On Monday, The Washington Post played President Obama’s address at Notre Dame as if Obama were the essence of centrism and civil dialogue, the man calling for "open minds" – and never mind his actual abortion record. But stranger still was the story on the commencement speech denouncing protesters at another commencement. On the front page, the Post highlighted "Trinity Washington head denounces protests."
On page A-5, across from the continuation of the Obama speech story came this headline: "Notre Dame Protesters Rebuked From Afar: In Graduation Talk, Trinity Washington President Decries 'Religious Vigilantism.' Patricia McGuire’s college may be small (she’s credited with doubling enrollment to 2,000), but it has several liberal Catholics among its alumni: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In Tom Jackman's report, McGuire sounded like a liberal Democrat, denouncing the "snarl of hatred" coming from pro-lifers:
"The real scandal at Notre Dame today is not that the president of the United States is speaking at commencement," McGuire said. "The real scandal is the misappropriation of sacred teachings for political ends. The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the commencement address of the nation's first African American president. This ugly spectacle is an embarrassment to all Catholics. The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred."
McGuire continued, "The religious vigilantism apparent in the Notre Dame controversy arises from organizations that have no official standing with the church, but who are successful in gaining media coverage as if they were speaking for Catholicism....They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can hardly recognize. Theirs is a narrow faith devoted almost exclusively to one issue. They defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living. They mock social justice as a liberal mythology."
Isn't it ironic that the liberals of the Sixties took flagrant joy in protesting, but now that they're gray and in power, protesters are distasteful? McGuire also spoke for liberals by complaining that "a half-century of progress for Catholic higher education is at risk of slipping back into those insular, parochial pre-Vatican II days" when academic freedom was not valued within the Catholic Church.
Last year, when Pope Benedict came to Washington, McGuire penned a Post op-ed denouncing the "mindless dogmatism" of the orthodox, threatening to demonstrate a caricature of "mindless adherence to theocratic rulers." It sounded like it had a "snarl of hatred" all its own.