I am all for an identifiable Catholic presence in the public square.
That said, this group is becoming more and more divisive: Catholic Democrats.
Here is their latest defense of Notre Shame, which involves the denigration of Amb. Mary Ann Glendon.
My emphases and comments.
Catholic Democrats Deplores
Ambassador Glendon’s Undiplomatic Withdrawal from Notre Dame Commencement
Decision Not in Step with Majority of Catholics [This group is more interested in polling data than Catholic teaching. For them the "majority" gets to decide what is right when it come to Catholic identity.]
Who Support the President’s Social Justice Policies
Boston, MA – Catholic Democrats is expressing its disappointment in the decision by Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon to withdraw her acceptance of the prestigious Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame. Ambassador Glendon sent a letter to Fr. John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, saying that she had reconsidered her acceptance because of the university’s decision to honor the President of the United States. [Hang on. It wasn't because
ND... NS was going to honor the President of the United States. It was because NS was going to honor this President, who is without question the most pro-abortion President there has ever been. The phrase used it an attempt to plant in your mind that Amb. Glendon does not respect the office of the President, probably because he is a Democrat.]
Ambassador Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School and a listed advisor to the Right wing Catholic League, [Thus trying to damn her by association. I wonder what other organizations Dr. Whelan belongs to? Could any of them be an left wing organization? No... wait! How about Catholic Democrats?] said that she could not accept the award because she did not want to engage [WOAH! Read the text of Amb Glendon's letter to Fr. Jenkins. She did not say she didn't want to engage about serious topics. She said that that event wasn't the right moment, that in a short acceptance speech wasn't the right way to engage. This is too serious. So, effectively, this note from Catholic Democrats twists the facts so as to lie about Amb. Glendon. They try to make her appear as unwilling to engage in dialogue. I suspect she would be more than ready and willing to engage in the proper venue.] with the university on the "very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision … to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice."
"It is unfortunate that Professor Glendon would repeat the Republican talking points to justify her decision," said Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. [When you encounter people who argue this way, you must immediately refuse their premise. They seek to polticize what is really a matter of Catholic faith. Amb. Glendon did not decline the Laetare medal because of partisan politics. Were that the case, she wouldn't have considered taking it in the first place. What has in the meantime become clear is that Notre Dame has compromised its Catholic identity by choosing to honor a pro-abortion extremist who happens coincidentally to be the President of the United States. So, what Whelan said is really a misrepresentation of what Glendon wrote.] "Like many conservative critics, she conveniently sidesteps any acknowledgement of President Obama’s pledge to reduce the number of abortions. [What this conveniently sidesteps is Pres. Obama's actual record.] Ambassador Glendon’s statement knowingly ignores the President’s leadership in moving the nation past the deep wounds of racial prejudice [Is Whelan now insinuating that Glendon has a racial problem?] and advancing a spectrum of social and economic justice issues at the heart of our faith – including a new focus on strategies to reduce abortion." [This is the Kmiec Koolaid recipe. The idea is that these other issues, such as racial equality, "justice", etc., are not just on a par with defense of the unborn, they actually take precedence.]
President Obama is the first president to run for office on a platform that promotes strategies to reduce the number of abortions in our country. [Huh? I wonder if that is true. Wasn't President Bush pro-life?] Last week, Cardinal Rigali, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) praised the re-introduction of the "Pregnant Women’s Support Act" saying that it "offers an authentic common ground, an approach that people can embrace regardless of their position on other issues." [This is simple misdirection. So what if Card. Rigali wrote in support of that bill? The bill aims at helping women when they are pregnant. Help them so they don't feel so backed into a corner that they choose abortion. That bill was intorduced by Rep. Davis of Tennessee, not Pres. Obama. Also, no one has suggested that helping people is not a good strategy in reducing the number of abortions. The fact that Card. Rigali wrote in support of that bill does not therefore mean that President Obama's record on abortion is acceptable to Catholics.]
Catholic Democrats has launched an online statement of support for the University of Notre Dame and its president, as well as in defense of Catholic education. The statement has been signed by thousands of Catholics from across the country. Catholic Democrats believes that the national debate on this controversy epitomizes the divisiveness in our Church and in the public square and is calling on all Catholics to engage in respectful dialogue on all the moral issues of our time. [I don't think it is respectful to guide your decisions based on polling rather than by Catholic teaching. I don't think it is respectful to accuse people of partisan politics when the issues really concern Catholic identity.]
"While we are disappointed in Ambassador Glendon’s decision, we know that the majority of Catholics in the United States support the President because they feel he represents Catholic values across the spectrum of moral issues," [Again... they go by numbers rather than by Catholic teaching. And did I really read that Pres. Obama represents Catholic values?] said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "The Catholic Right is caught in a web of the political Right [See how they politicize this?] and is out of step with Church teaching on matters of political culture. [HUH? Has this fellow read what the Church teaches about the sanctity of life? Abortion is not negotiable.] Even the Pope has honored political figures who are not in agreement with Church teaching such as President Sarkozy of France. Their actions and rhetoric are exacting an undisclosed cost on the Church and society that does not serve the best interest of either." [On the surface, this point seems compelling. The writer uses it in the strong closing position. However, the analogy isn't good enough to support the position that Pres. Obama should therefore be honored at Notre Dame. The President of France has, ex officio, the right to be a canon of the Lateran, no matter what his stance on abortion may be. He takes that place as a matter of course. The Holy Father could, of course, rescind that, but there would be diplomatic repercussions between states: this has been the right for the French head of state since the time of King Henry IV (+1610). Henry in 1604 gave to the Lateran chapter the ownership of the Benedictine Abbey of Clariac. The Pope therefore made the French head of state ex officio an honorary canon of the Lateran. Thus, this "honor" comes automatically. It does not come after a decision of the Pope or the Lateran chapter. Though I remember reading that Notre Dame has a standing invitation to Presidents to speak at their commencement, Pres. Obama does not have an ex officio right to do so. Pres. Obama does not have a right because he is POTUS to be honored with an honorary doctorate. Notre Dame made a decision to give an honor to Pres. Obama. Moreover, even though Pres. Sarkozy is known to be pro-abortion, I doubt very much that he would have twice voted in a provincial assembly against a law that would require life-saving measures to be applied to a baby who had survived attempts to abort it. There is the issue of Pres. Obama's extreme position. There is also the policy of the USCCB for Catholic institutions. The Sarkozy/Lateran = Obama/Notre Dama parallel only seems to be a parallel. When you pry it open, it isn't a good argument.]