Thank HotAir for this: American Thinker, Paul Shoichta’s “How Notre Dame Drifted Away from the Catholic Church”
Today, to the disgust and apparent surprise of many Catholic bishops and laity, the University of Notre Dame, once the pride of Catholic intellectual life in America, will behave in a very un-Catholic way by honoring, as commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient, POTUS Barack Obama, one of America’s most extreme advocates of abortion.
This surprise is hard to understand. The old Latin proverb nemo repente turpissimus can be translated as “nobody becomes very evil overnight.” Even Judas served a lengthy apprenticeship as an embezzler before moving on to greater betrayals. In a similar manner, I contend that the invitation to Obama was merely a milestone of a drift away from the Catholic Church that Notre Dame started decades ago.
Read How It Happened here
The Last Straw?
So, with a majority of Catholics and Notre Dame students having voted for Obama, inviting the POTUS to the 2009 commencement seemed like a safe and harmless move. It might even result in some lavish federal grants by the sort of mutual back-scratching (known as the “Chicago Way”) that Obama has been trained in. A few pro-lifers or conservatives would protest but they would be ignored by the media and soon forgotten.
Then the protests flooded in. 68 of the 273 American bishops protested and/or boycotted the event. The announced Laetare Medalist, law professor and former ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, refused the award in protest . Newspapers gave feature coverage of the protests and even cartoonists satirized the irony of the event. Alumni pledged to rescind over $8,000,000 in donations. A coalition of eleven student groups, called ND Response, organized a program of on-campus protests to coincide with the commencement. Even the public tide has turned, a majority now disapproving of Notre Dame’s action. Notre Dame President Jenkins and his advisors must be wondering what hit them.
And we might wonder too. Considering the notorious indifference of most lay Catholics about abortion and the equally notorious pusillanimity of U.S. bishops, what has caused this sudden surge of resentment? It isn’t because of the Catholic laity as a whole; according to a recent poll, a majority of American Catholics don’t know, don’t care, or don’t disapprove of the Obama invitation.
One possibility, unfortunately a likely one, is that this is just a flash in the pan. The commencement and the protests will be over, the bishops will take no further action, the incident will be forgotten, pro-abortion politicians will have been reassured that they have noting to fear from the Catholic vote, and Notre Dame will go on as before.