Citing concerns about plans to honor President Barack Obama despite his views on "fundamental principles of justice" that are contrary to Catholic teaching, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon has turned down the prestigious Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame.
In an April 27 letter to Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, Glendon said she will not participate in May 17 commencement exercises during which the award was to have been presented.
The letter, posted on the blog of the magazine First Things, does not mention specific justice principles, but Glendon was critical of Notre Dame's decision to give Obama an honorary degree.
Obama supports legal abortion and his administration recently proposed new regulations that would allow the use of federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research. Both are in direct conflict with fundamental church teaching.
The Laetare Medal is presented annually to an American Catholic layperson for outstanding service to the Catholic Church and society.