I’ve always thought it was dopey for Catholic institutions of higher learning to bar on-campus appearances by prominent people who are pro-choice–sort of the spiritual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting la-la-la-la. But it’s not clear to me that giving President Obama an honorary degree, as Notre Dame proposes to do, is the same sort of thing. An honorary degree is, well, an honor–in a way, to cite Tom Reese’s example, that Cardinal Egan’s invitation to the Al Smith dinner is not. As a non-Catholic, I can think of various reasons for Notre Dame to honor Obama. And I can think of reasons for it not to. There is, in short, something here to fight about. And they’re fighting about it.