Professor Mary Ann Glendon promised she would remain silent after her public letter in First Things declining Notre Dame’s Laetare Award and sharing the stage, as it were, with President Obama. Others are not so silent. Her daughter Elizabeth Lev posts an essay with a nice start (referred from Via Media) but a poor and telling conclusion:
What is likeable about a Catholic University named for the most important woman in Christianity exploiting a woman who has already dedicated her life to protecting the Church’s teaching by turning her into a warm-up act for a grotesque twist on a reality show?
First the poverty. The POTUS is suddenly a weak sister to a pop culture curiosity? I think President Obama can be rightly and thoroughly criticized for his stance on abortion and ESCR. While I can understand family love runs deep, it does the issues little credit to waste a nice assessment with such a crass insult. An ambassador might well think such thoughts, and a college professor certainly, but a person with class would never to rarely state them publicly.
Finally, after 50 Catholic bishops condemned the university for its direct defiance in honoring a man in open conflict with the Church’s teaching, it is right that Professor Glendon let her silence speak louder than her five-minute allotment of words would have.
Ms Lev notes that she read her mother’s letter with “careful consideration.” The world’s commentariat can also read carefully. Monday Professor Glendon stated that the celebration of graduation should be an occasion for joy. Personally, I think a little shake-up for young adults is not so much of a bad thing.
Reading between the lines, maybe it wasn’t sharing the stage with a known-pro-choicer that was so daunting. The political pro-life crew is a tougher audience than the executive branch’s best orator is a sparring partner. Just ask Sam Brownback about that. First they use him behind his back to rake in the donor cash, then he’s a traitor for pawning off his state’s governor to HHS.
Ambassador Glendon surely knew that YouTube and hundreds of thousands of internet signatories would be watching her every move. It was a lose-lose situation. If she doesn’t talk about abortion, she gets run out of the Church on a rail. And if she does, she looks like a clod for hammering the president who almost certainly doesn’t hammer back. No, unlike Ms Lev’s characterization this isn’t rapier versus missile launcher. If there’s a rapier on one side, the other is more like a pool of water.
I’m thinking that thanks to gallons of bile and those fifty bishops, this incident has suckered hundreds of thousands of Catholics off point: the pro-life movement. The reality is that President Obama is enough of a gentleman not to use the ND platform to pound away on pro-choice and embryonic stem cell cures. And if he were? It would be enough to make me regret not sticking to Third Party.
The longer this sad affair drags on the less honor drawn to the political pro-life side. Fifty bishops and 350,000 signatories might feel good, but the crystal witness of Catholics is tarnished. Millions of unborn children can’t speak up or make a witness, but those who speak on their behalf have a responsibility to make the wtiness for life as persuasive as it can be.