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Notre Dame and the Election: Apocalypse Now!

Trump’s election was met at Notre Dame with widespread dismay and hostility even though Trump is an ally and Clinton an enemy of the Church on abortion and religious liberty.


NOTRE DAME, IN — This is the last of our bulletins on the election. In the first, we discussed issues directly affecting the Church and Notre Dame: religious liberty, abortion, and the “Dreamers” program for undocumented students.

In our second bulletin, we described Notre Dame and the March for Life and the optimism generated by Vice President Pence’s participation and President Trump’s support.

In this final bulletin, we describe the reaction to the election at Notre Dame and what it may say about the Catholic identity of the university.

It is unremarkable, of course, that President Trump has been criticized at Notre Dame. Catholics and Church leaders have joined others in opposing him on immigration, as they may on other issues. And Trump is an especially inviting target because, as R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, has said,

His political principles are muddy. His narcissism is towering. And then there’s his contribution to the coarsening of our public life. Under normal circumstances, any one of these factors would be disqualifying. But circumstances are not normal.

Still, given the dramatic difference between Trump and Clinton on abortion and religious liberty, one would expect to see at Notre Dame some expressions, if not of praise, at least of relief.

It is worth recalling the importance of the issues and the times. In their voting guide, the bishops describe abortion as a “preeminent threat to human life” involving “principles that can never be abandoned.” And religious liberty is fundamental to the Church, to schools, and to practicing Catholics. Senator Clinton would have followed President Obama as the Church’s most formidable foe on both fronts, whereas Trump promises to be its ally.

More, this is a crucial time. Both the balance on the Supreme Court and the makeup of the lower courts were at stake. Trump begins with one Supreme Court nomination and 118 lower court vacancies to fill. Pro-life advocates are making headway in state legislatures; funding for Planned Parenthood is in play; Trump has already ended international funding; Notre Dame is locked in litigation over the Obamacare abortifacient/contraceptive mandate; and in litigation that will determine whether Notre Dame is obliged to allow transgender “females” to shower and room with women students, the Trump Justice Department has just foreshadowed a reversal of the Obama administration’s position that the federal prohibition of sex discrimination applies to transsexuals.

As we have reported, the bishops and pro-life organizations understand the situation, as evidently did Catholic voters as well. With abortion and religious liberty identified as principal factors, the Catholic vote swung sharply from 52% to 48% for Obama in 2012 to 52% to 45% for Trump — 56% to 40% for practicing Catholics.

What, then, of Notre Dame?

The dominant public reaction of faculty and students has been one of astonished dismay. That’s how those of us who visited the campus after the election and who have had later contacts see it as well.

We know that many faculty and students don’t share this view, but at Notre Dame as elsewhere the price of allowing that Trump might be preferable to Clinton was to be thought by many a misogynistic bigot. For accounts of this disturbing phenomenon, see this instructive Irish Rover editorial and this heartfelt plea (“I am not a racist!”) by a law student in the Observer.

The only public expressions by faculty in support of the election of Trump that we have found were several collected by The Irish Rover. They include the column by Professor Gerard Bradley that we cited in our first bulletin and also a letter in an exchange to which we now turn.

Post-Trump Stress Disorder

Shortly after the election, a full page letter “To Our Students” from some 320 Notre Dame, faculty and staff, joined by a number of St. Mary’s and Holy Cross faculty, appeared in the Observer. It read in principal part:

We know that you, like many of us, are reeling over the result of the presidential election. You may be fearful of the very real dangers that may be ahead. Some of you might feel even more silenced, wondering if the classmate sitting next to you, your professor, or people in your residence hall actually support the views of [Donald Trump], who made comments that were racist, sexist, elitist, islamophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic. You may encounter overt signs of these views on campus. Please know that you are not alone. We stand in solidarity with you against hate. We offer you our support and love. We will listen to your anger, fear, and disappointment in a country that may fail to live up to its promise of justice and the blessings of liberty for you. Do not lose heart. We are not powerless. Reach out to any one of us. We are here for you. [Elisions not indicated.]

