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posted by awelborn

ND Prez Fr. Jenkins’ statement on the V – Monologues

The Cardinal Newman Society responds



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Yvonne

posted April 5, 2006 at 10:47 pm


Weren’t the Jesuits “Catholic” once?
Was really hoping for some strong leadership.. Evidently NOT..



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Tina

posted April 5, 2006 at 11:05 pm


I thought he had come out against the performance of this play at Notre Dame? If that’s the case, it makes me sad to hear that he’s backpedaled. I get the sense that pressure was applied in the right places from the right people, and he caved. :(
I hope Notre Dame alumni will speak out against this!



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ohevin

posted April 5, 2006 at 11:43 pm


“Nothing impure shall enter Heaven.”
“Fear not those who can harm your body, but, rather, fear Him who has control over your eternal soul.” – Jesus Christ
These are some of the immediate words that come to my mind when I read of so called priest who allow such filth to be part of a Catholic(?)University. They have lost their “salt” and are concerned only with the approval of men. I would like to say they have lost their way, but, in light of this incredible deviation from our Lord’s explict directives, could it be said so many were never properly formed in our Lord’s authentic teachings?! O Would that these so called Catholic leaders spoke in terms of our Lord and Saviour; unfortunately, how they speak is spiritually unappealing. In addition, you will not find in the writings of the Saints any of this type of compromising talk.
My brothers and sisters, we are living in very dire darkness. Our Lord said that in the “end times” good will be percieved as evil and evil as good.” The V Monologues on catholic campuses is more ample proof that we are living in dark times. St. Joseph and Blessed Mother Mary pray for us!



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SLU Student

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:28 am


N.D. is run by the CSC (Congregation of the Holy Cross), if you think N.D. is bad you should go to a Jesuit (SJ) school sometime where campus ministry helps support the V-monologues.



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Glenn Juday

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:38 am


On the basis of the logical contradictions in his position, alone, Father Jenkins has demonstrated that the University of Notre Dame would be better served by a more qualified individual as president.
His endorsement (yes, endorsement – “good for our students to be exposed to”) of a play that is focused on an anti-Catholic, anti-family, anti-sexual, and ultimately an anti-human message are matters for self-reflection on his vocation, counseling by a good bishop, and the strengthening available in the sacraments.
Apparently wishing to be perceived as mentally strong, he has done something intellectually weak and lazy.
Apparently wishing to be perceived as open, he has cut himself off from the constituency that actually cares about the essential mission he was entrusted with.
Apparently wishing to deal with the issue and move on, he has insured continuing conflict and that justifiable criticism will come his way and never stop.
Apparently wishing to be on the winning side he has joined a joined a side that it is increasingly clear is loosing.
What a sorry performance. We don’t expect much from top administrators, but we should at least hold them to the standard that they should be prevented from running their institution into the ground.



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Gerald Augustinus

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:38 am


Well, at least the ad hoc committee spent 10 weeks pondering the talking vaginas, before they decided to ‘contextualize’ the play. ;)



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:15 am


Score: Talking genitals: one. Our Lady: zero.



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walter

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:30 am


Has the local bishop had anything to say about all this? Or is that irrelevant? (I’m nowhere near South Bend, and haven’t been following this story)



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walter

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:34 am


Sorry!….I hadn’t first read the quotes at the botton of the CNS statement. Bishop D’Arcy has indeed made his position known.



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Yvonne

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:22 am


Walter,
Here is the link to Bishop D’Arcy’s full text and also his previous statements. Why he hasn’t come down more forecefully? I don’t know.
http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/statements.htm



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Scherza

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:09 am


Where once academics feared censorship for the use of four-lettered words, now they fear censorship for the use of two five-lettered words: Right and Wrong.
At a college across the street from Notre Dame, I learned the difference between responsible freedom and license. Must our minds be so open that our brains fall out? Is anything acceptable for inquiry under this notion of academic freedom, no matter how foul or false, so long as there is some reference to Catholic teaching tacked on at the end? (And I would submit that a panel discussion on Catholic teaching of sexuality occuring post-performance, even if everyone stayed to participate, lacks the emotional impact of a piece of theatre.)
Father Jenkins’ argument seems to boil down to the end justifying the means — that any evil is permissable as long as it serves a higher goal. While I applaud ND for at long last opening a dialogue about the sexual abuse of women and the abuse of women’s sexuality (walk around campus on a Friday or Saturday night around 11 or so for a patent illustration), this play is simply not an effective or appropriate vehicle to furthering a positive view of women’s sexuality nor an end to sexual violence against women.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:24 am


I know that many are disappointed by Fr, Jenkins’ decsion. I sat through several discussions involving the Jenkins and the faculty on the this matter, and, frankly, it is a surprise to me as well. But, it seems the majority of those who are now crowing loudly about ND going down the toliet or calling Jenkins a “so-called” priest, are really missing the substance of what he has done. I teach at ND in the Writing program, a program that asks students to fine-tune their ability to argue persuasivley, intelligently and rigorously, using their intellect while allowing their faith to guide their reason. HIs decision is consistent with this model of Catholic education.
If you read carefully, you see that Jenkins is setting an important precedent for any and all plays, panels, programs, what-have-you that present a position contrary to Catholic teaching. For example, immediately after each performance of the V Monologues a panel discussion was held–actually, where the performers had only moments ago stood–in which the Catholic position toward sexuality was upheld. Let me reiterate: that happened after each performance. This seems to me a significant and extremely restrictive move. What it communicates to me is that no performance of a play or program such as the VM will be allowed the so-called “artistic integrity” that other plays or performances are afforded. Jenkins is, in effect, insisting that departments sponsoring such controversial events clearly articulate the educational goals of the event, and, in so doing, adhere to Catholic mission of the university.
Gone are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture. In these times where students are constantly being bombarded with competing cultural values from the “secular” sector, a Catholic university must aggressively take on these messages instead of running from them. To me, Father Jenkins is dealing a blow to those teachers and students who feel that their academic freedom should be absolutely unfettered. In short, he is making an example of the V Monologues, an example that suggests what the Catholic educational model might lool like in the 21st century–aggressive engagement instead of self-righteous indignation.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:29 am


I meant “comprised” not “compromised” in that last graf.



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Rich Leonardi

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:30 am


What a sorry performance. We don’t expect much from top administrators, but we should at least hold them to the standard that they should be prevented from running their institution into the ground.
The problem is exacerbated because Fr. Jenkins seemed to court the faithful with the expectation that he’d be giving this issue a new look. And there’s not much D’Arcy can do, short of stripping the university of its status of a Catholic institution. That strikes me as entirely unwarranted.



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John Sheridan

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:38 am


Jenkins IS in a difficult position, but I wonder if he will have the same response if someone wants to put on a play or presentation that is racist, sexist, homophobic, or advocating violence?



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Matthew

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:40 am


Dave, I respectfully disagree. Let’s say you get an audience of 200 for the VM. When this ‘panel discussion’ starts how many will walk out? Will those exposed to the filth of VM be made to sit through an authentic presentation of Catholic sexuality? I doubt it – after all we wouldn’t want to force our views on them. Perhaps I am pessimistic but you seem to believe that supporters of VM actually want to hear the other side.
Matthew Class of ’87



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Becky

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:50 am


I think Jenkins attended the play and then his mind was filled with all sorts of doubts about everything. He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm. Very cute.
The ad hoc committee he formed is full of every disfunctional woman on campus + maybe one good student (one of the leaders of the Edith Stein project). One of the members is the head of the Gender Relations Center at ND, and she goes around to all the dorms telling students that they have a “heterosexual privilege.” One of the professors on the committee consistently hosts undercover meetings by the unrecognized Gay Straight Alliance on campus. Almost all the professors on the committee give their full support to the Monologues production.
My only hope is that Jenkins is going to start chipping away at the faculty slowly, although this decision makes that hope a little faint. The only way that his system (if there even is a system here) will work is if there are actually professors who can present the Catholic viewpoint truthfully. Right now there is a serious lack of those kinds of professors on campus.
Sad. I am sorely disappointed in Jenkins. He made a very grave error in judgment.



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John Heavrin

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:57 am


One wonders what if anything Fr. Jenkins would ban from Notre Dame? Dave, there is a place for condemnation. A Klan rally at the Grotto, to be followed by an in-depth presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church against racism, would provide a wonderful teachable moment as well, but something tells me this would be summarily disallowed (as well it should be).
Under the logic expressed by Fr. Jenkins, a campus strip club could perhaps be justified, as long as there were nightly presentations on the Catholic position that such places are dens of exploitation and immorality.
I think Fr. Jenkins had a chance to do something good and blew it. Perhaps his faculty intimidated him into acting contrary to his better judgment in this matter; not a good sign at, as he ends his statement, “the University of Our Lady.”



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:03 am


Matthew,
This is a valid point, but I think that you’d be very surprised by the number of students who stick around. I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the average ND student’s desire for dialogue on this matter. Sure, there are those students who are so full of anger that they storm out, but that’s not the average ND student. What I’ve been hearing from students is “We want a discussion not just someone citing a page from the Cathechism.” And I agree. Maybe that’s what some want who post on this site, and I understand and respect why they would feel that way. But the fact that, like my students, PJP2 was the only Pope I have any memory of, makes me inclined toward, as I said in my previous post, passionate engagement rather than self-righteous indignation.
To quote a favorite hymn of mine: They will know we are Christians by our love.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:09 am


John Heavrin,
A Klan rally??!! Are you serious? Come on, man. That is not a valid comparison at all. You’re really going to place what I assume you see as “The Feminists” in the same league as the fricking KKK?



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Brigid

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:10 am


“Gone are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture.”
Thank you, Dave. I am now hopeful that I could send my son to ND some day.
I think Jenkins has decided that the boys and girls who attend ND are old enough now to have an adult conversation about (hush)… sex!



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:36 am


My husband is an ND grad and he’s enraged over Fr. Jenkins’ craven cowardice.The panel dicussion afterwards is a gambit used by high schools that perform TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD over black opposition.
I’m glad our children had no interest in attending ND.
But I also have a suggestion of a controversial play for ND to perform. Not a dramatized PROTOCOLS OF ZION, but a German play that was once quite a hit:DIE TOTENFRESSER (DEVOURERS OF THE DEAD). It’s a Reformation work about the evils of priests.



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Ohevin

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:41 am


“Get thee behind me Satan!” –Jesus Christ
My brothers and sisters, it really boils down to what our Blessed Lord said in this statement of truth. What Fr. Jenkins and others have failed to “see” in these V Monologues is simply the presence of Satan. Their not being able to identify Satan’s presence in these works is most disturbing.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:42 am


“But the fact that, like my students, PJP2 was the only Pope I have any memory of, makes me inclined toward, as I said in my previous post, passionate engagement rather than self-righteous indignation.
To quote a favorite hymn of mine: They will know we are Christians by our love.”
I doubt very much whether JPII would have approved of the vagina monologues.
The scriptures say that to love God means to keep His commandments. Love of God is first, love of neighbor second. Love in our secular culture has come to mean mere, flighty sentimentality.
Human sexuality is a holy gift that is degraded by the vagina monologues.
Should we allow children to experience child pornography in order to shield them from it?
“Guard the thoughts of your heart, for out of them come the issues of life” warns sacred scripture.
Wise advice.



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John E

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:43 am


Let’s please quit saying self-righteous indignation and call it what it really is: Righteous indignation. Or are you saying there is no such thing as righteous indignation?



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John E

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:50 am


“The Feminist’s” agenda has been responsibly for 1.5 million legal abortions per year in our country alone.
You’re right. There’s no comparison to the KKK.



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Greg Popcak

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:50 am


Dave,
Your emotional reaction aside, please lay out thelogical criteria by which–using Jenkins’ argument–a Klan rally would not be permitted at the ND campus.
If an unofficial, neo-Nazi student group proposed sponsoring such a rally (which, let’s say, they referred to as “an enactment”) so that students would have the opportunity to “conduct a qualitative analysis of the contemporary politicization of so-called hate-speech legislation in light of the European Church’s collaboration with national socialism during WWII” how would that event not be permitted? The academic goals are stated, and the Catholic connection is made. Based on Jenkins criteria, on what grounds would you, as a responsible faculty member dedicated to academic freedom deny the right of that group to put on the demonstration?



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John E

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:51 am


“The Feminist’s” agenda has been responsibly for 1.5 million legal abortions per year in our country alone.
You’re right. There’s no comparison to the KKK.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:54 am


Sandra,
Again, like John’s comparison of the VM to the KKK rally at the Grotto, your example is not a valid comparison.
To call a public discussion about the controversial issues in a play that has, for better or worse, captured the imagination of a generation of women merely a “gambit” is to show contempt for any art or issue that is perceived as dissenting from your own experience. Your view of To Kill a Mockingbird is a case in point. Why shouldn’t people be upset about such a powerful book? Jenkins is saying we should talk openly about those issues that are dividing and plaguing the culture. I hold no love for the Monologues, but if we did things your way the university would be turning out students with no ability to defend their faith, argue persuasively for it, or, even more “craven”, students who condemn instead of love.



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Philip Bocock

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:01 am


I have to put my two cents in as a college student (graduate school). I am 26 years old, married with one child and one on the way. In my parents generation, I would be on schedule or maybe a little behind when it comes to marriage and children. With my generation, I am way ahead, even in many Christian circles. Lets face it, times are different now.
A major sin our nation was dealing with during my parents generation was racism. The 50’s and 60’s were times when large numbers of seemingly normal, respectable white people belonged to racist organizations like the KKK and White Citizens Councils. That is not an issue now. Even “devout” non-christians in my generation understand racism is wrong. KKK rallies are not good comparisons to the VMs.
My generation’s major sin/struggle is with hedonism and sexuality. It no longer works to simply tell my generation homosexuality is wrong, extra-marital sex is wrong, contraception is wrong, and then try and censor what kids/young adults are exposed to. Ban the VM, but we are still exposed to the same stuff EVERYWHERE. Our culture is saturated with sex.
People that get married in or fresh out of college are ridiculed. If you marry someone without living with them first, you are considered foolish. Not to mention having children. The major instigator for marriage amongst people my age and younger now is accidental pregnancy. I am living in a generation that treats sex in dating like it is no bigger deal than going out to dinner together. College students now look forward to graduating so they can finally move in with their boyfriends, if they haven’t already done so.
Folks, its only getting worse. I have noticed middle and high school girls are now getting as sexually charged as the boys were when I was that age.
When the world sees the Church as ignorant and backwards when it comes to sex and marriage, and this view is even shared by many IN the Church, you know you have a problem.
Saying NO, this is wrong no longer works. The Church needs to confront this issue head on and explain that the Church’s alternative is actually much better and freer than what today’s society says. Banning VM will not help!!! College students are already saturated with that stuff anyway. People need to stop being scared of the VM and take that thinking head on. Host the play, then afterwards tear it apart. Explain to the viewers what is wrong with that thinking, how it leads to destruction and misery, and propose a better alternative. Stop pretending that by banning VM that the students will be protected and never hear the VM’s crap. Students already have been exposed to it. Healthy alternatives are getting harder and harder to find.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:10 am


Dave,
Newsflash: The reason ND students (like American Catholics generally) have “no ability to defend their faith” is because they do not know it. And they do not know it precisely because “[g]one are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture.” Today one need not first learn and understand the scholarship and thinking of centuries before you develop your own critique; you just start with the critique. It is so much easier and satisfying to the ego.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:10 am


Amen, Phillip.



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Philip

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:23 am


Mike,
I don’t think you understand today’s problem. Everybody (non-Catholics, too) knows the Church’s stance on marriage, and contraception. My generation is a hedonistic generation. We don’t pay much attention to books anymore, we need experiences, or stories of people’s experiences to truly understand something. I know that’s lame, but it is just the way it is now. The hedonistic lifestyle promulgated by things such as VMs is incredibly attractive. The alternative (marriage, children, etc) seems like a ball and chain in comparison. Text books won’t help. Young people already know the Church’s stance on many sexual issues, we just either don’t understand it, or don’t want to follow it because it seems boring and unfulfilling. People need to engage young adults and somehow start getting across that hedonistic lifestyles are unfulfilling and damaging. I guarantee that personal experiences and stories will have a profound impact that a textbook won’t. If somebody came up with a modern play that presented today’s hedonistic lifestyle realistically and showed how it destroys and enslaves and then somehow showed the freedom that is taught in Theology of the Body, young people would be affected. Guaranteed. Textbook won’t help. Unfortunately.



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Greg Popcak

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:23 am


Philip and Dave,
I agree that the contemporary struggle is sexuality and hedonism. Discussions related to that debate are worth having. But is putting on the V-Monolgues really the best way to facillitate discussion of the issues at hand? The fact is that no one protesting the V-Monologues has suggested that students shouldn’t be allowed to contemplate the socio-sexual-political meaning of having a vagina. If ND wanted to add a course on that subject along with their offerings on Muherista theology and include a section that examines this question in the light of the Theology of the Body and Mulieris Dignitatem in addition to what post-modern feminists have to say on the subject, no one would be protesting that legitimate academic exercise. The question is really, does the V-Monologues serve the dialog it claims to promote. Clearly not. All it does is polarize any reasonable discussion of the issues at hand while simultaneously distracting from the real substance of the debate. And Ensler laughs all the way to the bank.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:24 am


“When the world sees the Church as ignorant and backwards when it comes to sex and marriage, and this view is even shared by many IN the Church, you know you have a problem.”
That the world would hold that attitude is not surprising. Didn’t Jesus warn us that those who truly followed him would be opposed by the world? The servant is not greater than his master, no?
As far as the ignorance in the Church goes, that’s a problem that should have been addressed long ago. In order to keep the faith one must know it.
I feel very sorry for your generation, Philip. You’ve got more degrees, gadgets, input and output than any prior generation and yet you’ve been left to fend for yourselves spiritually.
There’s so much work to be done. Our response should never be based on what the “world” acknowledges but what Christ asks of us.



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James Kabala

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:24 am


What black person could possibly object to a performance of To Kill a Mockingbird? Does the book, like that other great anti-racist novel Huckleberry Finn, have the “n word” in it? (I’ve read the book but I can’t remember.)



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:30 am


Greg, I think Phillip answered your question about allowing a KKK rally on campus, but I would add that any student group recognized or not must gain 1.) approval from Student Affairs and/or 2.) sponsorship from an academic department. Now if you can please tell me which academic department at the University of Notre Dame would go for such an assinine proposal?
Also, Mike P: I’m totally with you on the lack of knowledge many Catholics have of their faith. However, you misconstrued my point about text books and lectures. I should have qualified that by saying those methods ALONE, as Phillip points out in his testimony, do not cut it in today’s cultural climate.
As for critique satisfying the ego: That’s why critique must be rigorously informed by reason and reason by faith. Panel discussions after the VM provide us access to very knowledgable Catholics demonstrating how faith and reason work together. I see this as a rare, if unfortunate, opportunity to learn how to effectively embody one’s faith.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:34 am


Bring back the books Dave.
I don’t need or want innovation.



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John Heavrin

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:38 am


Of course, I’m not advocating a Klan Rally at the Grotto, quite the contrary. But when it’s requested, with this affair as a precedent, don’t be surprised.
“Passionate engagement” with clear challenges to and mockeries of Catholic teaching on the campus of a Catholic University could debatably be a good thing, depending of course on the nature of the specific situation. But as it isn’t necessary to host a Klan rally to point out the evil of racism, it isn’t necessary to put on this play — or to have a campus strip club, or adult bookstore, or whorehouse — to point out the Catholic teaching on sexuality and why it is correct, and superior even on the practical level, to the sexual ethos exhibited by this play.
He blew it.
I ask again, if he won’t ban this play, what, and on what basis, would he ban?



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:38 am


Blacks routinely protest TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD solely on the point that the clearly delineated villain says the “N-word.” The copyright holder doesn’t permit this to be deleted. Personally I wouldn’t give these ignorant protesters the time of day but many school disticts do cave in, as happened in Columbus IN last year. This spring there was a protest of the musical RAGTIME but the school district wouldn’t cancel it. A good time was had by all (including blacks on stage) except for a pathetic group of protesters.
Panel discussions won’t have the impact of a play, as someone said above. And as for art that de-glamorizes the hedonistic lifestyle, how about the ’60s movies ALFIE and DARLING? But I suppose our wunnerful youth would just laugh and laugh.
Fr. Jenkins’ original statement allowed the MONOLOGUES to be read and studied. That would suffice for academic purposes but not for ideological ones.
Watch for new pressure on Fr. Jenkins to permit an official, university funded GLBT group. Anyone willing to bet that he won’t cave?



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fr. frank

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:38 am


Fr. Jenkins statement is the latest development of a discussion that has been going on in Catholic Academia since the 1950’s. It’s the “University is a free-market place of ideas” and therefore all ideas are open for discussion. Cardinal Ottaviani took exception to this notion but he lost in his struggle against Notre Dame during Fr. Hesburgh’s tenure. Ottaviana held that “error has no rights” and John Courtney Murray replied “error is just an abstraction.” It is my hunch that Ottaviani, and JPII for that matter with his Apo. Const. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, would not allow the Queer Film Festival or the Monologues, but Murray, Hesburgh, Malloy, and Jenkins would. So the argument finally boils down to this: can the Church teach authoritatively and without error on faith and morals? The Church responds yes to that question.
Next question: how should the Catholic University respond to the teachings of the Magisterium? That’s the $64,000 question. A handful of Catholic colleges and universities in this country give whole hearted “religious submission of intellect and will” to the Magisterium, but unfortunately, most do not.
The struggle continues.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:40 am


“Now if you can please tell me which academic department at the University of Notre Dame would go for such an assinine proposal?”
Of course they wouldn’t. The ND administration would call in a naplam strike before they would allow students to have a KKK rally. So much for the cant defending the VM on the grounds of academic freedom. So long as a group or a presentation conforms to the prejudices fashionable in academia it will receive a warm welcome at ND, no matter if it directly contradicts Church teaching. This really isn’t mysterious.



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John E

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:41 am


Well said Phillip. However, my fear with universities such as ND, is that the Catholic view is not heard or heard very little these days. Or in reference to what Fr. Jenkins said, it is just a UNIVERSITY. Period. Gone is the CATHOLIC qualifier.
As you mentioned, are culture is saturated with values that oppose Catholicism. It doesn’t need an additional platform in a Catholic university to be heard. It’s everywhere already. The anti-Catholic views can be discussed without having to view a vulgar play.
Should a Catholic nursing school be allowed to invite an abortion doctor on campus to perform an abortion for the students to view, perhaps explaining why he feels his work is so necessary, and then have a panel discussion afterwards? Couldn’t that same discussion be had without having that “performance”? And what is accomplished if half of those students leave before the panel discussion?
A CATHOLIC university needs to promote what it believes, because it believes it is true and it is crucially important. There’s a difference between allowing anti-Catholic views to be heard and discussed vs. being promoted. VM is on the side of promotion, not academic discussion.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:43 am


“Napalm” rather than “naplam” in my last post.



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:48 am


I’m not ready to comment on the substance of this issue yet, because I haven’t done all the necessary reading. At the moment, I’ll just note that the link Amy provides doesn’t take readers to the full text of Fr. Jenkins’ statement. That can be found at http://president.nd.edu/closingstatement/.
He and the chairs of the College of Arts and Letters have also arrived at a “common proposal” about how to handle issues of sponsorship. That’s availalbe at http://president.nd.edu/closingstatement/commonproposal/.
I want to read those in full before I make any substantive comments. I quick glance at the Common Proposal, though, seems to indicate that this decision isn’t the simple *carte blanche* that some seem to think it is.
Oh, to the reader hoping that alumni would speak out against this–alumni were *consulted* as part of the decision-making process.
And I do wish that we could refrain from *personal* attacks on Fr. Jenkins (e.g., “so-called priest”), regardless of what we think of his decision.
Amy Cavender



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Tom

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:50 am


The question is really, does the V-Monologues serve the dialog it claims to promote. Clearly not.
That “Clearly not” is awfully categorical. Did you attend every post-performance discussion?



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Kimberly '02

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:51 am


Dave, thanks for posting your thoughts. I’ve been going back and forth on my reaction to this latest statement and your explanations have helped me feel somewhat more reassured about it.



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JTFS

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:55 am


I really appreciate the witness here of Dave and Phillip…you have both said it better than I could.
“…aggressive engagement instead of self-righteous indignation.
Yes. The message of the Gospel is never so convincing as when it is offered in direct contrast to the message of the world. If we are truly to be roaring lambs, we cannot hide from these issues, but rather confront them head on an with out our characteristic self-righteousness. Especially when it comes to women’s issues.
After all, why do you think that things like the DaVinci code get so much traction? Not because of excellent writing or historical accuracy (obviously), but because people see the Church as male-dominated, power-orientated, coverup prone, and closed to dialogue.
The model of engagement that ND has offered here is, IMVHO, the best way to communicate Gospel truth to a world that is not otherwise inclined to listen.
Grace and Peace,
Joe



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Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:56 am


I am trying to see both sides; I have to say, I am getting weary waiting for Catholic institutions to draw the line.
Form your mouth in an “o”; place your tongue on the roof of your mouth; now force air past your tongue, and out: “N-n-n-O-O-O-O!”
There! You did it!



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Greg Popcak

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:57 am


Dave,
No, in point of fact, Philip–though I appreciated his point about the relevance of hedonism and sexuality– didn’t respond to my question which was, by what logical criteria would such an event as the one I described be disallowed. And neither did you. Other than calling the proposal assinine (which it is, but no more so than allowing the V-monologue proposal to pass), what is the logical criteria by which you would disallow such an “enactment” on campus?
Second, my other question, underscored by John above, also still stands. Even if the issues of the day are hedonism and sexuality, is staging te V-monologues really the best vehicle to facilitate that discussion, or is the polarizing nature of the play more of a distraction than it is worth? If you want to have a serious discussion about the socio-political-sexual consequences of being a woman, then by all means have a class where you discuss the theology of the body., Mulieris Dignitatem and post-modern feminist theory on the topic. Discuss away! But the V-monologues is not about discussion, it is about promotion. And moreover, it is about a knee-jerk “you’re not the boss of me” pseudo-intellectualism masquerading as academic freedom. I don’t know what’s worse, that the faculty at ND isn’t rooted enough in its Catholic identity to not see the wisdom of preventing the V-monologues or that they aren’t intellectually mature enough to see that the play doesn’t do anything to advance the discussion of the plight of women, unless you count making Eve Ensler’s wallet fatter as she rides the wave of success spawned by the left’s championing of yet another vehicle that does little to advance the causes it claims to support as advancing the discussion of women’s issues.
Back to you.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:59 am


Donald,
Usually, I don’t agree with you…but here you are absolutely correct. However, we should take into consideration the fact that the VM was brought to campus by students, not faculty. I think this is crucial to understanding why Jenkins will not strike it down. It seems that he understands the importance of allowing students the experience of proposing, planning and executing activities and performances. What he is doing is wisely stepping in and saying that with this responsibiliity comes a serious set of questions and guidelines regarding the educational aims of the project and how it will fit in with the Catholic character of the university. This seems a very valuable experience for developing habits of mind borne out of an understanding and respect for Church teaching.



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Philip

posted April 6, 2006 at 12:00 pm


Christine,
My intent with that statement wasn’t to express surprise that the world is at odds with the Church, but to point out that today’s world is at odds with a different part of the Church’s teaching than what the world was at odds with 40, 50 years ago. That doesn’t validate the worlds viewpoint, it just delineates the battle field.
I think Father Frank asks a key question, how does a Catholic University respond to the Magisterium. I don’t know how to answer, and as someone in the process of converting to Catholicism, I must say I have no experience with Catholic Universities. However, I will say as a father, young adult, recent college graduate, graduate student that simply banning something controversial with one’s views or even Truth is not necessarily constructive. Not that banning doesn’t have a place, but sometimes entering a battle field can have tremendous benefits for the Kingdom.



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 12:10 pm


So Dave, what’s important is having students propose, plan, and execute activities, not the nature of those activities? Why not abort a student live on stage as a learning experience? No doubt volunteers could be found among campus feminists. Fr. Jenkins has left no room to forbid events, no matter how distasteful (or at least distasteful to orthodox Catholics).



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 12:28 pm


“I think Father Frank asks a key question, how does a Catholic University respond to the Magisterium. I don’t know how to answer, and as someone in the process of converting to Catholicism, I must say I have no experience with Catholic Universities.”
Ah, you are in the process of converting. As someone who was raised Lutheran in a family of Catholics and Lutherans I made the same jump in 1997.
I really am sympathetic to what you and your generation are going through. At the age of 56, having come of age in the crazy 60’s and 70’s I am still young enough to remember the culture wars of those days as well as to be able to relate to my parents’ generation which was much more *traditional* on issues such as marriage, etc. Having been married almost 30 years myself I am often mystified by the radical change the institution has undergone in recent decades and the puzzled response I get from some young folks who, as has been pointed out, view marriage as boring and stultifying.
I have absolutely no argument that the Church needs to engage the culture wars. But it should always be, in my humble opinion, with the mind of Christ. I don’t know that one has to actually *attend* a production of the VM in order to engage it. The world into which Christianity was born was very similar in some ways to today. The witness of the early Christians was very countercultural.
It’s a very sad but obvious fact that some Catholic Universities today have no intention of responding to the Magisterium whatsoever. They should be honest enough to shed the label “Catholic.”



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Will Barrett

posted April 6, 2006 at 12:36 pm


Yahoo headline: “Notre Dame OKs campus ‘Vagina Monologues.'” Depressing.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060406/ap_on_re_us/notre_dame_vagina_monologues
I think Reilly’s statement in that article is a tad too much however. I think in charity we can say that Father Jenkins misapplies and misunderstands what a Catholic University is. But to say as Reilly does that “he has total disregard for Notre Dame’s Catholic identity,” is uncharitable.



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Todd

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:01 pm


Seems like we have catechism-toting Catholics who need to read it for themselves. Check out section 2478, then reconsider the name-calling.
Discuss, class.



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Kevin Jones

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:03 pm


Last I heard, Fellowship of Catholic University Students isn’t allowed to set up a ministry at ND, by the same criterion that lets ND keep Mormons and JWs off campus. Foolish consistencies aplenty, there.



