A loss for Notre Dame: Mary Ann Glendon declines

Photo of Mary Ann Glendon by Tanit Sakakini

Those who have followed the story and my posts on Notre Dame's invitation to Barack Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree at their commencement in May, Rocco's report this morning will be of interest: Mary Ann Glendon has now declined to accept the University's esteemed Laetare Medal and will not attend the graduation exercises.


  1. God's Lawyer ~ interesting! Good for her - actions speak louder than words!

  2. Apparently, Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame is considering "re-gifting"


    Mary Ann Glendon refused to let herself be used by Fr. Jenkins to provide cover for the awarding of an honorary degree to President Obama. I fear the university will fill the gap with an Obama apologist such as Doug Kmeic. That, indeed, would be a sorry sight.

  3. The point being--what?...intolerance for the opinions of others and an unwiilingness to reach workable solutions?
    These kinds of reactions do not impress everyone nor do they appear noble.

  4. Distracted, is it possible to reach a "workable solution" on the issue of abortion?

    As for Professor Glendon, she has indeed done a noble thing. Apparently, Fr. Jenkins brought her into the controversy by repeatedly using her name in rationalizing his decision to honor Obama. Professor Glendon, on the other hand, cited the message sent by 47 bishops, including the bishop of the diocese within which Notre Dame lies, to say Fr. Jenkins was acting contrary to the guidance of the Church.

  5. From Wikipedia: "A committee generally takes names of potential recipients from faculty and staff at the University of Notre Dame. They select two of three candidates from this group, which are voted on by the Officers of the University."

    It will be interesting to see who will now become this year's recipient of the Laetare Medal.

  6. Dear Anonymous #1,
    I think we're going to have to find a workable solution on the issue of abortion. Polarizing the issue and not drawing strength from the many values that are held in common has not found any meaningful outcomes.

    Quite honestly, the Jesus that I've been taught about would not decline the invitation. He would speak. Isolating oneself or others on the basis of ideological differences is not noble--to me. It is prideful.

  7. Actually, when Jesus was brought before Herod he remained silent, despite Herod's threats and appeals.

    While Jesus was always open to repentant sinners, He is the same Jesus who overturned the tables of the money-changers in the Temple, who called the Pharisees vipers and who compared his opponents to whitened tombs. He would not quietly enter into "dialogue" with anyone who promoted the killing of the unborn -- I suspect he would tell them flatly that "better a mill stone be tied around your neck"
    or warn them of the fires of Ghenna.

    The Jesus of the New Testament took His Father's commands very seriously, and understood the consequences of disobedience.

  8. okay, I'm sorry, but I have to say it- can all you anonymous's please use some name- nobody will know who you are (you can use any name you want, just use the 'Name/URL' option)- and I used to use anonymous too- but you don't know who I am, or if this is my real name...

    thank you.

  9. We, obviously, quite profoundly disagree on this issue. Again, I would suggest that the future would benefit from discussions about mutual values and how solutions can arise from there.

  10. ...I should have asked this earlier in my comment, but I would appreciate any responses to my comment- thanks.

  11. Dear "distracted",
    Where would we be had Lincoln tried the dialogue approach to the issue of slavery? There were in those times many well minded people, very much opposed to slavery, who kept trying the dialogue approach. Before entering the abortion debate one must honestly answer the question: is abortion the deliberate killing of an innocent and defenseless human being? I totally agree that we can and should look for common ground on many other issues. But on an issue such as this, what could the common ground between life and death possibly lie?
    And one more thing: please do not characterize (and dismiss) as ideology the uncompromising defense of human life. Unless you are ready to call ideology the emancipation movement...

  12. Distracted by Shiny Objects-
    Appreciate and am thankful for your posts on this topic.

  13. I have not always agreed with Professor Glendon, but her integrity and the clarity of her reasoning is impressive. I hope that everyone who is commenting here has taken the time to click on CP's link above (the word "report" in blue) and actually READ the text of her letter.

  14. Dear Distracted,
    This is the first anonymous. A short lesson on the meaning of conscience and the problems with contraception and abortion can be found in the post of 4/28 at tomroeser.com, if you're interested.

    As for Mary Ann Glendon, how could she enter into dialogue -- which by definition is a give and take -- on the occasion of making a speech at a graduation? Obama will not have to respond to any points she make; she will likely be ignored or worse, painted as ungracious. I personally hope no one accepts the award she is refusing. Think of it: It's like going into the record books with an asterisk after your name.

  15. I sincerely believe Mary Ann Glendon has every right as an American citizen and Catholic to refuse any honor she chooses not to accept. In fact, she may see it as her obligation as a Catholic to refuse the honor Notre Dame offered her. (I cannot know that, of course.) However, I also sincerely believe she has made the wrong choice in so doing, and will not advance the pro-life cause; rather, the contrary. Whatever the result, I do believe she has followed her conscience without regard to result of her action, and with that decision I cannot argue.

  16. Does anyone know why President Obama has NOT withdrwn from the graduation? He was very concerned about the church he chose--did not want to have his presence create a distraction. Does he not know what a distraction he is causing at this graduation???

  17. Hello Flit,

    I wonder why you chose that nom de plume - I keep thinking "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" You probably have to be of a certain age (old) to remember that commercial.
    Seriously, I think it would be more of a distraction should the President now decline Notre Dame's invitation. I hope indeed he feels safe in coming, and that all proceeds peacefully.

  18. I am late to this and am very tired as well, so I will be brief.

    To be Catholic and catholic requires broad thinking, courage and action. I am greatly saddened that she will not be there and find her decision regrettable.

  19. Michelle: Just tuned in to this blog this morning, after not being on for awhile. I noticed no one responded to you, and just want you to know you've been heard so you don't feel invisible. Nothing worse than not being acknowledged.

    There are people who will forever be "anonymous" because that is their comfort level in responding. It's just the way it is in the "blog world". But I do agree with you - having a "name", does make it easier to respond to someone.

  20. St. Edwards Blogger,

    You may have been tired when you wrote, but I find your comments perfect! Thank you.

  21. Dear St. Edwards Blogger:
    When I read your post, it seemed to me that you are judging Mary Ann Glendon for not being "broad minded", "corageous" and "active". Being catholic might require all those things. Above all it means that we shall not judge if we don't want to be judged.
    I leave aside the fact that I think Mary Ann is very broad minded, very corageous, and very active indeed.
    One more thing: I think we should keep in mind that her rejection is not of Mr. Obama, but rather of the Notre Dame authorities' decision.


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