Activists protest Joe Biden at Notre Dame
Pro-life activists gather on Angela Boulevard near the University of Notre Dame’s main gate to protest the university awarding the Laetare Medal to Vice President Joe Biden during today’s commencement ceremony.
Daniel Costello, a retired University of Notre Dame professor, joins pro-life activists today in protesting the university awarding its Laetare Medal to Vice President Joe Biden at the 2016 commencement ceremony.
Posted on May 15, 2016
by Amanda Gray
SOUTH BEND — While Notre Dame’s commencement addresses were getting underway, a couple dozen protesters gathered Sunday morning at the university’s main gate to publicly object to Vice President Joe Biden receiving the Laetare Medal.
Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner were presented with the medal, which is awarded to prominent Catholics, at the commencement ceremony in Notre Dame Stadium.
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, came to South Bend with a small contingent to protest. He said he believes Biden’s support for abortion access goes contrary to Catholic social teachings, and that Biden shouldn’t receive a medal that honors Catholic Americans.
“The idea that our unborn brothers and sisters would be without a voice today is unconscionable,” Scheidler said. “That’s why we are here.”
Still, the goal is not to disrupt, he added.
“In a way, we are also here on behalf of the pro-life students,” Scheidler said. “It must be difficult for students with a strong Catholic faith and pro-life convictions to see Notre Dame ignore not only the teachings of the church, but also the plea of the local bishop to not go forward with the award.”
Shawn Sullivan, director and founder of The Apostolate of Divine Mercy and The Life Center in South Bend, was also at the protest. They were there to witness, he said, and hopefully highlight the issue for passers-by. Graphic signs depicted aborted fetuses or declared statements such as “Shame on Notre Dame” or “Catholic Faith Attacked From Within.”
Daniel Costello, a Notre Dame professor emeritus of electrical engineering, was also protesting while wearing his Notre Dame academic robes. He said a sizable group of faculty, staff and students disagreed with giving Biden the award.
There was also some lightness to the protest, with a woman dressed in a T-Rex costume holding a sign that read, “Laetare Medal Now Cheap: $6.66.”
“I think in a large way people are worn out from the issue,” Sullivan said, discussing the smaller crowd. “The real issue here is that a Catholic institution is awarding someone who disagrees with so many of Catholic social teachings.”