For what it is worth, my husband and I send our children to our local parish (Catholic) school. I asked yesterday if they would have to watch the president’s speech. They told me no and followed it up with an e-mail to all the families. For our Bishop and diocean officials, this would be considered the beginning of growing a spine:
We have received the following guidance from the Office of Catholic School of the Richmond Diocese: “ … regarding the address to the nation’s
school children which President Obama plans to give on September 8th at 12:00. Since this is not a controlled atmosphere and given that (1) we
don’t have any way of knowing the content in advance and (2) some parents may misconstrue showing the address as endorsing or accepting the
President’s viewpoints on various issues that are currently being debated at the federal level, it is not prudent to participate in the live address.”
In concert with this guidance, [the principal-ed] has decided that Saint * will not make the address a school activity.
This is the “Notre Dame” effect. The bishops got slapped around pretty hard by scandalized Catholics. Cardinal O’Malley is dealing with it now in Boston, because he presided at the Kennedy funeral Mass. I am taking this as a very good sign. I just hope it means my bishop will take more babysteps to stand up for Catholic principles and beliefs in the public square.