Topic One – What Happened to Notre Dame?
When the University of Notre Dame announced that President Barack Obama would speak at its 2009 Commencement and would receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, the reaction was more than anyone expected. Students, faculty, alumni, and friends of Notre Dame denounced the honoring of Obama, who is the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world. Beyond abortion, Obama has taken steps to withdraw from health-care professionals the right of conscientious objection. Among them are thousands of Notre Dame alumni who will be forced to choose between continuing their profession and participating in activities they view as immoral, including the execution of the unborn. Four decades ago, in 1967, the major “Catholic” universities declared their “autonomy” from the Catholic Church in the Land O’Lakes Declaration. The honoring of Obama reflects the replacement by those universities of the benign authority of the Church with the politically correct standards of the secular academic establishment and, especially, of the government. Legendary Notre Dame Law Professor Charles Rice is with us to look at What Happened to Notre Dame?
Topic Two – District 9 and the Biblical Attitude Toward the Other
Fr. Robert Barron just saw a remarkable film called “District 9.” It’s an exciting, science-fiction adventure movie, but it is much more than that. In fact, it explores, with great perceptiveness, a problem that has preoccupied modern philosophers from Hegel to Levinas, the puzzle of how to relate to “the other.” “District 9” sets up the question in the most dramatic way possible, for its plot centers around the relationship between human beings and aliens from outer space who have stumbled their way onto planet earth. We look at “District 9” and the biblical attitude toward the other.