From CNSNEWS with my emphases and comments.
Notre Dame Expects Obama to Wear Prayer to Virgin Mary on Chest When He Accepts Honorary Degree
Friday, April 17, 2009
By Edwin Mora
(CNSNews.com) – Notre Dame expects President Obama to wear the school’s traditional doctoral robe–which is emblazoned with a cross and a prayer to the Virgin Mary–when the president receives an honorary law degree from the university at its May 17 commencement ceremony.
“Yes,” replied Notre Dame Spokesman Dennis Brown, when CNSNews.com asked him if Obama would wear the robe that has been worn by previous graduation speakers at Notre Dame.
Another Notre Dame official confirmed that “everybody” wears Notre Dame’s traditional doctoral robe when they receive an honorary law degree from Notre Dame.
In 2001, when President Bush received an honorary law degree from Notre Dame, he wore the school’s traditional doctoral robe inscribed with the prayer to the Virgin Mary. In 2008, when actor Martin Sheen [How odd to mention those two, since neither of them would have an ideological problem with the BVM.] received the Laetare Award from Notre Dame at its commencement ceremony, he wore the same traditional Notre Dame robe.
CNSNews.com asked White House Spokesman Shin Inouye whether Obama will wear the same robe worn by Bush and Sheen. Inouye said: “I’ve looked around, [wait for it…] but I don’t have an answer for you.” [What do you want to bet this will now be a concern.]
The Notre Dame doctoral robe bears two images of the school’s coat of arms, one on both the right and left chest areas.
The coat of arms and its symbolic meaning are described in “The Spirit of Notre Dame: Its History, Legends and Lore” by Dorothy V. Corson, a publication that is posted on Notre Dame’s official website.
The publication includes a detailed illustration of the coat of arms and a quote from the February 1931 issue of The Notre Dame Alumnus magazine, explaining it.
The emblem features a cross and a book with a prayer inscribed in it, a star in the upper left-hand corner and two wavy lines at the bottom.
The official title of the university is “Universitas Dominae Nostrae a Lacu”—the University of Our Lady by the Lake–and thus the star is presented because it is “reminiscent [ummm…. so it is not explicit?] of the beautiful epithet Star of the Sea” and “was chosen as Mary’s symbol in the new shield of arms.”
The two wavy lines are “poetically expressive of the dedication of the University to the Star of the Sea.”
Members of the Congregation of Holy Cross who founded Notre Dame are represented by the cross.
“The open book is always emblematic of an institution of learning,” says the publication on the Notre Dame website. “The phrase ‘Vita, Dulcedo, Spes,’ taken from the ancient prayer to the Virgin, the ‘Salve Regina,’ [So, that is explicit.] means ‘our life, our sweetness, our hope’ the combination of these phrases with the symbol for the university indicates the dedication of all Notre Dame’s activities, intellectual, spiritual, athletic, and so on, to Our Lady.”
When President Obama spoke at Georgetown University on Tuesday, the school covered over a cross and the monogram “IHS”—which is a symbol for the name of Jesus—where it was inscribed on a pediment embedded in the wall directly above and behind where Obama stood on a stage to speak.
In a written statement, Georgetown told CNSNews.com on Wednesday: “In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request [The fault lies more with Georgetown than the WH, obvously] to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage. The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches. Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.” ["out of context"… irony oozes…]
On Thursday, both Georgetown and the White House made statements indicating that covering over the “IHS” and cross behind the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was the unintended consequence of an effort to provide a backdrop for the flags that the White House wanted displayed behind the president.
I hope those pool photographers will bring their biggest lenses and take really crisp photos of the President with the phrase from the Salve Regina on his honorary doctoral garb.