What’s really behind University of Notre Dame’s controversial decision to present President Obama with an honorary degree and ask him to deliver the commencement address on Sunday? The decision has infuriated Catholic conservatives who say the university’s actions are shocking proof of the failure of a true Catholic culture on the university campus, reports U.S.A. Today.
But could it be that these folks — outraged that someone who supports abortion rights will have the microphone at Notre Dame — may themselves partly to blame? That "Catholic culture, where it existed, has been largely routed," and conservatives were part of that rout? So argues Georgetown University (a Jesuit school) associate professor of government, Patrick Deneen in a bittersweet take on Catholic culture. It’s an essay at his new-to-me blog, What I saw in America: The Political Theory of Daily Life. He writes:
In my view, the singular focus upon abortion as THE issue over which conservative Catholics will brook no divergence and around which we are called to rally reveals, to my mind, not evidence of robust Catholic culture as much as its absence.
He draws a portrait of what an authentic Catholic culture — a positive and prayerful and rich one devoted to lives past, present and yet to be born — would look like. Then he traces how, "Catholics have been substantially assimilated to the reigning "culture of choice" that defines modern liberal and capitalist America…

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