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Santa Clara University

Kristin E. Heyer
Associate Professor, Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University

Christine Firer Hinze
Professor, Christian Ethics
Department of Theology
Fordham University

Bradford E. Hinze
Professor of Theology
Fordham University

Douglas Kmiec
Professor of Constitutional Law
Pepperdine University

Paul Lakeland
Director, Center for Catholic Studies
Fairfield University

Vincent Miller
Associate Professor, Theology Department
Georgetown University

David O'Brien
Loyola Professor Emeritus, Catholic Studies
College of Holy Cross

Rev. William O'Neill, SJ
Associate Professor of Social Ethics
Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley

Rev. Tom Reese, SJ
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center
Georgetown University

Vincent Rougeau
Associate Professor of Law
University of Notre Dame

Stephen Schneck
Director, Life Cycle Institute
The Catholic University of America

Terrence W. Tilley
Catholic Theological Society of America

Sandra Yocum
Chair of Religious Studies
University of Dayton