Monday, April 27, 2009

Notre Dame Takes One on the Chin

Mary Ann Glendon refuses to provide cover to Notre Dame:

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

There's more in the letter, but that is the gist of it. I've written a few posts about this matter in the past month and plan to write at least two more in the coming days. Let's just say that Glendon's decision pretty much exposes Notre Dame's game for what it is.



3 comments:

Gino said...

top link does not work.

Mark Heuring said...

I think it's getting swamped, Gino -- worked before and when I went directly to the site it seems to be having issues. Try again later -- if it's still down tonight, I'll try to get it to you another way.

Gino said...

works for me now.

it seems to me the forces against life, even within our own church, will stop at nothing to offend.

not just that, but some of the (mis)leadership is so partisanly skewed, they've made it quite clear that their political loyalties outweigh their religious orthodoxy (if they still have any).

i think a defrocking is in order for many of these, but sadly, such an act will have to take place in another world under higher authority.

i have more respect for a jihadist beheader acting under what he belives to be 'God's will', than a catholic leader/preist who preaches one thing and then acts in the other direction.

honest people can disagree theologically, but the Creator likley has no use for a theological hypocrite.

woe will be upon them.

and God will, i belive, be less harsh toward the jihadist.