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September 8, 2009

Catholic schools tuning in to Obama address

In March, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien wrote to Notre Dame President John Jenkins that he was "disappointed and bewildered" that the university had invited President Barack Obama to receive an honorary degree and speak during commencement ceremonies. Obama supports abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research, which the Catholic Church opposes.

On Tuesday, local Catholic schools will tune in to the president's back-to-school address to the nation's children.

From the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

Since news of the address was first reported, the Catholic Center and several Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have been contacted by parents, teachers and others expressing a desire that parents be given the opportunity to request that their children be excused from viewing the address.

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, acknowledges the historic significance of the President’s speech and is fully supportive of the educational messages the White House says the President will deliver. However, he agrees that parents should ultimately have the right to choose whether their child views the address and will ask Catholic schools in the Archdiocese to communicate this to parents.

“We respect the rights of our parents to decide what’s best for their children in this matter and our schools will be asked to make arrangements for children not watching the program in an alternate venue in order to offer an opportunity for discussion about the role and responsibilities of the presidency and the value of education,” the Archbishop said.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 5:00 AM | | Comments (23)


To me the Archbishop is saying, "well, I dont support this abortion rights President, but I dont want to be too controversial. After all, I have to get along with the fellow leaders of my church. So if kids in Catholic schools watch it, I will just pretend that it is important in that it is historical and encourages them to work hard. I certainly dont want black families to drop out of Catholic schools. Attendance is bad enough already." What will Christ say at judgment? Thanks.

I have to say that due to the fact that I formerly had a position in this Diocese, the Catholic schools have become almost as liberal and politically correct as the public schools; this is why I left.

Well BFD, I could say "welcome to the Baptist school system. One of the few school systems that teaches the true meaning of Christ. You wont be hearing any of that liberal stuff from us. After all, we are the first and only true to Christ school system started by John the Baptist." No I wont say that because I am not that proud. I wish Catholics werent so proud either. You know what the answer is? The Catholic church needs to change. If you have left, keep encouraging them to do the right things. I certainly have been outspoken enough about it. Thanks.

Clay we all know you're a fake. If you are going to pose at least learn the history of the church you claim to be a member of first.

It's a good decision. The parents should be encouraged to allow their kids to watch, but respect their wishes if they don't want them to watch. Personally I think far too many people are over reacting What exactly is wrong about listening to the President of the United States.

Clay unless you have an intelligent response save it I'm not interested.

You people who can't stand the idea of President Obama being the president, let alone giving an inspirational talk on education to school children, should be ashamed of yourselves. You lost the election. And you're the type who would be shouting "traitors" and "unpatriotic" if liberals did such a stupid, inane thing. George W. Bush couldn't even read books right side up when he visited the schools. Why don't you all secede and become the United States of Racist, Insane People?

Hi. I am not a fake. I have asked questions in another blog that arent easy for anyone to answer. I believe that the Catholic church do needs to change, and I am not trying to discourage them. Thanks.

I agree that the decision on whether or not kids should be able to view Obama's speech is up to their parents, and not the school districts or anyone else. Regardless of who thinks its right or wrong, if parents don't want their kids to see the speech, for whatever reason, it's their call.

Joanie liberals did the same things during the Bush years. From the extreme left who cried of stolen elections to those who made all various comparisons to Nazi Germany. The only difference now is it's the right's doing it.

Once again this is a missed opportunity. The Catholic schools should be listening to his speech and taking time to then discuss how anti-life and anit-Catholic his actions and view are. Then they could critically look again at his speech for his hidden agenda and hidden messages, knowing more of what his real values and intentions are. This would have been an opportunity to see Truth through fiction!

Ravensfan - it's true the left was plenty critical of Bush, but not quite in the paranoid, over-reacting way the right is now, and certainly not this early in his presidency. If Bush had been slated to give a similar speech to school kids I think liberals would have rolled their eyes but not have refused to let their kids hear it. The level of fear and suspicion directed at the current president is like nothing I've seen in my 56 years.

I see no difference. It's pretty much the same. In fact early in his Presidency there were a people calling for states to succeed and refusing to acknowledge him as President. The fraudulent election cries. I'd say that meets the criteria for paranoid and over-reacting wouldn't you? Then add to that the cried that Bush was behind the 9-11 attacks. The screaming about spying, trying to trash the constitution and create a dictatorship. You can deny it if you want but the only difference is which side is guilty of the paranoia and over reacting.

