The protests over the University of Notre Dame's commencement invitation to President Barack Obama will have an impact beyond the South Bend campus and far longer than graduation season.
-- From "Catholic colleges may feel brunt of Notre Dame uproar" by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press Religion Writer 5/24/09
While the drubbing focused on the nation's most prestigious Roman Catholic school, the criticism also served as a warning to all Catholic colleges and universities about the potential for opposition to their own policies [such as Loyola, Georgetown . . .].
"This is an impact that is likely to be felt for some period of time," said Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, which is based in Washington and represents more than 200 U.S. schools. "It's certainly — but one doesn't know exactly how — helping to shape public perception."
Tensions have erupted regularly among the schools, bishops and Catholic activists since 1967, when Catholic academics released the "Land O'Lakes Statement on the Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University." The leaders affirmed the colleges' role of serving the church, but declared some autonomy from the Catholic hierarchy, so that the schools could be guided by professional leadership, not just the religious orders that created them.
As a result, the nation's most prominent Catholic lawmakers who support legalized abortion in any way often find themselves without an invitation to a Catholic college graduation.
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