Tom O’Toole has an interesting post up at Renew America on the future of Notre Dame:
After a stellar version of the standard salad, chicken and potatoes lunch, Fr. Miscamble began his talk, entitled, “What is the Future for Notre Dame?” Indeed, it was a sad tale I’ve both heard and written about many times before, yet there was something poignant about hearing it in person from the person perhaps most responsible for the University’s counter-reformation. Although I’m sure Miscamble realized that for the most part he was singing to the choir that day, he warned the rest that, “[i]f you’ve come to hear some carefully prepared PR fluff, you’ve come to the wrong place.”
Father began his lecture going from the general to the specific, noting that Notre Dame was part of an amazing push in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in which the Church built a massive Catholic culture of dioceses, schools and hospitals, “all at a time when Catholics had neither the wealth nor education they do today.” After that ironic statement, Father flashed forward to the subtly diabolical 1967 “Land O’Lakes” document, which promoted scholarly dialogue at the expense of magisterial obedience. “After a series of seemingly insignificant decisions, Notre Dame found itself both confused and lacking confidence in its Catholic identity,” so much that Notre Dame president, Fr. John Jenkins, and the ND Board of Trustees. could go against the directives of the bishops and forsake Truth for prestige by honoring the radically pro-abortion Obama.
While not denying that Notre Dame is at the crossroads of returning to its Catholic roots or becoming another Vanderbilt or Duke, former religious universities that are now almost completely secular, Miscamble, after acknowledging some positive steps the University has taken since the Obama disaster (not the least of these being “Notre Dame’s suing of the Obama Administration over clauses in the Affordable Heath Care Act”) offered four practical ways to return from Land O’Lakes to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, John Paul II’s “Magna Carta” on how a Catholic university should operate.
Although my one through four list of ways to save Notre Dame all involve naming Fr. Miscamble as Notre Dame’s president (an online petition, anyone?), barring that miracle, Father’s outline is the way to reform. First, Miscamble says you need a clear articulation of your mission statement. Noting that Notre Dame’s is actually pretty good, Father adds that a mission statement is “meaningless unless it shapes the University,” as was clearly not the case with honoring Obama and allowing annual campus performances of The Vagina Monologues, which, in Fr. Jenkins’ own words, includes “graphic descriptions of homosexual, extramarital…and auto-erotic [sex, including] the seduction of a sixteen year old girl by an adult woman,” or as Miscamble would add “reduces women to their body parts.”
Second, the Catholicity of the faculty is of utmost importance. Indeed, the hiring of faculty both “ambivalent” and “openly hostile” to Notre Dame’s mission may be the University’s gravest mistake to date. On the other hand, the hiring done during Miscamble’s brief five-year term as Chair of the History Department show it is far from impossible to turn a faculty around.
Thirdly, the curriculum must be re-examined. Of course, Father acknowledges that curriculum is intimately tied to the faculty, because even the finest selection of Catholic core courses (I myself am pushing Notre Dame to add one on the novels of Ralph McInerny) unless taught by the right teachers, could do students more harm than good.
Finally, Notre Dame needs to re-explore its choices regarding student life. While praising the great availability of the sacraments at Notre Dame, including daily Masses in all the dorms, Father says Notre Dame must do more to distance itself from the partying, hook-up culture of secular universities, and providing entertainment choices such as The Vagina Monologues, or bands such as the one that ended their concert my freshman year with a rousing rendition of “Let’s Get Drunk and Screw,” just isn’t cutting it.
