[Note: Much of what follows I originally wrote as a comment in the comment thread of the below post. Since the comments were quite long, I thought it best to reproduce the gist of my response to accusations of "equivocation" in more easily readable post. - JGB]
The 2004 US Bishop’s statement instructs:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
I thought it debatable as to whether Obama, in giving the commencement address, is being given a platform which would suggest support for his actions, especially since he will be sharing the stage and podium with pro-life-to-the-core Mary Ann Glendon (who is receiving a much higher honor, the Laetare medal, than Obama) and Fr. Jenkins. It would be tempting to argue that he is being given such a platform, and should therefore be denied it; in response, one could reply that one has no idea what he is going to say, and follow that by invoking "academic freedom" and "role of dissent" - terms that make debate almost impossible, as you soon find yourself splitting hairs as to what those terms actually mean: Been there, done that, slammed head against wall. It is a debate that would go round and round, and I have no interest whatsoever in engaging in debates that will bear no fruit - it may allow me to feel good and bask in the glow of like-minded individuals, but would only harden the resolve of my opponents and give them plenty of ammunition. So I would hold my tongue, and if I were a student, bring a "I am thankful my unwed teenaged mom didn’t think I was a ‘punishment’" sign to the commencement.
However, it is not debatable at all that Obama, in being awarded an honorary law degree, is being given an honor which would suggest support for his view of law and its application, especially in regards to legally unsound and morally reprehensible Roe decision. Protesting this is a cause I will pursue with great fervor. As such, I...
a) am signing the petition put forward by the Sycamore Trust, a group dedicated to preserving Notre Dame's Catholic identity, of which I am a member.
b) have composed my own letter of concern and protest that will be sent to ND's president, Fr. Jenkins.
c) spent Sunday afternoon compiling a list of addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of Board of Trustees members at the request of William Dempsey, president of the Sycamore Trust. Each of these folks will receive the letter I am sending Fr. Jenkins.
d) will contact the Law school, to inquire as to what role they played (if any) in the decision to award this honorary degree to Obama. I have a hunch that this was not their initiative, but I'd like to know. If it was, they'll be getting a letter from me also.
As a faithful Catholic, strident pro-lifer, and enthusiastic alumnus of Notre Dame, I am attempting to be faithful to all three while being careful not to play into the hands of those who harbor contempt for any or all of them.