The Cap and Gown Controversy


The American Papist shares photos of the traditional academic attire to be worn at the University of Notre Dame.

Let me tell you, there’s a lot of hoopla about the gown, which has words from a prayer to the Blessed Mother on it (Vita, Dulcedo, Spes) as well as a cross. This morning as I ran a ton of errands, most Cub-Scout-related, I had ample opportunity to listen to the hosts and listeners at the Catholic Channel as “what the President will wear when he addresses Notre Dame graduates” was discussed.

I was in the car so I couldn’t call in. (Use of cell phones in cars is a primary offense in this state.) So here’s my opinion, in case you’re interested. It’s my blog, so I get to sound off here.

Graduation speakers traditionally wear academic attire, especially when they are awarded honorary degrees. As Obama is receiving an honorary ND degree it is only appropriate that he wear the ND gown. You wear the academic garb of the institution that awarded you the most recent degree, so it would not be appropriate for him to wear the gown he received with his bachelor’s degree.

Maybe it’s a good thing that he is wearing it. Maybe bearing those images on his person will make him think, even for a second, about what he has done via all those anti-life policies he has enacted.

But if I were in charge of wardrobe for this event, I’d see to it that a green scapular was sewn inside there somewhere.

In the meantime, I believe we should pray for the intercession of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, whose feast we celebrate this week. Who better to intercede on behalf of the conversion of an anti-life president than a woman–a medical doctor–who refused any treatments that would harm the life of her unborn child? Pray also for Father Jenkins, that he may see the damage he has done to the Catholic character of the University and the scandal he has created far beyond South Bend, Indiana. And pray that the University of Notre Dame will once again be a Catholic university from the top down!

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