April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon turns down the Laetare

Declining Notre Dame:  A Letter from Mary Ann Glendon

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.

Mary Ann Glendon is a law professor at Harvard and was the US ambassador to the Vatican under President Bush. Notre Dame's Laetare Medal is an award given each year to someone's outstanding service to the Roman Catholic Church and society.  Last year, it was awarded to Martin Sheen.

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