On the eve of his visit to Notre Dame, Archbishop John R. Quinn, formerly of San Francisco, has sent a letter to Barack Obama offering a "different voice" from the "often strident outcries" over his appearance. America has received a copy of the letter which we reprint below.
April 24, 2009
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500
I am writing as a Catholic Bishop to offer a different voice from the often strident outcries over your forthcoming visit to Notre Dame University. I acknowledge certain critical differences between us, especially on the issue of abortion. But without minimizing the gravity of these issues, I want to state several things which I believe of major importance at this time.
First, I am personally deeply gratified by the election of an African American as President of the United States and I share the jubilation of many Americans and in particular of many African American Catholics in the United States over your election. It is significant that the Vatican newspaper compared your election with the fall of the Berlin Wall and I recall that the Pope personally offered his congratulations to you.
I believe it important to acknowledge the fine example you have given in your married life and in your love and devotion to your children. The ideal of stable family life has long been a focus of interest for the Catholic Church. This, together with your frequent call for personal responsibility, is a great contribution to our nation.
It strikes me that you have shown a measured, thoughtful approach to issues of public concern and your ability to listen to and weigh views different from your own is an asset to the discharge of your high responsibilities. This admirable quality inspires hope for further dialog on issues over which there are major differences.
Mr. President, I address this letter to you not to deal with matters of policy or legislation, but simply to wish you great blessings and to assure you of my prayer that your service as President will bring lasting benefits to all Americans who, with you, cherish the ideal of “liberty and justice for all.”
Most sincerely yours,
+John R. Quinn
Former Archbishop of San Francisco