The best evidence yet that the drumbeat against public support of pro-abortion Catholic pols at Catholic institutions is having an effect appears in the Boston Globe of all places.

The Globe tells us how the personally opposed prevaricators are just not getting the choice commencement invites from Catholic Institutions to which they had shamefully become accustomed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is one of the nation’s most powerful Catholics, but this year the only commencement address she gave was at one of the eight campuses of Miami Dade College.

Senator John F. Kerry is headlining three commencements this year – the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, UMass Lowell, and Wheelock College – but it’s been nine years since he’s done one at a Catholic institution, Boston College Law School.

As for the scion of the nation’s most famous Catholic family, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, his major commencement address this year is at Wesleyan University, founded by Methodists.

After repeatedly getting criticized by conservative Catholics, and after years of pressure from the Vatican and some American bishops, Catholic colleges and universities are now shying away from politicians – especially those who, like Kennedy, Kerry, and Pelosi, support abortion rights – as commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.

Instead, the schools are scrutinizing the public records of potential honorees for evidence of open dissent from key church teachings, especially on abortion, and they are choosing noncontroversial church insiders or nonpolitical figures for their most prominent honors. “I think there’s a concerted effort to use the moment of naming people who reinforce the Catholic identity of our institutions, and I’m pleased by that,” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston said in an interview.

Poor dears. Echoing Cardinal O’Malley, good!

It is a disgrace that pro-abort pols have not only received a pass when it comes to publicly opposing the teachings of the church, but is beyond scandalous when they are held up as the ideal by being invited to speak at commencement. The Cardinal Newman Society has been instrumental in bringing to light the scandal.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative organization that each year scrutinizes the hundreds of men and women who are given honorary degrees by the nation’s 225 Catholic colleges and graduate institutions, has identified a dwindling number of honorees who dissent from the church on key moral teachings – 24 in 2006, 13 in 2007, and six thus far this year.

“When a Catholic college administrator deliberately chooses a person who is publicly opposing the church, it raises serious flags, and very often the schools choosing those commencement speakers have problems across the board in terms of applying their Catholic identity to what they do,” said Patrick J. Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society.

Hats off to the Cardinal Newman Society. While there are still institutions that run afoul of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, progress is being made. Take this quote from the Rev. D. Paul Sullins, a professor of sociology at Catholic University.

[He] noted that while his university “has never honored any real Catholic dissenter,” in past years there have been speakers whose primary claim to fame was not their Catholicism. This year, though, the university chose the head of the Knights of Columbus.

“It doesn’t get more Catholic than that,” he said.

No, it doesn’t get more Catholic than that!