A tour de force of self-parody, culminating in a plea for the Church to restore its vitality and attract youth by dropping one of its core beliefs. Here’s the petition calling on Notre Dame’s president to disinvite The One from commencement; it had 74,000 signatures when I surfed over there an hour ago and now it’s at 81,000 and counting. The key paragraphs:

This honor is clearly a direct violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate in “Catholics in Political Life”: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

We prayerfully implore you to halt this travesty immediately. We do so with the hope that Catholics nationwide will likewise call on you to uphold the sacred mission of your Catholic university. May God grant you the courage and wisdom to do what is right.

As you’ll see, Father Jonathan Morris sensibly distinguishes between letting Obama speak and awarding him an honorary degree. A Catholic university is, after all, still a university; to refuse to even hear the man out suggests that he holds views so extreme and odious that he’s unfit for polite society, which may be how Catholics should react to pro-choicers but certainly doesn’t describe how they do. In fact, the Pope himself received Nancy Pelosi not long ago at the Vatican, as I recall. No one presumed an endorsement of her views in that circumstance. Why the presumption here vis-a-vis The One? Exit question: The president of the United States isn’t worth respectfully listening to? Seriously?