The other Notre Dame speaker: Judge Noonan

Judge Noonan.jpgHe was the last-minute replacement after Mary Ann Glendon’s last-minute cancellation. The federal judge and former Lateare Medal honoree (this was the first time since 1883 the medal was not awarded) was a very smart pick, and he did not disappoint.

UPDATE: Full text here at ND’s site below the video.


From the Notre Dame Observer

Noonan said “claims of conflicting consciences” are the center of the debate, and that opposing viewpoints cannot be shunned or denounced.

“[Will you] help your cause by hurting your friends? No. What does work is prayer, patience, empathy, and the love that encircles the other person, a fellow creature attempting to do what he or she sees as right,” Noonan said.

Noonan highlighted the moral issues on which he claimed all people can agree – genocide, slavery and torture among them – saying people share a “clear moral vision” that comes from “experience, suffering and by strenuous debate.”


The “outright opposition” of others, Noonan said, “delayed the day of victory for each of the great moral causes where truth ultimately prevailed.”

He praised Glendon, a friend and fellow conservative, for her “lonely, courageous and conscientious choice.” But he also offered another apporach:

“I respect her decision,” he said. “At the same time, I am here to confirm that all consciences are not the same, and we can recognize great goodness in our nation’s president without defending all of his multitudinous decisions; and that we can rejoice together on this wholly happy occasion.

“We can rejoice that we live in a country where dialogue, however difficult, is doable; where resolution of our differences is done in peaceful ways; where our president is a man of conscience,” Noonan said to applause from throughout the arena.

Noonan’s writings are formidable and challenging and hopefully this event will bring them an even wider audience. Notre Dame’s own Cathleen Kaveny (and dotCommonwealer) has a post with links to a lot of worthwhile Noonania.

Comments read comments(13)
post a comment

posted May 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Judge Noonan did an excellent job as well.
I hope that the dialogue continues. That reasonable people get a voice. That even if everyone does not agree with our position on abortion, we can continue the discourse on other issues as well.
And during that time of dialogue, of reaching out, of choosing to value another human being who is alive and within our speaking and hearing range, we can witness the changes in hearts that will one day include the unborn in that value of human life.
This is not a contest to see who loves the unborn most … or a contest to see who can be most outrageous and radical in their support of life. But rather this is one life we are each given and connected to Jesus Christ, and destined for heaven, we really can choose to love those with whom we disagree.

report abuse


posted May 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm

He did an excellent job of proving himself to be a blithering idiot. There are no “claims of conflicting consciences”. There is good. There is evil. The university’s leadership thinks it can be neutral. They will have to answer to God when he asks why they did nothing to defend the unborn. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”.

report abuse

Richard Lester

posted May 18, 2009 at 2:03 am

Indeed, there is good, and there is evil, and the Catholic church is very frequently squarely on the side of evil. Do more to defend the born and I’ll join you in defending the unborn.

report abuse

Your Name

posted May 18, 2009 at 6:50 am

Open hearts,open minds,fair minds,while helping to endorse abortions?

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

Obama wants to overturn conscience rights of doctors…
Open mind,open heart???

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 7:44 am

Gerry –
Yes, there is good and there is evil. I have no idea what “Notre Dame” wants… in fact, I think therein lies the problem.
The leap of logic that is taken when someone purports to know what another (or an institution “wants” or “thinks” or “is”).
Notre Dame’s President has been clear that he wants to foster dialogue. He has been clear on his unwavering support of Life issues and the unborn. Those students who were there understood this better than so many of “us” who have only the media to interpret the events.
Do you only ever in your daily life talk to people who are committed to Pro-Life issues? Have you never had a conversation with someone of differing opinions? If not, let me tell you that when you talk to someone who is different and who thinks differently – one starts with common ground wherever one can find it.
One doesn’t start a conversation with someone by first demonizing them and then shouting at them.
Do you have an abortion-stand litmus test for every single person in your life: cashier, secretary, postman, contractors, clients, etc?
I can’t imagine that many of us who are Pro-Life do. How could we live in the world and spread the Gospel message?
THAT seems to me to be the stance of Notre Dame : we are in the world, we are champions of the unborn, come and listen to us and we will listen to you. Come and eat at the table.
Very similar to the life message of our Lord.

