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Posted May 14, 2015

Remembering Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.P
Priest, President, Citizen of the World, 1917-2015

The following quotations are those of Fr. Ted Hesburgh that come from the many roles he fulfilled in his life time.

"Never before has humankind --- mostly mankind --- had in its hands the power to destroy the total work of creation, fourteen times over, in a few minutes, even accidentally . . . .Limited or winnable nuclear war is a most foolish illusion." -Contemporary Issues in Higher Education, 1985

"If there is to be more lasting peace among the crew members of spaceship earth, the first and greatest prerequisite at this historical moment is justice, a more equitable sharing and use of the total life resources available." - Address at St. Francis Xavier University, 1978

"If we read the signs of the times, young people today have a very special approach to the ultimate religious reality, which is union with God. We, in our day, realized this by the sacramental approach. They have discovered a new sacrament - service to the poor and the disadvantaged. Why disparage their desire to find in service to others a new form of prayer?" The Hesburgh Papers, 1979

"If religious persons are committed profoundly to one simple reality all around the world, it must be peace. . . .And without justice, especially to the poor, the homeless and the hopeless, there will be no peace." Address at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. 1979

"I heard a joke the other day about a university president who died and went to hell and was there four days before he noticed the difference." Address to the National Catholic Education Association, Detroit, 1969

"Students have a highly developed radar that quickly separates out the sincere from the phony and conviction from the posturing." Banquet address, Loretto Heights College, 1982

"You do as much as you can, as long as you can, and especially don't beef about what you can't do anymore. And that gets to be a longer list as you get older. But life doesn't stop when you stop driving a car or stop reading a book. You can get a ride from someone else and you can still have somebody read the book to you. . . I think at my age, it's better to take it a day at a time. And if I can come to the end of the day and say I've done as much as I can in the smaller world I now inhabit, that's good. I'm willing to do as much as I can with what I've got left, and I thank God for that." Upon turning 90, South Bend Tribune, May 25, 2007

"I guess that I would like my life to say, to the young people especially: He believed, he hoped, he tried, he failed often enough, but with God's grace he often accomplished more than he rationally could have dreamed. Remember for me those wonderful words of Scripture: "God has chosen the weak of this world to confound the strong." So we are weak. No matter." God, Country, Notre Dame, 1999

"Offering mass every day was something I felt was very important for me to do as a priest. I still feel that way. More than that, though, increasingly as the years have gone by, the more Masses I offer, the more evidence I see that this ancient rite has the power to change people, to change the world." God, Country, Notre Dame, 1999

"Don't be like some Americans who simply live in their own little world, enjoy their superabundance and never think about the rest of the people and what they're up against. Be the kind of person who not only understands the injustices of this life, but is also willing to do something about them." Commencement address, University of Nebraska, 1986

"The priest I replaced at St. Patrick's was George Di Prizio, the same fellow who taught me Italian in Rome. George was keenly aware of my lack of experience, and he gave me some advice that has served me well to this day: "Ted don't be too professional." I'd spent my whole life becoming a professional, I told him. "That isn't what I mean," he replied. "There are a lot of priests around here . . .but none of them is doing the work that's the toughest, most important. When the doorbell rings, most of these fellows think the faster they get rid of the person, the better the job they've done. That's what I mean by being too professional. A good priest will spend time with the person at the door. He won't be satisfied until he knows why the person rang the bell." Priesthood means service, no matter who rings the bell." God, Country, Notre Dame, 1999

"I did particularly well in English --- or at least I thought I did --- until my final exam was returned to me. My grade was 95 but my instructor Father Leo Ward, CSC, wrote a comment on my paper which I have never forgotten: "If you don't learn to simplify your prose with simple words, you will wind up being a pompous ass." God, Country, Notre Dame, 1999

"The Holy Spirit is the light and strength of my life, for which I am eternally grateful. My best daily prayer, apart from the Mass and breviary, continues to be simply, "Come, Holy Spirit" No better prayer, no better results: much light and much strength." God, Country, Notre Dame, 1999

"The University is not the kind of place that one can or should try to rule by authority external to the university. The best and only traditional authority in the university is intellectual competence: this is the coin of the realm." From The Challenge and Promise of a Catholic University, 1994

"The University is a kind of sacred place. Nobody can be allowed to interfere, not the state, not the benefactors, not the Church." Notre Dame Magazine, spring 1987