One aspect that has been overlooked in this whole President Barack Hussein Obama and University of Notre Dame flap is that the school is also going to be honoring Mary Ann Glendon with the Laetare Medal. For some reason, this medal has been taken by many to be considered the highest award that the Church in the United States can confer on anyone. I suppose back in the time when N.D. could be considered a Catholic university that may have been true, but since the abdication of their Catholic identity in March of 1967, I don't think that's the case anymore.
Professor Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and has a long and distinguished career in that field. She was also the most recent ambassador of the U.S. to the Holy See, a post she relinquished on January 20th of this year.
But she may perhaps be best remembered for the fact that in 1995, she led the delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing. That was the first time that a Holy See delegation to an international conference was led by a layperson, never mind a woman. But John Paul the Great made that decision because he knew it was going to be a tough fight.
Put the words "woman" and "United Nations" near each other and "abortion" -- or should I say, "reproductive rights" -- is not far behind. This conference had the potential to write into U.N. doctrine and documents the notion that abortion is a "right" that knows no boundaries and is to be given to all women around the world. That would have been devastating to the pro-life movement the world over and it would have vastly increased the pressure, especially on so-called Third World countries, to legalize it everywhere, for any reason, and at any time in the pregnancy.
This conference was held in 1995, during the years of the Clinton administration, which was pushing on the U.N. and other international bodies to further abortion overseas. And since the U.S. has a huge voice at the U.N., any opposition to this measure was going to come with consequences.
Enter Mary Ann Glendon. In my opinion, she single-handedly held back the overwhelming tide of abortion throughout the world. She and her staff worked throughout the conference to get an alliance together consisting of many Third World countries, which included most Muslim nations, in order to oppose this move. To the consternation of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Maria Stopes International and other pro-abortion, feminist and homosexual groups around the world, she was able to lead this ragtag group of countries to oppose the much larger nations that wanted abortion and homosexuality imposed around the world. For this, she and the Holy See were excoriated in the press.
Fast forward 16 years and this May in South Bend, Indiana, Ambassador Glendon will march in an academic procession with President Barack Hussein Obama at what Cardinal Francis George recently called the "flagship Catholic university" in our country. She will join him on the dais as she is awarded the Laetare Medal and he is granted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
(And, yes, I will insist on using his middle name. Saddam Hussein killed many Iraqis. B Hussein O is authorizing the deaths of unborn infants overseas and, if he has his way, will soon add more to the regular total here in the U.S.)
Catholic commentators of all kinds -- lay (Bill McGurn's is the most penetrating analysis I've seen yet), priestly (see Fathers Schall's and Rutler's comments here) and episcopal -- have already listed B Hussein O's sins regarding abortion, so I will not detail those again. What I will point out is that the U.S. embassy to the United Nations will no longer try to stop the "reproductive rights" language. In fact, the official stance of our country will be to encourage it and see that it gets into the documents, as the Clinton administration had done when it was in power.
Lots of folks have been focused on the Freedom of Choice Act, and rightly so. But most are overlooking the fact that the State Department will one day soon bring the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to the floor of the U.S. Senate for ratification. That document, along with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, will undermine U.S. federal and local laws on abortion and parental rights. Once they are ratified, according to the U.S. Constitution, they will override all other laws of this country.
The efforts and pressure that the Committee on CEDAW is putting on countries that have signed the document into liberalizing, if not eliminating, their abortion laws are well-known. Few have held out. Most have buckled and will continue to do so.
I do not doubt that B Hussein O will find encouragement for his agenda in this recognition. Why shouldn't he? After all Notre Dame is the "flagship Catholic university," and the order that oversees it and the school are recognizing him and his accomplishments (whatever they are).
The fact that Bishop John D'Arcy, the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, encouraged Ambassador Glendon to accept the award because of the "opportunity such an award gives her to teach" is indicative that she had serious qualms about being on the same stage as the president, for obvious reasons.
So on that day in May, we will have on stage to be honored at the University of Notre Dame -- the University of Our Lady -- the woman who stopped abortion from taking over the world and the man who will be responsible for reversing her actions. Good show, ND.