By George Weigel
Of all the commentary I’ve read on Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Obama to receive an honorary doctorate of laws as the university’s 2009 commencement speaker, the most disturbing came from Father Kenneth Himes of the Boston College theology department. In a Boston Globe story about Professor Mary Ann Glendon’s courageous (and correct) decision to decline Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal because the university had defied the U.S. bishops’s policy barring honors for pro-abortion politicians at Catholic events, Father Himes said this:
"There are some well-meaning people who think Notre Dame has given away its Catholic identity, because they have been caught up in the gamesmanship of American higher education, bringing in a star commencement speaker even if that means sacrificing their values, and that accounts for some of this...But one also has to say that there is a political game going on here, and part of that is that you demonize the people who disagree with you, you question their integrity, you challenge their character, and you brand these people as moral poison. Some people have simply reduced Catholicism to the abortion issue, and, consequently, they have simply launched a crusade to bar anything from Catholic institutions that smacks of any sort of open conversation."