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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/17/09

At the Middle of this Struggle over Catholic Identity, Notre Dame Students Will Graduate

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llip;And President Obama will speak. His plane lands at the South Bend Airport at noon ET and at 2pm ET he will be participating in the commencement ceremony for Notre Dame Graduates.

The tactics of Randall Terry and those from the Pro-Life Action League, who are coming in from Chicago on buses to hold a massive “Face the Truth” initiative will cause a stir and even ignite argument on the perimeters of campus. But, it will only remind people of what campus has become for students, faculty, and families over the past few months.

Nobody knows what it will be, but for the third day in a row, Terry and others will lead “pro-lifers” onto campus to be arrested. The South Bend Police, with no patience whatsoever for this, will wait to make sure the protesters intend to engage in civil disobedience and then haul them away to the small buses they have parked behind a police line.

What prominent anti-abortion Catholic or Protestant activist will be arrested today? How many will decide a misdemeanor charge and a $250 bail fee (which costs an additional $38.50 if you only have credit card) is worth it?

The Joyce Center, where commencement will take place, is not within sight and sound of the gates protesters have been at, but today, as hundreds line the streets of Edison Road and Angela Road, there will be no way to escape the sight of those lining the streets going into Notre Dame.

These protesters have had little help from students, and in fact, the pro-life group, ND Response, which consists of students opposed to Obama speaking, will hold their own ceremony for graduating that will run at the same time as ND’s Commencement and they will make their statement in a much more spiritual manner.

No graphic photos are allowed, yet somehow Terry and others expect to get on campus to this event at 2 pm to participate.

The media will get one last hurrah out of this controversy which they have helped ignite by seizing on a band of ragtag militant protesters who have been there since the end of March.

Yesterday, it became apparent that Notre Dame was going to be one of the main stories CNN talked about. As CNN put it in their 3 pm ET broadcast, “critics who say the president’s policies fly in the face of catholic teachings” are outraged.

CNN interviewed one student who was against it, one who was not at all, and then one who was, and then one who could settle it once and for all and say Obama will be addressing this is in his speech.

The student in favor, whom I interviewed on camera yesterday for my film, said to CNN, “Don’t think less of the University of Notre Dame. Don’t think our mission is being corrupted by a president who might have thought on this issue that’s different than Catholic thought. Be willing to engage in that.”

And that shows the fear that many have—that people will be taking this event and thinking this controversy shows anything about Notre Dame.

Really, it shows strength and fortitude because this media uproar that 20-30 protesters for a month have created has not led to Obama’s speech being canceled.

Still, to a certain extent, some Americans’ views will reflect what they have seen on the news this past week. On a CNN blog thread about President Obama coming to Notre Dame:

Brent W. May 14th, 2009 9:14 am ET

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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