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 8:43 am

We can talk with people with different views.
But we cant grant them and their positions.
When we talk with a person with a different view,we must explain where we are and what are our positions.
Notre Dame should say first:we are catholics,we are against abortion,we can talk with you,but we disagree with your position and we will continue fighting for life….

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 8:53 am

Cindy, Amen on all accounts.
As far as them standing before God and being accountable, aren’t we all going to stand before GOD? Does it not occur to anyone that perhaps God will ask those of us who are against abortion in any situation, “well, what did you do?” Don’t you think that it will come down to welcoming and compassion? Jesus clearly shows that the self-righteous are not the ones that God is concerned with. He is concerned with the disenfranchised, the lost, the broken. Jesus healed far more than he chastised.
I am far more concerned that he will shake his head disappointedly at me and say, “I put so much love into YOU, you who needed so much forgiveness; could you not spare some for someone who truly needed it? You had a chance to bring them back to me.”
To me, that is worst case scenario.

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 9:24 am

The words Pro-Life are usually enough to make pro-choice people run. I suppose that they feel we are fanatics, unbending, and closed minded in our positions, and rightfully so. By giving them time ,I can’t help but think gives them idea that it is possible to kill with out consequences.
When we have a disease or an infection we go to the doctor and are prescribed medication, what does the medication do or at least hopefully do? It kills ! This is apoint that I find easy to understand, so why then is it so hard to understand that a baby living inside it’s mother is the same baby that with in months of being born will be walking, trying to talk and loving whom ever is there to be loved.
It is true that every one has a right to his or her’s opinion,but by the same token do our thought and opinions out weigh God’s word,the courts are manned by people, some just and some not, but all are human and through out history humans have shown that we make choices that are wrong.

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

What has happened to the Catholic church? Do Catholics only care about abortion now? Is that the raison d’etre of the church? It’s all you ever hear about in the press. A “real” catholic is one who is anti-abortion and every one else is not really a Catholic. Do you still have to learn the Cathecism? Am I a Catholic if I oppose abortion but think that after the mass the host is still just a cracker? Can you imagine the great Catholic missionaries going out to convert the pagan world armed with just the “pro-life” message? What about the rest of the package? From the press, it sounds like Catholics have substituted the fetus in place of Christ. Is this just misrepresentation in the media?

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Rick –
I think when you say that “can’t help but think gives them idea that it is possible to kill with out consequences” you are giving in to fear, and removing the awesome power of God.
We are first supposed to live OUR lives as God asks. And THEN worry about our brethren. (see plank and mote)
We, who are Christians, and who believe in the sanctity of life do not have to be afraid. We can be sad, angry, energized and fruitful. But not afraid. Not afraid of what others will think or do.
It is not up to us to manage the actions of others… it is up to us to witness, teach, and LIVE the Gospel.
When we in the Pro-Life movement (and unlike Amy Welborn I do believe there is a Pro-Life Movement) when we in the movement start really BELIEVING in the power of God we will see some incredible changes.
When we remain in the fear, and believe we must manage the outcomes we will be frozen in that split second before free-will choice and basically tying God’s hands in the only possible way we can. Which is to choose not to believe in Him.

report abuse


posted May 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm

First you need to be alive to make choices,including religious choices.
A dead baby will never see a cathecism…
Its an important issue ,not just a part of the package.

report abuse


posted May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm

It seems a lot of peole are not aware of the work that Obama did in Chicago earlier in his life after graduation from Yale. He has spoken of the admiration he has for the Catholic organizations that worked with the poor and marginalized people in Chicago..He is not the person some want to make him out to be…

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks... recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.