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Marc

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:12 pm


“The nation’s largest Catholic university has started offering a minor in gay studies. Starting last month, students at DePaul University in Illinois may now choose a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies.”
So much for honoring the magisterium at De Paul.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:16 pm


“After all, why do you think that things like the DaVinci code get so much traction? Not because of excellent writing or historical accuracy (obviously), but because people see the Church as male-dominated, power-orientated, coverup prone, and closed to dialogue.”
Joe, it isn’t just the DaVinci Code. American ignorance of history is at an all-time high. Revisionism is rampant.
That’s why the DaVinci Code is such a success. My father, who had a solid Catholic education, would have laughed it off the block.



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Maclin Horton

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:20 pm


I hope everybody reads Fr. Jenkins’ actual statement, which is very reasonable. I have to say, though, that it still seems like a cave-in to me.
Dave and Phillip above make very reasonable points, and I don’t think most of us would argue with the principles they articulate. Whether those principles are served by a performance of the Monologues is in my opinion doubtful.
I have to note that I have not read the play, so I could be misjudging it, but everything that everybody on both sides has said about it has left me with the impression that it’s the work of what is popularly called a sick puppy. And it seems preposterous to suggest that there’s no better way of raising the issue of violence against women.
There a couple of short pieces about the play that might be of interest here and here, the first by me, the second by Robin Shea whom I invited to post at Caelum et Terra after some interesting things she said in a comment.
Aside to Amy: yes, I know your name is mis-spelled there–I will correct it. I used to spell it with one “l” and could have sworn you corrected someone doing that, saying it was “ll.” Just a brain glitch on my part, obviously.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:29 pm


Interesting thoughts, especially as regards issues of feminism and its subsequent waves.
As proof of the cultural shift, I send letters to the editor of my local paper on a fairly regular basis and they are usually always published.
I always sign them “Mrs.” not “Ms.” Yesterday I received rapid feedback on some comments I had sent to a columnist in the paper. I very clearly signed myself as “Mrs.” but he would not honor that and addressed me as “Ms.” which I promptly pointed out to him as his own cultural bias.
Women who are decidedly comfortable with their gender are almost considered an anacronism in some quarters today. They just don’t fit into the anger of something like VM.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:45 pm


Can I now insist that my play, “The Penis Soliloquy” be performed on ND’s campus?
Or does it have to meet some qualitative standard? And can one imagine what that standard might be?
Jenkins is a weenie.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:50 pm


“False hope” for Notre Dame is right. I actually toyed with the idea of sending my kids there in a few years, hoping that Jenkins would start to turn things around.
Looks like Thomas Aquinas or Steubenville.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:53 pm


Greg,
You’re preaching to the choir when it comes to the artistc merit of the VM. I do not see it as worthy of performance if we consider the other plays that could be produced in its stead. However, your estimation of the play’s artistic integrity is, I’m sorry to say, besides the point. The play is being produced, and is going to continue to be produced, because it has, in the estimation of students, faculty and administrators raised an issue important to students and has raised it in a manner that speaks to students. Again, we could sit around a bemoan the fact that the students don’t have the “taste” or good sense to see through Ensler’s nefarious scheme and select a different play. That kind of work takes place in the classroom, as profs put forth work that the students would not come to one their own. Ideally this experience helps set standards for the students. Most of the time it doesn’t. Out of class students are part of the popular culture in a way that us older folks are not, and part of being young is to see what’s out there and judge its failings and merits. This why Jenkins is stepping in on the VM. He believes that students need to be cautioned about its ideas. This seems consistent with the idea of a Catholic university–a place of intellectual AND spiritual discernment.
Let’s not forget that the students are the ones for whom the university exists. As a result, issues such as sexual behavior, sexual violence, etc. are discussed not necessarily because the faculty wants to talk about them, but because the students want to. It is the faculty and administrations job, then, to make sure that conversation is intellectually and spiritually rigorous and in keeping with Catholic teaching.
By this logic we see that the KKK is not something that students feel is a pressing issue. The point is that in this case students are taking ownership of their education and Jenkins has been put in a situation where he has decided that the VM and the ideas it espouses are not simply going away, so it’s best to create an environment in which the students are actually given the information they need to see its ideas for what they are.



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jess

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:53 pm


Usually I’m a big fan of Sandra’s, but likening a performance of the VMs to killing someone on stage? And then, pulling the “orthodox” card–as in “if you people were REALLY orthodox, you’d certainly object”!? As a desperately-seeking-orthodoxy PJP2 Catholic, this is precisely the sort of bombast that makes me want to turn and run. I’m on the fence with this issue, and concede good points to both sides. But from reading all these posts, it seems Fr. Jenkins, Dave and Phillip have a better grasp of how “orthodox” Catholics will be formed in my generation.



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KH

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:58 pm


If this is true:
“He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm.”
then that about sums it up for me. There is where his heart lies.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:03 pm


“As a desperately-seeking-orthodoxy PJP2 Catholic, this is precisely the sort of bombast that makes me want to turn and run.”
Jess, that’s pretty scary. As if the teachings of John Paul II were the only referent in 2 millenia of Catholic teaching.
Please do try to mine the wealth of Catholic spiritual riches out there, not only those of the last 40 years. Students may “own” their education but if a Catholic institution of higher learning is going to serve the Church it should be shaping, not shaped by, the culture.
Difficult these days, to be sure.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:12 pm


From the local Bishop:
Pope John Paul II, a longtime professor in a Catholic university, explains that freedom must always be linked to the truth and the common good. The same principles apply to artistic freedom. As a university professor, the future pope presented a series of lectures on human love and sexuality in which he reflected how artistic freedom must always be linked to the whole truth about human love and sexuality. …Let us all turn to Mary, the patroness of Notre Dame and of our diocese, asking her to help Father Jenkins and her university through this difficult and historic moment, towards the light that is Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I regret the sponsorship of this play by Notre Dame again this year, and pray it will be the last time.
Most Rev. John D’Arcy
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Statement released Feb. 2006
http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/vm2006.htm



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Ohevin

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:32 pm


Folks,
When Peter tried to remonstrate with our Blessed Jesus about the Christ not having to undergo crucifixion, what did he say? Did our Lord not say, “Get thee behind me Satan!? Our Blessed Saviour was not concerned with Peter’s speech being “suppressed or lack of dialogue” being allowed. Our Lord was unwavering in his committment to His Mission of Truth and Salvation.
I’m 51 one years, a cradle catholic, educated by the BVM nuns, and even spent a spell with the Jesuits. I have been married 26 years and blessed with six children. It’s very obvious to me that this whole scenario is awash with Satan’s lies, deceit and to “dialogue” with these situations are excercises in total futility.
Suffice it to say, even though our Blessed Lord mercifully spent a great deal with sinners and looking for the lost sheep, I cannot imagine Him condoning this type of crap simply because He did not want to suppress some sort of free expression! Free expression, come on, we all know how are Lord felt about free expression: if is sins, cut it off for our very eternal souls are at stake!



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Philip

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:32 pm


Christine,
Not to put words in Jess’ mouth, but I don’t think she? was trying to say that PJP2 is the only person she reads/adheres to. I think the point is that she is orthodox even to the point of agreeing with PJP2 teaching on human sexuality, among all other Catholic teachings.
Another point I thought of. Many people seem to be saying that the likelihood of students staying for a panel discussion after the play is slim to none. If play viewers were required to attend the panel, would that make a difference?
Believe it or not, for all the stupid things college students say and do, for the most part they do take education and life seriously, they may just not be brave enough to admit it. Because of all the hoopla surrounding this event (assuming this is a big deal at Notre Dame) my experiences in universities tell me that there will be more people attending the play than otherwise (just to see what the deal is), and that at least 95% of the attendees will remain for the following panel and be joined by many faculty and other students that didn’t want to see the play, but participate in a panel discussion. Then there will be many young minds ripe for the sowing of Church Teaching that should literally shred every negative point brought up in VM and therefore teaching these students about life and equipping them to be able to go out and defend the Church and evangelize our culture.



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Philip Howard

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:34 pm


I applaud Fr. Jenkins’ decision. Allowing something to said and endorsing what is said are two different things. In higher education settings, free speech must triumph – so long as what is said is not ‘hate speech.’ Ensler’s VM cannot properly be classified as hate speech.



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chris K

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:34 pm


I suspected that this would happen all along from Fr. Jenkins’ original fear-filled approach that just couldn’t draw the line and merely introduced “discussion” as some washing of the the hands…offering his new contemporary kind of scourging of Christ to try to prevent the inevitable outcome to which he kept the door open.
This is evil’s old ploy and seduction itself of convincing the duped that there really cannot be any knowledge of good and evil without having actually participated in the evil. Discussion AFTER participation in the sin is nothing more than some kind of attempt at rationalization of the disobedience. No wonder they call them ivory towers…such attempts at “realism” do absolutely nothing to prepare the inexperienced for the real world. In fact such tactics only add more time on to the emotional and intellectual immaturity.
And JPII ever being open to such?? The Theology of the Body was written to expel just such fixation on the false “parts approach” take to the human person.
This only results in a whole new category of personality types such as those that, for instance, “anal retentive”, might describe!
At this particular school, the sad part is, that whenever this VM is spoken about, it is necessary to include Her title of “Our Lady” in the same paragraph. Desecration of the sacred…again.
More was said in this statement I think, than the commentor knew:
HIs decision is consistent with this model of Catholic education.



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:36 pm


I was employing a reductio ad absurdum: the criteria Fr. Jenkins uses would have to allow the presentation of a live sex show or the live performance of an abortion if the students wanted to see this. They’re letting them see porn movies as a campus activity already.(And you’ve heard of snuff films, haven’t you)
And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally.
Remembering a long history of campus controversies at ND, I recall that one of the excuses for going co-ed was to “civilize” the all-male campus. The same excuse was trotted out for allowing drinking on campus. Hasn’t worked in either case, has it? You dear darling Best & Brightest Catholic students are merely typical members of degenerate youth culture after all.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:43 pm


“Then there will be many young minds ripe for the sowing of Church Teaching that should literally shred every negative point brought up in VM and therefore teaching these students about life and equipping them to be able to go out and defend the Church and evangelize our culture.”
Philip, because I’m a bit older I’ve seen the shifting in emphases that has occurred over the past 30 or so years. I was proud to be one of the first female students to be admitted to Jesuit John Carroll University, and at that time I had not yet converted to Catholicism. There was a decidedly stronger adherence to Catholic values in those days by the University. The fact that today a *play* such as VM is considered a good venue to teach Catholic thinking shows how far some Catholic education has veered and how badly the faith has been transmitted to younger generations as of late.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:49 pm


“They’re letting them see porn movies as a campus activity already.(And you’ve heard of snuff films, haven’t you)”
You betcha. Of course, pornography is merely harmless entertainment, you know — er, at least it was until child molesters began to troll the internet.
It makes me squirm to have the holy name of our Lady associated with the likes of Ensler.



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Old Zhou

posted April 6, 2006 at 2:54 pm


From the President’s Statement, with emphasis in the original (although I don’t know how to get this comment to underline, as in the original):

Some of the individuals I’ve talked with are adamantly opposed to the performance or expression on campus of a work, play, book, or speech that contradicts Catholic teaching. To them, we must say, with all respect: “This is a Catholic university.” We are committed to a wide-open, unconstrained search for truth, and we are convinced that Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture.
Others I talked to were appalled that we would raise any question about the content, message, or implications of a work of art, drama, or literature here on campus. To them, we have to say, with the same respect: “This is a Catholic university.” It is founded upon our belief that love of God and neighbor are eternal teachings that give context and meaning to our search for truth. As I said, Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture, but we all have something to fear if the wider culture never engages Catholic teaching. That is why the Catholic tradition must not only inspire our worship and our service on campus; it should help shape the intellectual life of the university. Our goal is not to limit discussion or inquiry, but to enrich it; it is not to insulate that faith tradition from criticism, but to foster constructive engagement with critics.

For these reasons, I am very determined that we not suppress speech on this campus. I am also determined that we never suppress or neglect the Gospel that inspired this University. As long as the Gospel message and the Catholic intellectual tradition are appropriately represented, we can welcome any serious debate on any thoughtful position here at Notre Dame.

Thanks to the efforts of some faculty members, this year’s performance of The Vagina Monologues was brought into dialogue with Catholic tradition through panels that followed each performance. Panelists presented the Catholic teaching on human sexuality, and students and faculty engaged one another and these issues in serious and informed discussion. These panels taught me and perhaps taught others that the creative contextualization of a play like The Vagina Monologues can bring certain perspectives on important issues into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition. This is a good model for the future. Accordingly, I see no reason to prohibit performances of The Vagina Monologues on campus, and do not intend to do so.

The President has taken a standard “centrist” position, so common in the American Catholic Church of the last 40 years, of trying to be “both-and,” and nice and polite.
Yes, we will have Vagina Monologures.
Yes, we will have panel discussion after the performance to talk about the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality (how oppressive!) and the need to prevent violence against women (stimulated, in part, by the all-male Catholic hierarchy, no doubt).
Of course, if the President has visions of Notre Dame being a player in big league American higher education, he has no choice. Notre Dame (as in the majority of the alumni, donors, funding agencies, faculty and students) does not want to be Steubenville. They would rather be Yale.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:03 pm


REQUEST:
Please write an email to Bishop D’Arcy, thanking him for his response to Fr. Jenkins.
I wrote to his secretaries:
Please communicate to Bishop D’Arcy my heartfelt thanks for his strong and clear statement regarding UND and Fr. Jenkins’ decision to endorse the performance of “V-Monologues”. I am disappointed by Fr. Jenkins, and much heartened by Bishop D’Arcy’s response.
In Christ,



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Alfredo

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Let me preface my remarks by saying that I know of no one on the Notre Dame campus who is more pessimistic than I am about the long-term future of Notre Dame as a Catholic University. So I cannot justifiably be accused of sugarcoating anything. To be sure, Fr. Jenkins is my friend and colleague — according to some of you, this seems to be a matter for Confession :-) — but that does not make me reluctant to disagree with him in public. (However, I will refrain from vilifying him — mainly because he is a priest and not just because he is my friend.)
Like many of you, I was disappointed by his final decision regarding the Vagina Monologues. There were two aspects of the statement I especially take issue with.
The first is the implied claim that everyone who wanted to kick the VM off campus wanted to do so simply because the VM is opposed to Catholic beliefs and values. I myself have students read Descartes, Hume, Mill, and (gasp!) Nietzsche in my Intro to Philosophy courses. But, of course, they read them after having read Plato and St. Thomas and before reading the first nine books of St. Augustine’s Confessions. Context, including the teacher’s perspective, is crucial here.
This leads to my second point of disagreement. The VM are simply not appropriate for framing a “dialogue” about sexuality that is supposed to include the presentation of Catholic views. The VM are the equivalent of spitting in the face of faithful Catholics, and it’s not usually a good idea to spit in the fact of someone you “sincerely” want to “dialogue” with. Plato deliberately included in his dialogues many instances of defective intellectual inquiry, and in many of these cases the impediments to successful inquiry were moral, rather than intellectual, weaknesses on the part of interlocuters. As others have pointed out above, the VM poison the context from the beginning — not to mention the fact that faithful Catholics are highly unlikely to be part of the audience for a “dialogue” that occurs only after a performance of the VM.
Still, read the whole statement. Some of the changes in the way sponsorship by departments is handled may lead to improvements in the future.
Also, note that Fr. Jenkins is encouraging a new student iniative that would have students writing about their own stories of abuse rather than relying on the VM. Maybe he hopes that dramas written by students will soon supplant the VM on what I have come to call the “alternative liturgical calendar” on campus. (Last year we had the “Unholy Triduum” of the VM, the Queer Film Festival, and a “Gender-Diversity” Celebration coming one right after the other during the middle of Catholic Lent. Good mortification, eh?)
However, the debate over the VM and the Film Festival formerly known as Queer is in reality a side issue as far as the future of Notre Dame is concerned. The real problem is that the hiring policies of the last thirty years have given us a faculty, especially in the humanities and sciences, that is more and more devoid of Catholic sensibilities. This is, from a natural perspective, an insurmountable problem. Fr. Jenkins sincerely wants to do something about it. The question is whether he will be able to. There is no group of people harder to deal with than entrenched university faculty. Yes, they’re even worse than teenagers — in fact, they’re like grown-up teenagers. I know. I gave up trying with my own department several years ago. Unless Our Lady intervenes big time to save her university, this is a hopeless situation. And this is the situation that my friend Fr. Jenkins has inherited. Please pray for him, as I do.
By the way, some of you might not believe this, but it is at present still possible to get a first-rate Catholic education at Notre Dame. Four of my children are attending or have attended Notre Dame, and all of them have fared well in this regard. Of course, they were all classics or philosophy majors, and I was there to help them. But it is possible ….. for now at least. The way things are going, however, it will not be possible ten years from now, after a number of older Catholic professors have left the scene.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:16 pm


To those who “reluctantly” support Fr. Jenkins, and smugly find themselves on the “politically correct” side of the issue:
It doesn’t matter if you only join the NAZI party because you want the trains to run on time. You are still a Nazi.
If your arguments put you on the side of those advocating VM, or the myriad other profanities and absurdities coursing through ND’s Ivory Towers, you are still responsible for the poison. Regardless of you “reasons”.
Academic Freedom is not, I repeat NOT a Catholic doctrine. Or a virtue. It is a cynical, amoral policy. If you place academic freedom before logic and 2000 years of moral teaching, you are not Catholic. You are a typical secularist, and part of the problem.
Yes, I’m being judgemental. Deal with it.
You are either with HIM, or you are against HIM.
Time to decide, people.



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Yvonne

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:17 pm


Thank heavens ND has a very strong presence of Opus Dei on Campus.
If I’d ever send my boys to ND, thats where I’d make sure they are hangin’…



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Michael Hugo

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:20 pm


Yvonne,
Vote with your $$$. Don’t send your kids there.



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Dulac

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:21 pm


I realize this is not wholly on point, but it seems to me that many will bend over backwards to promote the presentation of a full range of modern thought, but have reservations about the relevance of centuries of tradition.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:27 pm


Thanks, Old Zhou. And of course we all know what happened to the Christian roots of the Ivy League institutions.
Gone south high.



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DJP

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:32 pm


For a while I thought that Notre dame could be a possible choice for my daughter to attend; not anymore. I’d rather send her to secular Yale or Harvard before I send her to the confused Catholic University of Notre Dame where priests and religious don’t even know what sensible and responsible mean anymore.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:35 pm


Sandra,
I hate to stoop this level, but I can’t help myself considering the ignornant and antagonist remarks you’re making toward ND students. Below is an excerpt from an interview you gave in response to the question: Is Sci-Fi and Fantasy compatible with Christianity?
Part of your response was this:
…To limit oneself to 100% Catholic materials would wall off much of the great literature of the human race, from Homer to the Norse sagas to The Tale of the Genji–pagan creations all–much less nearly all of what’s been written in English since the Reformation. And on a less exalted level, it’s not a bad idea to keep tabs on factors influencing modern society–cultural engagement, anyone?
Ok, I know this is out of context, but this is exactly what I’m talking about–cultural engagement. Culture is not just Great Books. Culture is a messy place filled with wonderful and enriching things, as well as harmful and vile things. And I’m not talking vile and harmful ideas, I’m talking harmful and vile behavior, behavior that scars and spiritually maims.
I believe there is a reticence to deal with the issue of sexual behavior, abuse and deviance head on. And I beleive it is one of the realties driving the popularity of the VM, especially within a Catholic university because it talks explicitly about vile and harmful and tragic behavior that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. So, like it or not, the VM is being perceived as a way of examining these issues.
So, Sandra, I agree, we must be engaged with the culture, with what is happening beneath the surface of things, or else we are guilty of allowing this behavior fester and become entrenched. Like I’ve said, the VM isn’t my numero uno choice to act as a pedagogical tool, but I really, earnestly believe that we must go to where the battle front is, survey it and then find a way to attack.



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chris K

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:36 pm


These panels taught me and perhaps taught others that the creative contextualization of a play like The Vagina Monologues can bring certain perspectives on important issues into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition.
Now there’s a problem right there. If I were a student at ND I’d be turning beet red at reading something like that from the head man. Sounds very naive to me…like does this guy really know what goes down in the hood?? Or…for that matter, on campus? It’s kinda like the famous expression in Out of Africa when confronting a completely new type of predator: “shoo”!
And perhaps the bishop showed a bit of disagreement with this particular slant on another quote of the Lord he didn’t mention – “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” in his hopes that such terrible Catholic stuff (after spoiling this “historical moment”‘s ND crop) will hopefully not do so in the future years under his continued watch. Sounds a bit like a lenient father who knows his innocent daughter is going out with a notorious womanizer and just “prays” that her guardian angel will sit between the two for the evening. Well, papa has a bit more responsibility than that.



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Kimberly '02

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:37 pm


Professor Freddoso — I know a couple of your kids, and I think they turned out pretty well :) I also know several of the students there now, including my siblings, who are actively involved in the Catholic discussion at school (my brother is majoring in theology), and they give a lot of reason to be more optimistic than you seem to be. Although the nature of the faculty problem is different, I agree.
And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally.
Sandra, actually all alums received two email invitations from the alumni association to submit comments on the website. It wasn’t a selective consult.
Remembering a long history of campus controversies at ND, I recall that one of the excuses for going co-ed was to “civilize” the all-male campus. The same excuse was trotted out for allowing drinking on campus. Hasn’t worked in either case, has it? You dear darling Best & Brightest Catholic students are merely typical members of degenerate youth culture after all.
This strikes me as terribly unfair. I wasn’t around in ’73, but I do believe most Notre Dame women have contributed significantly to the culture on campus. Of course there are the radical feminists (hence the current problem), but to imply that the rest of us women have contributed to ND becoming less “civilized” is not right. Furthermore, to impugn the many, many of us serious Catholic students who love the faith and still love Notre Dame as “typical members of degenerate youth culture” is wholly uncharitable.



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Julia

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:39 pm


John E said: “A CATHOLIC university needs to promote what it believes, because it believes it is true and it is crucially important. There’s a difference between allowing anti-Catholic views to be heard and discussed vs. being promoted. VM is on the side of promotion, not academic discussion.”
This is a crucial point. The VM is not just a play; it’s a movement. And they have taken over Valentine’s Day on campuses. The play and it’s agenda are bally-hoo’d all over campus and you don’t even need to see the play to be inundated with V-Day stuff.
I had an on-line debate with a Jesuit at the theater department of SLU a few years ago that was getting somewhere. He even asked me to come and “dialogue” with his theater students, but then that was abruptly cancelled. The next year, the play was taken over by the sociology department in conjunction with all sorts of social justice groups – who conduct panels that they control. It is now presented in the auditorium of the sociology department and not at the school’s theater.
Check out the official V-Day site for yourself. http://www.vday.org/main.html
I have read bits and pieces of the play and have read descriptions of it from promoters and those agin, but never the whole thing. Does anybody have a site where the whole play is available?



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:45 pm


“Alfredo”: Good to “see” you again! And many thanks for your thoughtful words, and fine example of how to disagree with Fr. Jenkins without villifying the man or calling his motives into question.
An earlier poster wrote:
“And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally.”
This is simply incorrect. *All* alumni with current contact information were informed of the issue and invited to contribute their thoughts on the matter, whether by letter or via the website. I know–I’m one of those alumni.



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ND3L

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:46 pm


“He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm.”
then that about sums it up for me. There is where his heart lies.

But for the assertion that he attended one showing, that post is entirely untrue. He applauded and did congratulate the entire cast on their acting skill and his attendance at a performance gives him credibility — not the opposite.
I was pleased by the decision. Obviously he took great pains to consider the positions of faculty and students before issuing the statement. As a law student who is grossly dissatisfied with the University for resons completely unrelated to academic freedom or orthodoxy, this was the first time in a long time I was in any way proud to go to Notre Dame.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:51 pm


“I believe there is a reticence to deal with the issue of sexual behavior, abuse and deviance head on.”
Heavens, there was a time when this was the purview of doctors and therapists. Since when did it become the job of the University to solve those kinds of situations? I’m grateful I had at least some exposure to a classical liberal Jesuit education in my day, and sexual issues wasn’t part of it!
As far as Sandra’s comment on today’s depraved youth goes, well … I wish you’d be in my sister’s house during the year. The rental house around the corner is occupied by John Carroll students during the academic year. The drinking binges, foul language and frequent overnight female guests at the rental house around the corner — now, THERE’S something that could be addressed from a perspective of Catholic values. In my day it would not have been tolerated by the University. When my sister complained to the landlord her reward was having parts of her front yard trashed.
My sister received her undergradute degree from Gannon University. I wonder how far they’ve veered from their Catholic idenity these days.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:56 pm


And let me add in retrospect that it was the loud and disturbing noisemaking that my sister objected to. She did, after all, have to get up and go to work in the morning.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:57 pm


Christine,
With all due respect, we’re not talking about you or John Carrol. We’re talking about what it’s like NOW for young Catholics. specifically at Notre Dame, so unless you have some insight that pertains to these two things as they actually are and not just what your sister told you or what you experienced back in the day, you should sit back and listen and ponder and pray.



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Scherza

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:06 pm


The current tone of the “pro” argument seems to be that it is good for Catholic thinkers to engage secular culture and expose it for what it is.
But herein lies the danger — continuing Dave’s battlefront analogy — when we’re discussing young men and women who generally are NOT strongly armed with clear and uncompromised knowledge of their faith and teachings of their church, might sending these out into the dark places of secular culture not be akin to throwing poorly trained and under-equipped soldiers out into the front lines of a vicious battle?
Time enough to engage the culture-at-large outside of the confines of Catholic education. We have a few precious years with our young men and women to equip them with the knowledge of Truth, the ability to think clearly and argue logically, and the power to see that Right and Wrong exist and to choose well between them. Why squander them?



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:09 pm


“you should sit back and listen and ponder and pray.”
Oh I don’t think so, Dave. What’s happening at ND is happening at John Carroll and other places. I’m European, my roots go back far in the Church and compared to the faith formation my grandparents had what young Catholics in the U.S. receiving is far, far short of what it should be.
And forgive me if I don’t seek your permission to speak.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:13 pm


Scherza,
This is a good point. I go back and forth on it. I think ideally each person approaches these issues at their own pace. However, I also hear criticism from both “orthodox” Catholics and “liberal” Catholics that ND shelters its students too much.
The war analogy ultimately falls apart, as you’ve shown. But, going to the well once more, I don’t see this as squandering Christian soldiers as much as it is perhaps “war games.”



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Alfredo

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:14 pm


Kimberly,
If your brother is a theology major, then he is in good hands. The theology department is the one unit in the humanities in which the “faculty-situation” is improving. This may come as a surprise to some people.



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Philip

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:20 pm


Christine,
Your sister’s struggles just verifies what I have been trying to say about youth culture now. That behavior is normal. It is fun. It is full of pleasure. It is leading people unknowingly to their deaths. Just complaining and saying stop has two problems. 1)It doesn’t work (my generation unfortunately has no respect for others) 2)It doesn’t cause those people to realize the self destructive nature of that lifestyle. Christians are in the business of saving lives, not making comfortable situations for ourselves.
The way to reach young people now is through conversation and expressing somehow that sinful lifestyles are not really fun, they are enslaving, and that lifestyles according to Church Teaching are fulfulling and desirable. Telling them “no” doesn’t work.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:20 pm


Christine,
This isn’t a “who’s more Catholic” contest, so while it’s great that you’re European and have deep roots, I find it a little besides the point. This is a conversation that absolutely depends on understanding what young Catholics are thinking and why, how they are behaving and why, and what should be done in order to help them navigate the difficulties of being a young Catholic in 2006. I’m sorry that I came off as so abrupt, but it just doesn’t help things to stereotype the behavior of Catholic school kids based on what’s happening at John Carroll.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:20 pm


Lessons learned by ND students from Fr. Jenkins:
1. It’s okay to disregard the moral advice of your local bishop
2. As long as you sound reasonable you can get what you want
4. actors can be used without concern for their immortal souls as long as you pay them
5. if you form a committee and get their input, you won’t have to be responsible for the decision; just refer back to the committee when questioned
6. when having your picture taken, fold your arms and look hip; that way you won’t look like a grumpy old bishop
7. football and prestige hold sway over the affections of Our Lady; she doesn’t care if we watch and pay for smut
8. never, never, never look or sound like an Apostle. It might make people uncomfortable.



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anonymous

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:24 pm


Lily:
You seem to have omitted an important part of Bishop D’Arcy’s statement:
For 21 years as bishop of this diocese, I have entered into respectful dialogue with three presidents of Notre Dame. In that spirit, I have spoken to Father John Jenkins, CSC, on the matter at hand, always keeping in mind the instruction given to bishops and university presidents in “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”, which urges that there should be “close personal and pastoral relationships between university and church authorities, characterized by mutual trust and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue.”
Father Jenkins, in an act of leadership, has chosen to go before the Notre Dame community to make a serious presentation on this matter. Those of us who are outside the governance of the university should view this decision with respect.
The Bishop has voiced his disagreement respectfully. He knows his place.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:24 pm


“VM is on the side of promotion, not academic discussion.”
This is a crucial point. The VM is not just a play; it’s a movement.”
Exactly.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:26 pm


Forgot the most important lesson:
9. you have to find your own personal “truth” and since your generation is so “sexualized” and gritty, a gritty and sexualized play will help you find this truth (oh Lord, remember JP II and how the youth adored him because he was a rock and stood firm for Truth and helped them to see the beauty of God?)



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Philip

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:26 pm


Scherza,
I agree. However our kids need to be trained and equipped before they get to college. In case nobody has noticed, these spiritual battles are the strongest in college. This whole VM debate just shows how true this is. If a kid doesn’t know how to fight the battle before s/he gets to college, then most likely it will no longer become a culture war fight, but instead a picking the child up out of the gutter of depravity a year or years down the road.
Also, the best way to equip a soldier for a fight is to introduce them gradually to fights. Sheltering a soldier from any adverse situation does more harm than good.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm


Um, Dave, as I posted earlier I grew up in a family of Catholics and Lutherans. There’s plenty of “young Catholic kids” in my wider family and I’ve seen first-hand how Catholic kids have been short-changed over the post-Vatican II years, not because *of* Vatican II but because of the poor formation that they encountered. I’m not trying to be an Ueber-Catholic, but my Christian education as a Lutheran was far superior to what my Catholic-by-marriage in-laws received.
My point is that kids at Catholic colleges wouldn’t have to struggle so much today if the foundations had been better laid and productions such as VM, which essentially divide women from each other, are not helpful in Catholic formation.



