In 1979, when the Soviet empire was teetering of verge of imploding, the government’s attention was unavoidably diverted to a visitor in Poland. A conquering hero had come home. One of their own had unbelievably risen to the office of the Papacy.
With all the fear and the tension that a Papal visit behind the iron curtain must had created for the Soviets, Pope John Paul II did not take this prime opportunity to unleash fiery rhetoric and deliver the final death nail into the Soviet’s coffin. He did something much more damning.
His most powerful, chosen words to his people on this visit were as soft spoken as they were subtle. In fact, those opposing and monitoring the Holy Father's trip would had most likely not have noticed them nor understood their impact. It was a direct appeal to Poland's heart, hope and heritage.
He simply said to his beloved Poles, “ Do not forgot who you are!” He was ensuring that his oppressed countrymen never forgot that they were not the nameless faces of a Communist regime but were still the children of, and belonging to, the One, True and Universal God. Their government was finite, their God was not. Their human and spiritual value as a people was forever secured in this statement regardless of the totalitarianism of their state. Their victory was a matter of certainty, not question because they knew their true identity as created in God's own, eternal image.
I can not help but think of the Holy Father's words repeatedly in my head as I read the daily headlines of Obama’s upcoming speech at Notre Dame. The management of the University has sadly let the secular world erase its Roman Catholic identity without a whimper. The people of Poland never let this happen even under fierce Communist persecution.
Notre Dame, you are not secular bastion of moral relativism. You are not a placater of earthly values and political expediency. You are a custodian of the Eternal Truth that has been revealed to you to safeguard, defend and promote. All the while, dedicated to the veneration and the honor of Our Blessed Mother. Notre Dame, "Do not forgot who you are!"
"...what Notre Dame is saying with this invitation is that Obama’s 100 percent support for policies and programs that bring death to more than a million unborn children every year is no disqualification to being honored by a university dedicated to Our Lady who carried to term the Son of God." - Pat Buchanan