After a heartfelt round of applause, Miscamble gave way to his colleague, Fr. Robert Barron, narrator of the fine Catholicism TV documentaries and rector of Mundelein Seminary. Barron echoed many of Miscamble’s warnings, noting that between the “dumbed down, banners and balloons religion being taught in Catholic grade and high schools, and the Land O’Lakes Catholicism offered at many Catholic universities, Christ became just one of many options to follow, and Catholic theology was no longer at the center.” But “when Christ is no longer at the center, a center in which all other subjects find their meaning,” Barron noted that “something else will take His place.” Indeed, dialogue became god, and laws at many Catholic universities were no longer dictated by the Church but by the faculty or even the state, as Obama’s honorary degree of Law from Notre Dame sadly indicates. Continue reading
Pope Francis had some interesting words for the Trustees of the University of Notre Dame:
Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it! Continue reading
Andrew Cuomo, the “Catholic” shacked up, pro-abort Governor of New York, doesn’t believe that pro-lifers have any place in the state of New York. Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air gives us the details:
Forty-eight percent of Americans and all priests and nuns are no longer welcome in the Empire State, according to its governor. Delivering a monologue on Republicans with all the hyperbole of an MSNBC anchor and none of the charm, Cuomo offered this:
You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.
… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”
He at least uses the liberal pejoratives for those who are pro-2nd Amendment and oppose gay marriage. “Right to life” he uses as if it’s offensive on its face. As Life News notes, he leans heavily on the President Barack tactic to simply declare everyone who disagrees with your positions in the slightest “extreme,” even if many of those people are your constituents. But how extreme is the pro-life position, even in a blue state like New York? Unlike, say, gay marriage, the polling on abortion restrictions, particularly second and third trimesters, regularly and overwhelmingly favors the more conservative position. Continue reading
Father Wilson Miscamble, not content to stir the pot by defending Truman in regard to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the above video attacks the myth that there is a shortage of able Catholic scholars to fill academic positions at Notre Dame and other Catholic colleges and universities. This speech I assume was given as a response to this resolution of the Notre Dame faculty senate on April 9, 2012: The University should not compromise its academic aspirations in its efforts to maintain its Catholic identity.
The Sycamore Trust, a group seeking to preserve the Catholic identity of Notre Dame, and which sponsored the speech of Father Miscamble, has published this charming rant from an unnamed Notre Dame professor in response to criticisms that a Notre Dame department has listed pro-abort organizations as potential employers of Notre Dame interns: Continue reading
In a prior post, which may be read here, I detailed a speech by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, my Bishop, in which he blasted the attack of the Obama administration on religious liberty. Bishop Jenky is a graduate of Notre Dame and was ordained as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Catholic religious order which runs Notre Dame. Bishop Jenky is quite fond of Notre Dame and often speaks of his days there. He serves on the Board of Fellows of Notre Dame. Professor Charles E. Rice, Law School Professor Emeritus at Notre Dame, details what happened at Notre Dame after Bishop Jenky’s speech:
On April 14, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., of Peoria, Illinois, delivered a courageous homily at Mass during “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith.” Bishop Jenky said, “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries—only excepting our church buildings—could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.”
Forty-nine members of the Notre Dame faculty denounced Bishop Jenky in a Letter to the University President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Richard C. Notebaert. The Letter called on them to “definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement.” The signers, said the Letter, “feel” that Bishop Jenky should resign from the University’s Board of Fellows.
The faculty Letter claims that Bishop Jenky “described President Obama as ‘seem[ing] intent on following a similar path’ to Hitler and Stalin.” They accuse Bishop Jenky of “ ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment.” The astonishingly simplistic and defamatory character of those accusations can be appreciated only by looking at what Bishop Jenky actually said: Continue reading
In the spirit of the Obama Worship Day at Notre Dame in 2009, Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Gary Cutting has a recent article in the New York Times, the high worship rag for all liberal apostate Catholics, in which he explains why Catholics should not pay attention to the Bishops and the silly fuss they are making over the HHS Mandate, which, among other things, rips to shreds freedom of religion enshrined in the First Amendment. I was going to give the article a fisking to remember, but Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has beaten me to it:
Roman Catholics will be interested to learn that Gary Gutting, a philosophy professor at Notre Dame and someone who claims to be a Catholic, recently discovered that the Reformation is finally over and that the Protestants won:
What interests me as a philosopher — and a Catholic — is that virtually all parties to this often acrimonious debate have assumed that the bishops are right about this, that birth control is contrary to “the teachings of the Catholic Church.” The only issue is how, if at all, the government should “respect” this teaching.