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chris K

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm


Well, now, since we’ve been admonished by Dave, someone apparently “in the know” or “being there”, to sit back and pray, perhaps we’d be well advised to do so then for the specific intention that the faculty at ND as well as the good bishop tune in and listen well to the meditations for Good Friday prepared by the Vicar Gen. of Vatican City at the request of Pope Benedict – a little taste:
Rome, Apr. 05 (CWNews.com) – Archbishop Angelo Comastri forcefully denounces the vices of a secularized modern society in the meditations that will be read during this year’s Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at the Roman Coliseum.
“Lord, we have lost the sense of sin!” the Italian prelate remarks in his text, which was obtained by the I Media news agency in Rome. His meditations go on to condemn “an insidious propaganda” that leads toward “an idiotic apology for evil, an absurd cult of Satan, a mad desire for transgression, a false liberty, without conscience, that exalts caprice, vice, and selfishness.”

Love that “idiotic apology for evil” and “false liberty without conscience”..don’t you? Now I am on point here, no? I mean I don’t have to just remain silent and pray – this is an open forum for “discussion” albeit not at THE hallowed halls of “freedom of discussion” that, now being observed, doesn’t seem to allow for much openness with comparison in what is allowed “NOW for young Catholics”.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:35 pm


Philip, I hear you, I really do. I’m fully aware that just saying “no* doesn’t work and thank you, by the way, for your observations about youth culture today. Are there good kids out there? Absolutely, but Dave may not find it comfortable but there’s been a decided shift in values. My retired police officer husband and my social worker sister can confirm that. The behavior of the JCU students I mentioned is not at all uncommon these days.
We need to backtrack and do a whole lot of remedial work to help Catholic kids understand the richness and tremendous spiritual resources that can help them to live out their lives with integrity.
A tall order, I know. But I don’t see capitulating to garbage like VM as being the way to do it.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:36 pm


Anonymous:
But you miss his tender request and plea in the word “cooperation.”
You tell me about yourself when you say about the bishop: “he knows his place.”
Again, the bishop’s last line:
“I regret the sponsorship of this play by Notre Dame again this year, and pray it will be the last time.”



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:37 pm


Inasmuch as my husband has not cared to share our e-mail with the university, we didn’t get contacted about VM. So I was wrong on that point.
I “engaged” the very weird subculture of science fiction fandom for 26 years and that was quite enough. There’s only so much craziness and objectionable behavior and seeing people ruin their lives that one can take. And frankly, “engagement” was futile.
I’m not blaming the women for decadence at ND–although I would have much preferred the school to remain all male–only pointing out that their advent did not achieve what people at the time were told it would.



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Scherza

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:38 pm


Dave,
As a Catholic educator (and I suspect one who’s not far older than yourself), I go back and forth too — what’s too much? What’s not enough? And the “sheltered students”/”campus bubble” argument gets tossed at religious schools of all stripes — my husband attended a Southern Baptist university that had many of the same critiques leveled at it by those on both sides of the ideological fence.
Where I finally come to rest on the issue is that while the culture-at-large is somewhat inescapable, a uniquely Catholic educational environment is not. I see a strong education in values, absolute morality, reasoned discourse, and faith not as sheltering students, but as arming them with the sort of knowledge and clarity that will give them strength for their lives. Is it artificial, in a certain sense, to create such environments? Absolutely — and my own students argue with me that “in the Real World, it won’t be like *fill in the blank*.”
I suppose one’s views depend greatly on one’s educational philosophy — I always loved the idea that school was a place that was set apart and special, devoted to truth and knowledge and virtue. It’s one of the reasons I chose to attend and teach in Catholic schools: the sense that the work we do is a sacred service to God, country, and church.



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Scherza

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:39 pm


Dave,
As a Catholic educator (and I suspect one who’s not far older than yourself), I go back and forth too — what’s too much? What’s not enough? And the “sheltered students”/”campus bubble” argument gets tossed at religious schools of all stripes — my husband attended a Southern Baptist university that had many of the same critiques leveled at it by those on both sides of the ideological fence.
Where I finally come to rest on the issue is that while the culture-at-large is somewhat inescapable, a uniquely Catholic educational environment is not. I see a strong education in values, absolute morality, reasoned discourse, and faith not as sheltering students, but as arming them with the sort of knowledge and clarity that will give them strength for their lives. Is it artificial, in a certain sense, to create such environments? Absolutely — and my own students argue with me that “in the Real World, it won’t be like *fill in the blank*.”
I suppose one’s views depend greatly on one’s educational philosophy — I always loved the idea that school was a place that was set apart and special, devoted to truth and knowledge and virtue. It’s one of the reasons I chose to attend and teach in Catholic schools: the sense that the work we do is a sacred service to God, country, and church.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:42 pm


Don’t misunderstand my intentions. I agree with Pope Benedict. We have lost our sense of sin. But the way this conversation as drifted has us automatically writing off this generation of Catholics before they even have a chance. I’m not telling anyone to shut up. I’m just trying to keep the conversation on the right track.



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Christine

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:44 pm


OK Lily, let’s change it to:
“I regret the sponsorship of this play by Notre Dame again this year, next year and the following year — and pray it will be the last time — again.”
St. Peter is probably turning over in his grave.



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Becky

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:50 pm


The problem with Jenkins saying that we can solve all our problems with this issue by having a committee and surrounding every event with the presentment of Catholic teaching is that there’s hardly anyone at ND who can actually present the Catholic teaching. The debates and discussions surrounding this year’s performances were a disgrace. No one presented the Catholic teaching from an orthodox point of view. No one. As long as most of the faculty are spewing anti-Catholic filth, this model that Fr. Jenkins proposed cannot work.
Of course, this model would work at Steubenville because the faculty as a whole is very clear about where it stands on the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality. Of course you could have some great discussion about the Monologues there. But what happens here is just more and more brainwashing. More semi-Catholic professors teaching distortion about the faith to unsuspecting freshmen. Not everyone is like this, but I don’t see Freddoso or any other orthodox professor being asked to head up any committees or speak on a panel.
From the perspective of an ND 3L who has fought this thing for the last 3 years, it is an utter, utter failure in every possible way.



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Fortiterinre

posted April 6, 2006 at 4:59 pm


After reading this long thread of 100+ comments, I find myself thinking this is a tempest in a teapot. VM will go on (bad), but will be subject to panel discussions (good).
The worst part of it for me is that Notre Dame is treating a vulgar propaganda piece like a work of art. While the Klan and abortion examples are excessive, there is nothing in Jenkins’ criteria that would prevent a Da Vinci Code book club or film festival later this year. I would be surprised if Notre Dame students didn’t have some interest in DVC.
The premise of this kind of “engagement” seems to presume that Catholicism can find a certain level or thresold of common ground with virtually ANY piece of popular culture which therefore must be “respected” and allowed on campus; I suggest that for pop culture pieces like VM and DVC, the common ground threshold is simply far too little to justify.



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James Kabala

posted April 6, 2006 at 5:20 pm


For Notre Dame (or any other well-known university, Catholic or non-Catholic) to have remained all-male in the face of enormous societal pressures to the contrary would have taken a miracle. The number of all-male colleges left in the U.S. can be counted on the figure of one hand, I believe. I’m not taking on any stance here in favor of or against this change, just saying that if a return to single-sex education is anyone’s ultimate goal, he or she should realize that reaching that goal will be all but impossible. Even Christendom and Steubenville are co-ed.



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James Kabala

posted April 6, 2006 at 5:31 pm


Also, this is off point, but I thought snuff films were a myth.



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Marc

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:15 pm


Where is the precedent to not show the DVC movie at fallen Catholic campuses.
The response from upper management will be the same:
“I regret the sponsorship of this ,,, again and pray it will be the last time — again.”
Imagine telling your spouse ‘I regret watching porn or being unfaithful to you ,, but pray it will be the last time.’ (repeat when necesary)



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Phil

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:18 pm


This is not a difficult question. As the good professor Alfredo said, allowing the play to be conducted at a Catholic University is akin to spitting in the face of the Catholic Church. If those of you in support do not think that those who brought this play to ND did not have an agenda to undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church you are fooling yourselves. There are better ways to confront these issues in a university setting, and ND should not aid those who attempt to damage the Church.
On a side note, as a relatively young Catholic (35 years old), there is a crisis (generally speaking) within the Church of a poorly catechized younger generation of Catholics. As compared with my parents and grandparents, my Catholic education (from 1st grade through college) was deficient in many respects. Those of you who have introduced this issue into the debate are absolutely correct about how poorly versed young Catholics, in general, are in their faith.



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anonymous

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:21 pm


Lily:
I hardly missed the plaintiff bishop’s plea. In the end he voiced his disagreement and disappointment. That is all he could do as his admission that he has no role in the governance of the university indicates. That is what I meant by saying he knows his place. Please don’t presume to know where I am coming from on so little evidence. If you would read the posts before emoting about them you might get the message.



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Old Zhou

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:35 pm


Reflecting a bit more on my quotation from the President’s statement above, where he spent one paragraph emphasizing “Catholic” (and hence the panel discussion of Church teaching), and another emphasizing “university” (and hence the freedom to perform VM), how about this?
I am a married man.
I’m a man,, a sexual being, so that means I can pursue pleasures with women, or men, or whatever.
I’m married, so that means I have a special committment to a particular woman.
Using the President’s model of thinking, which is “both-and,” typical of American Catholic centrists, leads to….adultery, at least.
This is exactly his problem with disconnecting “Catholic” and “university.”



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:45 pm


James,
I believe you are correct.
Dave,
Please know that your age notwithstanding you do not speak for your generation. My 20 and 24 year old children would both say that the VM have zero redeeming value, and their views are no less valid than yours. Nor do you speak for this blog’s hostess. Amy is perfectly well-equipped to tell people to shut up and is perfectly well-equipped to determine whether a discussion has taken an unhelpful turn. You, sir, need to learn your place; and add a primer on being a gentleman while you’re at it. The word “abrupt” doesn’t cut it.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:50 pm


“I hardly missed the plaintiff bishop’s plea. In the end he voiced his disagreement and disappointment. That is all he could do as his admission that he has no role in the governance of the university indicates.”
I believe that this is technically true, but subject to the proviso that under canon law no school can call itself Catholic without the indulgence of the bishop of its See. In other words, unless I’m mistaken Bishop D’Arcy is canonically empowered to boot the Congregation of the Holy Cross right out of South Bend if he wishes. I imagine some days he wishes.



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:52 pm


If Father Jenkins doesn’t allow the VM to be performed on campus, how will our Catholic students be exposed to this artistic occasion of diversity? Where could they possibly go to round out their education? Are we to leave them like dogs without water in a closed, hot, house whilst we go about our business in the world of adults?
But seriously, the mere fact of one’s presence on a Catholic university campus doesn’t guarantee affective maturity. And then there are the students.
It is amazing to me that this discussion is available in this format, and I’m glad of it. The gates of Hell will not prevail against our Church. But when will our Catholic leaders cease inviting our worldly culture to have our children’s noses rubbed in it?



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Alfredo

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:53 pm


Becky,
As I stated in a comment in a thread a few weeks ago, I would, if asked, refuse to participate in a panel discussion framed by the VM, though in general I would be happy to participate in a panel discussion on sexual abuse, preferrably along with my wife.
In any case, I’ve never been asked and don’t expect to be. As for committees, I don’t belong to any of the right groups for that to happen, and I do belong to at least one of the wrong groups.



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WildTurkey

posted April 6, 2006 at 6:54 pm


Amazon.com Sales Ranking for VM: #27,922 in Books.
From the Intro:
“I never outlined the play or consciously shaped it. As a matter of fact, the whole process was totally off the record. I interviewed women about their vaginas while I was writing my ‘real’ play…. The Vagina Monologues has never really been any of my business.”
Hmmmm… whose business then? The Zeitgeist?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:00 pm


Old Zhou,
I agree with your last post. What Fr. Jenkins is doing (aside from what he hopes is his best under trying circumstances, I’m sure) is classic triangulation. Simply articulate two extreme positions and place yourself in the reasoned center. Unfortunately, triangulation is a political device that has nothing to do with truth. Triangulation is often accompanied by a diplomatic sounding articulation of a cartoonish strawman postion for one or both sides. If you read Fr. Jenkins’ statement carefully, you will see that it applies here as well.
All that said, I have no doubt he is a good man trying to behave as wise as a serpant. While I disagree with his decision, I have little doubt that his heart is in the right place.



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Maureen

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:07 pm


I’m deeply offended that an anti-feminist play dedicated to the objectification of women would have been performed on any Catholic campus, and particularly one dedicated to Our Lady. If the female students realized how hard they were working to oppress themselves with this sort of propaganda of delusion, they would be equally outraged.
No doubt they would be outraged by a set of Uterus Monologues, claiming that women are nothing more than walking baby-makers, and that life has no meaning unless you are pregnant or giving birth. But perhaps they are all taking logic next year.
All people should see themselves as fully human — bodies and souls — persons — instead of defining themselves or being defined solely by reproductive equipment.
The reproductive systems are important, mind you. They should not be ignored; they do mean a lot to us. (That’s a big part of Theology of the Body.) But they are part of us, integrated into us — not the only part of us.
To say otherwise is deeply unfeminist — and an insult to anyone engaged in the life of the mind.



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Old Zhou

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:12 pm


Thanks, Mike. I learned a thing from you:
triangulation.
Apparently became “a thing” in presidential politics of 1996, and used ever since.

Triangulation can also backfire when a candidate does not have the charisma for the intended audience to believe that his position on an issue is an honest one. When this backfire happens, the candidate can easily be labeled a “flip-flopper” or a “waffler”.

I’d say that Fr. Jenkins is ready for the maple syrup now.



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anonymous

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:12 pm


Mike Petrik:
What you say is true. He can ask the Holy Cross Fathers to leave the diocese, but the University is a separate corporation so it would continue without them. Whether the bishop would do this is a whole other question. I sincerely doubt that he would. I think he knows that such a move would not be in the best interest of the Church. I know that some favor radical solutions like that, but they are extreme and in the minority; hardly representative of the Church as a whole.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:21 pm


I agree, anon. It is very rare for a bishop to take such action, though I’m sure some would say that in modern times it is very rare for a bishop to take any action that would be considered decisive, let alone divisive. That said, I do believe that last year an American bishop insrtucted the Legionairies of Christ to leave his diocese. I don’t pretend to know anything about Notre Dame’s legal governance, but if the CHC is not in control I would presume you are correct that the bishop would have no canonical rights in the matter. It is not clear to me that the university could continue to call itself Catholic, however, without the Bishop’s indulgence. I’m speaking here as a matter of canon law, not civil.



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Lily

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:21 pm


Anonymous, so you’re presuming I didn’t read the posts? You really shouldn’t presume that with no evidence. :>
As to the bishop, he clearly has a say in the Catholic life in his diocese. If the prez wants to ignore him, fine. I’m thinking how silly “Dame University” is going to sound…I guess they’ll have to change their mascot to a big uterus or something. The little fighting Irish guy just won’t fit, all that testosterone and stuff, so “old-school.”
Hmm, that’s a way to get the alum riled up, Sandra. Tell them they’ll lose their football team. Then you’ll see something hit the fan. But, oh a little sex-trash-talk-orgasm- sounding -Catholic-teaching -bashing drama……if it doesn’t hurt anyone (just the paid prostitue, oops, I mean actor)…..
and it doesn’t hurt the ticket sales next fall….and it sounds reasonable….the bishop is really pitiful…so traditionalistic….we’re innovative here, not like the rest of you…(heard all of this from the feminist nuns in high school and if souls weren’t involved I’d be yawning from boredom)



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Glenn Juday

posted April 6, 2006 at 7:42 pm


Fr. Jenkins holds a job, with a sacred responsibility attached, that insures his decisions will be criticized.
To the degree that his decision to allow performance of the VM play is based on avoiding criticism of him and his institution by high-status individuals (faculty, alumni donors, secular opinion leaders) as he come close to admitting, it is completely misguided. This won’t get him that.
To the degree that his decision is based on a desire to avoid criticism by students (whose profile, let’s be honest, places them in the high-status zone among their peers) it is completed misguided. This won’t get him that.
He is isolating himself and his institution, not building any real bridges, at least any worthy of Catholics crossing.
The Gospel message and Catholic Faith is about transforming the worldly culture precisely because they are grounded in the deepest and most penetrating insights into the human condition. Wallowing in anomie and sexual angst, without which the VM play looses what little hold on understandability it has, is not in their mission. Catholics in touch with the riches and depths of our heritage as it is being lived out in the world of today are not in the position of needing whatever vanishingly small instructional value VM offers. Throughout history Catholics have formed and shaped whole cultures, not as a monotony of uniformity, but as a harmonic expression of human variety understood through the genuine truths of one Faith and one Lord. When expressed and lived out, such truths will “reach” young people. Cringing in front of an admittedly second rate theatrical stunt is not only not necessary, it is downright silly.
A man, and especially a priest, and especially a scholar-priest should know this. And any Catholic university that takes scholarship, let alone the Faith, seriously, would make personnel decisions about its top officers accordingly.



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James Kabala

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:13 pm


Re the reference to the VM’s cast as being “paid prostitutes (actors)”: The reality is actually even worse. At most, if not all, campuses the monologues are not performed by professional actors, or even by theatre majors, but by student volunteers, usually connected with the women’s studies department. These are entirely student-run affairs, sad to say.



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mizznicole

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:22 pm


I think my opinion on this matter comes down to this:
Staging the Vagina Monologues at ND is a waste of time.
I know South Bend is no metropolis, but it’s only an hour to Chicago where one can take a reading on the culture in a matter of 15 minutes.
Why not redeem the time instead by nourishing students with REAL art? I mean, this isn’t just an ethical issue but an aesthetic one. When are we going to finally understand that we don’t “fight” something like the VMs with a panel discussion, but by a Flannery-O’Connor-Walker-Percy-JRR-Tolkein -one-two-punch?
I find an ironically similar problem at my university, which trumpets its absolute adherence to ex cordae ecclessiae but has about zero funding for the arts.



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Kevin Jones

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:35 pm


Can a plethora of monologues even be material for a dialogue? The linguistic quirk implies a logical quirk too subtle for me to grasp.
As for alternative edutainment, I suggest the closing soliloquy of Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot.



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Sandra Miesel

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:40 pm


Well, it was ND’s unjust treatment of Tyrone Willingham that finally got my husband to write the school a crisp letter and cut his contribution. I hope he’ll do so again over the VM.
Of course ND was under tremendous pressure to go coed but I regret that. Wabash College (where sometime poster David Kubiak teaches)is one of possibly two all-male schools left. And it’s a very good school, too.



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janen7

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:40 pm


“As a desperately-seeking-orthodoxy PJP2 Catholic, this is precisely the sort of bombast that makes me want to turn and run.”
As the mother of 5 teen and young adult Catholics who live in a predominantly Protestant part of the country, ALL of them – no matter how strong their faith is, want to turn and run when they hear bombast. People spouting bombast do not attract others to the faith.
They’ve heard it a lot – from numerous Evangelicals, some home-schooled Catholic friends, and all around Pharisees of all faiths.
Two of them desparately wanted to go to Steubenville (not realizing there is bombast there – I know, I’ve lived there), but couldn’t afford it. Another two wouldn’t have attended Steubenville if you had PAID them to attend (they are the older two and have experienced bombast in Steubenville). Could those two have attended Fr. Jenkin’s Notre Dame and found God? Possibly. Would they have a snowball’s chance in hell of finding him in a college like Steubenville? I doubt it.
Do all Catholics colleges have to approach the truth the same way to receive the “orthodox blessing”? Can we cut Fr. Jenkins a bit of slack as he tries to turn that university around in a way that he feels will hold to the truth but not immediately alienate his faculty and students? I will. It can’t be easy. And the Catholic students looking for colleges are not all the same.



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Jonathan

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:45 pm


“The problem with Jenkins saying that we can solve all our problems with this issue by having a committee and surrounding every event with the presentment of Catholic teaching is that there’s hardly anyone at ND who can actually present the Catholic teaching. The debates and discussions surrounding this year’s performances were a disgrace. No one presented the Catholic teaching from an orthodox point of view. No one. As long as most of the faculty are spewing anti-Catholic filth, this model that Fr. Jenkins proposed cannot work.”
I completely agree with Becky on this. I attended one of the panel discussions, which was comprised of three women: two of whom teach in the theology department and two of whom, if memory serves, will be on Fr. Jenkins’s new committee. During the panel, lip service was paid to the teaching of the Church; instead, the faculty members and the students had a great time bashing “the old-fashioned, patriarchal” institution. Having panels like this completely destroys Fr. Jenkins’s argument, which was bad to begin with. As far as “engaging the world”, how often does this idea lead to the world criticizing and dictating to the Church, whose clergy passively submit? We need all of the clergy, and especially the bishops, to exercise their authority. Error does not correct itself.



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Jason

posted April 6, 2006 at 8:55 pm


I think this is a stupid decision, plain and simple. Why do we have to debase our Catholic institutions to be culturally relevant? What’s next? Organizing trips to gentleman clubs so the students can present the Catholic faith as they get a gentleman’s dance?
“Stupid” is all I can think of this. I have a hard time listening to the excuses.



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marie

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:06 pm


Wow. If Notre Dame students need to watch the VM to take notice of the “issues” therein addressed, one wonders if they might need some remedial reading help, or at least special instuction on how to operate their television remotes.



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Dave

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:15 pm


Mike,
I apologize for the tone. You’re right, it’s Amy’s blog and she can take care of steering the ship, but that doesn’t give you free reign to determine whose views are valid or not. Your 20 and 24 year olds are, I’m sure, passionate and intelligent, but that doesn’t mean that they have spent lots of time thinking about how a Catholic university should be run.



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chris K

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:19 pm


What we need is enough Catholic scholars/writers to publish a bunch of “Demythologizing (good word for academic automatic response) the VM”. That could turn this whole cause around and place it on the same level as DVC. You really have to think “in the box” with the dialoguing types.
Sandra, Amy…you’re up to it I know. And that would get you a lot of “Catholic” college gigs for sure! Of course, you’d have to watch that you didn’t “hit below the belt” so to speak. Are you up to the sensitivity needed here?!!
BTW, speaking of the “sensitive”….just where is Fr. McB in all of this??



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midwestmom

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:23 pm


“Looks like Thomas Aquinas or Steubenville.”
Nah. University of Nebraska at Lincoln all the way. Viva Bruskewitz!



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Mike Petrik

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:27 pm


Fair enough, Dave, but you’re missing my point. You have been trading on the proposition that your age makes your understanding of how to reach today’s youth more credible. My point is that for every young 20-something who agrees with you I’ll produce one who doesn’t. Your notion that Fr. Jenkins’ approach is appropriate in order to reach college students may be reasonable, but its reasonableness is not a function of your age.
And for the record my twenty-four year old son (DePaul ’04) has some strong opinions on how a Catholic university should be run, and I’m pretty sure he thinks that the trustees of most of our “Catholic” (or in the case of DePaul “catholic”) universities have nary a clue.



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William Rudolph

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:45 pm


Dave, I know you are trying to play the role of reasonable cool guy on campus who disagrees with the tripe that is V-Monologues but “will defend to the death (the author’s) right to say it”.
But please. This is not about an open discussion of sex, which can be appropriate in some forums. It is about pushing a certain point of view, and using the “they’re all prudes” screech instead of addressing the ideas presented. Net trick is you can make it work with the terminally gullible.
As for “capturing the imagination of a generation of women” – since when is THAT argument dispositive? The DaVinci Code has captured the minds of a generation of readers of silly fiction. Internet porn has captured the imagination of a generation of men. Hymns like “they shall know we are Christians by our love” have captured the minds of a generation of tone deaf or misguided liturgical music directors … (not the content of that particular line, I quickly add, but the treacly music and silly lyrics which surround it)
Come on, be serious, not trite. That kind of argument only works in the campus pub with a bunch of 21 year olds.



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Alfredo

posted April 6, 2006 at 9:58 pm


Dear Mizznicole,
Check this out. Attendance at these events has been very good.



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scriblerus

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:13 pm


Wow!
These comments have taken off since the few I saw twelve hours ago (Dave’s first post).
Nobody seems to have really picked up on something that Dr. Fredoso mentioned earlier but that I thought was a good point. VM is like “spitting in the face of a Catholic.” Spitting in someone’s face is not academic discourse, even under the most generous interpretation of that much abused term. How do you have a “conversation” based around that? It’s the equivalent of saying “Someone just spit in your face. Let’s discuss.” Contrary to some posters, academic freedom does have its purposes but, in this case, the whole academic freedom argument is simply a red herring.



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Fortiterinre

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:16 pm


William Rudolph,
You characterization of Dave is unfair at best.
I disagree with him, but I don’t think anyone posting here is trying to be “cool.”



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Fr Martin Fox

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:21 pm


This comes rather late, but let’s try…
Who would object if the Vagina Monologues was read and discussed in a classroom setting (i.e., not performed for the general public, as if “by” the university)? Assuming the professor did his job “contextualizing,” I don’t believe I would.
Would you object if, in this same classroom setting, some of the students acted it out? As long as it wasn’t a club to beat the men over the head — again, if the prof does his job — then, I don’t think that would upset me.



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KH

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:43 pm


Wait a minute; I thought the whole defense line of all this was the wonderful “panel discussion” that would be held after each performance (by ND’s own students, someone else notes above!), to really engage these kids, to get ‘em in there and then present the real truth to them. But both Becky and Jonathan wrote that they were there and there was NO orthodox teaching of the Catholic faith going on there. So, what’s the reason this is all good now?



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RP Burke

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:43 pm


The idea that a Catholic university should somehow insulate its students from plays and opinions that are, in the church leadership’s judgment, immoral, would poorly prepare its students for the real world, where they are bombarded with such things daily.
In fact, some of this discussion reminds me of conversations about how to deal with student underage drinking. Do you have it on campus, so you can control it? Or do you just forbid it altogether and have the students go to off-campus dives (Bridget McGuire’s, for example, just off the ND campus — unless they’ve finally been shut down by the cops) and drink without any control at all?
“It” — whatever “it” is — is out there and in the students’ faces now and after they graduate. Without examples of how to analyze things that challenge moral principles, graduates will not be prepared to do this after college.
So I side with Fr. Jenkins and against those who believe that a Catholic university is nothing more than a hothouse that develops flowers that can’t survive in the climate outside.



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MTM

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:46 pm


As a University of Dallas grad who’s married to an ND grad, I have found this thread very interesting. Points for Alfredo (hello Doc, good to at least type with you!):
1) Would you ever sit on a response panel for the VM at a secular university? Is there anything intrinsically wrong with representing the Church provided you don’t have to watch the performance–envision simply stepping into the theater to take your seat on a panel after the curtain call?
2)At ND, do you avoid it because it is an unproductive venue or because it gives scandal for you to be in any way associated with VM, or because it is a cooperation with evil (and if so what kind)?
I ask to determine whether Father’s decision was right or wrong. (And forgive the “should we pay the tax, Rabbi” tone; I am serious.)



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padrechillin

posted April 6, 2006 at 10:54 pm


Janen7,
What exactly do you mean by bombast? Does that mean what the kids always say when they want to remain in their pride and sins and don’t want to hear Catholic truth no matter how attractively it is presented? Would your kids accuse Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict of bombast too? Tthe thread here is amazing let just say what happened another university president buckled to the decadant culture. I will be intrigued if any student is converted to living the Catholic faith in a integral way by viewing the VM and hearing the “panal discussion”; we get more dumb in the Church as the years go on, no wonder the evanglical protestants are taking our young people away in due time. They wouldn’t show the VM in a million years!



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:15 pm


“I side with Fr. Jenkins and against those who believe that a Catholic university is nothing more than a hothouse that develops flowers that can’t survive in the climate outside.”
R.P. Burke, your straw man doesn’t work. Students should leave Catholic universities with at least half a chance at “faith, the missionary’s armor” in order to engage in the inevitable spiritual warfare surely to be encountered.
If you have reliable teachers you don’t have to jump in a cesspool to know that it can make you smell bad and even be dangerous. Fr. Jenkins, it’s not too late to spit out the Kool-Aid. It would be widely seen as an act of heroism and humility.



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Alfredo

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:36 pm


Dear Scriblerus,
I made exactly the same point to Fr. Jenkins in an email several weeks ago. There are moral and intellectual prerequisites that must be satisfied before any consideration about academic freedom kicks in. I thought that he had made a mistake in originally framing the question as primarily a question about academic freedom.



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Scott J

posted April 6, 2006 at 11:43 pm


Only three people have addressed what is perhaps the most important, factual observation about this whole mess: that the hypothetical reason that Fr. Jenkins gave for supporting a creative contextualization of the play by having a panel discussion afterwards, is quite irrelevant, if, in fact, such panel discussions do not fairly and robustly represent the Church’s teaching about sexuality.
Becky and Jonathan (as KH reminded us above) have both apparently been present for recent performances of the play and the follow-up panel discussion at ND. They provide us with first-hand reports of the character of these discussions as they are actually happening.
Certainly, Fr. Jenkins’ argument requires–as a minimum–that the presentation of Catholic teaching in any follow-up panel discussions be of high quality, faithful to the Church, and sincere. If the actual panel discussions happening at ND do not have this quality, then his argument is proven pointless–refuted by the very absence in actual practice of the condition he theoretically requires for his policy to work.
Here is where academics, at least it seems to me, often seem to disconnect with reality. So long as they can lay out to their own satisfaction what seems to be a decent, nuanced theorectical position, with some general guidelines as to how it should be applied in practice, they consider the case closed. Explicating their position out carefully in text form is for them seemingly the end of the matter.
But what about noticing its real-world implementation as an essential element of any assessment as to whether the position in theory is actually any good?
Those of you who think that Fr. Jenkins’ statement gives the appropriate course to take at ND (I tend to think not but I do respect those who try to make an honest argument in his support) must admit that if in the actual discussions taking place at ND, the panels fail to faithfully and winsomely present Catholic teaching, then the Catholic contextualization that Fr. Jenkins promotes has no possibility of ever taking place. It is doomed from the start by the lack of an honest presentation of the Catholic view. This is certainly not characteristic of the sort of intellectual rigor, open-mindedness, and honesty that Dave hopes should result from Fr. Jenkins’ decision.
If the actual, real-world panel discussions that are occuring at ND present Catholic teaching poorly or in such a way as to implicitly ridicule it even as it is being explained, then the policy as put forth by Fr. Jenkins must be admitted to be–in actual practice–a total failure. Regardless of its theoretical potential.
If you support Fr. Jenkins at least in theory, you have to be interested in the all-important follow-up: is this what is really happening? Is the creative contextualization that Fr. Jenkins supports in fact producing a balanced, honest, intellectually fruitful and probitive discussion? Or is it not?
For those whose main concern is with the actual reality of what is happening now at ND, rather than simply a detached-from-reality theoretical discussion of pro and con of Jenkins’ position as it exists on paper–Becky and Jonathan’s reports make all the difference. Any further discussion I believe must take into account their witness that the panels are failing to do what Fr. Jenkins says they are suppossed to accomplish.



