In yesterday's Boston Globe there was an article in which Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon has declined the University of Notre Dame's prestigious Laetare Medal. Glendon was a Bush administration ambassador to the Vatican. The medal was to be awarded at the same commencement ceremony President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at. Why did she turn down the medal? Because of the university's decision to grant an honorary degree to Obama. Why should that matter?
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.
How does Barack Obama act in defiance of the fundamental Catholic moral principles? Well, in a black and white world if you don't want to make abortion illegal then you are for killing babies. If you want a woman to be given authority over her own body then you are for killing babies. If you want to decrease abortions as much as possible through education and contraception then you are for killing babies. If you don't want to stop abortion at all cost then you are for killing babies.
If we could only return to the good old days of the Inquisitions, we could purge ourselves of all those heretics.
They would be easy to find because they think there are gray areas.