"For his part, Obama gave what may have been both the most radical and the most conservative speech of his presidency. Acknowledging the Roman Catholic Church's role in supporting his early community organizing work, the president drew on the resources of Catholic social thought. It combines opposition to abortion with a sharp critique of economic injustice and thus doesn't squeeze into the round holes of contemporary ideology.
'Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism,' Obama declared. 'The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice.'"
Although Jenkins made no reference to them, the scriptural readings at Catholic Masses yesterday drew on St. John's emphasis on the law of love. "This I command you: Love one another," Jesus declares in John's Gospel.
It was hard to square that message with the rage directed toward Obama and Jenkins by their detractors. Yet in raising the stakes entailed in Obama's visit, the critics did the president a great service.
By facing their arguments head-on and by demonstrating his attentiveness to Catholic concerns, Obama strengthened moderate and liberal forces inside the church itself. He also struck a forceful blow against those who would keep the nation mired in culture-war politics without end. Obama's opponents on the Catholic right placed a large bet on his Notre Dame visit. And they lost.
Meanwhile, The UK's Guardian has a link to the video.