Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prof. Rice Call for Jenkins' Resignation in ND Observer

Professor Emeritus Charles Rice is a long-time member of Notre Dame's Law School faculty. He also has a weekly column in the school's paper, The Observer. His column is available for syndication at diocesan newspapers.

This week, Rice protests President Obama's invitation as commencement speaker at Notre Dame and the granting of a law degree. Setting it up, Rice says:
Notre Dame is not a public utility. It has no commitment to honor at its capstone ceremony every politician whom the political process deposits in the Oval Office. Nor is there an unbroken custom that, if a president is invited, it must be in his first year.

He follows with the well-known laundry list of the president's actions against human life and calls for prayer, not confrontation. Perhaps setting this column apart is his call for the resignation of the ND president, as well as his suggestion that prayerful witness at Our Lady's grotto would be a better role for Ambassador Glendon than "warm-up" for the president:
Our leaders act in what they think is the best interest of Notre Dame. But that is no excuse. The invitation should be withdrawn. It implies no personal animosity to suggest that Fr. Jenkins and the other Fellows and Trustees responsible for this fiasco should resign or be removed.

What would be a proper response? On-site demonstrations would be counterproductive. You can petition or write to our leaders. But the appeal should be made instead to a higher authority. An alumnus has suggested that students, faculty, staff and friends of Notre Dame ought to - and we will - pray a continuous Rosary of reparation at the Grotto during the time of Commencement, from two to four on Sunday, May 17th. This would not interfere with Commencement which is on the other side of campus. It would not be a demonstration or protest. No signs, marches, or disruption. Just peaceful prayer, in silence or aloud, by individuals and families. If you can't make it to the Grotto, pray the Rosary during that time wherever you are. Incidentally, Professor Mary Ann Glendon, the Laetare Medal recipient, would make a better use of her time at the Grotto than as a warm-up or wind-up act at Commencement.

Actually, the whole thing is full of yet not seen challenges from so celebrated a member of the Notre Dame community. I'd read it in full.