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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Judge John T. Noonan To Give Laetare Medal Address At Notre Dame

U.S. Circuit Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) has been named by Notre Dame to be the Laetare Medal speaker in place of Mary Ann Glendon. Since Judge Noonan received the Laetare Medal in 1984, the Medal won't be awarded this year. American Papist gives the details.

I don't know much about Judge Noonan. He is a Catholic, is regarded as a conservative jurist, and is apparently against abortion. Judge Noonan, however, appears to hold a position contrary to Catholic teaching when it comes to contraception. A few years ago, he wrote a book called "A Church That Can and Cannot Change," where he argued that the Church's teachings on social issues and moral doctrine can change and has changed. (Though the book was not about contraception, I wonder whether it was written in order to give an intellectual foundation for his disagreement with Church teaching on contraception.) Cardinal Avery Dulles and Patrick O'Neil wrote strong critiques of Judge Noonan's argument. Should I be afraid that Judge Noonan is the type of person who would find Kmiec's Obama-is-pro-life word games persuasive?

And will Judge Noonan use the opportunity at Notre Dame's commencement to directly confront President Obama on the evil of abortion, or will he give a fuzzy speech filled with platitudes?