Libby A. Nelson at Inside Higher Ed weighs in on the conflict and compromise that many Catholic universities are increasingly faced with today. The article covers much more, but mentions the controversies involved in institutional recognition of public figures whose moral commitments don’t quite square with Catholic teaching. Timely, since graduations are this week and next for many universities, and Kathleen Sebelius has been invited to speak at Georgetown:
Commencement speaker controversies aren’t uncommon, and the colleges’ choice of speaker can often be fraught. A 2004 directive from the church instructed colleges not to honor those whose views conflict with church doctrine. As well as the uproar at Notre Dame over Obama in 2009, Speaker of the House John Boehner drew protests from Catholic University faculty members when he served as that institution’s commencement speaker. They believed that his political positions did not uphold church teachings on poverty…While controversies over speakers on campus are perennial, bishops and presidents agree more frequently than they used to, said Galligan-Stierle. “When I look at where we were 20 and even 10 years ago, and where we are today, I think there’s substantial agreement,” he said, in part due to better relations between bishops and presidents.