SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Actor Martin Sheen,
also known for his work as an
activist, will be honored by the University of Notre Dame with its
The school announced Sunday it will present the actor, who played a
U.S. president who graduated from Notre Dame in the TV series “West
Wing,” with the medal at its May 18 commencement.
Since 1883, the Laetare Medal has been awarded annually to a Catholic
“whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the
ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
Oh great. The man who last year called conservatives
“bastards” and a “dangerous bunch of fascists” and spoke at a LGBT
fundraiser and is supporter of “gay rights” is being honored.
He is also has his doubts about 9/11 “chief among them is
Building 7 – how did they rig that building so that it came down on the
evening of the day?”
Q: What are your views on abortion?
Sheen: I cannot make a choice for a women, particularly a black or
brown or poor pregnant woman. I would not make a judgment in the case.
As a father and a grandfather, I have had experience with children who
don’t always come when they are planned, and I have experienced the
great joy of God’s presence in my children, so I’m inclined to be
against abortion of any life. But I am equally against the death
penalty or war– anywhere people are sacrificed for some end justifying
a means. I don’t think abortion is a good idea. I personally am opposed
to abortion, but I will not judge anybody else’s right in that regard
because I am not a woman and I could never face the actual reality of
Q: Which politicians do you admire?
Sheen: I don’t really have a great deal of confidence in politics or
politicians, but there are certain elected officials that I admire very
much, such as Dennis Kucinich from Ohio, Barbara Lee, Congresswoman
from Oakland, Howard Dean, who I’m supporting for President.
Personally opposed, but blah, blah blah.
Though I am thankful
for when he spoke out on Terri Schiavo – oh wait that didn’t happen.
He backed pro-abortion John Kerry and this year he was a backer of
pro-abortion Bill Richardson for president. Well I guess
since he has done good work in helping to raise money for retired
religious, I guess supporting pro-aborts is no big deal.
The bishop in their document Catholics in
Political Life said:
The Catholic community and Catholic
institutions should not honor those
who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should
not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support
for their actions.
If no one deserves the award, then no one should receive it. However, I think Leonardo Defilippis is a deserving recipient and to my knowledge he has not received the award.
If you want to send a message to Notre Dame, send your kids to Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. 2nd Choice: LSU. You’ve got almost as many Catholics and a MUCH BETTER FOOTBALL TEAM. GEAUX TIGERS!
It’s Notre Dame . . .
Katie, what is that comment supposed mean?
Rather than this being another dark mark on Our Lady’s University I think, if anything, this says a great deal about the position of Catholics in the world today.
Where is the Catholic genius?
Find for me one American Catholic who has no faults, no questionable stances, and yet who has made a strongly significant impact on the arts or sciences. Now, find one such person every single year.
It’s not that easy.
We tend to crumble as soon as we step out of our Catholic bubbles. It’s easy to roll our eyes and say “it’s Notre Dame” but what does that do to actually fix any problems? How does a sarcastic comment help us -those of us who are Notre Dame, its students, faculty and friends, deeply concerned with and for our faith and who hold opportunities to make such contributions to world?
How does it help us to keep the faith when so many wrongly believe we have lost it?
Perhaps it would be better if we asked how we can give of ourselves and become the next truly worthy Laetare Medal recipient – or how we can encourage others to follow that call.
My comments can’t fix any problems at ND. Neither can the original post on this blog. Thankfully we can be made aware of these things and pray.
I think all Catholics are proud of Notre Dame to some extent. Notre Dame, through its faculty, presidents, alumni, and sports heroes, epitomizes Catholic success in America. Back in the middle of the 20th century, when Notre Dame beat Army or Michigan, it was a kick in the pants to the WASPs and a major cultural triumph for everyone with hyphenated names.
The worldly success comes at a price. Notre Dame, like Yale and Harvard, is often more focused on impressing liberal opinion than being true to its Catholic traditions and teachings.
The Laetare Medal has been given to some orthodox Catholic luminaries such as Walker Percy and also to John F. Kennedy and Tip O’Neill, who were famous not for their piety but their worldly success.
