The Dolan Doctrine


Maybe I’m missing something, but it looks as though L’Affaire Notre Dame has created a more open speakers policy on Catholic campuses. In recent years, politicians who support abortion rights have routinely been denied the opportunity to give talks; what Notre Dame has done is introduce the distinction between giving a talk and receiving an honorary degree.

Which brings us to  New York’s baby archbishop Timothy Dolan, whom no one would accuse of being a liberal, but who outlined this policy of “engagement” in an interview with Rachel Zoll of the AP a couple of days ago.

Regarding the fight against abortion, Dolan said that the University of Notre Dame had made a mistake by inviting President Barack Obama to give this year’s commencement address, in light of Obama’s support for abortion rights.

Dolan said that the invitation and the honorary degree the president
will receive sent the wrong signal to students that “we hold him up as
a model to you.”

But the archbishop said it would also be wrong to freeze out
abortion rights supporters and that Catholics should instead engage
them. He said Obama could have been invited to Notre Dame to speak
without honoring him.

“The word we have to keep using is engagement,” said Dolan. He does not deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who break with church teaching. Obama called
Dolan on the day of his appointment and the archbishop says he prays
for the president daily.

Yesterday, no one (except the likes of Randall Terry) protested Obama’s appearance at Georgetown to give his economic speech. Call it the Dolan Doctrine.