Lame Laetare

commencementwireframe4_preStarting in 1893, the University of Notre Dame has awarded the Laetare Medal at its spring commencement ceremonies.

Past recipients include Presidents, bishops, nuns, writers, artists and people from many other walks of life.  This spring, the award will go to two politicians:  Former House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden.

Unless there has been a sudden change in the purpose of the award, I’ll assume it is what the university says it is:  Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal is presented annually to an American Catholic in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and society. It is considered the oldest and most prestigious award for American Catholics.

The university said it pick the two politicians to recognize their leadership, civility and dedication to the nation.

Interesting.  I can’t believe the university is referring to THIS nation, in light of all that the vice president has done to destroy us over the past eight years – and all the failure by the speaker to halt the destruction.

I do get the sense that Mr. Boehner meant well.

In Mr. Biden’s case, I doubt it.  He has been a cheerleader for the culture of death and a consistent scandal to the faithful.  He also has a bit of a potty mouth and trouble consistently telling the truth.

It probably is really difficult to decide who to award with something like the Laetare Medal.  After all, there are around 72,000,000 Catholics in the United States, so narrowing that down to a single person (or two) is a daunting duty.

On the other hand, with that many people to choose from, I would think Notre Dame could come up with a recipient who is pro life, honest, civil-tongued and has had a positive impact on society.  The award can be given posthumously, so perhaps Judge Antonin Scalia would be an option.  Rumors abound that he practiced the Catholic faith.

What a lost opportunity.  Notre Dame creates an award that could celebrate someone with the courage to live our faith fully and fearlessly.  Instead, the university seems to say that living a public life in bold contradiction of the faith is acceptable – even worthy of celebration.

Laetare is Latin for “rejoice.”  I think the university must either find a new recipient or change the name of the award.  Come to think of it, maybe the university ought to change its name.  I doubt Our Lady would want to be associated with this travesty.

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