But 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.