It amazes me. Notre Dame, stung by criticism of its decision to defy the wishes of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and honor abortion proponent Barack Obama, has been trying to hide behind the skirt of Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon. Luckily, Prof. Glendon is having none of it.
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.
Prof. Glendon is classier than I am. Had I been used in such a cynical CYA manner I would have simply told them to "stick your medal where the sun don't shine."