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Alfredo

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:10 am


Dear MTM,
Hey, aren’t you in Australia? What day is it anyway? :-) It’s almost midnight my time and I have 36 pre-registration meetings with students tomorrow. So I’ll make this brief.
1) Would you ever sit on a response panel for the VM at a secular university? Is there anything intrinsically wrong with representing the Church provided you don’t have to watch the performance–envision simply stepping into the theater to take your seat on a panel after the curtain call?
I think I would still refuse, and for much the same reason, viz., that the atmosphere is morally unsuited to serious dialogue. (I am assuming here that I was being explicitly called on to defend the Catholic view.) But I should be honest enough to confess that perhaps my reluctance would be partly due to squeamishness, and partly due to a lack of confidence that I could do well in front of what would be a predominantly hostile audience. Unlike my friend Janet Smith, I do not thrive in such a circumstance. However, if Janet consented to something like this, I wouldn’t think that she had done something wrong.
(2)At ND, do you avoid it because it is an unproductive venue or because it gives scandal for you to be in any way associated with VM, or because it is a cooperation with evil (and if so what kind)?
Here the answer is: the first two. Of course, one reason it would be scandalous is that some devout Catholics would take it to be an instance of at least material cooperation with evil. I’m not sure it would be, but since the belief that it would be a sinful cooperation with evil is arguably true and by no means obviously false, I would have to take this belief itself into account in assessing whether I would be committing the sin of giving scandal by my participation. (I’m not entirely confident about this answer, but I’m too tired to think it through right now.)



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anon2

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:11 am


Dave said, “Let’s not forget that the students are the ones for whom the university exists.”
During my daughter’s first week at ND she called to tell us that her english professor’s universtiy sponsored website had pornography, including bestiality on it. She needed to go to this site to get her assignments. I expected the chair of the english department to be as outraged as I. Instead I got a lecture about freedom of speech. You see, the teacher was using pornography to demonstrate against the v-chip. His point was that even if it offensive you don’t have the right to censure others. I contacted the head of Freshman Studies who also defended the teacher. My argument that a Catholic school should not permit this was totally disregarded. Finally, I happened to mention my daughter was 17, now they had a problem. The website was removed that same day.
Old Zhou hit the nail on the head.



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Dave

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:22 am


This is directed to Mike P, but also can be taken as a general statement abou this thread overall…. I take no great pleasure or solace in Father Jenkins’ decision. I am a writer and an educator, and it is from that position I can confidently say that there are no tricks or easy solutions to doing your job well. In fact, in my experience, each problem presents its own unique solution. Mike, this is why I chafed at your suggestion that your sons and/or daughters–the 20 and 24 year old–really have a grasp of what’s actually taking place at ND. I don’t say this to be antagonistic. I say this because the decisions being made are not being made lightly or with ulterior motives in mind. The decisions are made with Notre Dame in mind.



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Dave

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:28 am


Anon2,
Your daughter’s experience is absolutely and positively a vile and loathsome situation. I don’t know whose website this is, but I can assure you that they’re no friend of mine.



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janen7

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:37 am


padrechillin,
“Bombast” means pompous or pretentious talk. I’m talking about arrogant, prideful judgment, not the clarity and beauty that is found in our Catholic faith.
I’m trying not to take offense at the implication you made about my kids. (“Does that mean what the kids always say when they want to remain in their pride and sins and don’t want to hear Catholic truth no matter how attractively it is presented? Would your kids accuse Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict of bombast too?”)
Actually all five of them love JPII and Pope Benedict dearly and are in the midst of planning lives of service. As a matter of fact, this post was interrupted by my 19 year old (who just returned from volunteering for 6 months at a Missionary of Charity AIDS home) who came home from her job all excited about her future.
Your pre-judgment of them helps to make my point – the black and white thinking that causes people to paint young adults, university presidents, etc. with such a broad, condemning brush when they don’t fit the conservative, orthodox mold.



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padrechillin

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:02 am


Janen7,
I was not pre-judging your kids I was more going after you since it seems you hate Fransican U of Steubenville: “there is not a snowballs chance in hell of them finding God there?” What are you talking about? I am very familiar with Steubenville and while there may be some self-righteous people there, the fact that 75% of the students go to daily Mass, and a ton of vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well as fervent Catholics getting married and having big families who love the Faith are coming out of there, as well as professors who actually respect JPII and Benedict and all Magisterial teaching, Yeah, I’ll take that over ND and its rationalization of the VM which are evil and satanic (there is some bombast- wink). I mean didn’t Jesus say something to the effect, “by their fruits you will know them..” Is that bombastic?



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janen7

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:13 am


padrechillin,
I’m very familiar with Franciscan U of Steubenville, too. I agree with you. There are faithful, fervent students there. I make one point. Not every faithful Catholic student finds that environment attractive. And the fact that they don’t should not reflect negatively on them.
And again – you make my point when you say “there is not a snowballs chance in hell of them finding God there? What are you talking about?” You can’t seem to be able to imagine anyone finding what an earlier post-er referred to as a hothouse environment attractive. Well, two of my kids don’t. Period.



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Jonathan

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:16 am


Just to clarify, I did not actually go and see a performance of the Monologues. I suspected that the discussion panel might not be fulfilling its stated purpose, so I went to the discussion, which began after the play was finished. Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed. Granted, I only went to one out of the three panels, but according to Becky, the other ones were similar.
Regardless, I do not think that a “panel” approach would be good even if the Church’s teaching was accurately presented. At a Catholic university, the Catholic view should be predominant, not just one of the many conflicting viewpoints that we can take or leave at our leisure. It makes no sense to put on a performance or give a lecture and then to say, “Well, this is an example of what is completely opposed to the teaching of the Church which, on the other hand teaches that…” This can be done much less graphically. As some have already said, one can know about evil without experiencing it first-hand.



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padrechillin

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:26 am


Janen7,
Thank you for clarifying that. I have no problem with not everyone liking e.g. the intense Steubenville atmosphere; however, I would argue that if they don’t go to a place like Stuebenville they need to be a strong witness to the truths of our Faith in an attractive way, and many students need to go to a place like Stuebenville if they don’t want to get corrupted since not everyone is strong enough during the years 18-22 to take on the “pagan” culture, yet. I personally went to a public university and my faith grew stronger from the battles, while it took a toll on my nerves in retrospect, but at the same time looking back 15 years ago if I had to do it over I would probably go to Steubenville just for the intense Catholic formation and to be able to network with other young zealous Catholics. The bottom line is it is embarassing that Notre Dame would justify the VM- I don’t see how this is going to help any Catholic young person grow in their faith; instead it will probably cause them to hold the Church leadership in contempt as being hopelessly weak. I would hope you would concede that point.



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janen7

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:34 am


I think we’re the only two still awake!
I don’t think I need to concede the point that the VM at a Catholic college is embarassing and won’t help a young person’s faith. I agree. I never supported the VM, I tried to bring another angle to the discussion by suggesting:
“Can we cut Fr. Jenkins a bit of slack as he tries to turn that university around in a way that he feels will hold to the truth but not immediately alienate his faculty and students? I will. It can’t be easy. And the Catholic students looking for colleges are not all the same.”



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j-g

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:43 am


I’d like to thank you all for your posts, even if they kept me up past my bedtime. Special thanks to those with actual Notre Dame ties, reporting, as it were, from the front lines of this battle.
If you’ll be at Notre Dame’s “Alumni Senate,” the first drink’s on me. Offer not valid to bloggers under the age of 21.
And it’s spelled mujerista, by the way.
J-G ’84
ND alum / club prez who did not send Father Jenkins an e-mail as requested



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MTM

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:43 am


Alfredo, thanks for the response!
Follow up:
So then the question is, perhaps, the following: where does scandal come into play with academic freedom at a Catholic university? Can the former trump the latter? (Does anyone really care about scandal anymore?) Where does charity/love fit into these considerations?
Just some thoughts.
PS I am slowly working up a piece on this, so thank you (all of you but esp. Amy) for a great thread!



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padrechillin

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:51 am


Janen7,
No doubt Fr. Jenkins has a difficult job, I just wish these guys would stand up for the Faith in a direct, couragous, yet attractive way. That may mean taking on some entrenched faculty and firing some people. I DON’T think, as one other blogger pointed out, JPII or Pope Benedict would let the VM be on campus in any circumstances; and as you said your children and many young people admire them for being attractive witnesses to the Catholic Faith. Where is Fr. Jenkins courage to be counter-cultural as the Popes are? It just seems like he has sold out to keep the peace as so many of our Bishops also have done here in America with the so-called Catholic politicans who support abortion, to use a parallel example: they are “dialoging with them” but has any fruit come out of 30 or 40 years of dialog? Can you name one pro-abortion “Catholic” politican who is now pro-life? I think this same reasoning is being used by Fr. Jenkins: the need to “dialog” with the young people and the culture, but how do you dialog about a thing that is intrinsically evil like abortion or the VM? Shouldn’t you just teach the truth in love and move on to better things? It is flawed reasoning that seems to be a cover for cowardice- but God is the ultimate judge, so we pray for Fr. Jenkins.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:13 am


Alright, after blowing a good hour or more that should have been spent on thesis work reading these comments, here are my two cents worth, from someone “on the ground.”
“The problem with Jenkins saying that we can solve all our problems with this issue by having a committee and surrounding every event with the presentment of Catholic teaching is that there’s hardly anyone at ND who can actually present the Catholic teaching.”
I’m sorry, Becky, but that’s just plain false. I could name 20 professors off the top of my head who could competently present the Catholic teaching. From what I’ve heard, all of the qualified professors either were not asked, or turned it down because they did not want to associate themselves with the event, dignify it with a response, etc. Saying that the competent faculty are not present, however, paints the situation in a much more grim light than is actually the case.
I would say is that it is not only possible, but quite easy, to get a BETTER Catholic education at Notre Dame than at some of the “truly Catholic” institutions. Many of the professors here are among the foremost scholars (if not THE foremost scholars) in their field. I studied Aristotle under the most eminent scholar in that field at any university, Catholic or secular. MacIntyre is such a preeminent philosopher that some universities offer classes on his work. I haven’t even begun to list the Thomists, and that’s just the philosophy department. We also have many professors here who left tenured positions at Ivy League schools in order to come to an environment where Catholicism could be seriously discussed in the classroom and with their colleagues.
Students should leave Catholic universities with at least half a chance at “faith, the missionary’s armor” in order to engage in the inevitable spiritual warfare surely to be encountered.
Joseph Wilson’s comment brings me to my main point. That is, students should not leave Catholic universities with this knowledge, they should enter it with such. A Catholic university is not the place for basic training. That should have occurred in high school. A university is more like officer’s school.
Of course, at the moment, many of our Catholic high schools are not doing that job, leaving universities to pick up the slack and do jobs they were never intended to do. Thus the problem. Universities are forced to ask these questions because their student bodies are composed largely of students who really need a decent Catholic high school education. If students were at the level they should be when they reached the university, there would be no one left to perform in and attend the Monologues. The university shouldn’t have to formulate such a policy at all, because well-formed Catholic students, in a setting of academic freedom, should tend toward the good, thus making the freedom/censorship/Catholic identity balance a moot point.



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under the dome

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:36 am


I agree 100% with Emily.
I am also “on the ground” here at Notre Dame. I am a joint major in Philosophy and Theology, and I can tell you that there are dozens of faculty who are eminently capable of responding to this farsical “controversy”, but either declined in the interest of not being in any way associated with the event or were not asked because they are not “fair and balanced” enough for interested parties. Anyone who questions the fact that there are stellar faculty at Notre Dame need a serious reality check.
Having been involved with a broad range of Catholic groups, from ACTS retreats to Opus Dei, I can tell you that, although Notre Dame may not be brimming over with one or another’s brand of orthodoxy, there is certainly not a shortage of it here. Again, I agree with Emily that “Catholic” high schools are sending poorly-formed students to Notre Dame (the very same ones who make up the 85% “Catholic” student body here), and the University must at the same time pick up the slack and contend with the divergent views of these students.
Instead of bashing Notre Dame, why don’t you affect the course of this University (which, like it or not, is America’s preeminent Catholic University and very likely the foremost in the world) and send your well-formed Catholic sons and daughters here to help turn the tide. If they are truly as mature in their spirituality as you do doubt hold, they will be the “salt” of Notre Dame and will be part of the solution rather than “victims of the problem” here.
There are many of us students (and many faculty) here who are doing our part, but we need help. So please, quit offering uninformed, unsolicited advice to Notre Dame unless you are directly involved in restoring its Catholic identity as either students, faculty, parents, or alumni. St. Dominic would not have abandoned Notre Dame, he would have transformed it.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:48 am


The whole discussion makes me sad. Young Catholics, spending 20K a semester being satisfied that there are good professors in the Philosophy department. Or that it has a great pre-med program.
Why should people attending or teaching at arguably the most prestigious Catholic University have to settle for a plate of food where “not all of it is rotten”?
Granted, UND isn’t HELL. Fair enough. But why should we settle for pockets of Catholicity at a Catholic University.
And college students, that unruly mob that used to revile anything over thirty years of age, aren’t moved to pitch a fit?
Where are your balls, students? Burn your bras, or something! Start yelling, “Hell no, we won’t go!”
Could it be that your faith is already “tasteless”? Are you so beaten down by the people fighting FOR V-Monologues that you don’t have the balls to fight against it?
Quite frankly, if I was on campus, and I wasn’t involved in actively fighting this nonsense, I’d be ashamed of myself.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:58 am


Emily and Under the Dome,
You have good points. I’ll consider what you are saying, for sure. I have kids about to enter college (two years or so).
That being said, what are YOU doing to fight the “enemy”? Is there a student organization demanding fidelity to Catholic Teaching? Is there as much energy being focused on resisting the dissidents, or promoting the Faith as there has been on the side of the VM people?
Good Lord! They squealed, and WON! How pathetic is it that the University doesn’t have the cajones to fight back. If there is only one squeaky wheel, maybe they feel like a retreat is their best move.
You have to get out there and cut off their retreat! Demand that ND be Catholic. Protest. Start a writing campaign to the Alumni. Get media smart. Stir up twice as much **** as the pseudo-Catholics.
Intil then, ND is not having a TRUE dialog about this crap. It is an Agenda-Monologue.
Fight back!



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:06 am


Michael,
First off, I wish tuition here were only $20K.
Secondly, it’s not just the philosophy department. We’ve got solid profs in Theology, History, Classics, all over the place.
Also, I wouldn’t exactly characterize the Catholic response to this as “pitching a fit,” but we have staged prayer vigils outside performances of the Monologues, written editorials, written to board members, and, more importantly, engaged in one-on-one discussions of the issue with those in favor or on the fence. Because, let’s face it, even if the Monologues were banned tomorrow, our job in revitalizing Notre Dame’s campus would just be beginning. Cultural change doesn’t come from the top, but from changed hearts and minds of individuals within that culture.



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RP Burke

posted April 7, 2006 at 6:41 am


A reply to Joseph Wilson.
Not at all an opponent of straw, but a direct consequence of the misguided effort to protect some of the smartest kids in America by insulating them from something that they have to confront now and in the future.



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inhocsig

posted April 7, 2006 at 6:47 am


Emily,
Evidently your major is neither Math or English. Michael wrote the tuition was 20K a semester. That makes it 40K a year.
Janen7,
If you loosen up the straps on your Birkies you’ll feel better and your blood pressure will drop.



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Lily

posted April 7, 2006 at 7:08 am


Under the dome,
I wouldn’t pay a dime for a college that is marginally Catholic. If I were obsessed by honors and prestige I would plunk the kid into Harvard where at least he wouldn’t have a priest telling him it’s okay to watch the VM. St. Dominic would lead a rosary crusade against the heresies promoted at such pseudo-Catholic colleges. He wouldn’t walk around with a silly smile on his face slapping the backs of people while souls were in peril. (or maybe he would have married Mary Magdalene’s daughter?) He was a warrior of the highest degree with the Holy Rosary and serious preaching his weapons. I don’t know if Fr. Jenkin’s would like to “dialogue” with him.
And of course you know what St. Louis de Montfort said about “proud and puffed up scholars.” I don’t care how “prestigious” the professors are. I’d rather have my children learn from devout Catholic scholars, even if they haven’t been deemed by the “education gods” to be an elite. The best educations were received from little nuns before they realized they needed to be “liberated.”
I’d be truly happy if my son drove a trash truck if he was a saint and was following God’s will for his life.
Eternity is closer than one thinks and what does it profit a man…
ps It would go better for you in these discussion forums if you didn’t tell people they haven’t the right to comment:
“So please, quit offering uninformed, unsolicited advice to Notre Dame unless you are directly involved in restoring its Catholic identity as either students, faculty, parents, or alumni.”



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Lily

posted April 7, 2006 at 7:40 am


(or maybe he would have married Mary Magdalene’s daughter?) …..mean MM’s subsequent female “line”….



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted April 7, 2006 at 7:55 am


R.P. Burke, my kids regularly have their noses rubbed in stuff like the Vagina Monologues: on the school bus (in a small town in the midwestern United States), on the playground (of a Catholic school), on television, and in the print media. I don’t believe that they will feel deprived if they don’t have the opportunity to attend a performance of the V.M. at a Catholic or secular univerity. I know that I can confront the culture very well, and I’ve never seen the Vagina Monologues.
Fr. Jenkins risks missing the good use of a “teachable moment”; and worse, he risks scandalizing all who learn that he is unwilling to stand more clearly in opposition to forces so obviously opposed to the teaching of the Magisterium.



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janen7

posted April 7, 2006 at 9:24 am


Padrechillin – you make some very good points (and stayed up way too late to make them!) I agree that dialogue very rarely works from both ends of the spectrum.
All – Now I have inhocsig making my arguments for me.
It’s a case again of someone painting with a broad brush (this time with a color called “liberal!”) because my viewpoint didn’t fit the mold.
What first attracted me to Amy’s blog was that she didn’t seem to fit the mold. Maybe I can make my point more clearly as I keep responding. Not everyone is comfortable with what is seen as the current conservative, orthodox mold – Steubenville is a convenient shorthand to describe it. No, I don’t want my kids exposed to the VM, but like my middle daughter said, “I want to go to a Catholic college that has its feet on the ground.”
Right now I don’t think there is one, although I was pretty darned impressed with the U of Dallas when I visited there last month with daughter #4. ND may be able to be that down the road. I haven’t lost faith in Fr. Jenkins because he “caved” on this one.
He has to be able to continue to work with his faculty and students as he goes down this very difficult road. Let’s not paint him with a broad brush because he picked his battles and we think he picked the wrong ones. He may have a huge battle brewing in the background.



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janen7

posted April 7, 2006 at 9:46 am


One more point. The daughter who said she wanted a school with their feet on the ground ended up going to a school where her very faithful cousin was happy – Aquinas in MI. Her experience there has been very interesting.
As a theology major, she’s been very pleased with the faculty, but was discouraged with the lack of spiritual support on campus. I encouraged her to do something about it. She and another student ended up forming an organization to provide a support network, a sense of community among students who want to follow the Lord more closely. It was a resounding success. They prayed the rosary at their first meeting and shared their vision with the large number of students who attended. The others were so excited about it that they ended up, over time, taking over leadership roles and organizing most of the activities.
All I know is that as we have prayed and asked God for guidance, He has been faithful in our kids’ college decisions even when they got booted out of the hothouse and into the storm.



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Nonnisitedomine

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:03 am


Emily,
Your post reminds me of how proud I am to have been one of your teachers at ND.
The criticism that was immediately directed at you and Under-the-Dome is indicative of how the uninformed engage what they do not know. Has it occurred to anyone engaged in the attacks upon Notre Dame to think that, just as in the world at large, it is usually only the worst of things that make the news, and drive our sense of what is happening? That recognition does not excuse anything that makes it into the news. But it does raise questions about perspective in criticism.
Your blog at Notre Dame “Shrine of the Holy Whapping” has been mentioned numerous times by Amy, and yet no one bothered to find out about you before they began the attack. Instead they assumed that you and your friends simply sit around at Notre Dame twiddling your thumbs.
For those who want to write knowledgeably:
http://holywhapping.blogspot.com/
Here’s a recent sample. “Incomprehensible grab bag to the secular binary of liberal/conservative “sides,” maybe… But to me, it seems to be exactly that unified Catholic spirit that makes perfect sense to the love which knows Christ. Isn’t that what binds a fierce devotion to the liturgy with a fierce devotion to the poor?? The presence of Christ–the love for Christ!”
I have taught at two other Catholic universities. Notre Dame is without question the best. Not simply for its resources, or sports, or library, or salary. It is simply the best because of the wide opportunity to teach students who have a vibrant intellectual life integrated into their faith, and want to enrich it. While it sometimes seems that the model at Notre Dame is one of faith confronting understanding, which is far better than many other places, students like you remind us that the heart of Notre Dame is faith seeking understanding.
There are those who shout, and there are those who pray and work. Keep praying and working.
And to those so quick to judge in ignorance, Emily and her friends are the solution. There is too much privilege at Notre Dame, as in almost all of our colleges and universities. But your kids should have the privilege to go school with the likes of them.



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Mark Windsor

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:22 am


One of the things I like least about comboxes…everywhere there are experts. Often the experts don’t have a clue, but they decide they know what they’re talking about. I don’t think anyone here should go any further than to read Emily and Dome’s post a couple of times through. They’re there, you’re not.
But the fundamental thing isn’t how sad it is that ND would put up the VM in an attempt to enter into dialogue with the world. It’s not the fact that Catholic HSs are not sending well formed kids to ND. The real problem is that so few kids are getting out of CCD with any idea what it is to be Catholic. I pulled my kids from my parish CCD program this year because they were bored doing crafts. They prefer being homeschooled on the Baltimore Catechism. I can’t tell you how dissapointing it was to sit on the parish adult faith formation team and realize that none of the other people there had a clue.
Catechesis begins at home, not in a parish hall, not in a Catholic HS, not in South Bend or Dallas or Steubenville.



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Becky

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:33 am


Emily and Under the Dome,
I know that there are good faculty at ND, so I probably shouldn’t have painted with so broad a brush. It remains true, however, that these orthodox voices continue to be silenced here. I can name the 20 professors that you would name, plus the 20 more that are at the law school where I am. They are there, but they don’t get asked to do things like this.
The panels and discussions were so disappointing that I just couldn’t help commenting that Fr. Jenkins has offered us a framework that just doesn’t work here right now. I wish it could, but it doesn’t.
I am well aware that this is the best Catholic university in America, and I would send my kids here in a heartbeat. I have defended ND continuously on this blog. I don’t want to leave this place next year – I love it. But there are some serious problems, and the biggest one is that you can probably only name 20 or so undergraduate professors who could articulate Catholic teaching on some of these issues. Whole departments (English, Sociology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Film) have been taken over by people hostile to the Catholic faith. This is a huge problem.
That said, of course there have been wonderful things happening on campus, not the least of which is the now annual Eucharistic Procession, and the increasing number of students going to Adoration. But the students can’t change everything. To actually succeed in its mission, ND needs a change in the face of the faculty. It’s that simple.



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Matthew of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:35 am


Folks, I can’t add much to what my blogging compatriot Emily, but here’s my two cents worth. I think there’s a major problem here in that people assume that somehow Notre Dame is in the same bag now as secular or secularized campuses such as Georgetown or Boston College or places like Harvard. This is certainly not the case. I have been at ND for quite a long time now and seen many good Catholic things get better during my time here. We have had a Eucharistic Procession with enormous support from Campus Ministry, and we’re planning a second one which is likely to be even bigger. This is just an example of many things we have done.
Who did this? The students. We have worked hard for many years here. We don’t sit around twiddling our thumbs–as Emily has pointed out, there have been prayer vigils, editorial and letter-writing campaigns, and plenty of private prayer. (And does the media ever talk about this, even the Catholic media? Never!) There is much good here, and much getting better. I have seen the fruits of almost ten years of labor by various generations of students pay off in my time here.
Some have commented that this event means the kids on campus are now just as morally confused as elsewhere. (I am paraphrasing here). Trust me, that’s not the case. The atmosphere on campus is radically different from any other college, in terms of moral environment. There’s none of the open and very frank sexual atmosphere one finds at other campuses. I spent a weekend at University of Minnesota once (hardly, as far as I know, a Babylon of Corruption, at least so I assume) and was pretty surprised by what I saw in comparison to ND. We have about a dozen masses in different locations on campus every day. You can’t say that about anywhere else. The fact that there’s been such open frustration about this action in the blogosphere speaks volumes. Notre Dame’s Catholicity is still vibrant; if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be so surprised by this turn of events. The VM is (presumably) still going on at Georgetown and BC, and yet I imagine a discussion on the subject wouldn’t generate almost 200 comments.
It is very easy to get a good Catholic education here. I did the thought-experiment of wondering IF IT WERE POSSIBLE to get a ‘liberal’ education here, to live a life where the Mass was ignored, the tabernacle avoided, and orthodox theology scorned. It would be very hard to do that indeed, to shelter oneself from it here on campus, because it is pervasive, and getting more pervasive every day.



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Dave

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:36 am


Mark,
I hear you on the ineffective and “light” CCD classes. I’ve had similar experiences with prep for marriage classes and prep for baptism classes.



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Dave

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:39 am


Matthew,
You’re right. There is an awesome and pervasive spirit on the ND campus that works its way into the most hard hearted of people.



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Scherza

posted April 7, 2006 at 11:13 am


Echoing previous comments, but the issue of strong faith formation doesn’t begin in the Catholic high schools nor is it solvable at that level. I see my students for fifty-five minutes per day, four days per week, thirty-six weeks per year. It’s barely sufficient time to scratch the surface of British literature, and British lit is hardly on the same level of importance in the formation of a person that religious education is.
One of the most difficult problems that we face as a Catholic school is that the parents of our students believe that it’s our job to teach their children what it means to be Catholic, but they don’t take their children to church or teach them anything about their faith at home. In many cases, they can’t teach their children about the Catholic church because it’s impossible to teach what you don’t know yourself.
It’s not constructive for our Catholic colleges and universities to sit back complacently and whinge that it’s not THEIR fault that the high schools and the parents and the CCD teachers aren’t doing their jobs right, so why should they pick up the slack? Emily, I agree with you 100% that the colleges shouldn’t have to step in and do basic catechesis with their students. But if the students need it and they don’t have it yet, is the best alternative really to ignore the glaring need and just proceed with business as normal?



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Lily

posted April 7, 2006 at 11:18 am


Matthew and Dave, Lovely posts.
I write to protest the decision by Fr. Jenkin’s to allow the VM on the campus of ND. I know ND has a clear Catholic identity. I know the students are lovely. That’s what irks me. It’s a lovely school and it’s wrong for us to sit around while an evil agenda progresses. This is a huge progression of an agenda. It’s not your fault Matthew or Dave, or any of the other good profs or students. There is an agenda working here that is serious and is playing hardball. Why do they want VM at the pre-eminent Catholic university in the US? Why can’t they stick to the secular institutions? You know why.
Emily,Un-dome,Becky, Keep up the good work.
It is the VM and its backers that are troublesome, not hard working Catholic students.



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chris K

posted April 7, 2006 at 11:42 am


Then in comparison we hear from another Catholic religious representative:
Providence College
Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., president of Providence College, has banned a production of V-Monologues on campus planned by the student club Women Will. In a statement to the college community, released to the public on January 19 (www.providence.edu/Administration/Presidents+Office/Vagina+Monologues.htm), Shanley explains that he read the play and found it “not appropriate for a school with our mission. …First, far from celebrating the complexity and mystery of female sexuality, ‘The Vagina Monologues’ simplifies and demystifies it by reducing it to the vagina. …Second, the description of the play as a ‘new bible’ is an indication that its depiction of female sexuality is meant to displace the traditional Biblical view that inspires the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.” Answering critics who claim such productions on Catholic campuses are protected by academic or artistic freedom, Shanley argues, “But artistic freedom on a Catholic campus cannot mean the complete license to perform or display any work of art regardless of its intellectual or moral content. Any institution which sanctioned works of art that undermined its deepest values would be inauthentic, irresponsible and ultimately self-destructive.”

Now, come on Fr. Jenkins, that shouldn’t be so hard to come by in such a fertile mind, now is it? One acting in Persona Christi who seems to have his head screwed on straight. You might want to emphasize the “self-destructive”. That’s usually evil’s intent…unless you haven’t been out in the real world lately. And that’s where the poor students are eventualy headed.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 11:53 am


A few comments:
inhogsig,
You’re right, my degree is in neither Math nor English. It is in Philosophy and Latin (the latter of which probably makes me better at English than most English majors). I hope I can be excused for a slight misreading of Michael’s post at 3am my time. At any rate, the snarkiness was certainly unjustified.
As for the comments regarding CCD, high schools, etc: yes, the blame lies with Catholic high schools and elementary schools, parish religious ed programs, and, dare I say, most of all with the parents. I made this point on comments on my own blog, but neglected to do so here.
Also, I brought up this point, not to exonerate or excuse anyone, but to highlight the difficult tension that comes with making such a decision. One cannot outright ban everything that goes against Catholic teaching, leaving students holed up with nothing but Augustine and Aquinas for four years, and utterly unready to answer any real world challenges, as well as being deprived of the good that is to be gleaned from such works. (While I detest the Monologues, even they have served to highlight important issues that need to be addressed, and were not being addressed previously.)
Since students are not, in fact, well-formed in the Faith, the university is forced to try to draft some sort of a compromise policy. My point is not that doing so is not necessary, given the situation, but that until our catechetical problems are fixed, anything our universities can do is simply placing a band-aid on a gaping wound. The fact that we feel compelled to ask brilliant Theology faculty to teach rudimentary CCD classes to otherwise very intelligent kids is a travesty.



