"Ladies and gentlemen, new alumni of Notre Dame of the class of 2009, It is an honor and a privilege to speak at one of the great universities of America.
. . . (He says all his plaudits and moves to the end of his speech)
Many of you have heard me speak at length before about the difficulties of life. The struggles we all face as Americans when trying to work together, to find the common ground, to unify, to be America. It is never without strife and turmoil that goods in life are achieved. If a goal is truly worth having, truly worth obtaining, then you must be willing to fight for it, to run the good race, to be read to endure to the end. It also mean that you must know when to walk away. As not every fight is your fight. Not every struggle is your struggle.
This brings me to my next point. Like I said, it is an honor to be here speaking to the Notre Dame community. However, I also know that a house divided cannot stand. A house divided is no house at all. To some extent, my visit to this university, and what I am doing now, has been the cause of great controversy in America. I have seen the letters from bishops to Father Jenkins. I have read the blogs and the papers and have watched all the news stories. I have been briefed on the problem at hand and wish not to cause more problems for an institution that has so supported America in it's educating the population.
Though I speak here with honor, I cannot out of good conscience, out of the fear of causing confusion and strife among the the Catholics and Christians in America, accept the I honorary law degree from this fine academic institution, as I know that Christianity if far too big and too encompassing to be placed into one political field."
I do wonder what the reaction would have been. As I see that it would have only be to his advantage to do such a thing. Just because one is bestowed with an honorary degree that does not mean that he is obliged to take it.