Never one to seek the limelight, Commonweal's editor Paul Baumann nevertheless found himself there on Saturday, gaudily attired at the graduate commencement exercises at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
He has not yet ordered anyone to call him Doctor in the office, but he did report that he enjoyed the day enormously, and seemed to particularly like the reception in Sacred Heart's new Linda E. McMahon Commons.
In his remarks, the editor told his audience (more than 700 graduate degree recipients and their families) that his high-school baseball squad once played a team anchored by a young Bobby Valentine, later a major league player and manager and now Sacred Heart's athletic director. Back then, recalls Paul, Valentine took advantage of some predictable pitch selection by his opponents and clubbed a towering home run. He concluded:
Catholicism has long taught that our best hope for discovering the truth is to search for it together. A lot of different voices should be welcome in our political and in our religious debates. In other words, as Catholic writers and thinkers we try to mix up our pitches. I urge you to do the same.
Congratulations to all Sacred Heart's degree recipients, in particular this one.