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chris K

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:23 pm


Emily, I don’t think anyone is saying that each person, under God, has his/her responsibility to teach the Faith, at whatever level, according to his/her particular influence. Lately, only a few do that well. That said, even someone entering a Catholic University, especially of such renown as ND, who has had absolutely no training at all in the Faith or one who has even been taught all kinds of ignorance or blasphemy, should not be influenced to continue in such a state while in an expected Catholic environs through the auspices of the religious president. The Catholic Church has responsibility for all God’s children and to educate them in no fence-sitting sort of way. People are just expecting and asking Notre Dame, through its public representation as Catholic, to be authentic. If not, then it’s a scandal for all Catholics simply because the “enemy” can use it to point to the greater Catholic community…not just for those who can afford to attend or are permitted (by some here) to be the only anointed ones to speak for their Faith. If students have to find their way AROUND the president and his personal philosophy or lack thereof, then those of them who are NOT well prepared may fall…while attending on his watch!



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 7, 2006 at 12:32 pm


If I could interject here, not on the substance of the discussion, but on its tone:
Many of the posts here have been very thoughtful, well-considered pieces. But I’ve also seen the following:
“Weren’t the Jesuits ‘Catholic’ once?”
“These are some of the immediate words that come to my mind when I read of so called priest who allow such filth to be part of a Catholic(?)University. They have lost their ‘salt’ and are concerned only with the approval of men.”
“My husband is an ND grad and he’s enraged over Fr. Jenkins’ craven cowardice.”
“Jenkins is a weenie.”
“If you loosen up the straps on your Birkies you’ll feel better and your blood pressure will drop.”
Let’s see–that’s:
–a blanket condemnation of a fine religious order
–a suggestion that Fr. Jenkins is somehow less a priest because he disagrees with the poster, and an attempt to read Fr. Jenkins’ mind (how does the poster know what Fr. Jenkins is concerned about?)
–an accusation of “craven cowardice”–isn’t it at least *possible* that Fr. Jenkins acted on his own best judgment regarding the principles involved (even if the poster might justifiably disagree with that judgment)?
–simple name-calling, and
–a snarky aside at a fellow poster.
Todd had earlier suggested we look at Par. 2478 of the Catechism. It reads:
“To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
“Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”
I give that a hearty second.
And frankly, some of what I’ve seen here is why I’m often reluctant to participate in online discussions, though I read them often.
Not only are some of the things I’ve seen uncharitable, they’re also unhelpful.
If I don’t already agree with a position, I’m *not* going to be convinced when it’s presented by someone who’s engaging in personal attacks. I’m far more likely to simply shut out the noise. I suspect I’m not unusual in that regard.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m all for arguing the issues, and having a good knock-down, drag-out discussion. That’s part of how we all learn, and come to better understand those we disagree with, even if, at the end of the day, we *still* disagree.
But can we have that discussion without engaging in personal attacks and casting aspersions on one another’s motives?



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marie

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:14 pm


“While I detest the Monologues, even they have served to highlight important issues that need to be addressed, and were not being addressed previously.”
What are those issues, and is a perfomance of this play essential to addressing them?



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Chiara

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:16 pm


I would like to thank my fellow Domers, Emily, Matt, Becky, and Prof. Fredosso, for defending Our Lady’s University in the wake of this week’s disappointing events. Indeed, Emily hit the nail on the head when she emphasized the need for students to enter Notre Dame already having had a solid catechesis- and yet the reality is vastly different.
But what about the majority of those students who enter Notre Dame having gone through the “feminist boot camps” of liberal sisters and what not? Is Notre Dame’s environment such as that it leads them further into the abyss? Indeed, I was one of those students and I am here to testify that it is none other than the vibrant Catholic environment at Our Lady’s University that had led me back to the splendor of The Truth.
Not going into details, I was the victim of a terrible catechesis- Christianity was all about being “nice” to people, and, as one sister who considered herself an “Islawiccahindubhuddacatholic”, told us…”All religions are the same.” Following that train of thought, I reasoned that if all religions were the same, why bother with Christianity? Encouraged by the sisters to “experiment” with other “faith traditions,” I found myself as an agnostic, and remained so for about five years. Towards the end of those five years, I began to read junk like Thomas Paine’s “Age of Reason” and decided that I was a Deist. Thus, it was as a Deist that I entered Notre Dame.
When I entered Notre Dame, I expected everyone to be completely accepting of my lack of faith. While people didn’t castigate me because of my disbelief, most people expressed desire to see me as a Catholic once again. At Notre Dame, the environment is such that intellectual discussion is pervasive outside of the classroom- and I found that my friends, professors, choir directors, etc. were always willing to patiently answer my questions about Catholicism. In retrospect, all of their answers to my questions were always in keeping with Church Teaching and never remember being told anything “sketchy” or untrue. One interesting point is that each dorm has a resident priest living there. The particular priest living in my dorm was a wonderful, patient man who always answered all of my questions and helped to catechize me in a way in which the sisters in my high school never did. That priest soon referred me to a couple of other wonderful, Orthodox priests on campus, who really influenced my journey back to Holy Mother Church.
Beyond the intellectual environment at Notre Dame, the campus is brimming with Catholicism. I initially went down to “the grotto”, a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, as part of my daily nature walk, but in the process, found myself inadvertently saying a prayer to the Virgin- certainly God’s grace had been at work through Our Lady. I initially went to daily mass to “hang out with friends,” but little by little found myself listening to the words and, through God’s grace, I slowly came to believe in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. At first, I joined the Liturgical Choir as a way of meeting people who enjoyed music, but when we sang in the Basilica on Sundays, I found myself coming to realize the sheer beauty of the Catholic Liturgy.
I truly believe that it was God’s plan to lead me to this University, because without its many positive Catholic influences, I would never have known the beauty of the True Faith.
Thus, if you are a parent and your child is already strong in the faith, there are so many opportunities for them to strengthen their relationship with Christ- Eucharistic Adoration, daily mass, spiritual direction, etc. However, for those parents who fear that their children who have been poorly catechized- I sincerely believe that Notre Dame couldn’t be a better place for them to realize the beauty of Holy Mother Church through the intercession of Our Lady.
Indeed, I will admit that I am sorely disappointed by Fr. Jenkins’ unwise decision. But as Matt, Emily, and Becky have already articulated, we are doing so many positive things on campus- a Eucharistic Procession, Adoration, prayer-vigils- to productively work towards a more Catholic Notre Dame that is truly faithful to Our Lady.
For further reflections on the topic, check out my blog at http://canticleofchiara.blogspot.com
Pax et Bonum!



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Alfredo

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:23 pm


See why I love this place despite everything? Thanks, Chiara



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:33 pm


“What are those issues, and is a perfomance of this play essential to addressing them?”
The issues brought up are those pertaining to many forms of violence against women in our society. No, the play is not essential, or even helpful as such, to addressing these issues, since it is not in conformity with the Truth.
However, it was an issue that needed to be addressed, and, as wrong-headed as the approach might be, the organizers of the event addressed it, while the orthodox Catholics on campus failed to do so. This situation has since changed, with the advent of such events as the Edith Stein Project and increased efforts by campus Right to Life and others in this area. Would it have been the case if the issue had not been brought up by the Monologues? Probably not. Does this justify their existence? Probably not. I merely wanted to bring this up as one example of Catholic students gleaning the good out of a work that is contrary to Catholic teaching.



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:40 pm

Catholic Mom

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:43 pm


Emily and all others asserting there are good Catholic faculty and students at ND: No doubt you are right. I am sure that a student can find a vibrant faithful Catholic Community at ND. One can also find very similar communities on secular campuses. The question is, what makes ND or any other Catholic university different? Next fall I will be sending my son to my alma mater, Rice University. I am sending him to this secular institution for its outstanding academics. I have no expectation that this university will officially strive to provide an environment supportive of his Catholic faith. I have done the best I can to prepare him for this step. On the other hand, if I were sending my child to a university that advertised the brand name “Catholic” I would have such expectations. That is why there is so much fuss over this decision. The public appearance ND projects is that the faithful Catholic community is surviving in spite of the administration, not because of it. In which case, it is no different than a secular institution.



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Susan Peterson

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm


I haven’t read every comment here yet. I am responding to Dave’s saying, in essence, that the university ought to address the issues of concern to the students.
I disagree. I think the agenda ought to be set by those who know better, not by those who don’t Discussion during one’s four years of undergraduate education ought to be about the great questions addressed by philosophers, theologians, novelists, poets, mathematicians and scientists in the Western tradition. Students should be involved in the study and discussion of these and have as little involvement with current issues as possible.(They shouldn’t have TV’s in their rooms,or in student lounges and common rooms. When I was in college there wasn’t one TV on campus and I didn’t see TV for the entire 4 years, with one distressing exception which should never have happened. ) Until they have some real education, what can they bring to a discussion of these issues but their “feelings” or unthought out attitudes shaped by the media and popular culture? Students should be talking about “What is justice? Is there such a thing as justice itself separate from examples you can cite of justice and injustice? What is virtue? Can it be taught? Is the pleasurable the good? What is the proper end of man? Is it worse to suffer evil or to do evil? Is it possible to know what the good is but not to choose it? ”
as well as those questions which take us into realms of pure thought “Is there such a thing as a perfect circle even though no such thing is found in nature? What is the stuff we see around us made of, and how does one find out? What makes a living thing alive and different from an inanimate object? ” The questions about the relations of men and women are best addressed by reading great novels which deal with these questions and discussing them; this sort of reading is best postponed until the last two years of college, which will naturally happen in a roughly chronological progression. Generally while people consider such questions they aren’t ready to marry or have families, so they should be sublimating their sexuality into the search for and love of the true and the beautiful and of particular truths and beauties. Colleges should help them do this by providing separate dormitories and allowing men and women to meet only in common areas, not in their bedrooms. The last thing students need is to see someone fake an orgasm on the stage. Of course in this day and age they will have seen this sort of thing in the movies and probably will continue to in their off campus life. But if the college insists that they spend most of their life reading serious books and discussing serious ideas, they will soon have more wisdom to bring to their consideration of those parts of popular culture which can’t help filtering in to the campus. There is no need to invite it in.
Only a few colleges actually live this out. St. John’s does so in its curriculum but not in its rules for the private lives of its students, as since there isn’t a social consensus about these issues any more, a non religious school has no way to justify doing so. From what I hear, St. Thomas Aquinas does both, although some say the scope of the discussion suffers somewhat from its committment not only to Catholicism but to Thomism and even to a certain school of interpretation of Thomas. (I have no direct knowledge of this and only one of the three people I talked to about it thought this.) I think St. John’s but with parietal rules and with a reasonable percentage of faculty members from the several Christian traditions (and practicing Jews also) would be ideal…but you can’t get that and have to choose between them as they are.
I don’t think much of undergraduate education which doesn’t seriously require broad general education. Even those which allow majors should devote the first two years to general education, and in the last two years the majors should still be broad and general…Biology, History, Psychology, Sociology..English Literature etc. No one should be able to major in Women’s studies or Black studies, or Queer studies (they use the word that way themselves, it is not my term) Reserve such stuff, if it must exist, to graduate school.
And for goodness sake, don’t let students think that they ought to set the agenda for their education or determine what are the important questions to be discussed. Why would you think an eighteen year old is wise enough to make these choices?
My idea of what shouldn’t come on campus is therefore much broader than forbidding the VM because it is lewd and opposed to Catholic teaching. However even with universities constituted as they are now, a Catholic university ought to forbid this because it is lewd and opposed to Catholic teaching. The faculty ought to have the wisdom to know this and ought to use that widsom to tell students that no matter what they want to do, their teachers and guides will not let them be exposed to it at the school, whatever they are exposed to outside of it. If some students wanted to stage a production of it off campus, they probably shouldn’t be expelled for it, but a Catholic school shouldn’t sponsor it. I am not sure if a Catholic school would have to refrain from sponsoring any performance or movie which opposed Catholic teaching. The more Catholic the teaching of the school the less harm would be done by such. I wonder, for instance, if St. Thomas Aquinas would allow a student film club to show The Cider House Rules. (alludes to incest, is proabortion, implicitly denigrates the idea of set rules for moral conduct).
Susan Peterson



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm


Catholic Mom,
Did you read Chiara’s post? While of course one can find support for one’s faith at most universities, at very few places does such support seek you out. Notre Dame is definitely one of those places.



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Catholic Mom

posted April 7, 2006 at 1:59 pm


Emily,
I did read Chiara’s post. My point is the reaching out being done by students to other students is wonderful. However, it is not unique to Notre Dame or any other Catholic University. It also occurs at many secular school. (Texas A&M comes to mind) What should be unique at a Catholic school is the reaching out by the administration to embrace and nurture faithful Catholicism in the students. The outspoken dissent of faculty such as Fr. McBrien and decisions as these by Fr. Jenkins do not project an image of an administration guided by the Faith.



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:09 pm


Students are the ones for whom the university exists, Dave? You may be right. As I see it, most colleges and universities in this country are well on their way to becoming kindergartens.
Used to be universities existed to elevate and advance the culture. Use to be students went to school to be taught; seems now they go to school to teach. Wonderful!



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Christine

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:17 pm


“The outspoken dissent of faculty such as Fr. McBrien and decisions as these by Fr. Jenkins do not project an image of an administration guided by the Faith.”
And make it so, so much harder to get non-practicing Catholics like my husband (a stellar example of the failure of Catholic catechisis over the past 30 years) to consider reconnecting with the Church.
Decisions made by Catholic universities have greater repercussions than only how students are affected.



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fr. frank

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:18 pm


I suppose it all comes down to how you interpret and implement no. 4.2 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae: “§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.”
There are many great things about Notre Dame, not least it’s dedication to Our Lady, the beautiful gilded dome which so honors our Blessed Mother, the wonderful grottoe to Our Lady of Lourdes, the breathtaking Basilica, the fact the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in every chapel in every dorm, the continued tradition of single-sex dorms. There’s a lot of good there. But with a more simple submission to the guidance of the local Bishop, I think Notre Dame could do so much more!
But ‘submission’ is a difficult word for us to swallow in our contemporary culture. So difficult, that the translators of the Code of Canon Law for the American edition used the word “respect” instead of “submission” for the concept of “obsequium”. I think it comes down to obedience. Or are academics granted a pass on that because of their high SAT scores?



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myrtle

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:23 pm


I whole-heartedly echo Chiara’s email. I entered Notre Dame a flaming liberal pro-choice feminist, I left a confirmed Catholic. I didn’t convert b/c of any apologetics but I left because everyday I ran into my Catholic classmates on their way to Mass at noon, and 5:15 and 7:30 and 8:00. I converted b/c I saw people kneeling and praying to Mary at the grotto and doing Midnight candle lit campus wide stations of the cross and praying the Rosary every night at the Grotto at 6:00 PM. I converted because when one student was diagnosed with leukemia, hundreds and hundreds of his classmates lined up to have their bone marrow tested to see if they could be a doner for him. I converted because everywhere there were wonderful kind thoughtful Catholics who listened to me spew feminist invective against them and their church and never once get angry at me or yell or raise their voices. I’m not even sure that they answered me, they just smiled and laughed at my “jokes”, and quietly went about their prayers and studies.
I don’t know why this is the case; I knew plenty of poorly Catechized students, and flaming liberal classmates, and atheist professors on a mission to undermine the church’s teachings–but those these, in the end, were ineffectual against the testimony of the thousands of wonderful warm hearted prayerful students who are there.
I also regret Father Jenkins decision, I wrote him a letter expressing my hope that he would ban the play; but I know Our Lady will perservere.



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Matthew of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:29 pm


Catholic Mom,
There are of course secular universities with decent Newman Centers. I have on the whole not been that impressed, with a few exceptions. Some are orthodox but one particular charism or devotion dominates, without the great variety of personalities, interests, devotions and other legitimate diversities which make Catholic life so rich.
At secular universities (and even it seems places like Christendom and Thos. Aquinas), there’s by necessity a smaller pool of people to draw from; I’ve never seen anywhere but at ND more faithful orthodox Catholics united in their belief but yet also expressing themselves in so many legitimate but different ways. We have Thomists, enthusiasts for Hans Urs von Balthasar, JPII-style Phenomenologists, fans of Edith Stein, proponents of Eucharistic Adoration, the rosary, campus-wide stations of the Cross, a solid crop of seminarians, student groups dedicated to prayer, Right to Life, Militia Immaculatae, groups dedicated to studying Catholic culture and literature, groups dedicated to studying theology, and even an informal Gregorian schola (in addition to a number of very good and tradition-minded official student choirs that sing at Mass). It takes all kinds, at least under the mantle of orthodoxy. I don’t think you could get that variety–which is important, esp. given that some people are drawn to some devotions or studies and not others–at a secular college or small campus.
At Notre Dame, we have both professors and students bolstering each other’s faith, and also as Chiara and Emily said, a greater activity and willingness to seek others out and be very visible to it. We also have those in authority willing to give us much support. Could you imagine a secular university with 5-day-a-week Eucharistic adoration in one of the official buildings on campus?



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Chiara

posted April 7, 2006 at 2:34 pm


Catholic Mom,
As an addendum to what Emily said, the point of my post was to emphasize that Notre Dame has so many Catholic elements to it that you can’t help but notice the spirituality of the place, even if you aren’t Catholic. No matter how he or she tries, a student can’t avoid passing by a chapel, seeing a statue of Our Lady, or looking at a crucifix in each classroom. Whether a person consciously realizes it, these images do have an impression on a person….and more often than not, it sparks a person’s interest in the Catholic faith. That’s why I’ve seen people who were once completely ambivalent to all faith matters now seeking entrance into Holy Mother Church here at Notre Dame.
In contrast, a student at a secular University has to know such things like mass and adoration exist…and indeed, while there may be some evangelization going on by Catholic students and clergy in the hopes of seeking students out, the ambivalent student isn’t constantly bombarded by Catholic sacred imagery.
And…no matter what Jenkins does, he can’t take away the most salient symbol of the University…Our Lady atop the Golden Dome, whose image reminds us- whether we realize it or not- that although humans like Jenkins might hurt and dissapoint us, Christ everlasting love will never leave us as orphans.



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Becky

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Thanks to Chiara, Emily, Matthew and others for their descriptions of the faith culture here at ND. They have demonstrated more faith than I in the face of this disappointing decision by Fr. Jenkins.
As Chiara said, Our Lady on the Dome is still watching, and our cries won’t go unheard.
Catholic Mom – in every way this is different than a secular institution. When I arrived ND, I felt like I had come home, despite everything. The culture of the American Church is compressed into this little campus, and everything here breathes Catholicism. There are distortions, yes, just as there are distortions in the American Church as a whole, but the beauty of the Church that Christ founded is present here and you can’t escape it.
And I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but no one cares about McBrien here, except to call him a plagarist. :)
My biggest concern, besides the faculty, is Residence Life. Most of the brainwashing that occurs happens through the channel of the student life division. But again, at a secular university, residence life will be 400 times worse. The fact that ND is unrelenting when it comes to single-sex dorms and parietals (sp?) is commendable, and does a lot to preserve the Catholic culture of the place.



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Catholic Mom

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:05 pm


Matthew,
Since you ND students have been quick to cast dispersions on us “outsiders” for commenting about that which we have not experienced, I would ask the same courtesy as you speak of the evangelical efforts of secular institutions. While you may not have found the efforts of the institutions you have seen “impressive”, I have seen tremendous evangelization done by Catholic students at secular institutions. I think the issue still comes down to what is the official administration of the university doing to propogate orthodox Catholicism. If the official university structure cannot unquestionably support the Faith, parents should not look to the university as a Catholic institution.



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Becky

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:15 pm


Catholic Mom,
I agree that there are great things going on at secular institutions, but the administrations at these places work against them. It’s not just that the administration is passive, like they sometimes might be here, but they actually don’t want the Catholic groups there. That said, I’ve heard that at University of Illinois-Urbana they have quite the Newman Center.
The thing is, the university structure does unquestionably support and build up Catholicism. The problem is the individuals who are put in positions of power, and the culture that builds up around them. Most of our problems stem from the work done by Hesburgh two presidencies ago. But this is all human work. Are you going to judge a university on whether its Catholic by sinful men? There will always be sinful men…
There is so much hope here. Really. Even with this abomination. More and more students are deciding to come here and fight for the place. I think there’s a recognition that if Notre Dame falls, Catholic education will fall with it. If Notre Dame falls to the secular forces that want to overcome it, a huge battle for the Evil One will be won. With that said, we need more faithful young people to be open to coming here and fighting the good fight for an institution that is at a crossroads. In every way ND is worth fighting for – with prayer AND with attendance.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:16 pm


Catholic Mom,
Have any of the ND students here really been casting aspersions? We have, it is true, claimed a certain authority to comment on the situation, which I certainly think is justified. I don’t think we’ve denied, however, that anyone else’s opinions on the situation are not valid.
As for the administration, I’m not supporting Jenkins’ decision. I do still, however, contend that Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, not only because of her students, faculty, and the general atmosphere here, but also because of some other administrative decisions. I would point, for example, to the fact that the university has repeatedly and continuously refused to recognize any sort of GLBT group on campus.



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formerFUS/NDstudent

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:24 pm


I have briefly browsed the comments on this blog with great interest especially when I see references to schools I once attended, both Francisan University (Steubenville) and Notre Dame. I now attend graduate school at a Secular institution. I thought I would insert my 2 bits worth into the coversation – since I have not been able to read this thread thoroughly (I’m in a class as I write this) I hope my comments are not redundant.
Those who would praise schools like FUS should know that it is only a partial answer to the problem of secularization of Catholic Universities. It is true that you would never see the VM’s there, but there are also many other things you will not find, like articulate defenders of alternative ways of thinking. Disagreement is rare on that campus. Is that a good thing? Perhaps. But it was not until I went to ND and a secular graduate school that I realized how many unchallenged preconcieved notions I really had. My thinking was weak. And, if our concern is interacting and spreading the faith in the modern world we should



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Dan of the Holy Whapping

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:32 pm


I’d like to open up another question in this debate that I’ve been mulling over and trying to phrase well: what exactly is the “standard” by which a group like the Cardinal Newman Society can label Notre Dame a “substandard” Catholic university?
This is an important aspect of this debate, not to defend the decision that Jenkins has made (which I do not – I think he’s at best overestimating the possibilities and goods available from dialogue in a laissez faire intellectual environment), but to clarify what Notre Dame has been able to achieve.
By way of historical example, let’s try to remember that, from the first Benedictine abbey schools, the relation of Catholic education to the surrounding culture has been, shall we say, rocky. There’s always a tension between other wordly goods and bads and the goods of Catholic education and the interests of the Church.
Let us further consider, for example, the University of Paris at the time of St. Thomas Aquinas. This University, surely, was free from dissent from Church teachings and scandalous happenings? The nasty debates betweeen the arts and theology faculties, and its employment of Peter Abelard, for example, would seem to indicate our medieval predecessors also had a far from perfect Catholic university.
We might consider, then, Cardinal Newman’s standard for a Catholic university as set out in his book on the topic. This is an excellent work and an excellent ideal, but in Cardinal Newman’s own experience, it was not quite so easy on the ground, and his attempt to put it into practice was not particularly effective. This is not to malign the standard, but to point out the difficulties of achieving it.
What, then, of American Catholic higher education before the 1960’s, or in a place like Steubenville today? It is useful to point out that many problems at Notre Dame came, yes, with the problems of the 1960’s in general, but also with success. By succeeding as a more provincial and protected Catholic institution, Notre Dame began to engage higher echelons of the academy, and as a result became subject to the temptations inherent therein. In such a milieu rife with tension, mistakes are likely to occur as a result, and we are experiencing that at the moment.
The question, then of establishing a “standard” for Catholic universities is something of a nebulous one. It is remarkable, as Emily, Chiara, and Matt have correctly pointed out, how Catholic Notre Dame has managed to remain within this tension, and can continue to become. This may be “substandard” by an idealized standard, but no other University in this country at this time manages to engage the highest levels of the academy while maintaining such a distinctively Catholic atmosphere and intellectual environment.
I conclude by evoking Richard John Neuhaus and his famous and controversial statement that “America, all things considered, is a force for good in the world” – that is, for all her warts, and mistakes, America is a good. I would echo that by saying, “Notre Dame, all things considered, is a force for good in the Church and the world.”



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formerFUS/NDstudent

posted April 7, 2006 at 3:34 pm


Sorry… I accidentally posted before I was finished….
Anyways, what I was saying was that ND and the secular school I am now attending helped me to see those weaknesses and I believe I’m a better person and a better Cahtolic for it. Perhaps, because of the lack of formation for children in the church, there is a greater need for Catholic Universities to help Catholic students learn the basics of the faith. But young adults should not be treated as infants. I agree with those who would censor pornographic or other such offensive material. At the same time, I think it takes a lot of faith in God and in the Church to allow Catholics students to emerge from the womb of their homes (or schools or comfort zones) in order to learn about and eventually change the world. Part of equiping them for that mission is being willing to stop guarding their exposure to other ways of thinking. If our beliefs are true (and therefore better) we must have enough faith in God and in ourselves to allow others to put them to the test. That is how a Catholic student grows.



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MTM

posted April 7, 2006 at 5:20 pm


Matthew from Whapping: “I’ve never seen anywhere but at ND more faithful orthodox Catholics united in their belief but yet also expressing themselves in so many legitimate but different ways.”
Then you’ve never seen University of Dallas, seriously.



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Mike Roesch

posted April 7, 2006 at 5:43 pm


Don’t know if anyone’ noticed this yet, but there’s a post over at the First Things blog on this. At the bottom, Fr. Neuhaus actually quotes one of Dave’s comments.



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Glenn Juday

posted April 7, 2006 at 5:50 pm


The latest twist in the thread only supports my earlier points.
Because Notre Dame is currently a place with pretensions for the Catholic Faith to “… engage higher echelons of the academy…”, then precisely for that reason it needs to urgently address a serious deficiency of its top leadership to competently address both sides of that dialog.
Often, the basis for making a clear judgment on leadership, given all the intangibles involved, is not at all clear. But sometimes the leaders themselves make matters unmistakably clear to everybody.



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James Kabala

posted April 7, 2006 at 5:51 pm


I was not aware of the existence of Wabash College; I thought Hampden-Sidney was the only all-male college left. There is also a third one, it turns out: Morehouse College in Georgia, a historically black school paired with all-female Spelman College in the arrangement once used by Harvard and Radcliffe, Brown and Pembroke, and Columbia and Barnard.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 7, 2006 at 9:10 pm


Wow! 220 posts….
Emily,
You seem like a great young woman, and if my kids went to ND, I’d love to think they would be able to meet people like you.
Domer,
Same with you, although I don’t think you are a young woman : )
I do think, though, as effective and encouraging your defenses of ND are, I get the impression that you aren’t hearing the chorus here.
In short, while EVERYTHING you are saying may be true, ND is still in trouble. It sounds like there are good things happening, but they still seem to happen IN SPITE of the current direction, set by the university’s administration.
But I thank God both of you are there!



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Michael Hugo

posted April 7, 2006 at 9:11 pm


Amy,
I’m stickin’ by my guns on this one:
“Jenkins is a weenie.”



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Michael Hugo

posted April 7, 2006 at 9:21 pm


formerFUS/NDstudent
The problem with your argument is that ND graduates are NOT, proportionately, the great defenders of the Faith today.
I would argue that, weighing the pro/con net affect of a ND education, there are more dissident voices amoung ND grads than all FUS/TAC/AMC graduates combined. Remember, I said proportionately.
Also, your argument is the same one used by people in my high-school that tried to get me to do drugs. If I wanted to reject something, I had to “know” it. I disagreed then, and I disagree with your “exposure to other ways of thinking” as a panacea. Especially in the face of the REALITIES of the Church today.



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Scherza

posted April 7, 2006 at 10:26 pm


Michael, as my grandmother would say, “I don’t need to roll around in dog doo to know it stinks.”
The issue that the “exposure” proponents seem to gloss over is that in order to engage other schools of thought, a person needs to be very clear and well-versed in his/her own beliefs, and that simply is not the case with the overwhelming majority of under-30 Catholics, ND students or not, these days.
Ignoring it or depending on the few who are knowledgable to evangelize and educate their brothers and sisters isn’t going to cut it.



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 7, 2006 at 11:27 pm


Michael–
you write:
“Amy,
I’m stickin’ by my guns on this one:
‘Jenkins is a weenie.'”
And such name-calling contributes to a Christian tone to this discussion how, exactly?
I’m not suggesting you agree with him. It’s clear that you don’t, and I for one think you should be free about saying so. But is it really too much to ask you to show the same basic respect I assume you’d want him to show you, if he took serious issue with a decision you’d made?



