I do not want to wade into the who-gets-to-be-honored-by-a-Catholic-university debate, but I do wish to focus on the oh-so-typical inconsistency, and a little piece of perhaps unintentional irony. For I doubt that many of those who are huffing and puffing about Obama’s visit to Notre Dame were doing the same when Reagan, Big Bush, and Little Bush (all who had their own contribution — in one form or another — to the culture of death) received similar honors. Would these guys have shown this cartoon had the issue been Bush and dead Iraqis? I realize of course that many Catholics who protest this decision are indeed consistent on the issue, and some did indeed protest Bush’s reception by Notre Dame. This consistency deserves credit, but it unfortunately does not extend to many of the noisiest Catholic bloggers.
Now for some irony: apparently the National Review has taken it upon itself to host a symposium called “A Moral Exemplar?” whereby various Catholics debate the merits of Obama and Notre Dame. It turns out of course that all contributors have the same opinion. It starts with George Weigel, the man who believes the Republicans lost because Bush did not do a good enough job explaining how important his war was — yes, folks, that would be the same Iraq war that two popes and the universal Church (outside a small group of American neocon Catholics) deemed unjust and immoral. But it’s not all bad — Rick Garnett is there, and he always has interesting things to say. My point is this: why is this outfit hosting what amounts to an intra-Catholic debate? National Review is by no means a Catholic journal. Indeed, it takes positions that directly contradict Church teaching, going so far as offer a vigorous defense of torture, something we know as intrinsically evil. Are not Catholics who use this venue for such a symposium not guilty of the same kind of scandal that they accuse Notre Dame of bringing upon itself by associating with Obama?