Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 3, 2008
I understand the disappointment of Chad Lavimoniere (“Rampant excitement for commencement speaker,” April 3) and perhaps others that this year’s Commencement speaker will be Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He isn’t young and witty like Stephen Colbert or even rich and powerful like last year’s speaker, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Perhaps many in the Class of 2008 had hoped for someone different, someone famous, someone unconnected with the Catholic Church. Yet I do not believe I am alone in saying that I am happy with Notre Dame’s choice of speaker this year.
While he may not be young, rich and powerful in the worldly sense, or particularly famous, Cardinal McCarrick, from what I’ve learned about him, has a good heart and much wisdom, which I believe is what is really needed in a good commencement speaker. I disagree with what Lavimoniere writes, albeit it in jest, that “Commencement is our last big chance to hear someone tell us important lies about the real world before we’re jettisoned into it.” While I grant that he is rightly poking fun at the way most Commencement speeches turn out to be, I take the less cynical view that it doesn’t have to be this way. Simply because Cardinal McCarrick is a man of the Catholic Church does not mean that his speech will be just another homily, as Lavimoniere expects.
I do not know what his speech will be like, but I do not expect it to be overtly religious or clerical. I expect from a man of Cardinal McCarrick’s character an honest and well-informed take on what we are to expect from life and how to go about living it well. As I see it, a good commencement speaker is one who has lived a good, moral life and can aptly guide us fledgling adults in how to spread our wings and fly. Therefore, I am satisfied with this year’s choice of speaker and I look forward to hearing what he has to tell us.