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Stephen

posted April 8, 2006 at 1:22 am


I’m struck by the inanity of much of the “debate” in the comments of this post. Two things seem evident to me.
First, most of the posts defending Notre Dame (notice, they don’t defend the VM) come form students and faculty actually living, studying, and actively engaged in the university. They don’t gloss over the problems (and mind you, problems are a part of life) but they seem to indicate that their experience does not correspond to the invective offered by the critics. Their experience is that the life on the campus of Notre Dame is robust, intellectual, rigorous and Catholic. At most universities (catholic and otherwise) a play like The Vagina Monologues doesn’t spark any debate, and cancelling it would amount to rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. It would do nothing to change the direction of the already poisoned environment. At Notre Dame, it seems, the VM are particularly provocative because they are not typical of the culture and life of the university.
Second, those who are most critical of Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame seem to offer only ideology and rhetoric about what “should” happen and nothing of their experience. Is it the case that you have seen, heard of, encountered individuals who have attended a performance of the VM and lost their faith? Should students be permitted to take part in activities that don’t directly catechize and evangelize them? Is it the case that students see the performance of the VM on campus as a tacit endorsement of it’s ideology?
The Catholic University is born from the “heart of the Church” (to borrow the phrase from John Paul II). This implies that it arises from the experience of a culture which was primarily cultivated by a Catholic understanding of truth and life. In order to help take these things seriously, groups of students and teachers came together in various places to look more seriously at the questions of law, life, medicine, philosophy, and theology. To suggest that these universities were without their scandals and threats to the faith is ridiculous. When the Albigensians were taking over the universities in Europe it wasn’t the “administrators” that turned the tide, but rather the students, mostly Dominican Friars, that became a presence at the University informed by their experience of Christ through their life with St. Dominic.
Again in the age of the reformation, it was Jesuit scholastics whose presence at the various universities of Europe that prevented the protestant heresies from taking root. In particular one young man, Francisco Xavier, was so affected by the constant presence of an old, shabby looking man who hung around his university that his whole life changed. It was Ignatius’ encounter with Christ, and his friendship with Francis Xavier (who was by no means “orthodox”) that created one of the most incredible friendships this world has ever seen, one that transformed the world.
What Notre Dame needs isn’t a rule against the VM. It needs to allow the freedom of its students to experience Christ and to share this experience with their fellow students. I know from my experience that the “suggestions” of the adminstration were pretty much ignored. I don’t remember anything they ever said. However, my experience of friends who belonged to Jesus of Nazareth . . . this changed me.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 8, 2006 at 4:11 am


Amy,
I wrote to Fr. Jenkins when he wrote his letter, two months ago. I thanked him for what I thought was a courageous stand, and I had great hopes that ND might turn around.
Now I think he is a weenie.
I can’t help it, Amy. I’m in Satan’s grip. Pray for me.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 8, 2006 at 4:21 am


Stephen,
Wow. The brilliance of your arguments make me feel weak, and less of a man.
No, that’s not it. Inane. That’s it. Your insights make me and the rest of the 230 posts seem INANE!
I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you. Your brilliance has blinded me, and I’m just a shell of a man now.
I can only ask you, beg of you, to use your prodigious powers for good, Steven.



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under the dome

posted April 8, 2006 at 4:47 am


Chiara – I am a reader of your blog, and I appreciate you sharing your story. I know more than a few people who have had similar experiences.
All I can say to everyone who has called for a “change at the top” at Notre Dame in order to resolve this crisis of Catholicity is… good luck. It took 18 years to get Molloy out of here, and Jenkins is still in diapers by the standard of ND presidents. I am by no means convinced that he was the wrong choice, especially going by what some rather orthodox faculty have shared with me. By turning the VM into such an unnecessarily big issue here by bringing “academic freedom” into the picture, he basically set himself up for failure. I was nonetheless bewildered to see him backpedaling on the issue after raising such a ruckus, and agree with neither his decision nor the reasoning behind it. It certainly depresses me (outrages, even) that Jenkins has chosen to defy Bishop D’Arcy’s graciousness in this matter. He has been more patient than Jenkins or his predecessor deserved, and that D’Arcy has chosen to avoid an overt, potentially scandalous confrontation should be taken as a gift. The magnitude of this decision was amped up by amounts to a tactical mistake on Jenkins’ part (inflating the issue with pretenses of “academic freedom”), and D’Arcy has given him more or less a free pass because he recognizes that Jenkins is genuinely committed to restoring Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. It is much better for the issue to blow over and take it as part of the learning curve of leading a major university, let alone one as unique as Notre Dame.
I’m rambling (it is almost 5am), but in conclusion I shall reserve judgement on Jenkins. To echo Stephen, we (Emily, Matt, myself, …) live here 24/7 and know the internal dynamics of this issue inside and out. From an administrative standpoint, the issue is not as cut-and-dried as the Cardinal Newman Society would suggest. The best decision for the president of Providence College (and the one that I would personally have made in this situation) is not the best course for the president of Notre Dame to take after (erroneously) positioning himself as he did.



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted April 8, 2006 at 8:00 am


“The best decision for the president of Providence College (and the one that I would personally have made in this situation) is not the best course for the president of Notre Dame to take after (erroneously) positioning himself as he did.”
This is an interesting way to put it. I’m curious, under the dome, why would you have made the personal decision to take what you don’t believe to be the best course? Do you believe that Fr. Jenkins has made the most expedient choice, perhaps? Maybe I’m rambling (and inane). ; )



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Lucy

posted April 8, 2006 at 8:34 am


I’m chiming in a bit late, although I’ve been following this thread closely, as a current Domer and a friend of Emily et al.
I came to Notre Dame in 2001, mainly because I didn’t get into Michigan, but partly because the faintest stirrings of a God-shaped hole. My family was nominally and culturally Catholic, although regular Mass attenders. I had a vague concept of God and Christ, although a much better relationship with the Virgin Mary who, as I see it now, guided me here to her school to learn to walk the path of Calvary with her Son.
I doubt if anyone who knows me know would believe this either, but I was pro-choice and fairly feminist. And amazingly, I saw the light on that issue through friendship with many wise people, despite having a rectress who strongly supported the VM and ecouraged us to attend. I look back, and laugh. If you had told me five years ago all the things I would have learned about Scripture, doctrine, Christian history, the Catholic experience in America, the liturgy, and most importantly, the dignity of the human person, I don’t know that I would believe you.
I eventually declared a supplementary theology major to supplement my woefully inadequate formation. While I would agree with Emily that it isn’t the role of the university to provide elementary catechesis, many of the top faculty in the department are so humble as to teach one credit “Know Your Catholic Faith” classes on topics such as Sin and Redemption, The Mass, Prayer, Mary, etc. I studied in Rome for a year, where I benefited greatly from the close involvement of the NAC. These good priests and seminarians taught a fascinating class on the reflection of Church teaching in architecture and kindly gave many of my classmates the grounding in Catholic moral teaching they never had via a marriage prep class.
Let me make this clear. I do not think the Monologues belong at Notre Dame. Yes, I do think Notre Dame could contribute quite a lot to the understanding of the underlying issues of violence against women, which can be read in less offensive literature such as “Othello” and understood in contrast to “Love and Responsibility” etc. One of the many problems I have with the VM is that they aren’t academically engaged- the performance isn’t part of a class or a greater whole. I am saddened by this decision because I expected better of Fr. Jenkins, but also because I have come to love Notre Dame more than I ever expected and don’t like to see this happen to her.



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted April 8, 2006 at 9:19 am


Lucy, I love your story, and that of the other witnesses above. I’m sure that the Gospel can be heard at Notre Dame, as it can be at other religious and secular universities.
However, Fr. Jenkins has so-far missed an Army-McCarthy moment to stand as a sign of contradiction to the anti-Magesterial forces operating in and out of our Church. This is not at all about hiding our heads in the sand, in my not-so-humble sounding opinion.



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Lily

posted April 8, 2006 at 11:50 am


Hi everyone.
Glad to see the discussion continued and since I left academia 8 years ago per the suggestion of a DOMINICAN from DC(his comment: I’ve been in academia for 40 years, you really don’t want to be around those people, believe me ;>…I owe him my immortal soul…and reading you all defending evil, cloaked as a “learning experience,” brings it all back)I haven’t the time to write long posts, but this is what I’m thinking at this point.
I can’t get past the actresses/students/participants of the VM. When I pray the rosary and hear the plaintive cries of our Beloved: “I thirst,” I know he’s thinking of me, but he’s thinking of these women as well. He’s begging for their souls as is our beloved Mother. I can’t get beyond this and find the participation of a Catholic institution in the “using” of people for “education,” an absurdity and contradictory. Instead of saying “Women, you have been bought for a precious price (thinking of Mary Magdalene. What would Jesus say if she was asked to be in a play and make the sounds of an orgasm? SICKENING.) and we can not allow you to perform and speak and be exploited by an agenda that wishes to ….,” etc…..you get my point.
It’s a sad day in the Church and I truly don’t mind if you call my speaking style INANE, EMOTIVE or any thing else. I speak from my heart and desire to impress no one but Jesus and his Most Holy Mother and if in the process I am criticized for my style, I am honored.
But you should be ashamed of yourselves for criticizing the expressive abilities of others. All gifts are from God. You might have the gift of writing, others are given different gifts, which of course, the highest and best: charity. I’m not speaking to Amy who wished the discourse to be civil. I’m speaking to the others who applaud each other and themselves for their writing and intellect and instead of addressing evil directly, address the style and ability of those who are protesting the VM.
Satan has a serious agenda to destroy souls. This is not an intellectual game. Souls are not to be used and played with so that you can learn something. God cares passionately for the women of the VM and their backers. Ideas, yea, it’s called the GOSPEL.



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Clare

posted April 8, 2006 at 2:25 pm


Approaching Holy Week, perhaps we could apply our intellect to the theology of Notre Dame’s body – ‘blessed is the fruit of thy womb’ – and the President’s vocation as beekeeper, as we follow Our Lord’s Via Crucis with his Mater Dolorosa (and contemplate violence against women in contemporary culture). It seems to me that Divine Providence allows such things for our edification, however ashamed we wish to hide in our sinfulness.
On Good Friday we will hear of the Lord’s thirst – his longing for us to recognise His Love and share it with a parched and suffering world. Here, tho’, I’d like to ask what His hunger means. The evangelist Matthew tells us (21:16)
“…when he was going back to the city in the morning, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again.” And immediately the fig tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed and said, “How was it that the fig tree withered immediately?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”
Why did the Lord get no breakfast on his way to Calvary? Consider that the fruit of the fig tree is in fact a flower which is fertilised by tiny wasps (fans of natural history films go watch Georges Michaloud and Alain Devez’s in RealAudio at http://www.figweb.org/Interaction/Video/index.htm). Like the fruit trees blossoming along our own roads this Lent, the fig tree’s leaves do not appear until after the flower is fertilised. For our circumstances, I’d like to pose two possibilities for why Our Lord hungers:
– the beekeepers in Bethany didn’t encourage their bees to go forth and pollinate, so the sterile fruits fouled and fell, or
– a couple passing by the tree earlier (tricked by a serpent into mistaking them for fruit, for example as in Gen 1-3) ate the flowers, and ashamed to meet our Hungry Lord later, took the shrivelled leaves and fashioned perizoma/chagoroth/girdles.
We can discount a third possibility, that the region suffered a drought, since the tree’s leaves evidenced ample irrigation.
For beekeepers everywhere, sing with me a Stabat Mater (www.paulschwartz.com/sog2_c_stabat.html) that their faith has the power to move mountains. Bees in the hive and fruiteaters elsewhere, turn to La Pieta with Dante, where in Canto 5 of Purgatory he has the thwarted serpent complain thus of ‘Notre Dame’s intercession “Tu te ne porti di costui l’etterno per una lagrimetta” (You take away his eternal part for a teardrop). May the perpetrators of violence against women and their victims receive healing tears.
Sancta Maria
Ora Pro Nobis.



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meg

posted April 8, 2006 at 2:29 pm


MTN,
I’m a high school student who’s been following this debate with great interest. It became of even more interest to me because I’m considering both Dallas and ND for my own education! Would you be interested in sharing your own experience at UD with me? (I could email you or whatever you like off this disscusion board.) I’m trying to gather all I can about these universities (interestingly enough, the 3rd college on my “list” is Providence!) and your last comment really piqued my interest. Please reply via the board if you are willing. Thank you so much for your consideration!! God bless.
Meg
PS Any of you domers who have any more to say would be very much appreciated too!! God bless you guys!!! Go Irish!



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Stephen

posted April 8, 2006 at 2:40 pm


Michael,
Thank you for making my point for me. Your comments are among the most inane in this conversation. Do you have anything constructive to add to the conversation or do you believe ad hominem personal attacks can save you from making intelligent contributions?



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under the dome

posted April 8, 2006 at 5:28 pm


Joseph –
To clarify, I am not endorsing Jenkins’ decision nor was I alluding to any form og the “personally opposed, but…” mantra. I was trying to say that, from day one, I would have charted a course similar to the president of Providence College here at Notre Dame.
In Jenkins’s case, he tactically closed off that option for himself bt conflating the relatively minor issue of the VM with a grand debate on “academic freedom”. It was then impossible to excise the VM from the kind of over-arching, University-wide policy statement that he had to make.
What I should have said is that, from one point of view, Jenkins backed himself into a corner on this issue. After (erroneously) positioning himself as he did, a Providence-esque statement was not *necessarily* the best way out when one considers his long-term objectives and ability to lead.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 8, 2006 at 5:34 pm


Stephen,
Always glad to be of service.
I did a word count on the posts up to this point, and got 37,892 words.
Frankly, I think “Jenkins is a weenie” holds up pretty well.
Stephen said:
“Your comments are among the most inane in this conversation.”
“I’m struck by the inanity of much of the “debate” in the comments of this post.”
Please set me straight. I went to public school, so my Latin is sketchy. Would your comments qualify as “ad hominem”?
Certainly they are superior and condescending, but ad hominem?
Stephen said:
“However, my experience of friends who belonged to Jesus of Nazareth . . . this changed me.”
Wow. What a splendiferous endorsement of Christianity you are.
In the future, if you want to ingratiate yourself to a group of people that cared enough to post 37,000 words on a subject, don’t start your INANE, irrelevant history lesson by insulting their thoughts and observations.
It’s called politeness. Look into it.
Oh, and if you start your comments with a snide and condescending tone, you should make sure your comments warrant your superior attitude. Yours did not.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm


I, for one, thought the discussion interesting. Emily and Domer, in particular, impressed me, and I respect their viewpoints. Even though I started by taking a harder, more pessimistic view, their perspective was “on the ground”, and solid in the Faith. They are an excellent advertisement for ND, quite frankly.
Others did a great job painting a darker picture.
As for moi? My comment that “Jenkins is a weenie” may not have the intellectual “heft”, but it’s from my heart. ;o)



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Lucy

posted April 8, 2006 at 8:05 pm


Joseph-
I agree with you. It is necessary to understand the implications of this decision, both immediate and for the forseeable future. I didn’t mean the anecdote of my experience at Notre Dame to somehow justify the recent decision, but more as encouragement to not give up on Notre Dame. It is still a place one can get a fine Catholic education and have a tremendous infrastructure for spiritual growth. Notre Dame isn’t perfect; however, abandoning her is not going to solve the problem at hand.



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Sarah

posted April 8, 2006 at 9:48 pm


Meg, if you or anyone else would like to know more about the University of Dallas please feel free to contact me as well. I am currently a junior majoring in Psychology at UD and was pleased to see MNT mention UD. We’re really a terrific Catholic university but not very well known.
I am sure that there are both advantages and disadvantages to larger Catholic universities such as ND, but in my experience it is smaller ones such as UD which do a better job in preserving a strong, orthodox Catholic identity.
I apologize for interjecting this comment into the discussion since it is slightly off-topic but I knew of no other way to get this information out there to Meg and to the mother of the children considering UD.



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Chiara

posted April 8, 2006 at 11:25 pm


Meg, I would be happy to talk to you about Notre Dame! Just go to my blog at http://canticleofchiara.blogspot.com and look up my contact information.
Despite the unfortunate events of this week, the University as a whole is a wonderful place, and it’s definitely on the upswing in terms of its orthodoxy. To echo Emily’s words, many of the younger Holy Cross Fathers and even some of the older ones are very orthodox, and we also have some wonderful Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans here. Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions! My prayers are with you as you make your college decision.
Pax et Bonum,
Chiara



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Tom Harmon

posted April 9, 2006 at 2:47 pm


I would like to interject my thoughts on the subject into this discussion.
I have followed the battles over Catholic identity at Notre Dame for the last five years. I’ve visited several times and taken part in a few conferences held by the Center for Ethics and Culture (an excellent organization with very good people). Because of conversations I have had with ND students and professors, in addition to the news of Jenkins’ elevation and his reputation as an excellent, careful scholar of Aquinas, I have had very high hopes for ND’s prospects to turn things around. I have been an ardent defender of ND, even though I am not an alumnus because of these things.
This whole discussion, however, is extraordinarily depressing. The reason is that I’ve seen it happen before at my alma mater, Gonzaga University. The progression of events and the progression of arguments used is exactly the same as what happened at Gonzaga 4-6 years ago, only accelerated (I suspect because ND is a bigger place with more voices). I am very afraid if the argument should continue as it seems to be continuing, because I know what happens further down the line, because I saw what happened at Gonzaga.
Fr. jenkins and Fr. SPitzer seem very similar to me. Each made a similar decision w/r/t the VMs. This is the issue that really exposed the fault lines of the Catholic identity debate. It awoke debate, all right, at least at the beginning. All of the arguments seen in this thread were used. VMs are pronographic. They promote the degradation of women. They’re lousy art. They improperly frame the debate over human sexuality. They’re offensive to one side. They contradict Catholic teaching.
On the other side: it’s a matter of academic freedom. You prudes just don’t want to talk about sex. The Church is a patriarchal institution that needs to change its doctrines anyhow, and this play raises the consciousness of oppressed women. Church teaching on human sexuality is supported by the VMs, not subverted by them. We shouldn’t fear opposing points of view, anyway. Our students are adults and should not be sheltered.
On and on the debate went. SPitzer made the Solomonic decision that Jenkins made, too, about having a panel discuss Catholic views on whatever teaching was controveted by the presentation. (Although, Spitzer did bar the play from campus, though he did not fobid student life from staging it off of campus and hiring vans to ship students to the presentation). Like at ND, the GU profs chosen for the panel were more interested in changing than supporting Church teaching.
And look, i have very clear views on this issue. I think the VMs have no place anywhere, let alone at a Catholic unviersity. I think all the arguments made by pro-VM folks are wrong. But, this isn’t what this psot is about.
Round and round they argued. Finally, both sides got sick of the whole thing. Instead of continuing the discussion, the side with the greater number of faculty and staff on its side (the pro-VM side) decided that it was going to resort to raw bureaucratic power, rigged “debates” and panel discussions wherein the Catholic point of view was either not presented or presented as the option of the numbskull knuckle-dragger, and public vilification of its enemies, largely on the faculty listserv.
The end result is that all of the good, faithful Catholic faculty have been totally marginalized and embittered because the administration did nothign to back them up. Now, they refuse to engage in campus-wide debates on Catholic identity because of the nastiness and Machiavellian bureaucratic form such debates take. Those university staff members without tenure, msotly in university ministry, were either forced to resign or quit in utter frustration. They left and were replaced by people hostile to the Catholic mission of the school.
That is the endpoint of this whole issue. I’m desperately afraid for ND because I’ve seen this happen before, and the whole setup looks way too familiar. ND’s president and GU’s president are making the same sort sof decisions. The same arguments are being utilized by both sides. The same disproportion between pro- and -anti-VM faculty and staff members exists.
I really hope I’m wrong. I don’t think so, though. I think Fr. Jenkins is making the same mistakes as Fr. Spitzer made. The pro-VM people are not interested in dialog, or coming to a knowledge of the truth. They don’t give a rip about Church teaching (if they even acknowledge that there is such a thing as true doctrine communicated by tradition through a hierarchical institution gudied by the Holy Spirit). And, because they’re tenured, there are no consequences for their actions, and very little restraint for the methods they are willing to use to get their way.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 9, 2006 at 5:13 pm


Excellent post, Tom Harmon.



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Dave

posted April 9, 2006 at 6:06 pm


Tom,
You’re right to be cautious of the “slippery slope” effect. And you’re right to bring Gonzaga’s decision to allow the VM on campus into this conversation. However, as person “on the ground” here at ND, I can tell you that Fr. Jenkins is a man with a plan. The marginalization of Catholic faculty is an issue in some departments at ND, but Jenkins is already taking steps (most of which are behind the scenes) to remedy this.
The thing that’s different about ND is that it has a very conservative core constituency. The pendulum may swing, but at the end of the day things come to rest on the side of the faithful practice of Church teaching. A campus-wide debate on the efficacy of the VM will ultimately galvanize the faithful majority.



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Tom Harmon

posted April 9, 2006 at 6:53 pm


Dave,
That’s what we thought at Gonzaga, too. It didn’t happen that way. We thought both that Fr. Spitzer was a man with a plan and that there was a faithful majority to speak of which would be galvanaized into action, if not on the faculty, then among students, alumni, and parents.
Fr. Spitzer seemed to have a plan, although its details were never clear. The alumni and parents were largely apathetic, and the vast majority of students were unwilling to be galvanized aside from expressing tepid opinions here or there, and possibly writing a letter to the editor in the campus newspaper.
Unless the conservative core constituency is among arts and sciences faculty members, I don’t think it will help. Alumni, donors, students, and parents are powerless in this fight unless there is a truly massive uprising (unlikely). Dr. Freddoso has indicated that the humanities faculty would be unlikely to be galvanized on the right side of this discussion.
Dave, I really hope you’re right, but you express exactly the same sentiments I expressed 6 years ago at the beginning of the fight over Catholic identity under Fr. Spitzer.
If Fr. Jenkins is willing to institute a comprehsnive mission-based hiring plan to which the faculty must submit, in which, say, new faculty members either take the oath of fidelity (if Catholic) or swear to uphold the mission of the university as outlined in ex Corde, then I’ll concede.
The whole question gets down to this issue: who runs the university, the faculty or the administration? In American universities, the faculty really runs the university. Unless Jenkins is willing to take fairly draconian measures to reorient his faculty, he’s going to lose. My guess is that even some of the people on the side of the angels in the VMs conversation won’t want that.
Incidentally, Fr. Spitzer tried to implement a mission-based hiring plan, in which candidates for academic jobs are required to uphold the Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic mission of the university in order to be hired. That sounds great, but ultimately the individual academic departments are the ones who get to define what it means to be Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic. The administration either needs to take more of a hand in hiring (a move that would happen only over departments’ dead bodies), or find a way to really nail down what it means to be Catholic, Humanistic, and in the CSC tradition. That’s really, really hard to do if you already have faculty who aren’t thinking with the Church. That was the case at Gonzaga, and it sure seems like it’s the case with most of the faculty at ND, as well.



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j-g

posted April 9, 2006 at 11:36 pm


As an ND alum active in my local alumni club, I can assure you that ND alumni are not apathetic; at least not the ones that bother to take leadership roles in the 150+ alumni clubs throughout the world, and then show up on campus for the yearly “Alumni Senate.”
Two years ago, at Senate, an alum asked then-president Father Malloy why the VMs were allowed to be performed at ND, a Catholic university, and IIRC his answer was less than satisfactory to most in attandance. Compare that to last year’s Senate: one of the concurrent sessions was a panel discussion on “How Catholic is Notre Dame?” featuring Father Coughlin, OFM, a Law School prof; Prof. Nicorski (sp?) from the “Great Books” program, PLS; and Lauren Galgano, ND campus right-to-life president. It was standing room only in there, and was the highlight of that year’s Senate.
What will we have at this year’s alumni get-together? I don’t know; the current Catholic Spirituality session descriptions are blank. Stay tuned.



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Alfredo

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:54 am


Dave,
Answer this question for me: Do you think that the events of the last week will make Notre Dame more attractive or less attractive to talented Catholic scholars who integrate their scholarship and teaching with their Catholic faith?
The administration can turn down as many proposed hires as it wants. That’s only half the job. The other half is attracting Catholic scholars who subscribe to the integration of faith and learning in their own research, teaching, and service.
I submit that what happened last week was disastrous for the second half of this task. I know. I’ve been hearing from people just like the ones described in the above paragraph.



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 9:35 am


Alfredo,
I can only speak for myself. I am Catholic. I teach at Notre Dame. I am 30 years old. Faith is Integral to my scholarship and teaching. I couldn’t teach what I teach the way I feel it necessary to teach it unless I was at Notre Dame. I say this due to my experience at other Catholic universities and public institutions. In my limited experience, Notre Dame is the only top tier university where I can go in and start talking about the theological dimensions of X (remember I teach writing, not theology or philo) without hearing about it from a student or colleague at some point. In my view, Notre Dame is THE place for Catholic scholars because–again, this is my experience–all academic inquiry is undertaken in an environment that fosters spirtual discernment. For me, it is the single most important aspect of the university and of my faith life. Perhaps it means more to me at this point in my life as a young writer and scholar.
I suppose the question here is how does the VM make Notre Dame an unattrative place for Catholic scholars? There’s a domino effect I’m not seeing. Is Notre Dame a less attracive place for Catholic scholars if violent and crass Hollywood films are shown at the PAC? Is it a less attractive place if the #3 best selling book in the bookstore these days is the Da Vinci Code? (Which it actually is.) Is it a less attractive place because the bookstore actually makes the book available for purchase? Is it a less attractive place if there is an ROTC program? I mean there are so many facets of daily university life that could be seriously called into question in light of Catholic teaching. The reasons for them not being taken to task is fodder for a different discussion. Why does women talking about their vaginas get us all worked up whereas we are constantly bombarded by phallic humor?
It seems to me that VM is being allowed to exist at all on campus because it has actually enabled a conversation about the violence done to women and the violence women do to themselves. I can’t think of a contemporary book or film that enables this conversation in a way that is not flawed in some way, whether it be by sentimentality or reductionism or radical left-wing politics of the body, or all three. In light of this, the VM’s focus on personal testimony, rather than plot in the service of ideology, seems to position it as a take it or leave it experience–either it engages you or it doesn’t. Questions as to why it does or doesn’t are, I think, extremely important ones, and can lead to a real enagagement of sexual politics, responsibility and the harm sex can cause. These are questions on the mind of young Catholics.
I would love for this thread to become about alternative plays, books, films that could be used in the VM stead, because I do find it to be flawed, as so many others have said.



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Alfredo

posted April 10, 2006 at 10:23 am


Dave,
Fair enough.
Is it really the case, though, that some work of art or other is needed to frame the discussion of violence against women? Perhaps. But, as you point out, it’s hard to find the right one in our cultural atmosphere. The reason, I believe, is that many such works, like the Vagina Monologues, in the end purvey a destructive form of despair where Catholic teaching conveys hope. It’s hard for both of these to co-exist in the aftermath of a performance of the play, and that is one reason panel discussions after the Monologues are not the answer. I don’t have time to develop this line of thought right now, but I believe it gets close to the heart of the matter, or at least to one aspect of the heart of the matter. (By the way, this form of despair is to my mind the real fruit of the “equality-feminism” (as opposed to “nurturing-feminism”) branch of the feminist movement, and it’s prominent also in the “queer” branch of the homosexual movement.)
I acknowledge with you that at Notre Dame I have a lot more freedom of thought and a lot more freedom in my teaching than I would have at a secular university. But we both know of a distinguished Catholic scholar on campus who finds the atmosphere of his department quite oppressive, and so wants out. Even within my department, it’s already the case that serious Catholics are more or less marginalized, and this in part because the others find that we’re not enthusiastic enough about maintaining the high ranking of our graduate program — which, they assume without argument, should be our top priority. My fear is that this is an unstoppable trend.
This weekend I found ample evidence that several Notre Dame faculty members of our ilk, who take our faith as an integral part of our scholarship and teaching, are very discouraged and in some cases bitter in light of last week’s events. Some who have in the past turned down outside job offers because of the promise of Notre Dame are not so sure they will continue to turn them down in the future.
I like your hopeful tone, though, and I hope you can stick around.



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Lucy

posted April 10, 2006 at 10:33 am


Dave makes a valid point that there are multiple facets to Catholic identity.
I’m recalling the question one young man- I believe he was a graduate student- posed to Father Jenkins at the address to students in January. He was of the opinion that the VM added to ND’s intellectual credibility.
I disagree. I don’t think the Monologues are academic material, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. I think orthodox scholars who realize Notre Dame’s potential will be saddened by the decision, but if their commitment to evangelization is great enough, will come. I hope. I pray.
As for other alternatives to the Monologues? Shakespeare’s “Othello,” as I mentioned above, comes to mind. Othello kills his wife Desdemona because of suspected infidelity. Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” contains the rape of a teenager. “Sleeping with the Enemy” by Nancy Price addresses domestic violence and the objectification of women. “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Pipher examines the psychology of young women that can be seen in some of the Monologues.
I’ll think on this some more.



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Alfredo

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:57 am


Alfredo,
You’re right about the type of despair the VM can perpetuate and how that leads to ‘equality feminism.’ I’ll have to think on this some more.
In the meantime, I too pray that graduate school rankings don’t drive out the faithful.



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Brigid

posted April 10, 2006 at 12:37 pm


“It seems to me that VM is being allowed to exist at all on campus because it has actually enabled a conversation about the violence done to women and the violence women do to themselves. I can’t think of a contemporary book or film that enables this conversation in a way that is not flawed in some way, whether it be by sentimentality or reductionism or radical left-wing politics of the body, or all three. In light of this, the VM’s focus on personal testimony, rather than plot in the service of ideology, seems to position it as a take it or leave it experience–either it engages you or it doesn’t. Questions as to why it does or doesn’t are, I think, extremely important ones, and can lead to a real enagagement of sexual politics, responsibility and the harm sex can cause. These are questions on the mind of young Catholics.”
Thank you, Dave, for this comment.As I stated earlier, I can now send my son to ND because he will find a fine Catholic professors, like you, who will engage him about women and their bodies and violence. And he will learn a new respect for women.
Do any of you know women who have been raped? How many of you have seen VM? I am amazed at the commentary here and have come to the conclusion that many of you have no idea what the play is about.
Have any of you been paying attention to the news at another fine University, Duke, where a group of athletes has been “accused” of gang rape?
VM is not pretty. It is not lovely. And that’s the point.
Again, why can’t this play be offered and discussed at a Catholic university that does include women in its student body?
Thank you, Dave, for sticking around…
["God, Country, and Notre Dame" has taken on new meaning for me after reading this com box this morning.]



