A group of right wing Catholics based in Virginia has mounted a petition drive to have Notre Dame University revoke its invitation to have Pres. Barack Obama as commencement speaker.
The right wing press--Fox, WSJ, etc.--have all trumpeted the story this week, reporting that more than 65,000 people have signed the petition. Given that there are more than 75 million Catholics in the U.S., that number is a pittance, hardly worth reporting.
This is really about publicity for the Cardinal Newman Society, which evidently hopes to transform Catholic colleges in the U.S. into a bunch of narrow-minded fundamentalist schools like Liberty College. The Society claims that Obama should be disinvited because of his positions on abortion and stem cell research. We suspect there's more to it--these are hard core conservatives outraged at a popular African-American President. We'd be willing to bet that Notre Dame has had other commencement speakers whose views don't comport entirely with Catholic religious orthodoxy, without a peep from the Society.
Fortunately, the administrators of Notre Dame have better sense than to embarass their institution by dis-inviting a sitting President from giving the commencement address--a true honor for any great educational institution. Obama will give the address, and the seniors at Notre Dame will be proud that they were there to hear it.