Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon will not attend the ND graduation!!

My son in South Bend (ND grad) has just emailed me with this information.  The strongly pro-life recipient of the Laetare Medal at this year's commencement of the University of Notre Dame has declined to attend the graduation.  Her letter is public and a few of her words are listed below.  Wow.  This is a huge development.

"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. 

Then 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. 

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect. 

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony. "

May the Lord have mercy on the University of Notre Dame and, through the intercession of Our Lady their patron, may good somehow come from all this.  Oh Lord, please give Father Jenkins courage.  may he do the right thing.


Mary O'Hannigan said...

YES! I'll call you soon =0)

Catholic Wife and Mother said...

WOW! That is a shock! I understood why she was going to still attend, when this all hit the fan.

But I confess, I'm pleasantly surprised by this turn of events. Yay for her!

Barb, sfo said...

I am THRILLED that Ms. Glendon refused to allow herself to be used in such a manner.

Suzanne said...

I agree with all of the above!

Gail said...

May I add my voice congratulating Ambassador Glendon for her courageous decision.
If I might, what about holding a peaceful prayer vigil outside Notre Dame during the time President B.O. will speak and receive his degree?
As many of you know, Jackie Parkes, fought long and successfully against the appearance of an alumna with an anti-life voting record during an awards' night at her daughters' school. This M.P.'s invitation was pulled by school officials, but it sounds as if Jackie labored long and hard against this woman speaking at a Catholic school. If memory serves, Jackie and other parents planned to hold a prayer vigil outside school grounds during the time of the M.P.'s speech and presentation.
Perhaps something similar can be done at Notre Dame.
Apologies if this idea has been mentioned beforehand. I don't always read my favorite Catholic blogs daily.

Suzanne said...

I have a feeling there will be a peaceful prayer vigil..I cannot imagine that there won't be with all of the thousands against this and all of the monies that are not going to be given now due to this mess.
What kind of so-called "peaceful"
president is he? Isn't that what he stands for..yet has no problem driving a wedge into unborn babies and Catholic universities. Some people still think he should come around and cancel..naturally I wish the same, yet..I have to say that in my gut, I believe this is all part of a plan..and perhaps even the one who keeps allowing sad as it is to say, may be a part of the plan. God forgive us and help us! Please! Amen

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Mary, yeah, we have to talk!

Catholic Wife, I'm pleased too. I did think it would be great for Obama to hear what she had to say and there would be that good to come of it, but in reading her reasons I think she is absolutely right.

Barb, I'm thrilled too. They were indeed using her and her decision at this point only underscores the gravity of what ND is doing.

Gail, yes, a peaceful prayer vigil would be wonderful. Maybe a public rosary at the grotto. There is a lot of tension there right now between those who are happy the President is coming (and consider racist those who do not) and the pro-lifers. We need to pray that the day will be peaceful.

Suzanne, I also feel that God is very involved in what is gong on here (of course!) ND is REALLY being held accountable for this decision. I'm surprised Fr. Jenkins does not look upward in fear of lightening as he walks around campus. While we have not gotten what we want yet the Catholic voice is truly being heard!! God has a plan. Could he be starting to turn the screws?