Notre Dame President Fr. Jenkins's motivation in the whole affair is obviously just a crass desire to gain influence with a powerful man.Works for me but I wonder if liberal figures like Fr. Jenkins also do it out of embarrassment over Church teachings: awarding degrees to prominent lefties so to make a loud public display of their independence from Holy Church and (they hope) bolster their creds with the left-owned academy. In other words, apologizing for being Catholic.
Any time an honorary degree or award of any kind is given to a powerful person, it's always safe to assume that the entire event is just a transaction to buy influence.
(Thanks to the Conservative Blog for Peace.)