Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's About Time

You may recall that the University of Notre Dame was the center of a much publicized scandal some time back.  Much to the chagrin of every serious Catholic associated with the institution and the outrage of many other serious Catholics who are not,  they invited President Obama to speak a their 2009 commencement, despite the fact that his positions on many fundamental social issues are directly contrary to Church teachings. (See the video below or read the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics for more on which issues these are and why they are important.)

It could be argued that a Catholic university could legitimately invite a public figure who disagrees with church teaching to speak in a debate on issues of life and family. But, to invite President Obama to be a commencement speaker, and to award him an honorary degree while he was there, was a strange gesture for a Catholic university to make, to say the least. This is especially so when one considers the USCCB's 2004 statement on "Catholics in Political Life" which says:

"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."

Not surprisingly, Obama's remarks on the occasion, while full of words like "common ground", essentially asked Catholics and others with traditional Judeo-Christian values to set aside their consciences and follow his own moral views. (My response to his speech here.)  Genuinlely conciliatory? I think not.

Protestors who came to speak out against this scandalous invitation were arrested for trespassing.

Those charges have now, two years later, been dropped, thanks to the efforts of the Thomas More Society, the president of which happens to be a Notre Dame graduate.


Thomas More Society’s Relentless Legal Pursuit Wins Justice for Pro-Life Activists at Notre Dame
WDNU News: Charges Dropped in Notre Dame Protest Charges Dropped Against Notre Dame-Obama Speech Protestors

Tip of the Schoolmarm Ruler to: Joseph Bottum at

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