It is hard to believe that already 10 years have passed since Notre Dame’s scandalous decision to honor President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker. The event drew a substantial outcry from faithful laity and bishops – but since then, sadly, the situation has not improved.
Patrick Reilly writes at the Catholic Herald:
Amid all of the scandals in the American Church over the past decade, nothing has provoked a more dramatic display of outrage and unity than the protest 10 years ago against the University of Notre Dame’s choice to honour President Barack Obama (pictured). Yet Notre Dame’s leaders seem not to have learnt their lesson. A decade later, America’s most well-known Catholic university continues to slide toward secularisation.
When a college chooses a commencement speaker or honorary degree recipient, it is a clear, public statement of a college’s values and the sort of person that the college admires – a role model for students. Whereas faithful Catholic colleges will often honour Catholic bishops, noted academics, pro-life advocates and other people with strong character, Notre Dame fatefully chose the most pro-abortion president in history to address graduates on May 17, 2009.
Notre Dame’s statement to the world was that the Catholic university – and by implication, the Catholic Church – honours and celebrates those who attack human dignity and threaten the lives of innocent babies. American Catholics were faced with a choice of their own: to tacitly condone this compromise or stand up to declare the truth.