With Cardinal DiNardo’s denunciation of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama, Hillsdale College Associate Provost, David Whalen, had this solution to offer yesterday:
“Good for the Cardinal.
Call me a cynic, but all of this–and more–must have gone into the calculations at the University in considering whether to issue the invitation. None of this hurts them. In fact, the more ‘astute’ at the University will be quite glad of the negative publicity. Not only does it qualify as ‘good’ under the old rubric that ‘No publicity is bad publicity,’ but the controversy helps reinforce the academic, left-leaning ‘bona fides’ of the institution, bona fides that Catholic institutions generally are fairly anxious to establish and maintain. All of this helps Notre Dame be what it wants to be—-independent, Catholic when being so contributes to its membership in the academic elite, non-Catholic what that contributes to its membership among the academic elite.
What could actually make the University sit up and take notice would be a significant number of seniors boycotting the graduation and setting up a shadow commencement at the same time. To create a separate ceremony–especially if the Bishop and Cardinals and sympathetic academics from all over attend as well–would be to threaten the University. It would suggest a loss of administrative control, would attract significant media coverage, etc. Aim high—get as commencement speaker Cardinal Arinze or some other highly-positioned Vatican official, and the effect would be tremendous. As it is, people objecting to Obama’s selection contributes to the University’s thunder. Set up an alternative commencement with important dignitaries in attendance, and you steal their thunder.”
Thanks, David, for the excellent solution and for letting us repost it here.