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Christine

posted April 10, 2006 at 12:50 pm


“where a group of athletes has been “accused” of gang rape?”
Yep. Saw the news coverage. And again my husband, the retired cop, commented about how much more violent society seems to be today than when he began his career 20 years ago.
But then, I’ve been admonished to sit back, listen, ponder and pray by a 30 year old so I’d better not overstep my bounds.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 10, 2006 at 1:12 pm


Brigid,
“… where a group of athletes has been “accused” of gang rape?” I’m not sure why the scare quotes around the word “accused.” After all that is plainly the right word. In any case, regardless of what happened in Durham (the only options appear to involve different degrees of evil) it seems that the fact that the VM has been a staple at Duke for the past half dozen years did not prevent it.
“VM is not pretty. It is not lovely. And that’s the point.” I have seen the play. If its point is to not be pretty or lovely it succeeded in spades. I would suggest that it has other points, but the unsound ones so easily overwhelm the sound ones as a matter of art and volume that it is genuninely hard to justify a positive verdict. I don’t doubt “Triumph of the Will” had its good points too. All in all still nasty propoganda though.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 1:32 pm


Ten thousand teenage boys have been homosexually molested by Catholic priests in the past few decades in the United States (and thousands more in other countries), and ‘Father’ Jenkins allows a play at Notre Dame which celebrates the lesbian seduction of a minor (and much other sinful filth and depravity)
He is turning Notre Dame into Notre Vagina.
This is the infiltration of a form of evil on the Notre Dame campus.
He is responsible for it.
He needs to confess, repent, and correct this evil action.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:05 pm


So far, this discussion hasn’t been about the legitimacy of VM as a source of entertainment/education on a Catholic campus. I would agree that it isn’t. But since the issue of the Durham rape allegation is brought up as an example of violence against women, it brings up another problem.
What is the solution to the problem of violence against women? Is violence against women a phenomenon that can or should be surgically removed from other societal ills? If not, what would the motivation be for someone to isolate the problem?
I feel that trying to use VM as part of this discussion is that it is written from the perspective of those that want to control the framing of the discussion. The feminist contingent has hijacked the issue of “violence against women”, and control how it can be discussed and what the solutions must be. How will VM add to a discussion already defined and limited by feminist dogma?
One case in point has reared its head in the Durham rape incident. One of the posters above said:
“…where a group of athletes has been “accused” of gang rape?”
You see, we have been browbeaten into:
a) assuming that any rape allegation is true, and the perp is presumed guilty
b) the woman’s behavior NEVER has anything to do with the rape, because…
c) rape has nothing to do with sex
Anyone that even suggests anything but this party line is immediately accused of:
a) attacking the victim
b) ignorantly suggesting that rape has nothing to do with sex
c) justifying the rape
It is this kind of intellectual fascism that actually prevents true, open dialog and, in my opinion, hinders us in finding practical, workable means of ending violence against women.. VM isn’t about “diversity” and academic freedom. It is about what CAN be said, and what CAN’T be said according to a secular, feminist agenda.
• Are there more or fewer rapes on single sex campuses?
• Are there more or fewer rapes when alcohol is involved?
• Are there more or fewer rapes with couples are together, on group dates?
• How often does rape occur when the couple has a chaperone?
• To what extent is feminism responsible for “liberalizing” sexual behavior, making it more likely women will be put into high risk situations?
• What percentage of rape is “date rape”? If “no” means “no”, what is the girl saying no to? Sex? But we can’t say that sex has anything to do with rape?
While rape isn’t the only form of violence against women, it is certainly the most relevant on college campuses, precisely because sex DOES have SOMETHING to do with rape. As long as the usual suspects are in control of the debate, no new solutions will be found to this very serious issue.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:07 pm


Correction:
“So far, this discussion hasn’t been…”
should read:
“has been”



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:10 pm


“What is the solution to the problem of violence against women?”

What does this have to do with the showing of the filthy and indecent play at Notre Dame?
But since you asked, here’s the solution to violence against women:
1) Punish severely those who do it;
2) Teach men not to do it, and to be good Christians.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:15 pm


You don’t need to turn women into vaginas, as per that idiotic and shameful play, in order to deal with the problem of violence against women.
Eve Ensler degrades herself and other women with that play.
She wants men to respect women? She hasn’t got a clue how to do that.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:16 pm


To paraphrase O’Sullivan’s First Law:
Any organization that is not explicitly “orthodox” will, over time, become “heterodox”.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:23 pm


James,
I wasn’t the one that brought it up. This was, ultimately, the compromise that made Jenkins feel justified in sponsoring the play, was it not? The “discussion” after the play?
The point is that there are many solutions. Practical solutions that (I would have thought) every parent would have taught their sons and daughters.
You bring up two of them, but there are more. People, including “catholics”, cringe when you suggest them, because they sound so “old fashioned”. People would rather risk rape, STD’s, pregnancy…even HELL than be accused of being old fashioned.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:23 pm


“Any organization that is not explicitly “orthodox” will, over time, become “heterodox”.”

Indeed, Notre Dame is running the risk of standing for precisely, nothing.



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:31 pm


Christine,
I heartfully apologize for making it seem that nothing you could say would apply to the conversation, but your latest comment, like the others, continues to generalize, instead of getting specific.



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Christine

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:40 pm


“but your latest comment, like the others, continues to generalize, instead of getting specific.”
And how did I know that that’s exactly what you were going to write.
In the first place, I wasn’t addressing anything pertaining to what you had written, I was commenting on Brigid’s question about rape and how much more violent society has become in spite of our so-called “openess” on sexual matters, including presentation such as the VM. My husband’s experience as a police officer seems to confirm that.
Now, if you’ll please agree to ignore me I’ll enthusiastically return the favor.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:51 pm


“People would rather risk rape, STD’s, pregnancy…even HELL than be accused of being old fashioned.”

Agreed, Michael. Indeed, that would sound just like a description of ‘Father’ Jenkins to me.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:52 pm


“People would rather risk rape, STD’s, pregnancy…even HELL than be accused of being old fashioned.”

Agreed, Michael. Indeed, that would sound just like a description of ‘Father’ Jenkins to me.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:55 pm


Just think – kids goin’ to a Catholic University to hear about how would should obectify women as vaginas (the exact opposite of what Christ teaches), and celebrate the perverted lesbian seduction of a girl.
And this, in a university named for Mary.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:01 pm


Michael Hugo’s recent longish post (beginning “So far, this discussion hasn’t been about the legitimacy of VM as a source of entertainment/education on a Catholic campus.”). Hits the nail right on the head. Precisely the flaw in this decision is that any kind of disagreement is not met with reason, but with the basic equivalent of putting one’s hands over one’s ears and yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The same responses get come back over and over again.
Many of us here have made attempts to work with these people in a non-partisan manner; they almost without exception failed miserably, because everything turned into an agenda-fest.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:06 pm


and James, please refrain from putting the “Father” of Father Jenkins in quotes. He’s a good priest, even if he made a very poor policy decision here. And even if he weren’t, please have some respect for the office.
There is a story that once St. Francis came into a town in which the parish priest was notoriously sinful. The people of the town were so excited, because they knew that this great preacher would come and give him hell for it. Instead, when he met the priest, St. Francis got down on his knees and kissed the priest’s hands, because those hands bring Christ to the faithful. The priest was so impressed by the fact that St. Francis had more respect for his office than he did himself, that he converted.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:06 pm


“Michael Hugo’s recent longish post (beginning “So far, this discussion hasn’t been about the legitimacy of VM as a source of entertainment/education on a Catholic campus.”). ”

But that isn’t the right question. The question should be:
On a Catholic campus, (run by Catholic priests, and with 80 or so of them floating around doing something or other), be actively encouraging and promoting sin, sexual degradation, sexual molestation, the objectification of women as vaginas, etc. etc.
(And the answer is, of course, no.)



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Brigid

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:08 pm


“As long as the usual suspects are in control of the debate, no new solutions will be found to this very serious issue.”
The point of VM, Mr. Hugo, is that women have control over their bodies. Not men. We have have control and we understand them and we have are free from viewing them the way men view them. Women have to understand their own bodies in order to STOP the violence against them.
We will control the debate about our bodies, Mr. Hugo, precisely because they ARE our bodies.
And what a WONDERFUL subject to discuss at a Catholic University named “Notre Dame.”
Peace.
(Oh, and BTW, I consider abortion to be the #1 violence against women’s bodies today. Not rape… Let the discussion begin again.)



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:09 pm


“and James, please refrain from putting the “Father” of Father Jenkins in quotes. He’s a good priest, even if he made a very poor policy decision here. And even if he weren’t, please have some respect for the office.”

I don’t believe he’s being a good priest, Emily. I believe he’s being a bad one.
Good fathers of any sort don’t allow the promotion of the lesbian molestation of girls (and other degraded stuff).
Further, I don’t respect him or an office that does such things as he’s done.
(By the way, we’re sending our son to Notre Dame this fall, but we’re hopping mad about this. It’s wrong and disgusting.)



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:12 pm


“Women have to understand their own bodies in order to STOP the violence against them.”

What a bunch of claptrap.
It’s men (for the most part) who commit violence against women. It’s men who need to be worked on. Worshipping your vagina in a play won’t do anything at all about men (except get them to respect you less).



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:15 pm


“And what a WONDERFUL subject to discuss at a Catholic University named “Notre Dame.””

Mary worshipped God, Brigid, not her vagina.
And no, it’s not peace. It’s a spiritual war of the sort I don’t get the impression you understand.



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Brigid

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:33 pm


James, no, I believe you fail to understand the devistation that sexual violence and abuse inflicts on the life of far too many woman around the world. Many women. Over the many centuries. Again, the point of VM…
But if you want to, go to ND with your soon-to-enter child (congrats!), attend the VM and discussion there and perhaps gain a bit of understanding about the issue of violence and abuse against women.
With all due respect, and peace, may your eyes be opened a bit more…



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:41 pm


“James, no, I believe you fail to understand the devistation that sexual violence and abuse inflicts on the life of far too many woman around the world.”

What would make you believe, that, Brigid? You know absolutely nothing about me, other than that I think the objectification of women as vaginas is a bad thing – and the promotion of such is a bad thing.
I have seen a great many sad things done to women in my life. I was always taught to look at women as precious souls, and wives and mothers, and all that is beautiful – and as God’s great gift to man – not as sexual organs.
Your little vagina play will not have the slightest effect on those men who would engage in violence against women, except to get them to respect you less (or to treat you as a sexual organ, rather than a person). Do you realize how idiotic, perverted, depraved and disgusting that play is? (I would guess not.)
Your little vagina play shows not the least bit of understanding of how to civilize (and Christianize) men – which is where the violence comes from.
You can celebrate and worhsip your vagina all day long. Doing so elicits no respect (and I repeat none) from me (or from any good man I know).
Sincerely,
James



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:52 pm


James,
in response to Emily’s request that you show a little respect for Fr. Jenkins, or at least his office, you write:

I don’t believe he’s being a good priest, Emily. I believe he’s being a bad one.
Good fathers of any sort don’t allow the promotion of the lesbian molestation of girls (and other degraded stuff).
Further, I don’t respect him or an office that does such things as he’s done.

Does one poor policy decision constitute so grave an offense as to counteract over two decades of dedicated service?
Would any of us want to be judged on the basis of one decision?
I might also note the following: the people who’ve been calling for posters in this combox to show some basic respect for Fr. Jenkins are not supporting the VM. But they are “on the ground” at ND, and have some first-hand experience with the man.
Do you?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:55 pm


“Women have to understand their own bodies in order to STOP the violence against them.”
Leaving aside that I think it is commn knowledge that women generally have a greater understanding of their bodies than men have of theirs, why is the above statement true? I mean, it kind of sounds good (in a bumper sticker sort of way), but where exactly is the logic in that statement? If you would have said that a proper understanding of JPII’s theology of the body by both sexes is a good antidote for sexual violence I might agree with you, but having seen the VM I cannot recall any part of that vile play that is compatable with JPII’s teaching. Certainly, any parts that are are overwhelmed into insignificance by the many parts that are not.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:00 pm


“Would any of us want to be judged on the basis of one decision?”

No, we wouldn’t. But we should be.
Catholics (and all Christians) judge acts for just what they are. This was an evil act – permitting the promotion of evil (homoperverted sexual molestation of a minor girl, the objectification of women as vaginas, etc. etc.).
The acts which ‘Father’ Jenkins has carried out are horrific sins – of which he should repent. A billion times worse than engaging in evil acts is promoting them to others. If he’s a priest, I don’t know what a priest stands for. (Hey, maybe our local parish priest will start showing the Vagina Monologues at the church…)
He’s degrading the university; he’s making a mockery of God’s moral truth and the beauty and goodness of women; he’s shaming the priesthood (which, as I noted above, is deep in shame already over the homomolestations of thousands of teenage boys).
This is evil; this is shameful.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:04 pm


“I mean, it kind of sounds good (in a bumper sticker sort of way), but where exactly is the logic in that statement?”

There isn’t any. It just shows how little Notre Dame, in some departments, is teaching its students to think critically.
Another nugget from Brigid – We have to control the conversation…
That’s another illogical statement. Showing a play celebrating the celebration of turning women into vaginas controls no conversation whatsoever.
Brigid – Go take a course in basic logic and critical thinking. I’m sure Notre Dame could help you there.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:08 pm


Brigid,
“Control” is an interesting choice of words. Women certainly don’t “own” their bodies, any more than men do. We have “been bought and paid for.” 1 Cor 7:23
We should look to Him, who really IS in control, to find the solutions to these problems.
“We have control and we understand them and we have are free from viewing them the way men view them. Women have to understand their own bodies in order to STOP the violence against them.”
The point of my “longish” post, was that there are ways to end violence against women, and VM is NOT going to provide them. Why? Because the same ideologies that created our current “culture of death” are behind VM. This is the CAUSE of the problems facing women, not the solution.
Rejecting the feminist propoganda is the first step to actually solving the problem of violence against women, just as seeking Christ as LORD, is the solution to violence in the macro sense. It is the liberal “isms”, agenda driven academics and politics that seeks to reduce violence against women to something separate from man’s need for salvation.
Search for the Truth. You won’t find it in the VMs.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:10 pm


“Search for the Truth. You won’t find it in the VMs.”

Thank you Michael.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:17 pm


Emily,
Christians (and Catholics) are called to love one another in Christian love (by wanting what is truly best for the other – which is to be transformed into a Christ-like creature). They do not have to respect one another. Indeed, we are called NOT to respect sin and evil – and those who perpetrate such.
Respect is something you earn or you forfeit. ‘Father’ Jenkins has lost mine.
Most sincerely,
James



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:44 pm


The mark of a good Catholic priest is that he is most concerned about people’s souls and salvations.
‘Father’ Jenkins shows no such concern.



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm


Christine,
I agree. I promise.



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:23 pm


Michael Hugo,
Man, you’ve got some deep ignorance going on about the causes of rape. The way you put it makes it seem that wholly and plainly innocent men are being accused of rape all the time. This is not the case. Nor is it the case that most rapes are the result of “something the woman did.” This is clap trap.
Rape is the result of a man ignoring the protests of a woman. Rape is not the result of mere miscommunication, as in “Well, it sure seemed like she wanted to…did you see what she was wearing!?” Rape is also the result of a man feeling that he in some way “deserves” or is “entitled” to sexual intercourse with a woman. The attitudes informing this behavior does not fall squarely on the “Feminist Movement.” I mean whose cultural history of the United States are you reading, Rush Limbaugh’s?
Rape is not, as you seem to imply, the result of entrapment on the part of “liberated” women who don’t shave their legs. In fact, and this may come as a blow to you, there are many women who faithful Catholics who also subscribe to certain aspects of the feminist movement. Let’s count them: having a career; equal pay for equal work; division of labor in the home; being infuriated by reductionist representations of women in the media, film and literature; which, by the way, in my opinion, sure shares some of the blame for the objectification of women.
This why the VM actually doesn’t phase many of the mature Catholic women I know–because they actually know someone who has been raped, or had an affair, or had a lesbian encounter. NEWS FLASH: They also know women who have had sex that was so enjoyable that they wanted to tell someone else about it (which is not against Catholic teaching, by the way.)
But I digress…The issue here that you and others are raising is whether or not the VM imperils the eternal souls’ of audience members. Fair enough. I’m not saying it’s a invalid question. I’m saying that the VM is a play for women, by a woman who was writing precisely because dudes like you think the way you do–that the unbridled female libido is the ruin of all Western Civilization. It is this kind of attitude that leads to animosity toward women. In fact, this attitude taken to its extreme informs the motivation for many a serial rapist. They feel that women need to be punished.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:33 pm


“I’m saying that the VM is a play for women, by a woman who was writing precisely because dudes like you think the way you do–that the unbridled female libido is the ruin of all Western Civilization.”

Turning women into their vaginas will certainly keep men from objectifying women as their vaginas. (Right…) The premise of the play is utterly stupid.
This play desanctifies and degrades women (and sex). And it degrades the women who promote it and adore it (along with the university which does as well).
Eve Ensler is far less than the woman Christ would have her be. (I know, I know, she’s her vagina! Whoopee!)
Profane and degraded women who worship their vaginas are profane and degraded women who worship their vaginas.
Who in their right mind would ever want their daughter to grow up into an Eve Ensler (and into a talking vagina)?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:42 pm


Dave,
I am genuinely astonished at your bizarre interpretation of Michael Hugo’s posts. I gather you teach at Notre Dame. I’m sure if you read Michael’s posts again (rather than read your own strange misconceptions and biases into them) you can get understand what he is saying, even if you might not agree. Honestly, you owe him an apology.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:45 pm


“In fact, this attitude taken to its extreme informs the motivation for many a serial rapist.”

It’s precisely, of course, the opposite.
The rapist degrades the woman in his mind to a body (or body part). That’s exactly what this play does.
Christianity, in contrast, teaches men to not lust, and to value and adore the soul of the woman – not her body (or vagina).



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:53 pm


James,
Have you read the play? The VM was not written by Kafka–no one actually turns into a vagina.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:56 pm


“Have you read the play? The VM was not written by Kafka–no one actually turns into a vagina.”

Let’s see – all those women screaming in support of this play, from one coast to the other: “We Are Our Vaginas!!!”
When you’ve become a vagina, you’re not a woman anymore.
As a man, I am proud to say, I am not my penis. But then again, I haven’t lost my manhood (or my soul).



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:43 pm


James said:
I don’t believe he’s being a good priest, Emily. I believe he’s being a bad one…
We’ll have agree to disagree, but remember, I’ve met the man. I completely disagree with his decision, mind you, but I do think he’s trying to act in the best interests of ND (albeit quite wrong-headedly). I didn’t say he was a good president.
Further, I don’t respect him or an office that does such things as he’s done.
You don’t respect an office that brings us Christ in the Eucharist? Makes me wonder what you would have respect for.
On the other hand, Amy, CSC said:
“Would any of us want to be judged on the basis of one decision?”
Normally, no. But this was the decision of his presidency. There was much discussion and alot of time to think it over. This is what we have to judge him by as president.



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Christine

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:44 pm


By the way, Brigid, if you are still tuning in, CBS nightly news reports that the DNA tests on the Duke LaCrosse team came back negative.
You might want to take off the ” ” from your prior “accused.”
This afternoon I read some of Eve Ensler’s comments on her V-Day site. Her descriptions of the Newman Society are certainly less than flattering.
From some of the comments I’ve read here if this is the state of high academia these days God help us.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:48 pm


“You don’t respect an office that brings us Christ in the Eucharist? Makes me wonder what you would have respect for.”

I respect a priest when he is what he is supposed to be. And yes, I respect his God-given power to bring us Christ in the Eucharist. (I presumed you were talking about his office as president of Notre Dame.)
I would NEVER go to him for anything, though.
I don’t respect him. He is doing evil.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:49 pm


“From some of the comments I’ve read here if this is the state of high academia these days God help us.”

I’m making a list of ‘professors’ at Notre Dame for my son to avoid.



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Christine

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:54 pm


“Control” is an interesting choice of words. Women certainly don’t “own” their bodies, any more than men do. We have “been bought and paid for.” 1 Cor 7:23
So true, Michael. We are called to mutual submission. Our bodies, as temples of the Holy Spirit, belong to God.
Mutual submission is a tough sell these days. That’s why so many marriages flounder so quickly. It’s all about who has “control”.I recently read an article by an ultra-radical feminist who says that women who get married betray themselves.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:59 pm


“I recently read an article by an ultra-radical feminist who says that women who get married betray themselves.”

Feminism today is all about the denial of womanhood.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:08 pm


James,
I agree with some of your posts, but your refusal to accord Reverend Jenkins’ respect is just plain over the top. Fine, disrespect his decision; but to disrespect him on the basis of this disagreement is wrong. Given his record and the testimony of those who know him, it is unreasonable to ascribe impure motives. He may be wrong (I happen to think so, but let the record be clear that I am not infallible), but as a man and a priest he is worthy of respect nonetheless.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:15 pm


“Fine, disrespect his decision; but to disrespect him on the basis of this disagreement is wrong. Given his record and the testimony of those who know him, it is unreasonable to ascribe impure motives.”

I have no idea what his real motives are, and neither do you. (Neither of us can read his mind.) Nor I have said at any point what I believe his motives to be (though it is not hard to guess).
What he is doing is objectively and horrifically wrong and sinful – by Christ, the Bible and the Church (as any serious Catholic knows).
If allowing the promotion and glorification of the perverted lesbian seduction of a minor, and the objectification of women as vaginas, is not impure, I do not know what is.
Doing evil deserves no respect. People who do evil deserve no respect.
I do not respect him. As a Christian, I should not.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:28 pm


Mike, We’re talking about a play which glorifies the homosexual molestation of a child.
That’s evil (the same evil which has been perpetrated on thousands of teenage boys by Catholic priests in America) (and which is costing the American Catholic Church – what $1.5 billion now?)
Such evil is deserving of no respect.
It is deserving of being fought, like all evil is.
‘Father’ Jenkins has made himself part of it.
It’s ugly. And wrong. And disturbing. And disgusting.



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Dave

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:58 pm


I’m not sure why I owe Mike an apology. I wasn’t impugning him. I was taking to task the logic of his lecture on how we have been “browbeaten” into a culture that cries rape in much the same way Peter cried Wolf. That is what he’s saying, right? If so, I don’t know that my response was bizarre.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 9:24 pm


“I recently read an article by an ultra-radical feminist who says that women who get married betray themselves.”

Not to worry. Only a dope of a man would marry such a woman (I mean vagina).



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 10:42 pm


Dave,
I was a grad student in Marriage and Family Counseling. I am not entirely ignorant about the issues of domestic violence, rape, child abuse, etc. I saw first-hand how the “dialog” is controlled, and why the left/modernists seek to control the conversation on topics touching on human sexuality.
Your comments in no way reflect what I believe, nor what I said. It makes it difficult to respond, other than to ask you to re-read my post.
I am not suggesting that men are not responsible for rape. Nor am I suggesting that any woman “has it coming”. I simply reject the unsupportable argument that rape has nothing to do with sex.
Are there rapists that equate rape with power? Of course. Human sexuality, like all of God’s blessings is misused in a myriad of ways.
In discussing “violence against women” on a college campus, I think it is an ongoing disaster that the people that control the conversation are the people MOST responsible for the culture breakdown that results in countless social pathologies.
Again, because this “discussion” is supposed to take place on a college campus, it should be noted that the single biggest risk for the women on that campus is date rape.
I have heard estimates that as high as 85% of all rape is date rape. Date rape is different than the guy lurking in a parking garage, waiting to attack a woman. Most boys/men that commit date rape do not plan to lure a woman to their dorm room/apartment/home to rape her. There is ALMOST ALWAYS alcohol involved. And date rape ALMOST ALWAYS has something to do with sex. To think otherwise is beyond ignorant. It is criminal.
What I said about being “brow-beaten” is that, as you so clearly demonstrate, the feminists have framed the issue, and control what people think or dare say about the subject.
Sex DOES have something to do with some rape. I’m not suggesting that this behavior is anything less than criminal, or an obscene act of violence against the woman. I am saying that the reason feminists INSIST that sex has nothing to do with rape, or even the DISCUSSION of rape, has more to do with a socio-political agenda.
It has to do with the unwillingness of feminists to discuss the need for women to view their sexuality as something that needs protection. Or even discretion. This was, if anyone can remember, the rallying cry of feminists upon the advent of the PILL. Women can have “guilt free”, “baby free” sex. Just like men.
For women to admit that casual sexual relationships are MORE dangerous for women, undermines the long-term objectives and “progress” of feminism.
Again, there are real, practical and historically proven means of all but ILLIMINATING rape, of all sorts, but NONE of these will be discussed or suggested by the advocates of VM.
Instead, they will proselytize un-Christian, immoral ideas that contribute to the evil they say they care about so much.
Rape is rape, and the man is ALWAYS responsible for his behavior. Men don’t need sensitivity training. They need the Gospel, and the teachings of the Church.
Women don’t need VM, they need the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.
And if you want to stop ALL rape:
•Never drink to excess
•Don’t associate with people that drink to excess.
•If people are drinking too much, leave.
•Never date singly, until you know the boy for at least one year, and you are COURTING.
•Find ways to have “chaperoned” dating
•Never go into a man’s apartment or home alone.
•Men, never invite a women into your apartment alone.
•Women, support each other in protecting yourselves. Support each other in chastity.
•Men, learn what it means to be a man. Ignore the feminist agenda, and understand that one of your responsibilities is to PROTECT women and children.
•HONOR your MOTHER and FATHER!!! This means bring honor to them, by your good judgment and behavior.



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Michael Hugo

posted April 10, 2006 at 10:59 pm


Mike,
You don’t owe me an apology, but you have completely misinterpreted what I was saying.
I didn’t say or suggest that rape wasn’t rape, or that it wasn’t a horrible crime, or that the man is 100% responsible for his behavior.
I am saying that rape, in MOST cases, does have something to do with sex, which is vehemently denied by most feminists. They see sex and sexuality as part of “sexual politics”, “gender politics” and humanist progress. This blind-spot has resulted in their iron-grip on discussing anything relating to human sexuality, and feminine sexuality in particular.
If they lose control, people will start wondering why so many women in the Navy come back pregnant from WestPac voyages. Why women still desire to be home with their children. And, more to the point, why rape has increased since they took over the academy and the definition of the “new morality”.
They can’t bring themselves to suggest that women need protection, and that the PILL didn’t make them all men. That is the real battleground, and they will fight like hell not to have anyone question their SINGLE, DOGMATIC, CLOSED-MINDED and, ultimately, ANTI-CHRISTIAN agenda.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:06 pm


The silly beliefs of the radical feminists:
– All men are slime and evil; but –
– Women should be like men; and
– All women should revel in being promiscuous sluts.
And, of course, the one which is implied, but never admitted to:
– True womanhood is bad.
The idiocy of the radical feminist movement is that it hates men, but turns women into them.
If you want to learn every falsehood about men and women, take courses in a university ‘gender’ studies department.
Be ready to give up your manhood or womanhood.
That is the price of admission.



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James

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:27 pm


“Women don’t need VM, they need the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.”

Exactamundo.
Girls at Notre Dame – stop being vaginas.
Be women.
Be like Mary.



