Some Questions for Father Jenkins
Last Wednesday, Father Jenkins, the President of the University of Notre Dame, sent an email to students and alumni. Therein, he expressed his congratulations to the graduating class for their accomplishments and emphasized that this commencement is their day. I could not agree more, and it is a shame that Father Jenkins’ decision to offer an honorary degree to the most pro-abortion U.S. President in history will likely overshadow their graduation day.
Father Jenkins reiterated his statement that Notre Dame is honoring Barack Obama for his accomplishments and positions on issues unrelated to abortion. This list of accomplishments somehow escaped the notice of the faculty of Arizona State University who refused to offer Obama an honorary degree precisely because the President has yet to accomplish much this early in his Administration. It seems Notre Dame has lower standards than ASU for awarding honorary degrees. It leads me to question if Notre Dame has any standards at all.
In that vein, I have a few questions for Father Jenkins. Is there any position a Notre Dame Commencement speaker could hold which, despite his or her other laudable accomplishments, would disqualify him or her from receiving an honorary degree? For example, would a proponent of eugenics, a denier of the holocaust, a white supremacist, an advocate of destructive medical experimentation on human beings or a suborder of genocide be denied an honorary degree from Notre Dame?
If there exists some position so diametrically opposed to fundamental Catholic moral teaching so as to disqualify an otherwise worthy candidate from receiving honorary degree, then why is that position worse than ushering in an unprecedented expansion of legal protection and federal funding for the legalized murder of millions of innocent children?