In her open letter declining the Laetare Medal, Prof. Mary Ann Glendon worried that Notre Dames decision to honor a strongly pro-abortion public figure would create a trickle-down effect by which other Catholic schools would become less hesitant to do the same, thus obscuring the seriousness of the Catholic Churchs opposition to abortion.
Now I know that post hoc does not mean propter hoc , but I couldnt help remembering Prof. Glendons letter yesterday afternoon as I sat in the audience at Fordham Law Schools diploma ceremony listening to pro-abortion advocate Sen. Charles Schumer wax eloquent about himself for fifteen minutes. The unannounced speech surprised almost everyoneeveryone except Fordhams president, Fr. Joseph McShane (SJ), who introduced Schumer as a dear friend of long standing.
I suppose it is some consolation that the powers that be at Fordham Law felt they had to keep Schumers speech a secretit suggests that they expected (and dearly wished to avoid) passionate argument over their decision. Fordham seems to have recognized, with Joseph Bottum , that opposition to abortion is now at the core of Catholic culture in this country. Still, it is at least a little ironic that self-appointed defenders of openness and dialogue within the Catholic Church so easily act as unaccountable elites making decisions with consequences for the whole Church without even a show of consultation with either faithful or hierarchy.