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May 23, 2009

How Google Chrome Is Not Like Other Browsers

The Notre Dame commencement is history, but the Catholic identity battle continues

Colleen Carroll Campbell does a superb job of outlining some key implications of the recent Notre Dame scandal and what we should be watching for in its aftermath:

The brouhaha over President Barack Obama's appearance at the University of 
Notre Dame culminated Sunday with apparent defeat for pro-life Catholics. The 
university's hotly contested plan to bestow an honorary degree on Obama, a 
staunch supporter of legalized abortion and embryonic stem cell research, went 
off without a hitch. 

The president entered the university's Joyce Center arena to robust applause 
and enjoyed several standing ovations in the course of the commencement 
ceremony. Reporters contrasted Obama's well-received plea for transcending 
differences on abortion and embryonic research with the demonstrations of a few 
anti-Obama hecklers in the arena and several hundred vocal protesters on the 
edge of campus. Scant press was given to the much larger, more decorous 
gathering of Notre Dame students and faculty and other Catholics who filled the 
campus' main quad that day for an open-air pro-life Mass and peaceful protest 
rally, or to the coalition of pro-life students who gathered the evening before 
for an all-night campus prayer vigil. 

The dominant story line that emerged from South Bend on Sunday was that of a 
short-lived struggle that came to a swift, tidy resolution. A moderate 
president and enlightened university administrators took on a small band of 
anti-abortion extremists. And the forces of progress prevailed. 

Comforting as that story line may be to Notre Dame administrators and the 
Catholics who supported their decision to honor Obama, it ignores the true 
novelty of this controversy, which has been in national headlines for months.

That novelty has nothing to do with Notre Dame's willingness to fete a 
politician who publicly opposes fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic 
Church. That's par for the course at a university that long ago opted to put 
secular prestige before fidelity to Catholic doctrine, and for the many other 
Catholic universities that have followed suit.

Nor was there anything original about Obama's answer to America's abortion 
debate — let's agree to disagree — and the fact that it was applauded by a 
crowd of Catholics more wedded to the post-modern doctrine of moral relativism 
than to Catholic teaching about the sanctity of unborn human life. Cafeteria 
Catholicism is old news in America. So is the idea that endless dialogue 
constitutes a morally sufficient response to the systematic denial of basic 
human rights to an entire class of human beings. Slaveholders and segregation 
supporters spent centuries making the same claim. 

What was unusual about the Notre Dame controversy was that it sparked 
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