Mary Ann Glendon

mary-ann-glendon

Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, is in the limelight now for her decision to deprive Jenkins of his fig-leaf over his invitation to honor Obama on May 17, 2009.  I am not surprised by this development.  She has long been an eloquent defender of the unborn in a completely hostile environment.  She has written many articles on the subject.

Here is a link to one which was written in 2003 for First Things:  The Women of Roe v. Wade.

“I have to admit that, back in the 1970s, I was rather uncritical of such phrases. I remember asking the former dean of Boston College, a Jesuit priest, “Father, what do you think about this abortion issue?” He said, “Well you see, Mary Ann, it’s very simple. According to Vatican II, abortion is ‘an unspeakable moral crime.’ But in a pluralistic democracy, we can’t impose our moral views on other people.” “Oh,” I said, “OK.”

I know this story doesn’t reflect any credit on me, but I mention it to show that many of us just didn’t focus on the issue all that closely. I know now that I should have questioned the word “impose.” But it took some time before growing numbers of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews stepped forward to point out that when people advance their moral viewpoints in the public square, they are not imposing anything on anyone. They are proposing. That’s what citizens do in a democracy–we propose, we give reasons, we vote. It’s a very strange doctrine that would silence only religiously grounded moral viewpoints. And it’s very unhealthy for democracy when the courts–without clear constitutional warrant–deprive citizens of the opportunity to have a say in setting the conditions under which we live, work, and raise our children.

It was only after I started to look into how controversial issues like abortion and divorce were handled in other liberal democracies that I realized how my dean’s slogan has been used not only to silence religiously grounded views, but to silence all opposition to abortion. I should have asked the dean why citizens should have to withhold their moral views on abortion but not on other issues where he did not hesitate to advance religiously grounded moral viewpoints–the Vietnam War, capital punishment, civil rights, and relief of poverty. Years later, I put a related question to the former dean of Harvard Law School. In the mid-1980s, after I had given a talk to the Harvard faculty comparing American abortion law unfavorably with the approaches taken in several other liberal democracies, Dean Al Sacks took me out for lunch and said, “You know, no one in that room agrees with you.” Since he had put the point in a friendly, avuncular way, I asked him about something that had long puzzled me. “Why,” I asked, “did you and so many other constitutional lawyers stop criticizing the Court’s abortion decisions after most of you had been highly critical of Roe v. Wade?” He sighed and gave me a very candid answer that had the ring of truth. “I suppose,” he said, “it was because we had been made to understand that the abortion issue was so important to the women in our lives, and it just did not seem that important to most of us.”

Today, thirty years after Roe and Doe, polls tell us that the abortion issue is still more important to women than to men. But they also tell us that women’s and men’s views have changed. For one thing, many of the unintended consequences of the cultural revolution of which these decisions were part have come into clearer view. There is growing awareness that the moral ecology of the country has suffered something like an environmental disaster, and that we are faced with a very complicated clean-up operation.”

Academia is overwhelmingly pro-abortion in this country.  Jenkins and Notre Dame have capitulated to this fact.  Mary Ann Glendon has rebelled against it.

16 Responses to Mary Ann Glendon

  • I was glad to see her remind Jenkins that his first reponsibility was to honor the graduates and not turn their special day into some three-ring travesty of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Glendon made good use of her teaching moment, whether or not the lesson was received.

  • A great woman with integrity, wit and eloquence.

    I hear the position’s still open for an ambassador to the Vatican? ;-)

  • Glendon is awesome. BTW, looks like Notre Dame is having a REALLY tough time finding a replacement:

    http://southbend.craigslist.org/evg/1143896969.html

  • A beautiful woman – inside and out.

  • South Bender,

    That’s hilarious.

  • I am not a catholic, am very pro life and I wanted to let her know I am so excited to see someone with their beliefs and principles stand up against notre dame for honoring Prez Obama/ it is so wrong for the school to honor a man who has none of the same views of life.. breaking Gods heart im sure!

    thank you for your courage Ms Glendon!

  • An observation:
    Ever notice that the bravest people speaking out against the excesses of Islam are women? Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel are a few. The same can be said about the pro-life cause. It’s a beautiful thing.

  • Mary Ann Glendon for Vatican ambassador? Been there, done that :)

  • Bishop D’Arcy has suspended Fr. Jenkins faculties a divinis. He is forbidden to say mass, hear confession, preach or in any way address the Catholics residing in his diocese. This is nuclear option.

  • Matt, according to American Papist this suspension rumor is merely an e-mail hoax:

    http://www.americanpapist.com/2009/04/dispelled-email-rumor-claims-fr-jenkins.html

  • That’s crazy, the Director of Pro-life at the diocese sent it to me. It’s a shame if it turns out as a hoax.

  • First rule of the internet Matt: just because we wish something to be true does not make it true.

  • Thanks Donald, I’m sure a wise man like you never makes this kind of error.

  • Not often, but when I do I own up to it and resolve not to make that stupid blunder again.

  • I have the highest regards for Mrs. Glendon and applaud her decision. The rewards that this woman will have someday will make the Lataere Medal look like a peanut. God bless her.

  • Kudos to Mary Ann Glendon! It’s wonderful to see that there are still at least a few people who are willing to stand up for their morals and God’s Law and refuse to follow the lemmings over the cliff. While Fr. Jenkins has not rescinded his decision to “honor” President Obama at ND’s commencement, he will hopefully get that “knot in his stomach” when it actually happens and he realizes what he has done in spite of the best advice in the world to recant. How can an educated and practicing Catholic, a teacher at an iconic Catholic University, simply ignore the counsel of the entire Council of Catholic Bishops and others, such as Mrs. Glendon and hundreds of thousands of Catholics, who have tried to pint out the error of his decision? Hopefully, for Fr. Jenkins’ sake, God will not look on this as “scandalizing his little ones”!

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