Dr. Michael J. Crowe, the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. Professor Emeritus, published his adaptation of the faculty letter in the Irish Rover:

We know that you, like many of us, are reeling over the result of the presidential election. You may be fearful of the very real dangers that may be ahead. Some of you might feel even more silenced, wondering if the classmate sitting next to you, your professor, or people in your residence hall actually support the views of [Hilary Clinton], who made comments supportive of aborting babies right up to the moment of their birth, who advocates continuing funding of an organization that not only does hundreds of thousands of abortions, but also sells body parts from the abortions they perform. This is also a candidate who openly advocates forcing all Americans, including those who see abortion as murder, to give financial support for abortions and would like to force medical professionals who object to performing abortions to be removed from hospital staffs. You may encounter overt signs of these views on campus. Please know you are not alone. We stand in solidarity with you against hate. We offer our support and love. As a start, and at the very least, we will listen to your voices. We will listen to your anger, fear, and disappointment in a country that may fail to live up to its promise of justice and the blessings of liberty for even its most vulnerable members. Do not lose heart. We are not powerless. Please reach out to any one of us. We are here for you.

For us, and surely for many others, this was a triumph for Dr. Crowe. Nonetheless, the public scoreboard showed 320 to 1.

Petition against inviting Trump

Some 2700 faculty, staff, student, and alumni have petitioned Father Jenkins not to invite President Trump to give the 2017 Commencement Address. They charge he is “not only unfit for the Oval Office, but unfit to set foot on our campus.”

The petition professes, “Our concerns are not partisan in nature.” To be sure. The South Bend Tribune reported, “The petition was created by the Notre Dame College Democrats.”

Sanctuary Campus Petitions

There are three petitions to Father Jenkins to declare Notre Dame a “sanctuary campus,” one from the Faculty Senate, one from Student Government, and one from thousands of faculty, staff, and students. We don’t have the text of the Student Government petition. There are significant differences between the other two.

The Faculty Senate petition relates only to the several dozen undocumented Notre Dame students who are protected from deportation by the DACA “Dreamers” program and doesn’t seen to call for illegal resistance.

Still, as we’ve noted, President Trump has said he would “work something out” for these young people, and Speaker Ryan has assured them they won’t be deported. The faculty could have waited and calmed the students’ fears. But then, to be sure, they might have missed riding the anti-Trump “sanctuary campus” wave washing across the academic landscape.

The third petition, with over 4600 faculty, staff, and student signatories, is deeply flawed. The Washington Post recently featured it:

Soon after Donald Trump’s election, [professor] Jason Ruiz helped launch a petition at the University of Notre Dame calling on the president of the nation’s most prominent Catholic school to declare itself a sanctuary campus and offer protections for undocumented students, staff and family members facing the threat of deportation…. A day later, more than 4,600 members of the Notre Dame community had signed on.

This petition covers any undocumented employees and undocumented family members as well as students, and it relates to deportation for any reason, evidently including felony convictions. (When Bill Dempsey asked an organizer about that, she cut off the exchange.) Moreover, according to Professor Ruiz, the petitioners are telling Father Jenkins he “might have to break the law and we support you in that.”

Father Jenkins has not yet responded. Federal money may be at stake.

Father Jenkins

Had Father Jenkins suggested some good might come from a Trump administration, others might have been willing to speak up. Instead, he has said he may break Notre Dame’s tradition of inviting elected presidents to deliver the Notre Dame commencement address. Moreover, even though Father Jenkins is a public member of the Commission on Presidential Debates, he criticized Trump in Mexico during the campaign as having engaged in “churlish, insulting political theater.”

Faculty panel

Finally, a recent faculty panel is instructive.

First Professor: It will take a new movement of all Americans to save America from this administration.
Second Professor: I agree wholeheartedly.
Third Professor: [“Arguing that America has always been a place where black and brown immigrants are treated maliciously,” as noted by The Irish Rover’s Drew Lischke] This election has proven that there are still many American who, while not consciously racist, support a systematic oppression of minority groups.

Conclusion

We could go on, but this seems quite enough. Notre Dame’s public reaction to the election gives scarcely any sign that it is a Catholic university that holds values not shared by secular academe. We are sorry that is so. We expect many faculty and students may feel the same way.


Postscript

Compare the comments of Dave Andrusko, National Right to Life news editor, on Kellyanne Conway:

Someone who has labored in the trenches for decades on behalf of unborn babies is now in charge of Mr. Trump’s campaign.”

