The graduate season is not going well so far for President Biden. Addressing the graduating class at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he accused his audience in a fit of peeve of being “a very dull class” when his listeners failed to applaud what he considered his best lines and to laugh at what he imagined to be his most humorous gags.
More seriously from the political point of view, over 4400 of Notre Dame’s students and alumni signed an open letter protesting the invitation sent to the President weeks before by the university to speak at the graduation ceremony despite the White House having already declined it, pleading a conflicting presidential schedule.
The letter reads, in part, “[Biden] rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious freedom. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history. The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President [Barack] Obama [in 2009], an action that alienated countless Catholics and brought upon Notre Dame the harsh criticism of 83 cardinals, archbishops and bishops.”
The first American president to address a commencement at Notre Dame was President Eisenhower in 1960. Since then, five other Presidents have done so, including John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic to occupy the Oval Office. Joe Biden, of course, is the second. Unlike Kennedy, who was a nominal Catholic at best, he has dropped any pretense of observing the tenets of the Faith, let alone defending them. Perhaps, given that 36 percent of practicing Catholics in the United States are pro-choice, 69 percent of all American Catholics support homosexual marriage, and 49 percent voted for him in 2020, he assumes that flouting and disparaging traditional Catholic morality is not only an easy but also a politically safe, perhaps even advantageous, political strategy. If so, the impressive protest against an invitation the President had already refused, and from affiliates of an institution that in recent decades has been the opposite of a model of Catholic orthodoxy and moral rectitude in thought and behavior, should cause Mr. Biden to reconsider his position. The ground is shifting, as the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and many recent challenges filed against Roe v. Wade by other state governments suggest.
The new administration’s exaggeratedly liberal position on the question of abortion and other issues of crucial concern to the Catholic Church has not, so far, been foremost in the response that is spontaneously forming against the unprecedented and unanticipated radicalism of the new administration.
How ironic –and fitting– should child murder be the particular issue that touches off the national reaction against it.