Having discussed the matter in executive session and gotten out of Dodge…er San Antone, the Catholic bishops have now issued a statement on behalf of their comrade, the Ordinary of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who criticized and boycotted his local Catholic university when it bestowed an honorary degree on the President of the United States last month. To wit:
The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support
for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D’Arcy. We affirm his
pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its
Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given
him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.
John Allen reports this pretty much straight up, with a kicker about how much respect the 78-year-old D’Arcy enjoys among his peers. Dan Gilgoff opines that this “makes it even harder for liberal Catholics to claim that the U.S. bishops who kept quiet about President Obama at Notre Dame represent a “silent majority” that’s embarrassed by a minority of outspoken socially conservative bishops.” [Update: And this from GinG’s William Wan: Catholic Bishops: D’Arcy handled the Obama and Notre Dame incident right.”]
Read the statement. It’s D’Arcy’s pastoral concern, solicitude, and loving care that they are affirming, not what he actually did. I’d say, for the sake of unanimity, they punted. Liberal claims, in other words, can still be made.