President Obama got the better of the anti-abortion Catholic right at Notre Dame, said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. Facing angry protests, Obama used his commencement speech to call for "open hearts," "open minds," and a search for "common ground." By facing his critics "head on" and being attentive to Catholic concerns, Obama struck a blow against those trying to "keep the nation mired in a culture war without end."
The truth is that Obama played into the hands of the culture warriors, said Michael Sean Winters in the Catholic weekly America. He remained stuck in the debate about "values," instead of using the occasion of his speech at the nation's most prominent Catholic institution to "set the stage for a rapprochement with the Catholic hierarchy." That just confirmed that the president is "tone deaf to Catholics and our concerns."
"Dialogue is good," said Amy Welborn in BeliefNet, but it's not going to happen any time soon. Despite all their pretty words, even the self-described abortion moderates among Obama's supporters refuse to talk with pro-lifers about laws and programs aimed at reducing the number of abortions in the U.S.