Ever since the University of Notre Dame announced that President Obama would receive an honorary degree and speak at its May 17 commencement ceremony, debate among American Catholics has grown increasingly heated.
At least 55 U.S. Catholic bishops (about 20 percent of the total) have criticized Notre Dame for honoring Obama, who supports legalized abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Mary Ann Glendon, a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, declined Notre Dame’s prestigious Laetare Medal to protest the Obama invitation.
Yet amid all the furor, one voice has remained conspicuously silent: that of the Vatican.
The official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which normally highlights news about the U.S., as of May 6 had not published a single word on the Notre Dame controversy. That omission is consistent with a record of friendly, even enthusiastic, treatment of Obama since his election last November.