Notre Dame to Notre Shame
I’m surprised to find out that I actually have a reader. The reader suggested that I do a little blogging on the shameful behavior of some of the Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. Talk about fertile ground. Where better to start such a conversation than the University of Notre Shame.
You may think that Notre Dame, Xavier, Georgetown and other “Catholic” schools are Catholic, but they aren’t. They stopped being Catholic a long time ago but must have had too much letterhead printed up to change everything right away. There are actually a lot of colleges and Universities that used to be Catholic, but are now unrecognizable to anyone who knows a few of the teachings of the Catholic Church and tries to find those teachings alive and well on many campuses in the United States.
Thankfully, many of these colleges and universities don’t use the name “Catholic” in their title and many of them do not put much effort into portraying themselves as Catholic to potential students or the parents of those students. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t look into the content of the school’s curriculum to see the distinctively anti-Catholic message. Many parents and student who assume that a Catholic presence or identity exists on the campus are sadly mistaken. Sometimes the students are already enrolled and attending classes when they find out that the school isn’t even as Catholic as Wheaton College.
I should start a list of authentically Catholic schools. But that would be a big undertaking for one guy. Luckily for all of us, there are organizations that are already doing this. The Cardinal Newman Society is one such group. The Cardinal Newman Society publishes an annual guide containing information on over 25 authentic Catholic college or university across the country. You can get more information on the guide at:
I believe the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with the National Catholic Reporter – which is as Catholic as a ground squirrel) also does an annual article and has additional information. Using a reliable source to begin your search is very helpful as there is a lot that goes into determining if a school takes their Catholic identity seriously as opposed to a school that uses the word “Catholic” to boost enrollment. Yes, in spite of rampant anti-Catholicism in America today, the combination of “Catholic” and “education” is still acceptable, if not favored. I’ll blog about all that some other time.
Maybe I should start a list of “Catholic” Colleges and Universities that are so non-Catholic that they should be avoided by any person who takes their faith seriously. For now, I want to highlight one well-known school for its poor track record: Notre Shame a/k/a Notre Dame. I’d name this list, “The Shamies” (you know, kind of like the Grammys, Emmys, etc…), to honor the shameful behavior of Notre Shame and its board of directors, faculty and some of its activists students and alumni. I think the award should be a bronze sculpture of a repentant school president, kneeling in a confession booth or as Fr. Mike Schmitz calls it, “the sin bin”.
Here’s a brief list of reasons that Notre Shame would be toward the top of “The Shamies”, but If I took more time, I’m guessing I could list 100’s of shameful anti-Catholic decisions, behaviors and events that would secure their position at or near the top of my list:
1. 2004-2008: Bishop D’Arcy criticized Univiersity President, Fr. John Jenkins, for allowing performances of The Vagina Monologues on the Notre Dame campus, eventually publishing an article that stated, the play“…violates the standards of decency and morality that safeguard a woman’s dignity and protect her, body and soul, from sexual predators.” Proceeds from student groups hosting play on various college campuses often go to organizations that support abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage.
2. March 2009: Notre Dame invites President Obama (the most aggressive abortion advocate the presidency has ever known) to speak at the graduation ceremony and receive an honorary law degree.
3. June, 2011: Roxanne Martino resigns from the school’s board of directors after the Cardinal Newman Society discovered she had donated over $25,000 to fund campaigns for politicians who support abortion.
4. May, 2012: 113 faculty members sign a letter calling for acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle on the Notre Dame campus.
5. August, 2012: Hundreds of Notre Dame faculty members added their name to a full page advertisement in the campus newspaper supporting the LGBT lifestyle on the school’s campus. University President, Fr. John Jenkins, announces that the school will take a fresh look at LGBT issues on campus.
6. December, 2012: The University approved a student organization very similar to the “Gay-straight Alliance”. This is the first time such a student group has been approved by the University.
7. January, 2014: The administration announced they would comply with Obamacare since they were not allowed emergency relief in the effort to obtain a temporary injunction in the USCCB’s lawsuit against the Obamacare mandate which requires employers to give employees access to abortifacient drugs and contraceptives.
8. January, 2014: Pope Francis urges the school to be an “uncompromising witness to the faith” and to defend, preserve, and advance, Catholicism in everything the school says and does.
9. January, 2014: Notre Dame Philosophy prof. Gary Gutting, had an article published in the N.Y. Times in which he advises Pope Francis to get with the times and change Catholic social teaching to allow abortion.
10. February, 2014: University President, Fr. John Jenkins ignored Pope Francis’ gentle reminder and instead, defended the schools decision to cooperate with Obamacare pending the final outcome of the USCCB litigation on religious freedom.
11. April, 2014: Michael Bradley resigned from the The Irish Rover (a school-related newspaper) because of his disgust over the, “…rigid opaqueness and refusal to render publicly accountable its rationale and decision-making vis-à-vis Notre Dame’s Catholic character.”
12. April, 2014: Police were called to remove a traditional marriage advocacy group from campus because of complaints by enraged LGBT student activists (Remember #6 above?).
I’m not saying that Notre Shame cannot graduate truly great people. And I’m not saying that you cannot maintain your own faith and still attend Notre Shame. What I am saying is that Notre Dame holds itself out as a Catholic school but to do so is somewhere blatantly dishonest to reckless. As we all know, actions speak louder than words.
If you are a parent who takes your child’s faith seriously or if you are a student who takes your faith seriously, why would you attend a school where the administration is not honest about its own faith? An authentically Catholic school will have a president who has taken a public oath of fidelity to the Church according to Canon 833. The majority of the school’s board of trustees will be Catholic. The faulty will primarily consist of people who are committed to the witness of the faith. Theology professors will have a mandatum from the diocesan bishop. The school will present authentic Catholic teaching. Catholic professors will remain faithful to the Church’s magisterium as the authoritative interpreter of sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. The school will not have an official student club or organization that advocates for things such as abortion, same-sex marriage or the LGBT lifestyle. The School’s healthcare services will not provide contraception or abortion.
In my opinion, any person who is serious about his or her Catholic faith, is better off at a school that is honest about its identity. 18yr olds have enough confusion in their life without a “Catholic” theologian at a “Catholic” school, teaching them that they can be Catholic and support abortion on demand or that Jesus would have tolerated or possibly even celebrated the LGBT lifestyle and same-sex marriage if he were on campus today.
At least the secular schools and other religiously affiliated schools across the country are not going to blur their identity. A Catholic kid at the University of Nebraska (UNL ) knows he or she is going to have a few professors that teach inaccuracies about Catholicism. They know that there will be a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school and that many of the students will be atheist, agnostic or at least disinterested in much of a faith. But UNL, University of Minnesota and many other public universities and colleges across the country also have very strong and vibrant Catholic organizations such as FOCUS or Newman Centers or both.
Next on my list? Maybe you can help decide. Should it be:
• Loyolla Marymount in Los Angeles who just hired a new dean who used to work/volunteer for Planned Parenthood and who admits to being an atheist.
• Marquette who hosted a transgendered speaker last year in an attempt to make the Catholic campus more “trans-inclusive”.
• Gonzaga, who denied a student chapter of the Knights of Columbus from organizing on their campus because it restricts membership to Catholic males.
But don’t feel restricted. I’m happy to take nominations, so if you know of a particularly shameful act by a Catholic college or university, let me know and I’ll look into it to see if the school should be added to the list of nominees for “The Shamies”.