Now the problem at Notre Dame is that the faculty are mix of C.S.C. clergy, non-Catholics, and cradle Catholics. Many of the cradle Catholics don’t think much of the Magisterium and the Church’s authority. Moreover, “prestige” as measured in modern universities is driven by publications within specialties. Orthodoxy can get in the way of hiring big-name faculty, and often does.
I love Notre Dame. I have been overwhelmed with the love of God at Mass and at Vespers at Notre Dame. The Spirit of God is there, even the number of faculty ready to listen is shrinking.
Our Lady will take care of her University, despite the faculty, students, and administration.
This award needs to be given to a blogger. The Curt Jester has greatly contributed to the literary art of satire.
As for Sheen receiving the award: well, there certainly could be MANY worse recipients. I look forward to Sheen bringing up some issues that may make Notre Dame a bit uncomfortable– such as ROTC on campus.
My choice for next year? Stephen Colbert.
I think the comment ‘Its Notre Dame’ is fair and needed. As famous as they are, they have a greater responsibility to be faithful. Parents count on it, assume it, unless made aware. There is good to be found on campus, yes, but also ‘the Vagina Monologues’. Its time that faithful Catholics cared a little less for prestige and a little more for the truth – consistent truth. If that happened, if Catholics took a stand, Notre Dame would reform itself. The argument that ‘there aren’t very many good Catholics who are famous, so’ ….what? Since when is ‘famous’ part of Christian tradition? How About Truth?
I have 8 kids. I want them all to be successful. I would never support them going to Notre Dame (on scholarship, because otherwise…40,000 is a bit much for us!) since there ARE other , faithful, academically excellent Catholic colleges available. (How excellent is the education when you have to pick through the profs to choose the courses that won’t be heretical. What if you DON’T know anyone there to guide you?)
Perhaps by the time the Pope is finished with the Jesuits, the path to Notre Dame’s redemption wll be will be clear…
Jim Caviezel (sp?) IMHO would be a more appropriate recipient than Sheen
Thanks for posting this. I had no idea Notre Dame had sunk so low. My parish and my local Catholic schools are filled with parents who are far more worthy of the medal than Mr. Sheen and we’re nothing special. I’m sure you could find wonderful people in your own parishes who would deserve the medal as well.
This is not acceptible. There is no excuse for giving this medal to Martin Sheen.
I think it would be better to give it to his namesake, Fulton Sheen, even if it is posthumous.
As a Domer myself, I do see the immense piety at times on this campus, coupled with an immense sense that the faith is “social justice.” The practical living beatification of Fr. Hesburgh is one sign of this. I do have hope because the “social justice” Catholics are quickly being outnumbered by “faith and obedience” Catholics, at least amongst the students, in my humble opinion.
The unfortunate choice of Martin Sheen as the recipient of this award cannot be blamed on a desire for prestige among elite academics, unless the powers that be at Notre Dame are under some illusion that honoring a 3rd rate actor of publicly heterodox views will be impressive to potential 1st rate faculty and students. The only advantage ND has over the institutions it wishes to be taken seriously by is its distinctively Catholic voice. By so publicly compromising any claim to serious commitment to both Catholic and intellectual ideals, ND makes itself smaller in the eyes of the academic elite. Very sad –
A few more notes:
lwestin: Notre Dame is not a Jesuit school
LarryD: Jim Caviezel loves Notre Dame and takes classes here over the summer and when his schedule permits. Hopefully he’ll get the award someday once he’s not a student here.
K T Cat & others: The award is intended for someone who has made a national, if not global impact, not just a parochial impact.
I can’t argue with Boots
Martin Sheen has also voiced his support of the Women’s Ordination Conference.
Way to go ND. Such courageous witness.
If it’s really that hard to find suitable candidates for the award, perhaps it could be given every 5 or 10 years.
It is too bad that Sheen is not vocal in support of the unborn. One thing in his favor, though: if I recall correctly, I read about his life some years ago and I think one of his sons had a child outside of marriage. Sheen helped the young woman involved with the support of the child. He could have encouraged her to abort it but he didn’t and instead acted in a pro-life manner. So that’s very much to his credit.
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