Thursday, April 26, 2007

Socratic Method, Part II: Bush Among the Benedictines

Maybe dialogue will come back into style after all.

Recently, St Vincent College invited President George W. Bush to speak at commencement, a controversial decision, no doubt, given among other things his pursuit of war in Iraq. Wisely, the Benedictine leaders of the school scheduled a forum to discuss the invitation.

Of course, the forum was extremely heated, with debate flying high. However, I like the response of the students. They appear to have imbibed a large draught of the Benedictine spirit along with their liberal arts education. Here is an excerpt from the article describing the debate. I especially like the last comment. It incarnates the beauty of dialogue framed with hospitality.

"Speakers used the Catholic college's Benedictine values to strengthen both sides of the argument. Senior Katie Campbell said hospitality is at the core of the college's belief system. "If we don't welcome President Bush, we are being hypocrites, acting against our own Benedictine values and beliefs we hold so sacred," Campbell said.

But others said Bush's policies stand in contrast with Benedictine values. "We're not unwelcoming President Bush. We're not welcoming the problems of his presidency," said Zach Clark, a senior history major.

But even those who disagree with the president think he should come to St. Vincent.

"I am for President Bush coming because I am against his policies," said Shane Seremet, a junior political science major. "What better chance do we have to engage him in dialogue?"

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