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:09 am


Emily, you write, quoting me:
“Would any of us want to be judged on the basis of one decision?”
Normally, no. But this was *the* decision of his presidency. There was much discussion and alot of time to think it over. This is what we have to judge him by as president.
Well, I’d readily agree–to a point. I’d say this was the decision of his presidency so far. And in saying that, I don’t mean to minimize its importance. But he’s only a year into his presidency, and time will yet tell whether, when we look back over his presidency when it’s over, this will be the defining moment. Perhaps, perhaps not (it’s certainly a candidate for that distinction).
In any case, my comment was directed to James’ apparent judgment of Fr. Jenkins as a priest and as a man.
James, you write:
Christians (and Catholics) are called to love one another in Christian love (by wanting what is truly best for the other – which is to be transformed into a Christ-like creature). They do not have to respect one another. Indeed, we are called NOT to respect sin and evil – and those who perpetrate such.
I honestly don’t see how the two parts of this statement can go together. I’m with you on the first part. But your claim that we do not have to respect one another, and that, in fact, we are called NOT to respect those who perpretrate evil, simply baffles me.
How is it possible to bring someone to the point where he might change his ways without showing him basic respect–even more, fraternal care and concern?
You point out that we’re called to love one another with a truly Christian love–a love that wants the other to be transformed into a Christ-like creature.
You further claim:
He needs to confess, repent, and correct this evil action.
Which of these two scenarios is more likely to get you a hearing that might actually lead to the repentance and change you want to see?
(1) “I don’t have any respect for you, ‘Father’ Jenkins. You’re perpetrating evil on the campus, and turning ‘Notre Dame’ into ‘Notre Vagina’! And [i]f [you're] a priest, I don’t know what a priest stands for.”
(2) “Father, I’m prepared to accept that you truly have the best interests of the University at heart, and you really want to do what’s right. But this decision, well-intentioned though it may have been, doesn’t serve the University’s best interests. On the contrary, it promotes real evil, and you need to change your policy. Let me explain how it promotes evil….”
If I were approached in the manner of (1), I’d tune you out, fast. No one (at least, not that I’m acquainted with) appreciates being approached by someone who’s gone into attack mode.
Approaching me with (2), however, would likely get you a respectful hearing. It shows respect, care, and concern, while at the same time expressing clear disagreement.
I can only change in response to what you have to say to me if I’m able to hear you. Approach (2) enables me to hear you–which means there’s at least the possibility that I’ll come to agree with what you say, and change accordingly.
How does (1) express Christian love?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 11, 2006 at 7:51 am


“I’m not sure why I owe Mike an apology. I wasn’t impugning him. I was taking to task the logic of his lecture on how we have been “browbeaten” into a culture that cries rape in much the same way Peter cried Wolf. That is what he’s saying, right?”
Wrong. I defy you to show me where he did. Read his post again, Dave. You are grossly misreading it.
“Rape is not, as you seem to imply, the result of entrapment on the part of “liberated” women who don’t shave their legs.”
Michael never implied or “seemed to imply” [nice weasel phrase, Dave] any such thing. You are grossly misreading him again.
“…dudes like you think the way you do–that the unbridled female libido is the ruin of all Western Civilization.” Wrong again. Michael wrote nothing whatsoever to warrant this weird hyperbole, although I would think that “unbridled libido” among men and women is at least contributing to the current disturbing state of Western Civilization.
Dave, it is hard to interpret your misreadings of Michael as anything other than deliberate given their consistency and your obstinancy. Hence, you owe him an aoplogy.
Clear enough for you now?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 11, 2006 at 7:53 am


Amy, you are abslolutely correct.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:23 am


James, you write:
Christians (and Catholics) are called to love one another in Christian love (by wanting what is truly best for the other – which is to be transformed into a Christ-like creature). They do not have to respect one another. Indeed, we are called NOT to respect sin and evil – and those who perpetrate such.
I honestly don’t see how the two parts of this statement can go together. I’m with you on the first part. But your claim that we do not have to respect one another, and that, in fact, we are called NOT to respect those who perpretrate evil, simply baffles me.
DEAR AMY – I’LL BE HAPPY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. I’M WRITING IN CAPS, BECAUSE I (AS A DAD) DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THE FANCY STUFF.
LOVE AND RESPECT ARE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS. LOVE IS WANTING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE OTHER. RESPECT IS SOMETHING SOMEONE EARNS FOR BEING A GOOD, OR HONORABLE, OR VIRTUOUS PERSON.
I AM CALLED (BY GOD AND CHRIST) TO LOVE ‘FATHER’ JENKINS; I AM NOT CALLED TO RESPECT HIM. WHAT HE IS DOING IS EVIL, NOT HONORABLE, AND NOT VIRTUOUS. ALLOWING THE PROMOTION AND GLORIFICATION OF THE HOMOSEXUAL MOLESTATION OF A GIRL IS PURE EVIL; AT A CATHOLIC UNIVERISTY, IT’S EVEN WORSE – BECAUSE IT DEMORALIZES EVERY TRUE CATHOLIC THERE. WHEN A MAN MURDERS SOMEONE, WE DON’T RESPECT HIM (THOUGH WE ARE STILL CALLED TO LOVE HIM). JESUS CHRIST DIDN’T RESPECT LOTS OF PEOPLE (LIKE THE PHARISEES, AS AN EXAMPLE – WHOM HE CALLED BROODS OF VIPERS). PEOPLE WHO PROMOTE EVIL DON’T DESERVE RESPECT. (AND IF THEY DID, RESPECT WOULD BE A TOTALLY MEANINGLESS CONCEPT [WHICH THESE DAYS, OF COURSE, IT IS].
How is it possible to bring someone to the point where he might change his ways without showing him basic respect–even more, fraternal care and concern?
IT DEPENDS ON THE PERSON, AMY. WHEN MY CHILDREN MISBEHAVE, A QUIET CHAT SOMETIMES WORKS, AND SOMETIMES NOT. SOMETIMES PUNISHING THEM IS QUITE EFFECTIVE. SOMETIMES RAISING MY VOICE IS EFFECTIVE. YOU DON’T BRING EVERY PERSON TO GOOD BY THE SAME MEANS (JUST AS CHRIST DIDN’T). WHY? BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ALL DIFFERENT, AND RESPOND TO DIFFERENT THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
You point out that we’re called to love one another with a truly Christian love–a love that wants the other to be transformed into a Christ-like creature.
YES. I DO. THAT’S WHAT THE WHOLE GOSPEL IS ABOUT.
You further claim:
He needs to confess, repent, and correct this evil action.
YES, HE DOES. YOU’RE CATHOLIC, I PRESUME. ALL SERIOUS SIN (IN WHICH ‘FATHER’ JENKINS IS WALLOWING) SHOULD BE CONFESSED AND REPENTED OF. THAT IS, IF HE HAS HOPES FOR HEAVEN.
Which of these two scenarios is more likely to get you a hearing that might actually lead to the repentance and change you want to see?
(1) “I don’t have any respect for you, ‘Father’ Jenkins. You’re perpetrating evil on the campus, and turning ‘Notre Dame’ into ‘Notre Vagina’! And [i]f [you're] a priest, I don’t know what a priest stands for.”
(2) “Father, I’m prepared to accept that you truly have the best interests of the University at heart, and you really want to do what’s right. But this decision, well-intentioned though it may have been, doesn’t serve the University’s best interests. On the contrary, it promotes real evil, and you need to change your policy. Let me explain how it promotes evil….”
THE SECOND, AMY, THE SECOND! THE FIRST HAS BEEN PUT PAST ‘FATHER’ JENKINS A THOUSAND TIMES NOW – WITH NO DISCERNIBLE EFFECT. (WHAT YOU DON’T GET IS THAT HE’S DISRESPECTING ALL GOOD CATHOLICS AT THAT UNIVERSITY (AND GOD). HE’S GIVING THEM ALL THE FINGER…) A GOOD BISHOP HAS DENOUNCED WHAT HE’S DOING ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. HE’S GOING AGAINST WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES IN THIS REGARD (EX CORDE…) WHEN A MAN IS DOING EVIL AND DOESN’T RESPOND TO NICE TALK, YOU NEED TO MOVE ON TO STRONGER STUFF (JUST AS WITH CHILDREN) – PROVIDING YOU HAVE LOVE FOR HIM AND THE SOULS AND WELL-BEING OF THOSE WHO ATTEND NOTRE DAME (WHICH I DO).
If I were approached in the manner of (1), I’d tune you out, fast.
SURE, JUST LIKE THE PHARISEES TUNED JESUS OUT. BY THE WAY, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, KNOW THAT IT’S A FOOLISH APPROACH TO DECIDE ON THE GOODNESS OF A MESSAGE, BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE ITS TONE.
No one (at least, not that I’m acquainted with) appreciates being approached by someone who’s gone into attack mode.
I DON’T APPRECIATE SQUALID EVIL BEING PROMOTED AT NOTRE DAME, AND TO MY SON, AND TO OTHER YOUNG ONES. I AM IN ATTACK MODE, BECAUSE THE EVIL SHOULD BE STOPPED, AND NO ONE IS STOPPING IT!
Approaching me with (2), however, would likely get you a respectful hearing. It shows respect, care, and concern, while at the same time expressing clear disagreement.
YES, BUT AGAIN, THAT HAS PROVEN TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY USELESS. YOU CAN WRITE FIFTY LETTERS TO ‘FATHER’ JENKINS ABOUT THIS. YOU WON’T EVEN GET A RESPONSE. (A LOT OF THOSE WHO I KNOW WHO’VE WRITTEN TO HIM HAVEN’T.)
I can only change in response to what you have to say to me if I’m able to hear you.
SURE, THAT’S TRUE. A WHOLE LOTTA PEOPLE WEREN’T (AND AREN’T) ABLE TO HEAR CHRIST EITHER. YOU ARE FAR TOO CASUAL ABOUT THE ACCEPTANCE OF EVIL. FATHER JENKINS IS FALLING INTO THE MORASS OF, AS POPE BENEDICT SAYS, THE ‘TYRANNY OF RELATIVISM.’ HE’S BECOME, AS THE APOSTLE PETER SAYS, A SLAVE TO SIN.
Approach (2) enables me to hear you–which means there’s at least the possibility that I’ll come to agree with what you say, and change accordingly.
I DON’T NEED YOU TO TELL ME HOW TO TALK TO YOU AMY. I’M A GROWN MAN; YOU CAN CHOOSE TO HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING OR NOT. YOU HAVE YOUR GOD-GIVEN FREE WILL.
How does (1) express Christian love?
HERE’S HOW: IT HAS A FAR GREATER CHANCE OF REACHING A MAN IMBUED IN EVIL THAN (2), BECAUSE WE’VE ALREADY SEEN THAT (2) IS INEFFECTIVE. CHRISTIAN LOVE IS TOUGH LOVE – NOT ABOUT BEING ‘NICE.’ ‘FATHER’ JENKINS NEEDS TO BE SHAKEN UP – FOR THE GOOD OF HIS OWN SOUL, FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE YOUNG ONES WHO ATTEND NOTRE DAME, FOR THE GOOD OF SOCIETY, AND FOR THE GOOD OF NOTRE DAME.
With much true Christian love,
James



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:26 am


Whoops, Amy, should have said the first above. The second has proven totally ineffective.



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:42 am


Mike,
I was caricaturizing Michael’s attitude, but in an attempt to point out the extremity of his poistion on rape.
Please explain to me the reasoning behind his use of the word “browbeaten.” This is what has me hung up. To me, browbeaten suggests that we are shamed into taking action against these young men, who, it seems, from the very fact that they would hire a stripper in the first place, are asking for trouble. Given Michael’s remarks on rape in specific reference to this incident–again, please correct me if I am misreading because I do not want to aggravate this situation any more than I may have already–he seems to be taking up a position that sees rape has a continuing and growing problem due to Feminist ideologues seizing control of the terms of the debate.
Is this correct?



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:32 am


“he seems to be taking up a position that sees rape has a continuing and growing problem due to Feminist ideologues seizing control of the terms of the debate.”

What he said was this, Dave:
“They can’t bring themselves to suggest that women need protection, and that the PILL didn’t make them all men.”
By the way, Feminist ideologues haven’t seized control of the debate (even with their little vagina play).
Most (sane) people ignore them – seeing them (correctly) as people who hate men and womanhood.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 9:33 am


Dave,
You’re on my list of teachers at Notre Dame for my son to avoid.
Best,
James



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:40 am


James,
I’m merely trying to understand his position. I am genuinely asking for clarification. I am asking if he feels that the terms of the dialogue have been seized by feminist ideologues. I am not saying it has.
By the way, I would never ever speak on this subject in the way I am speaking about it on this blog in the classroom. I have much too much respect for my students and their need for an atmosphere of structured, yet open, inquiry to allow the ranting that has been going on here. I ask my students to rigorously and responsibly argue their point of view drawing upon credible sources for support. I simply ask that if they do they do so in the form of an argument.
Case in point, in my class this semester my students are reading a section of Pius XII statement on the moral content of film. This was presented along side articles that engaged the issue from differing view points. The idea is for students to be able to discuss the efficacy of each writer’s rhetorical stance, the effectiveness of their argument and the ways that it can be said to offer a more compelling argument than the others. I currently have students writing about the current Church teaching on the morality of film; specifically, to what extent the current teaching guides Catholics in their choice of entertainment. These final papers must be 12-15 pages long, a much longer and more carefully considered argument than what we have been engaging in here.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:41 am


By the way Amy, I forgot to mention:
Showing disrespect for someone for doing something evil is a form of love (particularly when said person shows no shame).
(‘Father’ Jenkins seemed to show some shame in the beginning of this debate, then something happened.)
Showing respect for someone doing evil is unlove.
In today’s society, we’re told to respect everything and everyone; that makes for a lot of unlove (and NO shame at all).



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:48 am


“I currently have students writing about the current Church teaching on the morality of film; specifically, to what extent the current teaching guides Catholics in their choice of entertainment.”

I’m glad to hear it, Dave.
Actually, here’s the rule most Catholic children learn (including my own) – and which I apply to my own life as well – if the film is promoting or glorifying or seeking to condone sin of some sort, ya shouldn’t watch it.
Fortunately, my son will be studying in another part of the university.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:10 am


In philosophy, we are taught to first define our terms before any sort of discussion can begin. I failed to do so clearly earlier on, and thus James took me to mean the office of the presidency when I meant the office of priest.
I think it’s possible that right now, ‘respect’ needs to be defined in this discussion. James seems to take it to mean holding a particular person in high regard, whereas Amy seems to be referring to the basic respect that should be accorded to all according to their dignity as human persons, etc. A ten-second time out to discuss our terms might be beneficial here.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:11 am


“In any case, my comment was directed to James’ apparent judgment of Fr. Jenkins as a priest and as a man.”

Last Amy – We are called as Christians to judge acts (sin and virtue), NOT the people. Christ will judge ‘Father’ Jenkins justly (a frightening thought for Jenkins, I would think – unless he repents).
His acts are evil. They are to be condemned.
If Jenkin’s soul is to be condemned, that will be up to Jesus Christ.
Best,
James



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:19 am


“I think it’s possible that right now, ‘respect’ needs to be defined in this discussion. James seems to take it to mean holding a particular person in high regard, whereas Amy seems to be referring to the basic respect that should be accorded to all according to their dignity as human persons, etc.”

Fair enough, Emily.
We ‘respect’ a person’s basic human dignity by truly loving him (in the Christian sense). We don’t do sin or evil unto another (such as by physically harming a person, or leading him into sin, or saying false things about him).
I would never do sin or evil to ‘Father’ Jenkins; I am called to love my Christian brothers and sisters; therefore, I am, in that sense, ‘respecting’ his dignity. He’s human; his soul is of great value to God.
And in that sense, the worst way to ‘disrespect’ a person is to not show him love – in this case by calling him forcefully away from the promotion of evil and sin (itself evil and sin) – which endangers his soul and the souls of many others.
But yeah – I’ve been using the term ‘respect’ in the normal English sense. I don’t hold him in high regard; I hold him in low regard – as a result of the evil he’s committing (to himself and many others).
Yeah?
James



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Michael Hugo

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:20 am


Dave,
The first step to gaining clarification is to actually read what I said. Don’t project the typical liberal “template” onto what I said.
You have misstated what I said, and recapitulated with the typical distortions (reductio ad absurdum) of the feminist screeching points. If I question the way the debate is framed, I am “blaming the woman”, “excusing the rapist”, etc.
As I stated above, there is no dialog possible concerning, in this case, violence against women, because anyone that questions feminist dogma is labeled in some disparaging way (as you have predictably done), and isn’t granted access to the lectern. The classic epithet is “patriarchal”, but that is usually reserved for the Church, or some other institution. There are others, but the result is the same. MONOLOGUE. NOT DIALOG.
One of Fr. Jenkins’ errors in judgment is in thinking that there will be a legitimate discussion about “violence against women”. My whole point is that the discussion IS controlled by the same people that help perpetuate the “culture of death”, and more to the point, the milieu of sexual politics.
I have given examples. I can provide more. But please don’t stoop to ad hominem attacks and tantrums.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:37 am


“The classic epithet is “patriarchal”,”

I take patriarchal as a compliment. (Oh, the sound of screeching vaginas all over the world….!!!)



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:57 am


Emily writes:
In philosophy, we are taught to first define our terms before any sort of discussion can begin….I think it’s possible that right now, ‘respect’ needs to be defined in this discussion. James seems to take it to mean holding a particular person in high regard, whereas Amy seems to be referring to the basic respect that should be accorded to all according to their dignity as human persons, etc. A ten-second time out to discuss our terms might be beneficial here.
Emily, thanks for the invitation to clarify our terms. Yes, I am using the term “respect” in the way you indicate.
James writes:
Last Amy – We are called as Christians to judge acts (sin and virtue), NOT the people.
I appreciate the clarification, James, as well as your clarification of what you mean by “respect” in your response to Emily. I think we were talking past each other on that point.
That said, I still strongly disagree with your approach. Strong disagreement and a loving call to account can be expressed without name calling (“‘Father’ Jenkins”) or condescension.
For a beautiful example of the sort of approach I firmly believe to be far more fruitful, see Fr. Bill Miscamble’s open letter, which Amy W. has posted today.
And definitely read it with an Australian accent in mind, as Emily suggests in the combox for that post. It does indeed complete the mental picture. :-) Oh, and Emily–if you or any other Whapsters and friends ever want to make a visit across the road, coffee’s on me.
Amy
P.S. James–yes, I’m Catholic. The initials after my name kind of require that.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:09 pm


“Strong disagreement and a loving call to account can be expressed without name calling (“‘Father’ Jenkins”) or condescension.”

Scorn should always be shown for those who knowingly and unrepentently do evil acts, Amy. That fact that we’re afraid to do that these days is one great reason why things are the way they are (You know, with lesbian molestations of girls being glorified at Notre Dame, and the word Vagina plastered on every door across the university) during parent visits (along with adverts for Brokeback Mountain and the glorification of homoanal sodomy).
If Father Bill’s approach works, then hurray!
I doubt honestly that it will.
If and when it doesn’t, then what?



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:12 pm


One thing you’ll find in life, Amy.
Being nice to determined and unrepentant evil doesn’t usually amount to much.
Love frequently requires much more than being nice. (As in Christ’s ‘broods of vipers…’)



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Michael Hugo

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:12 pm


Dave,
If your kids are playing on the freeway, and you are concerned that they will get killed, you have a few choices:
a) You can tell them NOT to play on the freeway.
b) You can tell them to wear a helmet.
While it is possible that the helmet could save your children’s lives if hit by a car traveling at 60+mph, it isn’t the course most likely to keep them safe.
MY EXTREME VIEW: Keep your children off the freeway.
Nothing excuses rape. Nothing mitigates the criminality of a man’s behavior. But to BE a stripper, puts the woman at risk. To be alone with a man in his apartment, dorm room, house, puts a woman at risk. If they are drinking, the risk drastically increases. If she knows him REALLY, REALLY well, the risk decreases, but is not completely illiminated. For a woman to dress, or act provacatively, puts a woman at risk.
This, despite the fact, that we have heard for 30-40 years from feminists that sex has nothing to do with rape. This despite the fact that feminists have told us that women are exactly like men.
The CONVENTIONAL “clap-trap” from “women’s advocacy groups” is NOT to keep the women safe (stay off the freeway), but to perpetuate a lie; women should take self-defense classes, buy pepper spray, and hold their keys a certain way(wear a helmet).
Alcohol is the contributing factor to most crime and accidents that affect all young people, not just women. What are Feminists doing about the SINGLE biggest factor, putting young women at risk? NOTHING. Why?
As I said above:
It has to do with the unwillingness of feminists to discuss the need for women to view their sexuality as something that needs protection. Or even discretion. This was, if anyone can remember, the rallying cry of feminists upon the advent of the PILL. Women can have “guilt free”, “baby free” sex. Just like men.
For women to admit that casual sexual relationships are MORE dangerous for women, undermines the long-term objectives and “progress” of feminism.
So, if sex DOES have something to do with rape, and women DO need to protect themselves (and, God forbid, be protected) by avoiding high-risk behavior, aren’t the people that deny this doing women a great disservice?
Of course!
In their desperate attempt to keep the issue about power, the feminists have told women to take “self-defense classes”, or hold their keys a certain way.
What’s next? A helmet?
I’ve listed a partial list of ideas that would, and have, kept women safe in all cultures, at all times. They are medieval, victorian, neanderthal; you name it. But they work. When they don’t, it is because we (culturally) let our guard down.
Also, see my comments above concerning the most common form violence faced by college aged women: Date Rape.
Then ask yourself what the feminist solution was to this devastating problem. “No” means “No”. Good Lord!



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 12:32 pm


Right on, Michael.
What feminists don’t understand is that men are naturally sexually attracted to women (though not, I have to say, to most radical feminists), and that some men cannot, or choose not to, control their impulses. Plays about vaginas won’t change that one whit.
True Christian men are the most likely, on average, to control their impulses – because they love and fear and trust God, and are seeking to become Christ-like.
The girl who went to that Duke University frat house to strip was highly imprudent. That doesn’t excuse any poor behavior on the part of the men. But it is still true that such is highly imprudent. It’s dumb!
Ladies (and not vaginas) – Don’t be strippers! Get some real womanhood going. Don’t degrade yourselves, like Eve Ensler would have you do.
Seek help and guidance in protecting your bodies, and your virtue. Seek out good Christian men in your lives – who will love you for you, and not your body.



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Christine

posted April 11, 2006 at 1:04 pm


I love what is being quoted on another post from Michael Baxter (Theology, Notre Dame). . . He called on Catholics to be plain speaking in naming evil, to be more disciplined in avoiding cooperation with evil, and to renounce political utopianism that leads one to justify evil in the name of promoting an ideal such as democracy or freedom.”
There’s a good reason that Martin Luther referred to reason as a “whore.” He knew that in a weak and fallen world it could be subverted into justifying almost anything.
Cheers for Father Baxter! And I agree with Michael. If a woman chooses to engage in risky employment she has to be prepared for the consequences. Choosing a *career* such as stripping or pornography is going to set one up for a whole lot of unpleasantness.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm


“He called on Catholics to be plain speaking in naming evil, to be more disciplined in avoiding cooperation with evil,”

Here, here!



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:27 pm


Christine,
Where is the Baxter post? What site?
Thanks.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:29 pm


Dear Mom & Dad,
I’m writing home to tell you that I’ve decided that I’m my vagina. No – don’t be shocked! It’s wonderful! I just saw Eve Ensler’s play – The Vagina Monologues. It’s so liberating! By being a vagina, I’m going to get men from doing violence to women. If we all become vaginas, no violence will ever be done to women again. (Mom, Do you want to be a vagina too?)
Oh – by the way. Do you remember Jenny, my friend, who was sexually molested by that lesbian Girl Scout counselor – and who got really messed up after that? Well, now that I’m a vagina, I realize that that molestation is Jenny’s ‘salvation!’ Mom, Dad, why couldn’t I have been lesbianally molested too? (Pout, pout…)
More than anything, I want you to know how glad I am for Father Jenkin’s love. Without him, I’d never know how wonderful it is to be a vagina. I used to think there was something in me called a soul. But no, I’m my reproductive body part! It’s so much simpler.
Don’t be shocked Mom and Dad. I know this is a Catholic University – but everyone here is telling me this is the way to go.
Be proud of your little vagina, Mom & Dad.
Aren’t ya glad ya sent me to Notre Dame?
Your vagina daughter,
Sally



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Christine

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:45 pm


Dave, in the spirit of *peace*, even though we agreed not to communicate — :) :) — the Baxter quote is on one of Amy’s earlier posts of today.
And you’re welcome.



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Christine

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:46 pm


Just look for the post dealing with “prudential” judgment.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:52 pm


Dear Mom & Dad,
There so many things I’ve learned at Notre Dame (and especially now that I’m a vagina).
First, all the Catholic stuff about sex and marriage, and male and female, and God’s purpose for such – it’s old news! Nobody teaches it anymore! All the priests around here don’t talk about stuff like that – and they all go to see the Vagina Monologues and Brokeback Mountain and applaud them! Even Father Jenkins makes jokes about a vagina actor simulating orgasm on stage!!! Wow, is this great or what?
What I realize the most is that all that stuff about God isn’t out of love – it’s out of the desire to teach me to be a woman. And I really resent that. I don’t want to be a woman. I’m much happier as a vagina. I don’t care what’s best for me. I don’t care if God thinks otherwise.
I know you’re probably upset and disappointed. I have noticed that boys don’t seem to respect me much when I tell them I’m my vagina. What is wrong with them!? Can’t they respect me for the vagina I am? Eve Ensler’s my role model; I want to be the biggest vagina in the world, just like she.
Hey Mom & Dad – I’m not your little girl anymore. I’m a liberated vagina.
You must be so proud!
Aren’t ya glad you sent me to Notre Dame?
Your vagina daugther,
Sally



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 3:19 pm


Dear Mom & Dad,
I’m feeling a little bit dejected.
Neither the girls nor the boys seem to respect my being a vagina. A lot of them make fun of me and offend me. (We definitely need totalitarian speech codes at Notre Dame…) The only ones who don’t are the professors (I mean vaginas.) in the Gender Studies Department. They’re all lesbian vaginas; I think I’ll be a lesbian vagina too. That’s what vaginas are for, right? Other vaginas.
All boys are scum, Mom & Dad (except you dad). That’s what I’m learning. They don’t respect me for the vagina I am. Every one of them can’t wait to do me violence. It’s true Mom & Dad!!! Eve Ensler, the world’s greatest vagina, said so.
In fact, the whole world is evilly patriarchal. All those so-called heads of families, and all those priests (we should have vaginas as priests), and even God is a He. I resent it!
Because of the ugliness I’m surrounded by (Yukh! All those men…), I’ve decided to be an actress (I mean vaginatress) in Eve Ensler’s traveling play. I’m going to spread (get it?) the vagina gospel far and wide, until all men are known as scum. I hope you don’t mind if I do obscene acts on stage. Obscenity is a patriarchal concept. I am a vagina. Vaginas can NEVER be obscene.
I would have said pray for me, Mom & Dad, a long time ago. As a vagina and man-hater, I only ask that you affirm me. That’s what true love is, don’t you know? Affirmation.
Your sad vagina daughter,
Sally



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 3:45 pm


FYI:
Michael Baxter is the National Secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, which is based here in South Bend. He is also one of the founders of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker house.
I think it’s important to know this about him in order to understand the full expression of the quote Christine brought to our attention.
The Peace Fellowship website is worth a look:
http://www.catholicpeacefellowship.org
I am an associate editor with their publicaton, The Sign of Peace.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:01 pm


Dear Sally,
We received your letters not with disappointment, but with delight!
Though you may not realize it, we have been working for years against the teachings of the Catholic Church – against the notions of male and female – and against any who would say that God wants to transform us. (Some people say Satan loves you for who you are; we say God loves you just for who you are.)
So dear Sally. We are immensely proud that you’ve chosen to be a vagina and to spread the vagina gospel far and wide. Men ARE scum (even I, your dad, admit to being scum); and being a lesbian vagina is even more wonderful – because you can enjoy yourself with other lesbian vaginas. How special and wonderful for you. We are tickled pink.
Now – we know it’s hard. And you should expect persecution wherever you go from evil, Bible-thumpin’, redneck, violent, scum men – and worst of all, orthodox Catholic priests. Watch out! They are evil.
Remember, you don’t need a man. And hey – who cares if you have children or not. You were just an accident yourself. (Don’t be sad. We didn’t want you, but found you were OK once you came. We thought about aborting you, but it was too expensive…)
So dear – fight the good fight for vaginas all over the world. Rip up the Gospel of Christ. Tear down men; tear down womanhood; be the very best vagina you can be.
And finally, we don’t mind if you’re obscene to others in that great vagina Eve Ensler’s play. It’s no mistake her name is Eve – the original rebel! We’re goin’ to come and film you and pass the film out to all our friends!
We’re so proud (in every sense of the word).
Notre Dame was just right for you – just like we thought it would be.
With all the vaginal affirmation in the world,
Your Vagina Mom and Scum Dad



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Christine

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:14 pm


I am on the subscriber list of the Houston Catholic Worker and recall an article about Michael Baxter in a prior issue.
I don’t even want to get into the whole pacifist thing because I remember all too well how so many boys from working class ethnic neighborhoods (like my husband) served in Viet Nam while so many elitists from academia fled to Canada or hid behind ivy league walls (aka Bill Clinton). Nevertheless, I wonder what Dorothy Day would have said about the VM.
Somehow I suspect she would not have approved.



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angelic doctor

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:53 pm


No, Fr. Jenkins is not “engaging the world” he is duped by it. And this is true whether or not he is aware of the dupe, as the Father of Lies deceives all of his followers, wittingly or unwittingly.
Simply put, the good Father should have banned any university sanctioned performance of VM as a matter of principal. Any concerns about censorship in this case are completely negated in that a religious university has every right to limit such things it deems contrary to it’s religious beliefs. Any students wishing to view VM or any other material, may do so easily in nonsanctioned performances and in fact on cable television, where it has been aired on HBO several times. And this is true of those who would view it to negatively critique it as well as those who would to feel “empowered” by it.
Sorry Dave. You are full of such a lot of nonsense — the adage: those who can’t DO, teach, comes to mind.



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Dave

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:30 pm


Angelic Doctor,
You know absolutely nothing about me as a teacher.



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James

posted April 11, 2006 at 7:37 pm


“No, Fr. Jenkins is not “engaging the world” he is duped by it. And this is true whether or not he is aware of (being) the dupe, as the Father of Lies deceives all of his followers, wittingly or unwittingly.”

There it is, thanks to the angelic doctor; the truth.



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Amy Cavender, CSC

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:14 pm


James writes:
Scorn should always be shown for those who knowingly and unrepentently do evil acts, Amy.
I guess here we’ll have to agree to disagree. (For the sake of argument, let’s leave aside the “knowingly and unrepentantly” piece, since neither of us is in any position to actually know that.)
As I’ve said, I think Fr. Miscamble’s letter is the way to approach things–and is strengthened by the fact that he knows Fr. Jenkins personally.
His approach, I think, is better at least in part because, in the end, I believe it’s more likely to achieve the desired result.
Frankly, I think it also sets a better example to those outside the Christian fold. Father Bill’s letter takes a hard line on the issue at hand–he calls a spade a spade–but doesn’t resort to name-calling or villification. If I were an outsider, I’d probably keep my distance from any group that resorts to villifying one of its own when he makes a serious error. After all, I wouldn’t want to be one of their targets one day.
One thing you’ll find in life, Amy.
Being nice to determined and unrepentant evil doesn’t usually amount to much.

I would again question your characterization of Fr. Jenkins as “determined and unrepentant.” The fact that he took a long time to arrive at this decision doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an honest and well-intentioned one, however wrong-headed it might have been. And as I read back through this combox, it seems pretty clear that those who’ve ever had any direct contact with the man (myself included) are acquainted with his general good will, and prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on that particular point.
And you needn’t lecture me as though I were still wet behind the ears. Not that I don’t still have a lot to learn, but I’m nearly old enough myself to be the parent of a college freshman.
One final comment, before I get back to work for the evening: your “letters” between “Sally” and her parents are patently offensive, and unnecessarily so. I think I get what you’re trying to do–show where the VM could end up, taken to their logical extreme (my apologies if I’ve got that wrong).
But the overwhelming majority of posters in this combox aren’t defending the VM. You’re preaching to the choir.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:24 pm


I agree on all counts, Sister.
James, I appreciate your righteous anger (such anger is often in inadequate supply), but in this case I think it is misplaced. Fr. Jenkins is wrong (at least we all think he is), but he is not the enemy. He deserves our prayers, not our scorn. We can disagree with his decision, even scorn it, without scorning him.



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Dave

posted April 12, 2006 at 8:18 am


James,
The students who have chosen to write on Pius XII are interested in perhaps working in the film industry. I think it crucial that they be armed with the Church’s teaching on the moral dimension of film. So I’m not sure why you’re so bent out of shape about the fact that I am helping students be informed.



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Brutal ass fuck.

posted December 19, 2006 at 10:49 am


Brutal ass fuck.

Brutal fuck. Bitch slap brutal fuck.



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provigil personal experiences

posted January 11, 2007 at 5:23 am


provigil personal experiences

provigil personal experiences



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rader stehen

posted January 12, 2007 at 7:51 pm


rader stehen

rader stehen



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5 lizenz

posted January 15, 2007 at 4:49 am


5 lizenz

5 lizenz



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programmatore informatico

posted January 15, 2007 at 6:35 am


programmatore informatico

programmatore informatico



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