Today marked the first of the organized protests put on by the ND Response coalition. The turnout was very good, about 400 people showed up. Joe Scheidler, of the Prolife Action League was there in attendance, though he did not address the crowd. There was a small group of naysayers who only caused a small disruption. I do not know what they were saying. Other than the brief outburst, and some otherwise rude talking during speakers and the Rosary, even the naysayers were well behaved.
The speakers focused primarily on the reasons why President Obama ought not be honored by a Catholic school. I wish the focus was on the Bishops, especially some of Bishop D'Arcy's statements in the recent years, and specifically on the 2004 statement of the USCCB stating that Catholic Universities were not to honor those who were opposed to fundamental moral principles.
This, really, is the point, and the crux of the matter to me. It need not be our place to evaulate the morality of the actions of President Obama, or anyone, this is the job of the Bishops. The Bishops have clearly spoken on the issue, and rightly condemned some of President Obama's actions, especially with regards to abortion and embryonic stem cell research. They have also decided it prudent and just that honors are not to be given out by Catholic schools to those who support positions that are fundamentally flawed morally, so as not to cause scandal, or encourage those people in their sins. One of the speakers today made a point that these fundamentally immoral positions, by the action of the administration of the University, are seen as "bad, but not that bad."
Ultimately the problem is a lack of obedience. The bishops have made it perfectly clear that: (1) politicians who support fundamentally immoral and unjust laws should not be honored by Catholic schools, and (2) President Obama's positions on Abortion and Embryonic stem cell research are fundamentally immoral. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the invitation was wrongly given. But, since Land O' Lakes, Catholic Universities are above their Bishops, despite the canonical declaration otherwise in Ex Corde Ecclesiae.