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understanding Notre Dame

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 14, 2009

 Looking for a complete account of the dispute over President Obama's visit to Notre Dame? Joseph Bottum of First Things offers what is probably the most complete and cogent analysis available to date: "At the Gates of Notre Dame." 

For a considerably shorter version, see Terry Mattingly's primer for reporters, on the GetReligion blog: "Notre Dame: Who, what, when, where, why and how." Frustrated by the superficial and/or inaccurate coverage of the debate, Mattingly just wants reporters to get their facts straight. Good luck with that.

Mattingly himself does have the right questions squarely in focus. The complaints about efforts to stifle free speech are bogus, he points out; and the noisy demonstrations by Randall Terry and Alan Keyes are distracting sideshows. The real conflict is on the campus itself, and the real story is whether a Catholic university should confer an honorary degree on the President-- not whether the school should allow him to speak. Probing a bit deeper, he observes: "The key conflict here  e is inside the Catholic establishment and even within the church’s hierarchy here in America." 

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