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Letter to University of Notre Dame In Support of President Barack Obama's Invitation to Speak--2009 Commencement

By       Message Debby Bodkin     Permalink
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May 6, 2009
VIA FACSIMILE (574) 631-8865

Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, President
Thomas G. Burish, Provost
John F. Affleck-Graves, Executive Vice President
University of Notre Dame
220 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Re:    University of Notre Dame -- Class of 2009
         Commencement Ceremony

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This letter is written in support of your decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at the upcoming Commencement Ceremony on May 17, 2009, in honor of the University of Notre Dame's Class of 2009. 

As a Catholic wife and mother in Southern California, Catholic education has been a blessing to not only my children, but hundreds of thousands of children throughout the world. Unfortunately, the attacks by Catholic groups and political commentators directed toward the University, in opposition to President Obama's invitation, resemble the same public attacks that followed the eruption of the clergy sex abuse crisis in 2002.

Thank you for leading one of the greatest University's in the country from a perspective of humility.  Your leadership will open doors to a big world of possibilities, choosing open-mindedness over personal and/or political points of view that will be passed on to many watching from afar. God bless you.

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From the eyes of a child... we are willing to learn from what others have to offer and forget about perfection as we enjoy the moment. 

From the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics... the clergy sex abuse crisis that erupted in 2002 has revealed painful truths, causing waves of confusion and fear in communities of faith throughout the world. 

From the eyes of a parent. . . there is always a time in our life journey when one will be in a situation of not having all the answers.  The child in us always appears, with hope of learning from what others have to offer, moving away from pushing into allowing, from seeking approval to seeking enlightenment. 

My life path changed drastically as I witnessed the courage and public outcry of sex abuse victims and their families.  Through a very difficult time, two of my children attended Providence College.  God obviously had a plan for us because PC's leaders and community strengthened our faith as a family.  PC blessed our children in every aspect of their lives.  And, as parents, we pray that all children will seek opportunities to strengthen their chosen faith and educational opportunities. 

By copy of this letter to Pope Benedict and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is my hope that religious and political leaders will publicly support the University's decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at the University Of Notre Dame's Class of 2009 Commencement Ceremony.  Today we are making history.  What will the history books state? Congratulations to the Class of 2009!


Debby Bodkin

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cc:  Pope Benedict XVI (via facsimile: 39.06.698.85793)

    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (via e-mail:

     President Barack Obama (via facsimile: (202) 456-2461)

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As an amateur writer, mother, wife and legal secretary for the past 25 years, my passion for the courage of clergy sex abuse victims, their families and mandated reporters, who made a choice to protect children, before their own career security and (more...)

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