Where Have I Heard This Argument Before?

Fr. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, 'splains how granting an honorary law degree to a man using all his power to remove the protection of law from an entire class of citizens is the pro-life thing to do. It's not capitulation, it's engagement.
We are not ignoring the critical issue of the protection of life. On the contrary, we invited him because we care so much about those issues, and we hope for this to be the basis of an engagement with him," Jenkins said.

"You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them, show respect for them and listen to them," he said.
That's what you say when you invite someone to a debate, not when you invite him to receive an award and hold him up as worthy of your graduates' emulation.

I seem to have heard this argument before, however. Remember when Lee Bollinger defended having Mahmoud Abombnjihad speak at Columbia? Of course, the President of the United States is not the President of Iran, but Obama's refusal to defend the most basic human right ought to be odious to Notre Dame.

There are other differences, of course: Columbia did not confer an honorary degree, and Bollinger's "welcome" was blistering. Somehow I doubt Jenkins' welcome for the President will even mention any policy differences.

Update: Ralph McInerney doesn't mince words! He wonders who could licitly celebrate the commencement mass:
That someone who procures or advocates abortion thereby excludes himself from communion with the Church has been clear doctrine all along, and increasingly bishops have found the courage to tell those Catholic politicians who are the great enablers of abortion legislation that they cannot receive Holy Communion. Is it any worse to celebrate such a politician as Barack Obama? So where does that put ND President Father Jenkins? He can hardly say Mass without receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so doubtless he will recuse himself and have someone else say the Mass. But to whom will he go? All his cohorts must come under the same cloud as he.
Notre Dame suffers from the
truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society.
But the good news is, now there's an excuse to skip the ceremony. Commencements are deadly dull.