The protest over Notre Dame’s invitation to Barack Obama as a commencement speaker has grown to include four bishops and now a cardinal. Andrew Malcolm reports that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has added his considerable voice to the effort to convince Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, to withdraw the invitation, or failing that, the honorary degree:
I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning.”
The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.
The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life.
Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views.
Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a ‘Teacher,’ in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.
The speaking gig could be rationalized as keeping with an open debate policy. The university will also have Mary Ann Glendon speak at the same commencement. Langdon served as US Ambassador to the Vatican and who just received the Laetare Award from Notre Dame for her tireless effort on pro-life causes. The commencement could serve as a teaching moment, although it’s probably more accurate to say that it will send a very mixed message from the university about its view of the Catholic mission in public life.
Notre Dame has no ground on which to stand over the award of the honorary degree, however. Barack Obama used his influence in law to pursue a path that allowed the maximum latitude in destroying innocent life, which is anathema to the Catholic Church and should be to Notre Dame as a part of it. Giving him an award in recognition of his service to the law honors actions like blocking the Illinois Born Alive Protection Act on multiple occasions, which allowed abortion clinics to continue their practice of infanticide. How can a part of the Catholic Church honor that?
More than 120,000 people agree, and have signed the petition demanding that Notre Dame withdraw the invitation or at least revoke the honorary degree. The bishop of that diocese has already declared that he will boycott Notre Dame’s commencement activities. Hopefully, the alumni will impress on Fr. Jenkins that the damage may go much further than just a truckload of petitions and a severe loss of prestige among the nation’s Catholic faithful.
Update: Divine intervention, via hockey?