Archive for April, 2009
The person to watch is Melanne Verveer. Back in March the Senate confirmed her as the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues. Abortion is so crucial for the Obama administration that a full-time person had to be given charge of it!
Former Chief of Staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton, she was VP for the liberal People for the American Way, the organization that helped to block Judge Bork for the Supreme Court. Under the guise of women’s issues, she will probably become the U.S. abortion czar for the world. The president is committed to the population control plan proposed in Cairo 15 years ago.
Indeed, the administration has decided to give $50 million to the U.N. Population (Control) Fund. She spoke at a luncheon for Dr. Nafis Sadik (Former UNFPA head) who sought to mandate global abortion services and to require that medical personnel be trained to do abortions, even if such should be against their conscience.
Population goals were set and abortion is seen as a way to keep numbers to the prescribed quotas or limits. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Planned Parenthood Federation of America “that reproductive rights and the umbrella issue of women’s rights and empowerment is going to be a key to the foreign policy of this administration.”
Sadik lamented “the distortions of religion” that deny women their human rights and the “bigots” who fall back on cultural values to deny (contraception and abortion) rights to young girls and women.
“There are six things that Y-hw-h hates, seven that he abhors: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…”
“You will not allow any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech…”
“A voice is heard in Ramah lamenting and weeping bitterly: It is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”
“They found themselves entrapped, and sacrificed their own sons and their daughters to demons. Innocent blood they shed, the blood of their sons and daughters; offering them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the country with blood…[God] handed them over to the nations, and their opponents became their masters; their enemies tyrannized over them, crushing them under their rule.”
April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President of University of Notre Dame
Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.
Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
- “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
- “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon
Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.