After months of debate, the weekend has arrived. On Sunday, May 17, President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.
President Obama's elevation of Kathleen Sebelius, the former governor of Kansas and a Catholic who is radically pro-abortion, to the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services has sent a clear signal that he is not simply committed to abortion rights but is willing to take on the Catholic Church on this issue. Sebelius, who received tens of thousands of dollars from a late-term abortionist to advance her political ambitions, had been warned by three successive bishops not to receive Communion because of her pro-abortion stand.
Combine this with Obama's earlier choice of Joe Biden, a Catholic who dissents from Church teaching on abortion, as his Vice President, and add in persistent rumors that the reason he has not appointed an ambassador to the Holy See is because the Vatican has rejected his pro-abortion candidates, and one wonders why only 60 or so American bishops have protested Notre Dame's decision to honor the most pro-abortion President the United States has ever seen.
All of that said, how should Catholics who have been scandalized by Notre Dame's action comport themselves this Sunday? There have been calls for mass demonstrations and attempts to disrupt the graduation ceremony, and perennial political candidate Alan Keyes has already deliberately had himself arrested on the campus of Notre Dame.
Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of South Bend, one of the first bishops to object to the decision to honor President Obama and the bishop in whose diocese Notre Dame lies, has urged Catholics not to disrupt the proceedings. It's the right advice.
Notre Dame should not have chosen to honor a man whose position on the gravest moral evil that we face today is so adamantly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church. But as Catholics, we understand that we owe respect to properly constituted authority, even when those who exercise that authority hold views that are in error.
The outcry against Notre Dame's decision to honor President Obama has had its effect. Catholic support for the President has dropped dramatically; many Catholics who had convinced themselves that "Obama is not pro-abortion but pro-choice" have begun to see that his actions prove that to be "pro-choice" is to be pro-abortion. Neither his reputation nor Notre Dame's will emerge from this weekend unscathed.
Tomorrow, I offer my predictions about what President Obama will say in his commencement address. And check back on Sunday for coverage of the event, and of any further controversy that develops.
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