Monday, April 27, 2009

The Real Meaning of Honor

First Thing posts the Letter from Mary Ann Glendon declining Notre Dame's Laetre Medal:

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame's decision--in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops--to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops' guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame's example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

Glendon's decision was obviously a very difficult one, but also clearly the right one. Once she realized that Notre Dame was using her appearance to defend their decision to honor President Obama at the same event, she decided that she couldn't be a party to it. Now that this fig leaf that the school was using for justification has been removed, their already tottering position becomes completely indefensible.

At this point, I don't hold out much hope for Notre Dame doing the right thing. It is uplifting however to see that Mary Ann Glendon has.