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04-27-2009, 06:34 PM
Harvard Professor Glendon Declines ND Honor - analysis of what Glendon's decision means

" Glendon has refused to participate in the shabby manipulation Father Jenkins attempted to engineer."

Dr. Mary Ann Glendon has declined Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal over the plans to honor pro-abortion president Barack Obama. Glendon, Notre Dame and Abortion Politics .

Father John Jenkins likely thought himself very clever. Professor Mary Ann Glendon just took him to school.

In declining to receive the Laetare Medal alongside President Barack Obama’s honorary doctorate of laws at next month’s commencement, Glendon has refused to participate in the shabby manipulation Father Jenkins attempted to engineer.

It is a rare personage who could ennoble an award by refusing to receive it, but Professor Glendon has done just that.

The Laetare Medal will now be known best for the year in which it was declined. Glendon chose, to use the apt words of Bishop John D’Arcy in this regard, truth over prestige.

The significance of Glendon’s refusal is enormous.

The most accomplished Catholic laywoman in America — former ambassador of the United States to the Holy See and current president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences — has refused to accept Notre Dame’s highest honor.

It is a signal moment for the Catholic Church in the United States. It is a signal moment for the Church’s public witness. It is may even be a signal moment for Notre Dame. What Glendon will not say at Notre Dame will finally be a fitting response to what Gov. Mario Cuomo said there some 25 years ago.

It has been 25 years of deliberate confusion, ambiguity and equivocation at Notre Dame in regard to her presidents — Fathers Hesburgh, Molloy and Jenkins — and abortion politics.

What New York Gov. Mario Cuomo did in 1984 was with the willing connivance of Father Theodore Hesburgh. Father Jenkins thought he could outdo the master himself, but he has been taught that this is no longer Father Ted’s Notre Dame. Notre Dame is no longer untouchable by the American bishops and the lay faithful.

Father Jenkins must be puzzled at how it has all gone so wrong. He was doing what Notre Dame has done for a long time, namely, to bring the prestige of Notre Dame to bear on the pro-choice side of American politics.

Notre Dame has that prestige not only because of its money or its football fame, but because it is a genuine Catholic university.

Visitors to campus know that it is a Catholic university. Her Catholic identity is not merely historical. It is precisely the Catholicity of Notre Dame which makes its recent history on abortion politics so scandalous. It is that scandalous history that Professor Glendon’s refusal may help to correct.

Mario Cuomo in 1984
It is well known that Mario Cuomo went to Notre Dame to argue that faithful Catholics could in good conscience, as legislators and executives, defend abortion rights, pass laws facilitating abortion, and even fund it with tax dollars. Yet his “Religious Belief and Public Morality” speech was as much about Notre Dame as it was about Cuomo.

Notre Dame’s leadership put its prestige on the pro-choice side of American politics.

Biographical Sketch Professor Mary Ann Glendon.

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and legal theory. Her most recent book, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the story of Mrs. Roosevelt’s proudest achievement: the framing of the U.N.’s declaration of rights so basic that they belong to everyone on earth simply by virtue of being human.

In 1988, Glendon won the Scribes Book Award given by the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects for Abortion and Divorce in Western Law, a comparative study that was featured in Bill Moyers' "World of Ideas" series. Another comparative study, The Transformation of Family Law, won the Legal Academy's highest award, the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award in 1993. In 1991, she was elected President of the UNESCO sponsored International Association of Legal Science.

In 1994, she was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the newly created Pontifical Academy of Social Science. In 1995, she headed the 22-member delegation of the Holy See to the Fourth U.N. Women's Conference in Beijing.

The Laetare Medal
is an annual award given by the University of Notre Dame in recognition of outstanding service to the Roman Catholic church and society.
The award is given to an American Catholic layperson "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity." First awarded in 1883, it is the oldest and most prestigious award for American Catholics.
The medal has the Latin inscription "Magna est veritas et prevalebit," meaning "Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail."
.......It sounds like Father Jenkins should read and live the inscription!
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