Inside the Joyce Center, the band played "Hail to the Chief." Outside, protesters said, "Hell, no!"
Such was the scene the last time a sitting U.S. president came to the University of Notre Dame, America's flagship Catholic university, which enjoys the distinction of hosting more presidential visits for commencement than any institution of higher learning other than the military academies.
Six U.S. presidents have spoken at Notre Dame's commencement exercises, and a total of nine presidents have received honorary degrees. Yet the decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver a 2009 commencement address and receive an honorary degree proved to be a flashpoint, both for campus politics and the American Catholic Church.
Now, less than three months away from the 2021 commencement, a group aimed to "protect" the university's Catholic identity has launched a "Don't Invite Biden" campaign, while others are making their case that inviting the nation's second Catholic president is essential to the university's mission, setting up another likely showdown.
Former President Donald Trump headlined the Conservative Political Acton Committee meeting in Orlando last weekend, in which he "wrestled the truth into submission, and with it any opposition from fellow Republicans, demonstrating once and for all that conservatism today stands for no ideas, no values, only for him," writes NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters in his latest column.
Winters says that Trump knows the Republican Party is his party and that the conservative activists assembled at the conference were content to set aside their mind and morals to celebrate him. After all, they even crafted a golden image of Trump.
In Trump's speech, he made clear that the GOP is committed to a culture war, far from the Republican Party of old that stood for ideas and values that matter.
"For example, in recent years, at least since the Obama presidency, our conservative Catholic friends have been keen to champion the rights of conscience," Winters writes. "They have done so at a time when too many liberals have abandoned their birthright as guardians of the rights of conscience. Even if I have thought our conservative friends at times were excessive or worse in their claims, at least conscience is a principle worth fighting for."
- In his latest column,
Franciscan Fr. Daniel Horan writes about the funny and heartwarming
television show, "Ted Lasso." While there is no overt religious element
in the show, Horan says it may very well be the most unwittingly
Christian program on air today.
- A new initiative by the Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities umbrella organization encourages funders to sign a pledge to review their own internal safeguarding policies against abuse.
- In a March 2 briefing, the Vatican sought to downplay the risks of Pope Francis visiting Iraq during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that the March 5-8 events have been planned to maintain social distancing measures.