The Speaker made his somewhat contested appearance at commencement and delivered a fairly standard buck up speech that offered no insights into how his faith informs his politics. That is disappointing, I think, but not surprising. But among his folksy recollections -- which aimed at showing how Catholicism makes you tough, it seemed -- was this keeper:
I played football in high school. The Moeller High School football team was the Moeller Crusaders. And our coach, Gerry Faust, made sure we earned every bit of that name. For him, there was no distinction between the spiritual life in the Church and the physical grind of the football field. He made no bones about it. He would tell us in no uncertain terms that life is a precious gift from God, and therefore making the most of ones life is a direct form of devotion to the Virgin Mary.Hed have the whole team kneel down and pray the Hail Mary before every meeting, every practice, and every game. Then wed go out and smash heads with the other team for four quartersall in the name of the Blessed Mother. That gives you an idea of the kind of guy Coach Faust was, and still is. And it was the basis for a lesson he taught us, one I've been repeating ever since: Theres nothing in life you cant achieve if youre willing to work hard enough and make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.
Yeah, well. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sometimes it kills you. Go figure.