Notre Dame: the upshot



1. Obama gets props from the general public, including moderate pro-lifers, for common ground talk.
2. Even more, if backed up by common ground policies.
3. Pro-life activists look more like angry zealots, including the Catholic bishops amongst them.
4. More pro-choice politicians are in evidence on Catholic campuses.

In re: the last of these. The strongest argument against Obama’s appearance was that he shouldn’t have received a degree honoris causa because that violated the bishops’ injunction against honoring those who disagree with fundamental Catholic teachings. That, however, opens the door for Catholic institutions to say, “Well, we’re just inviting so-and-so to give a talk, we’re not honoring him.” The riposte, that this would violate the “Catholic culture” of the place, runs up against the claim that it is important to engage the other side–made by even such eminent critics of Obama’s Notre Dame invitation as the new Archbishop of New York. In honor of him, I call it the Dolan Doctrine. Let’s see what happens at Fordham.