Please give the Archbishop a break. He was correct in condemning Notre Dame for awarding an honorary doctorate. It violated an imperative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). There's nothing wrong with inviting speakers to a Catholic University who disagree with the Church. I don't think that's the issue here. Here, you have a combination of a commencement address and an honorary doctorate. The honorary doctorate is more troubling than the commencement address because to give the President an honorary doctorate in law is to say that he's accomplished something in the field of law that the University of Notre Dame wants to honor. During President Obama’s administration, we've seen a number of different events, one of which was the change in policy on embryonic stem cell research and other policy decisions that made the funding of abortion more wide spread. The problem is, the areas in which he's been involved with legislation on the issue of abortion have been contrary to Catholic teaching.

This is very different from honoring the office of the president by allowing the school children in the archdiocese from hearing a State of the Union address or the speech given today. Because this is outside of the norm for the curriculum, giving the parent’s the opportunity to opt out is reasonable.

I will let my children watch, since we've already discussed the fact that the President cannot be trusted in most of what he says. He's already proven his lack of trustworthiness with his czar appointments, appeals for common ground such as at Notre Dame, as well as his discussions on health care. But I understand others who fear that the President will attempt to mislead our youth, as he does have a slippery tongue when his teleprompter is working.

No, liberals didn't do "the same thing" during Bush's years. Any criticism of a president doesn't amount to being the "same thing." Bush started a WAR, unilaterally and against a country that did not attack us--because it was part of his and Cheney's own agenda to invade Iraq. Meanwhile, bin Laden is still at large. Bush allowed our country to torture prisoners, against all international agreements and our own laws. And against what most religions teach.

And all this sanctimonious handwringing about protecting your children against the evil influence of President Obama: I don't believe it. It's just the latest play in the "Get Obama" game. You let yourselves become the pawns of Limbaugh and Glen Beck--so sad. I wonder if you're as cautious about what your children watch on tv every day as you are about President Obama's little speech telling kids to study hard and be good students.

The bible says that after we die, all that we have done will be read back to us. Then we will be sent to heaven or the lake of fire. I dont see in the bible where anyone gets a chance to argue anything one way or another. It isnt courtroom 3 at the local courthouse. But just say that we would have a chance to give reasons why we should go to heaven. Someone dies and at the final judgement what they have done is read back to them. This includes supporting President Obama and allowing his speech to be heard by schoolchildren. Christ says "so you supported this pro abortion president and didnt explain to the kids how he was wrong and against My commands?" The person replies "well, one of the things I always tried to do is to mend fences and build bridges. I cant assume that someone wont go to heaven. I mean, that is up to you. So I let the kids decide for themselves what they wanted to believe in. Isnt that a fair way of doing things?" What do you think Christ would say?

54% of the Catholic vote went to Obama and socalist democrats. It appears the chruch is continuing to support Obamas World Wide Abortion policys. What is next, Euthanias??
The Church in the US is going to hell in a hand basket.

joanie take the blinders off. It is that anti Bush talk from the extreme left started long before the Iraq war. Keep in mind that our elected Congressional Representatives voted him the power to start that war. I'm not attempting to justify anything from The Bush administration simply point out that the extreme elements of both sides tend to create the same sort of rubbish. Your problem is you only notice it one way. BTW had you read my posts you would have seen I never said the broadcast shouldn't have been viewed. I actually wanted my kids to see it. Don’t lecture me on kids. Save it for someone who needs it like, yourself. Maybe if the Obama Administration hadn't come out with the worksheets, and had been a little more informative on the subject matter sooner people like Limbaugh & Beck wouldn't have been able to make it such an issue. I'd also be willing to bet had Bush done the same thing you'd have been at the front of the line screaming about him trying to sell his policies. At the least you would have defended those who kept their kids from school to avoid seeing it.

Since the President rarely tells the unmitigated truth about anything what are we doing?

Obams thinks he is the only one to come from poor circumstances and he really didn't come from a 'poor' family - perhaps morally impoverished. He has this deranged idea of America in his mind where all white people had a college education when that is simply not true. In my own family I am the only college graduate and the same in my husband's.

No one has had a more deprived childhood than my own husband. As he says, they didn't have fire drills in school, they had real fires.

no BFD, the Catholic Church doesn't need to "change." Truth doesn't change. God doesn't change.

Leave the change to the protestants.

Clay I don't recall Christ commanding us to as you put it "supported this pro abortion president and didnt explain to the kids how he was wrong and against My commands"

Your comments regarding judgement come much closer to Catholic doctrine than Baptist as well. I'm sorry to say you are really starting to sound like a fake.

Archbishop O'Brien is a Hypocrite!
Just as Jesus called the temple masters and scribes hypocrites he is no better than them.

Matt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

NObama might I suggest you turn to Luke 6:38-42.

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.

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