Postscript on Obama & Notre Dame

I’m so glad that Obama took the issues head-on at Notre Dame’s commencement. We have to talk about these issues and find some common ground. But one CNN commentator sneered and said the speech was a fine example of “elegant relativism.” The absolutists see the bright line between good and evil. We relativists are soft on evil.

The problem is that all of life consists of balancing lesser evils with greater goods. The bright line shifts and blurs. The only absolute is that there are no absolutes.

Good article at Salon: Notre Dame’s stand against Catholic fundamentalism.

In fact, the crucial question that underlies the flap at Notre Dame has enormous importance for the unfolding 21st century: Will Roman Catholicism, with its global reach, including more than a billion people crossing every boundary of race, class, education, geography and culture, be swept into the rising tide of religious fundamentalism?

That would be the worst. I have issues with my “home” religion — but I honor its traditions of inquiry and scholarship and its dedication to social justice. I appreciate the need to take a moral stand, especially when the world is in such a state of corruption and greed, but it is simplistic close-mindedness that characterizes fundamentalism. Catholics shouldn’t take the bait of absolutists.

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