The Law of the Gift: Cardinal Timothy Dolans Commencement Address to the Catholic University of America
You all had a head-start in learning the Law of the Gift and the importance of faith to sustain it.
The Law of the Gift is most poetically exemplified in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, intimate union of a man and woman in marriage, which then leads to the procreation of new life in babies, so that husband and wife, now father and mother, spend their lives sacrificially loving and giving to those children. That union - that sacred rhythm of man/woman/husband/wife/baby/mother/father - is so essential to the order of the common good that its very definition is ingrained into our interior dictionary, that its protection and flourishing is the aim of enlightened culture.
Cardinal Dolan speaks at CUA commencement
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - We are please to present, in its entirety, the 123rd Annual Commencement Address given at the catholic university of America by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York at the East Portico, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on May 12, 2012
Cardinal Wuerl, our eminent chancellor;
President Garvey, officers of the administration and distinguished faculty; especially rightly radiant class of 2012, with your family and friends, now proud alumni of this venerable and renowned university:
Thanks for your gracious invitation and warm welcome; thanks for the honor you bestow upon me, in company with Father Julian Carrón, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Carmen Ana Casal de Unanue, and Joseph A. Unanue; thanks especially for being true to the noble mission of this great university; and thanks, class of 2012, for the hope and promise you give all of us. Congratulations!
You're welcome. I was in charge of the weather. This is the first time I have worn red since I was made a cardinal. I forgot my red sash. Luckily Cardinal Wuerl has an extra ... well, two extras.
I came to this University the same year Colonel Brooks Tavern opened. I may have spent more time there than Mullen Library.
I do this quite a bit - speaking at commencements. I enjoy it. This spring alone I have or will give three university commencement addresses, two at our high schools, one at an eighth grade occasion, and even an address at Pre-K graduation. Bring 'em on! I love them!
But this one this morning is especially meaningful for me, as I myself am a proud and grateful alumnus of this institution of highest learning, having left here thirty years ago . . . and just finished paying my tuition . . . sorry to bring that up! . . .; and because I am deeply grateful, as a Catholic, and as an American, for the iconic value of this, The Catholic University of America.
Just six days ago, Pope Benedict XVI, in addressing bishops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, spoke warmly of Catholic education here in the United States, and of the need of our Catholic colleges and universities " . . . to reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideals and the Church's mission in service to the Gospel."
The Holy Father showed a somber realism, though, when he expanded that need to include " . . . ecclesial communion and solidarity in the Church's educational apostolate, becoming all the more evident when we consider the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church's pastoral leadership . . ."
Is not a big part of our gladness and pride this happy morning of graduation a grateful recognition that this university does indeed exude such "ecclesial communion and solidarity?" That this university is both Catholic and American, flowing from the most noble ideals of truth and respect for human dignity that are at the heart of our Church and our country? That a university's genuine greatness comes not from pursuing what is most chic, recent, or faddish, but what is most timeless, true, good, and beautiful in creation and creatures? That the true goal of a university is to prepare a student not only for a career but for fullness of life here and in eternity?
Some might wonder if Pope Benedict's description of a university is way too impractical; if a university can be really Catholic and American; if the genuine freedom a university demands can flourish on a campus whose very definition includes a loyalty to Holy Mother Church . . . well, to them I say, as you and I did, "Let them come to Brookland!" This university you can now, with me, call alma mater, at the heart of our nation, is also ex corde ecclesiae, at the heart of the Church. For that I am most proud.
The Holy Father mentions not only truth as being at the core of the mission of a Catholic university, but also love. And so I want to tell you about a wonderful woman named Clara Almazo. Just a little over a month ago, Clara and her little eight year old grandson, Michael, were walking home from Holy Thursday Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish on Staten Island. As they crossed the street, a car barreled toward them, with little Michael in the crosshairs. His abuela, Grandma Clara, pushed her grandson away to safety, taking herself the whole force of the car, and was instantly killed.
Clara's selfless act of heroic love was, as you might imagine, the tearful talk of New York over the Easter weekend. No one failed to note that her life-giving act was made the more poignant as it came on the night before Jesus died, returning from the Mass of the Lord's Last Supper, when He predicted His own sacrificial death, and where he gave the touching example of selfless service in washing the feet of His ...
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