ND Students opposing gay marriage assailed/berated/censured
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women won't have to pay out-of-pocket costs for contraception."
NOTRE DAME, IN — The Cardinal Newman Society has issued a stunning report of the appointment as a Notre Dame trustee of an alumna who has publicly supported the Obamacare contraceptive/abortifacient mandate and harshly condemned "Catholic leaders" and religious organizations who have raised religious liberty objections. Leaders, that is, like the bishops, and organizations like Notre Dame. In this message we offer our comments on this report and then direct you to it for a full account.
We delayed publicizing this unsettling event in order to give the university's spokesman ample time to respond to our inquiry. He has not yet, and accordingly we are going ahead. Alumni should know about this before Alumni Weekend so they can raise the matter with Father Jenkins and other university representatives.
This appointment is inexplicable, insupportable, and incriminating.
In light of this revelation, the appointee, Katie Washington, a 2010 graduate, surely cannot be thought committed to Notre Dame's mission as a Catholic university nor a reliable counselor on issues relating to the school's Catholic identity.
Worse still, her appointment undermines Notre Dame's position in its lawsuit against the mandate.
As we have reported, the courts have questioned whether, in light of Notre Dame's waffling on whether to comply with the mandate, it is sincere in its claim of conscience. Father Jenkins has recently fueled this doubt by asserting that Notre Dame's compliance with the mandate was is not scandalous because "we are not giving out contraceptives." That is, Notre Dame's plan administrator is doing it instead.
This is precisely the government's argument and the court's reasoning in ruling that the mandate does not impose a "substantial burden" upon Notre Dame. It is simply astonishing to see Father Jenkins agreeing, and even more confounding to see the board of trustees, presumably at Father Jenkins's and Chairman Notebaert's instance, hand the gift of this appointment to the school's opponents.
This is no time for us to get into the procedural details of this litigation, but let us say simply that, with this reinforcement of doubts about Notre Dame's sincerity, in the end Notre Dame could lose even as all other religious litigants win.
What makes this action so incomprehensible is that just three years ago, almost to the day, a newly appointed trustee was forced to resign after disclosure that she had been a long time contributor to a notorious pro-abortion organization. We joined the Cardinal Newman Society, Bill McGurn, then of the Wall Street Journal, and others in pressing for her departure, and Father Bill Miscamble brought the matter to a head by a powerful indictment of the appointment in a Reunion Weekend address. (Perhaps he will have something to say about this one this coming weekend during the Sycamore Trust breakfast on Saturday.)
That appointee resigned within days.
This new appointment is much worse and more baffling. Did Ms. Washington disclose, as she should have? Was there not even the most cursory vetting? Do it yourself. Type "Katie Washington" and "contraception" in Google and look at what comes up. Did Father Jenkins and Mr. Chairman Notebaert, then, know? Was the board informed? Did some or all know and go ahead anyway?
Whoever bears responsibility, at all events this appointee should resign or be asked to leave the board immediately to limit the damage as much as possible.
Annual Sycamore Breakfast If you plan to attend Alumni Weekend or are within striking distance of the university, join us at our breakfast meeting on Saturday, May 31. For details and to register click click here.
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Contact eMails After reading this bulletin, you might wish to contact one or more of the people below. If you have any trouble with the links, please let our webmaster know. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. President, Notre Dame
and C.S.C. Fellow