In the wake of the Notre Dame events, one must wonder, is there any hope that can emerge from the Obama-Notre Dame fiasco? Many are saying "No," In fact, Bishop Finn of Kansas seems to think that all possibility of dialogue ended that day. Is there anything else that could inspire hope from that day? Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete seems to see the possibility for something to build our hope upon:
However, the most important part of his speech was his account of how he became a Christian as a result of his work as a community organizer for the poor. This is what he said: “Perhaps because the church folk I worked with were so welcoming and understanding, perhaps because they invited me to their services and sang with me from their hymnals, perhaps because I was really broke and they fed me. Perhaps because I witnessed all of the good work their faith inspired them to perform, I found myself drawn not just to work with the Church. I was drawn to be in the Church. It was through this service that I was brought to Christ.” (I did not hear any of the other speeches, but I would not be surprised if this was not the only time in the event in which the distinction was made between knowing Christ and admiring his “ethical values.”)
These words of the President recognized the method through which the Christian faith spreads and bears fruit, namely through the witness of someone in whom we are struck by an attractive “different humanity.” Indeed it was at this point that he recalled the witness of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Archbishop of Chicago at that time. (Some have said that this was an offense against the current Archbishop who is also the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, but instead if President Obama would get to know Cardinal George personally, he would be able to see the continuity between Bernardin’s witness and Cardinal George’s concerns.)
These words of the President offer the most hope for the future. It is up to us to remember that the point of departure of everything we say or do must be faith in Christ.