Good question since Gutting thinks that Catholics have pretty much plowed it under and sowed the furrows with nuclear waste.
As critics repeatedly point out, 98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women practice birth control, and 78 percent of Catholics think a “good Catholic” can reject the bishops’ teaching on birth control. The response from the church, however, has been that, regardless of what the majority of Catholics do and think, the church’s teaching is that birth control is morally wrong. The church, in the inevitable phrase, “is not a democracy.” What the church teaches is what the bishops (and, ultimately, the pope, as head of the bishops) say it does.
The bishops aren’t the boss of us!!
But is this true? The answer requires some thought about the nature and basis of religious authority. Ultimately the claim is that this authority derives from God. But since we live in a human world in which God does not directly speak to us, we need to ask, Who decides that God has given, say, the Catholic bishops his authority?
Who died and made the bishops religious leaders?
It makes no sense to say that the bishops themselves can decide this, that we should accept their religious authority because they say God has given it to them. If this were so, anyone proclaiming himself a religious authority would have to be recognized as one. From where, then, in our democratic, secular society does such recognition properly come? It could, in principle, come from some other authority, like the secular government. But we have long given up the idea (“cujus regio, ejus religio”) that our government can legitimately designate the religious authority in its domain. But if the government cannot determine religious authority, surely no lesser secular power could. Theological experts could tell us what the bishops have taught over the centuries, but this does not tell us whether these teachings have divine authority.
Out: cujus regio, ejus religio. In: vox populi vox dei.
In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer. It follows that there is no alternative to accepting the members of a religious group as themselves the only legitimate source of the decision to accept their leaders as authorized by God. They may be wrong, but their judgment is answerable to no one but God. In this sense, even the Catholic Church is a democracy.
You know that joke I like to make about how in the future, everybody, to paraphrase Andy Warhol, will be an Episcopal bishop for fifteen minutes? As far as Gutting is concerned, every single Roman Catholic is a bishop right now. Continue reading
Archbishop Thomas Wenski points out that pro-Obama Catholics were played as chumps by President Obama in an essay which appeared on December 2 in the Miami Herald. Here is his essay interspersed with my comments:
In May 2009, President Obama gave the commencement address at Notre Dame University and received an honorary degree. That Notre Dame would confer an honorary degree on an elected official who advances abortion rights in contradiction to Catholic teaching caused no small controversy among many Catholics throughout the United States.
To say the least. That event demonstrated the de facto schism that exists in the Church between those who follow the teaching of the Church in regard to abortion and those who do not.
Those who supported Notre Dame felt vindicated, however, when in his speech the president promised to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” stating that his administration would provide “sensible” protections for those who wanted no involvement in the procedure. This would presumably include healthcare providers, social-service providers, and consumers who might otherwise have to pay through their healthcare plans for other people’s abortions.
Roxanne Martino has resigned from the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees, effective immediately, in the wake of reports criticizing donations she has made to organizations that characterize themselves as pro-choice.
“In the best interests of the University, I regretfully have decided to step down from the Notre Dame Board of Trustees,” Martino said. “I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame. I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn’t allow me to be effective.”
“Ms. Martino has served Notre Dame in many ways over the years and is highly regarded as someone who is absolutely dedicated in every way to the Catholic mission of this University,” said Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She has lived her life and faith in an exemplary way, including the counsel and support she has provided to Notre Dame, many other Catholic institutions and Thresholds, an organization that provides programs for thousands of people with severe mental illness.”
Note the weasel words here. She doesn’t apologize for donating to an overtly pro-abortion organization – oh no, she resigns because the controversy is too much.
Whatever. At least she’s out. But the fact that she was even appointed says all you need to know about the current state of this “Catholic” university.