This blog is a place for Notre Dame students and others to share their thoughts on Father Jenkins' forthcoming policy on academic freedom and Catholic identity at Our Lady's University.

Monday, April 24, 2006

News: D'Arcy Denounces ND policy

From The Observer

(NB: The article refers to a speech given by Bishop D'Arcy sponsored by the Thomas More Society at the Notre Dame Law School, and not to any official written statement.)

1:49 PM | 114 comments links to this post

Letter to the Observer

Mary Beth Klee
Class of 1975

Jenkins intuited this with his initial statements, and then he caved. Amazingly, he has been lauded for his "courage" to stand by the status quo. Real courage is the virtue it would take to do the right thing - to say, "I was wrong" and reverse course. That would be a model of courage this loyal daughter would not soon forget.
(Read More)

1:38 PM | 2 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Response to Father Jenkins

Rev. John Coughlin, OFM
Professor of Law

"Apart from the decision about whether or not to sponsor a particular play on campus, I share Bishop John D'Arcy's 'deep sadness' about the Closing Statement. In my view, the statement espouses a conception of the Catholic University based upon a divorce between reason and faith. This divorce will hardly settle the matter about the relation between academic freedom and the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. Moreover, Jenkins' raising of the issue may have unwittingly polarized the University community and damaged Catholicism at Notre Dame. ...

For those of us who are committed Catholics, and Jenkins no doubt belongs to this group, we should be doing all in our power to create a culture that fosters the Catholic truth about the gift of human sexuality and its proper place in the order of creation. My opinion is that there is, to quote the late Pope John Paul II, a "new Spring" of Catholic life blossoming at Notre Dame. I base my opinion on my grace-filled experience here with our wonderful Catholic students. It is also the case that some of our students are nominally Catholic as a result of inadequate catechetical formation through no fault of their own. Evangelization is needed to invite them into the "new Spring" of Catholic life. I agree with Jenkins that plays such as the Vagina Monologues stand in opposition to Catholic life and culture. For this reason, I doubt that his Closing Statement will nourish the "new Spring."
(Read more)

11:46 AM | 25 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Letters to the Administration

To those who are interested in the Catholic character of Notre Dame (especially, but not only students, parents, faculty, and alumni), please write to the following people (listed below, in order of importance) and tell them what you think of Fr. Jenkins' recent decision. Please be respectful, but also firm. (i.e., Read through the statement carefully before writing.) This was intended as a compromise decision, and it is important that Fr. Jenkins know that it will not be viewed as such. Also, please keep in mind that the Monologues are not the central issue here, but that the danger lies in the overall policy, which basically allows autonomy to the various academic departments.
(All of Fr. Jenkins's statements on this topic can be found here.)

Fr. Tyson is Fr. Jenkins's provincial superior, and he is well-known for banning the Monologues at the University of Portland when he was president there. It is also important to write the development office, especially regarding cancelled donations, parents and students reconsidering Notre Dame as an option, etc.

Also if everyone would kindly pass on this information to others who would be interested in writing, we would appreciate it greatly.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
P.O. Box 755
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Rev. David T. Tyson, C.S.C.

Provincial Superior, Congregation of Holy Cross, Indiana Province
54515 State Rd 933 N
P.O. Box 1064
Notre Dame, IN 46556
David.T.Tyson.4 (at)

Department of Development
University of Notre Dame
1100 Grace Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5612
Develop.1 (at)

2:16 PM | 0 comments links to this post

Open letter to the University community

John Cavadini
Chair, Department of Theology

For increasingly there is a missing conversation partner. The statement of our President barely mentions the Church. If the Church is ever mentioned in the responses I have read so far, it is in the gratitude expressed that we have not attempted to "appease" the Church or the Church hierarchy, or else in the (unintentionally) patronizing allusion to those who care about the University's relationship to the Church as implicitly conceiving the University along the lines of a seminary. It is as though the mere mention of a relationship with the Church has become so alien to our ways of thinking and so offensive to our quest for a disembodied "excellence" that it is has become impolite to mention it at all. The President's statement repeatedly refers to "the Catholic intellectual tradition," a phrase that in itself is unobjectionable but which has now become almost a circumlocution used to avoid mentioning what seems unfashionable and almost unthinkable to mention, namely, the Church.
(Read more)

2:00 PM | 2 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Debate continues to rage on over Notre Dame allowing 'Monologues'

Ann Carey
Our Sunday Visitor
In an interview with Our Sunday Visitor on the day he issued his April 5 statement, Father Jenkins said he still considered the play to be 'in opposition to' Catholic values, but he did not find it problematic to have such views represented at Notre Dame.

His main concern, Father Jenkins said, had been about the frequency and prominence of 'The Vagina Monologues.' Students involved with that production had agreed to move on to writing a new play about their own experiences titled 'Loyal Daughters,' he said, but he declined to rule out allowing 'The Vagina Monologues' to return to Notre Dame."
(read more)

12:45 AM | 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Indignity of Notre Dame

Colleen Carroll Campbell
National Review Online
If he cannot find the courage to stop The Vagina Monologues or student plans to produce a homegrown version of it, Jenkins should at least consider giving equal support and publicity to "The Edith Stein Project." The leader of a university as sophisticated and secular as Notre Dame surely believes that academic freedom demands a hearing for all points of view — even, on occasion, those of the Catholic Church.
(read more)

12:09 AM | 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 14, 2006

A President's Retreat

David Solomon
Professor of Philosophy
Wall Street Journal

Although Father Jenkins called his announcement the "Closing Statement," the debate is unlikely to go away. More is at stake than the fairly standard, indeed humdrum, questions about "censorship" and "free speech" on campus. To some of us--and I speak as a Notre Dame professor--Father Jenkins's decision is one more step in a long process of secularization: It has already radically changed the major Protestant universities in this country; it is now proceeding apace at the Catholic ones.
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1:15 PM | 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Open Letter to the Fr. John Jenkins, CSC

Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC
Professor of History

Dear John,

I write to object to your decision to permit the continued regular production of “The Vagina Monologues” on our campus. I write in this public manner to alert our faculty colleagues and our treasured students that not all members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, to which we belong, endorse your decision. Speaking for myself, I find the decision deeply damaging to Notre Dame and its mission as a Catholic university. It is a decision that I beg you to reconsider and to reverse.

(Read More)

11:27 AM | 0 comments links to this post