The significance of [Mary Ann] 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.
the archbishop of New York had clarified that a faithful Catholic could not promote abortion rights, [and] the nation’s premier Catholic university, led by two of the most famous Catholic priests in America, invited the leading Catholic politician in the country to explain why the archbishop of New York was wrong, all this two months before a presidential election in which a vice- presidential candidate was a pro-abortion Catholic.
Fr. Jenkins, “[taken] to school” by the Harvard law prof, unwittingly set things up for the Glendon slam-dunk, argues Rev. Raymond J. de Souza in National Catholic Register.
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.
Strong stuff, but it’s a quite dramatic situation which I do not think this writer exaggerates. It was Hesburgh and Rev. Richard McBrien vs. New York’s Cardinal O’Connor and the bishops’ conference. The prize was Notre Dame and its role in the politics of abortion.
This time, Notre Dame took it on the chin, and a woman did it.