This is yet another example of how the media relies on stereotypes of embattled cultural warriors going at each other to take ground for “their” side to titillate our brief attention spans and keep us addicted to the steady stream of news ephemera between the commercials.
I think this brouhaha with Obama delivering the commencement address at Notre Dame was manufactured by particular Catholic groups who managed to enlist the support of some U.S. bishops to take ground in their fight to keep their beloved flagship university from becoming “too” liberal. Political, cultural, and theological positions in the vast spectrum of academic self-expression are relative, of course. My guess is that the Catholics using Obama’s invite as a talking point for their agenda are more concerned about the voices of “liberal” elements within Notre Dame growing more persuasive than they truly are about main stream cultural perceptions of the university as higlighted by welcoming the hugely popular American president. For example, check out this Project Sycamore web site and this article there. For the counter voices within Notre Dame see the Watch web site.