Dear Mary Ann,
I wanted to write to say how very much I appreciate your courageous stance in rejecting Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal. I can only imagine the pain it caused you to refuse such a prestigious honor from an institution that you undoubtedly love and one that is a premier American Catholic university. The Laetare Medal recognizes outstanding service to the Catholic Church; it is a most appropriate honor for your prestigious career in defending the most vulnerable among us, the unborn. The honor is so well-earned; you are a worthy recipient of the Laetare Medal. Yet you chose integrity and principle; you were unwilling to provide cover for a very controversial and unprincipled decision by Notre Dame’s administration.
As a former Vatican Ambassador, you were unwilling to be Notre Dame’s pawn to deflect the firestorm of criticism over their invitation to the most pro-abortion President in American history to be the 2009 commencement speaker and to receive an Honorary Doctorate. As one of the top authors on bioethics and human rights in the world and a highly respected law professor at Harvard University, you could have accepted your award and made your speech without getting involved in the controversy over whether it is appropriate for Notre Dame to flagrantly defy the foundational moral principles of the faith. Instead, you took a principled stance that said you would not stand by while a Catholic university honored a man whose openly stated intent and public record flies in the face of all that genuine believers understand to be Biblical Truth.