BREAKING: Judge Noonan to deliver Notre Dame Laetare address

Noonan.jpgBut he won’t receive the prestigious medal, as he has already has it.

Instead the federal judge (appointed by Reagan) and author of several excellent books, especially his Newman-esque treatise on the development of doctrine, “A Church that Can and Cannot Change,” will “deliver an address in the spirit of the award,” which will not be given this year.

Here is the announcement from Notre Dame:


Judge John T. Noonan Jr., the 1984 recipient of the Laetare Medal, has accepted an invitation to deliver an address in the spirit of the award at Notre Dame’s 164th University Commencement Ceremony on May 17. His speech will be in lieu of awarding the medal this year.

“In thinking about who could bring a compelling voice, a passion for dialogue, great intellectual stature, and a deep commitment to Catholic values to the speaking role of the Laetare Medalist – especially in these unusual circumstances – it quickly became clear that an ideal choice is Judge Noonan,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame. “This commencement ceremony, more than anything else, is a celebration of our students and their families. Judge Noonan will join with President Obama and other speakers in that celebration, sending them from our campus and into the world with sound advice and affirmation.


“Since Judge Noonan is a previous winner of the Laetare Medal, we have decided, upon reflection, to not award the medal this year.” Noonan was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.

In addition to his service on the federal bench, Noonan has been a consultant for the Presidential Commission on Population, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Law Institute.

Noonan has served as a consultant for several agencies in the Catholic Church, including Pope Paul VI’s Commission on Problems of the Family, and the U.S. Catholic Conference’s committees on moral values, law and public policy, law and life issues, and social development and world peace. He also has been a governor of the Canon Law Society of America, and director of the National Right to Life Committee.

A pretty brilliant choice, IMHO.

Comments read comments(7)
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Catholic Voter

posted April 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

Is Fr. Jenkins beginning to look more and more like a 3-year-old to everyone? “Daddy, daddy, I want this, I want this, and I don’t care what you say.”
He should get with the (Catholic) program, or take off his collar. His disobedience to Church teachings and his superiors is embarrassing his fellow Catholics.

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Majority Catholic Voter

posted April 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Maybe some of his fellow Catholics, but overwhelmingly not all.
This is a fine move. Noonan can stand and articulate a coherent vision of Catholic social conscience in a way that Ambassador Glendon was clearly unable or unwilling to do.

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Leticia Velasquez

posted April 30, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Ambassador Glendon, a Harvard Law Professor can’t articulate a coherent vision of Catholic conscience? Please!
Why is it that Catholic liberal professors waste so much of their time assaulting students with their twisted rhetoric rationalizing that something as abhorrent as killing a baby in the womb by tearing her limb from limb is equal to killing a solidier in wartime, or a murderer by lethal injection?
The Church has very clear, well reasoned teachings on what our priorities are as Catholics. Protect the defenseless unborn first.
Ambassador Glendon, for all her intellectual gravitas, knows this. She refuses to be used as a ploy by President Jenkins to balance an honor given to the biggest supporter of infanticide ever to hold office: Barack Obama.
Well done, Ambassador Glendon. You are an outstanding role model.

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Thomas Smith

posted April 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Jenkins should put his tail between his legs and consider asking Glendon to accept the award next year. Other commentators have correctly observed that she has taken Jenkins to school by chosing truth over prestige. He and the entire University should be grateful for her example.

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Your Name

posted April 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm

While Judge Noonan is a good choice for a speaker, Notre Dame has now lost something tangible: a laetare award recipient for 2009. Someone who, in later years, they could have pointed back to with pride.
I suspect that soon, maybe after graduation, they may lose something more. If Catholic school teachers are fired on the spot for simply marrying divorcees, what do you do with university educators who honor the most powerful advocate for abortionists and eugenicists in this country?
Or perhaps there is no justice.

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posted April 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

If by the church having clear teachings on abortion is what you believe, they certainly do not have a clear teaching on their pedophile priests and their culpability in hiding these crimes. I personally think that many of them,like Cardinal George in Chicago, has lost his moral authority to tell anyone in the church or out of the church how to live their lives. If they had said they were horribly wrong and stopped their criminal behavior, stepped down and reconciled with the victims and their families maybe I would and many others would once again slowly gain respect for what they say. But it is not too late to own up to their own sins and then maybe dialogue with the people of God instead of acting like the “Parental” figure and treating us like children. They need to be listening to the sensus fidileum, the wisdom of the people in the pews and dialoguing with us. So, since they do not do that, who cares what they say? anymore?

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Your Name

posted May 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

joAnne, as one of the victims ,I agree with you 100 %

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