April 28, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon declines Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal:

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

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.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon

Fr. Jenkins responded, “We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.”

Ummm, now that Mary Ann Glendon has (unlike Notre Dame) correctly set forth the position of the Church, what Catholic could, in good conscience, accept the Laetare Medal – which is given in recognition of outstanding service to the Roman Catholic church and society? I guess we’ll find out.


The Shroud of Turin

April 6, 2009


Medieval knights hid and secretly venerated The Holy Shroud of Turin for more than 100 years after the Crusades, the Vatican said yesterday in an announcement that appeared to solve the mystery of the relic’s missing years.

The Knights Templar, an order which was suppressed and disbanded for alleged heresy, took care of the linen cloth, which bears the image of a man with a beard, long hair and the wounds of crucifixion, according to Vatican researchers.

h/t – Catholic World News

Good Ole Joe

September 20, 2008


Biden was supposed to appeal to hard-working, lunch-bucket, swing voters. How’s that working out? Biden’s not even helping the Obama ticket among his fellow Catholics.

(h/t – my Mother)

How carefully did Obama vet him?

I hope so.

September 13, 2008

Does the Church have the backbone to withhold communion from Catholic politicians who preserve and protect current abortion law?



from George Weigel.





UPDATE: more from Cardinal Egan.


McCain Democrats

August 26, 2008

There’s been lots of talk that Biden will help Obama attract blue-collar Catholic voters. But these blue-collar Catholics are the classic Reagan Democrats, middle-of-the-road folks who historically voted Democrat but who have been pushed out of the party by its ridiculous stance on issues like abortion. According to the Democrats’ 2008 Platform, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”


Biden’s selection, it seems to me, simply highlights the Democratic Party’s extremist position on this issue. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput said that Biden should avoid taking Communionbecause of his stance on abortion. And Biden is not alone. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was corrected by Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl on the Church’s teaching concerning when life begins.

McCain needs to go after these voters.