Here is the story of Mary Ann Glendon, the anti-abortion academic who said no to a Notre Dame speaking engagement and the prestigious ‘Laetare Medal’ award in a pointed letter to Father Jenkins. See her photos, biography, full text of her rejection letter, the White House response, and a video which will help you understand Catholic views on abortion.
In some quarters my Catholic Church in America has begun to look like a club in recent years. Many worshipers attend Catholic churches for the parties, safe schools and sense of community. That is all fine if the main goal is realized, but some parishioners have only a vague sense of moral clarity while many local priests advocate dubious Catholic teachings in their presence. Many of my fellow worshipers appear to be convenience Catholics, left rudderless by local priests with dubious social agendas.
Such is the case today at our finest university, Notre Dame. Mary Ann Glendon turned down the Laetare Medal because the president of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins, turned his back on basic Catholic principles which require that nobody be given a church platform to promote immoral views. Mary Ann Glendon said no mas.
Friends often ask me how the Catholic Church got so many liberal priests, and more pointedly how so many priests openly supported Obama as they did in my own parish. The answer is deeply interwoven in the Liberation Theology shared between Catholic liberals and Obama himself. In short, many of the priests at the local parish level are socialists like Barack Obama or even closet communists. They are attracted to the priesthood for largely the same reasons that liberals are attracted to journalism and teaching professions: they want to change the world in their image.
Many local priests still advocate misguided liberation theology schemes using the code-words “social justice,” despite their abysmal failure in South America over recent decades. Where “social justice” programs have been enacted in those countries, the results have invariably led to more human suffering, bloodshed and tyranny. Venezuela is only the latest example of tyranny based on misapplication of Catholic teachings.
The leadership of the Catholic Church in America and world-wide in Vatican City have far more principled positions than local priests like Father Jenkins of Notre Dame. They are principled people of substance who follow the Church’s contemporary interpretation of Christ’s teachings. Mary Ann Glendon made this point in her letter to Notre Dame. You can view the entire rejection letter at First Things First here.
In the old days, of course, men like Father Jenkins would be burned at the stake as heretics who harm the Church. Those days of consequential blasphemy are thankfully gone. In public discourse, western ideals properly allow, and indeed encourage, the free-flowing exchange of ideas. Sometimes the new ideas are better than old traditions. Without new ideas, the Church would grow increasingly alienated from contemporary interpretations of Christ’s Word.
And this is the case with liberation theology. It is still unfortunately accepted as a legitimate point of view within the Church so reasonable people may disagree on whether radical socialism promotes Catholic interpretations of Christ’s teachings.
But sometimes the issue is settled contemporaneously, as is the abortion issue inside the Catholic Church. Aborting babies is considered killing of a human being, just as if Father Jenkins himself bludgeoned a child to death. There is no room within a moral church for promoting that idea. And one can expect that killing human beings will always be against Church teachings, even as traditions and views change over the coming decades. It should be obvious that nobody who promotes killing should have a platform, even when that person is president of the United States.
And that is Mary Ann Glendon’s point in refusing to accept the Laetare Medal on the same stage with Barack Obama and Father Jenkins. Notre Dame erred by inviting the country’s leading advocate for abortion, our president, to a Catholic University, and especially erred by rewarding Obama’s anti-Catholic views with an honorary Catholic degree from the school.
So what is the Laetare Medal? It is the most prestigious award given by an American Catholic University in the country to a Catholic. It has been awarded annually since 1883, making it not only the most prestigious but also the oldest honor tradition.
An inscription on the Laetare Medal reads “Magna est veritas et prevalebit,” which means “Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail.” The hypocrisy of such an award given in a year that Barack Obama speaks at the University was not lost on Mary Ann Glendon.
Mary Ann Glendon is a principled Catholic woman who did a principled Catholic thing. Biographically she is a professor at Harvard University who was ambassador to the Holy See in Vatican City in 2008 under George Bush. She is now president of the Catholic Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, appointed by John Paul II. She was a member of the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics, and she is author of several books.
Obama still refuses to back out of the speaking engagement, as he should, and nobody expects light to shine on the liberal Catholic leaders at Notre Dame University. The farce will go on, as the White House’s obtuse statement today tell us:
President Obama is disappointed by former Ambassador Mary Glendon’s decision, but he looks forward to delivering an inclusive and respectful speech at the Notre Dame graduation, a school with a rich history of fostering the exchange of ideas. While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position, and the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country.
More photos of Mary Ann Glendon and a video explaining her abortion views are below.
Mary Ann Glendon Abortion Views (Video)