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Uphold Catholic pillars

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tonight, I signed a petition. I put my name down on a virtual piece of paper underneath 130,000 others wondering if it would make a difference, hoping it would make at least an impact and fearing that it would mean nothing in the end. Every day for the past seven years, I have stood up in front of my students and started my class with a prayer. It’s a familiar prayer to all of us and after seven years of saying it every day, the words have almost become mechanical. No matter what, however, one line has always stuck out to me and it consistently wakes me from the repetition and causes me to look around the room at my students standing there: “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.”

Today, after reading the response of several student groups around Notre Dame’s campus, those words stuck out to me even more and I envisioned Mary’s choice to accept the life within her as the background for our unwavering fight for life in our faith. Yet still, I debated all day whether or not to sign this petition. In the past few years, I have interacted with so many people that question, comment, alter and adapt the Catholic faith and doctrine to their own convenience. They argue and defend their adaptations with such conviction that it has left me unable to speak up for my own beliefs on many an occasion. Every time I am challenged, criticized or abased for my beliefs, I find myself sitting there quietly and saying nothing. Instead, I think back to the place I once felt so comfortable expressing myself, the place I’ve always thought of as my second home … a place where it was okay to be truly Catholic. And then, I get an e-mail announcing the 2009 commencement speaker and I lose a bit of that comfort.

I have no commentary on President Obama as a political leader. He is my Commander in Chief for the next four years. I respect him for his office. However, that is government and this is a private, Catholic university and a place that should always stand firm in the pillars of our Catholic faith no matter what the opportunity. If President Obama does not respect the tenants of our faith, then how can we expect his words to inspire our future Catholic leaders? I look back again at the list of 130,000 names and growing, and I wonder if, at a place that has always put its students first, will we make a difference?

Gretchen Danysh


Class of 2002

March 25