With the characterizations of Eric Love, Notre Dame Director of Staff Diversity and Inclusion, who announced upon arriving at Notre Dame, “I model my strategy after Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and common sense”:

Mr. Love echoes the faculty panelists:

Will someone please get our country back? Now our country will implode.(1.31.17)

And before the election:

Don’t just protest, burn and destroy! REGISTER AND VOTE!!!!! Put people in office who will be responsive to the community!” (9.21.16)


Update on Sanctuary Campus Petitions

February 18, 2017

We reported above  that Father Jenkins had not yet responded to the three petitions requesting that he declare Notre Dame a “sanctuary campus” — one from the Faculty Senate, one from Student Government, and the third from over 4,600 faculty, staff and students.

These petitions are part of a tsunami of sanctuary campus petitions in colleges and universities across the country. Still, only 25 or so have been granted. One reason might be that, as we observed, a sanctuary campus declaration might result in the loss of federal funds. Legislation is pending and executive action is possible. We reported in our recent bulletin that Father Jenkins had not yet responded to the three petitions requesting that he declare Notre Dame a “sanctuary campus” — one from the Faculty Senate, one from Student Government, and the third from over 4,600 faculty, staff and students.

We can now report that Father Jenkins has turned down the petitions. In his letter to the Faculty Senate, he said that the University would comply with the law and did not want students to think it might not.

[I] am concerned that such a declaration may give our students a false sense of security. The Senate’s resolution itself recognizes that while the term “sanctuary” could be understood as a place “free from civil intrusion,” the university must comply with subpoenas, court orders and warrants. We do not now, and would not, voluntarily provide information about any student without a clear legal requirement to do so, but we would comply with the law and so cannot promise a campus entirely “free from civil intrusion.” I do not want to appear to make our students a promise on which we cannot deliver.

Father Jenkins also noted, as we did but as the petitioners had not, that “key members of the Administration have either signaled or said that there are no plans to act aggressively against [students] with DACA status,” and that in addition there is protective legislation “working its way through Congress.”

He concluded, “Our time and energy right now is best spent supporting the passage of this act” and “monitoring the situation” in the Administration. He repeated the pledge he had made to the DACA students: “We will do everything we can to ensure that you complete your education at Notre Dame.”

While Father Jenkins’s action does not alter the fact that the public reaction of the Notre Dame community to the election of Trump has been deaf to the religious liberty and pro-life interests of the Church, Catholics, and Catholic institutions, we thought you would want to know how this chapter ended.

For our part, we think it ended well


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Let us know what you think about the issues we’ve raised in this bulletin in the “Leave a Reply” section below.

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32 Responses to “Notre Dame and the Election: Apocalypse Now!”

  1. John McNamara '86 February 18, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision in 1973 that declared laws prohibiting abortion unconstitutional, died today after a very sad life. After her father abandoned the family, she and her brother were raised by their mother, a very violent alcoholic, according to wikipedia. McCorvey frequently tried to get arrested to stay away from her mother. McCorvey later in life realized how awful abortion was and worked with Operation Rescue and converted to Catholicism. She reportedly felt awful that her name was on the case that led to the death of 55 million American children since 1973 (forty-four years ago). In the 1980s, McCorvey asserted that she had been the “pawn” of two young and ambitious lawyers (Weddington and Coffee) who were looking for a plaintiff with whom they could challenge the Texas state law prohibiting abortion. In February 2005, McCorvey petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision with McCorvey v. Hill, arguing that she had standing to do so as one of the original litigants and that the case should be heard once again in light of what she claimed was evidence that the procedure harms women, but the petition was denied because the Supreme Court considered the matter to be moot.
    Wikipedia reports “McCorvey remained active in pro-life demonstrations, including one she participated in before President Barack Obama’s commencement address to the graduates of the University of Notre Dame (the decision to invite the President to speak at the university on May 17, 2009 was controversial because his views on abortion conflicted with the teachings of the Catholic Church, with which the University is affiliated). McCorvey was arrested on the first day of U.S. Senate hearings for the confirmation of the presidential nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States of Sonia Sotomayor, after McCorvey and another protester began shouting during Senator Al Franken’s opening statement”.

    This terrible story highlights the importance of having good, loving parents and being good loving parents. It also highlights that many women who have abortions feel very guilty afterward. The souls of those 55 million children, as well as the soul of Ms. McCorvey deserve our prayers again today. We should also pray for Notre Dame and her alumni to become a louder and more prominent voice for unborn children and a change, and for the softening and conversion of the hearts of those politicians in Congress and on the Supreme Court who advocate for keeping abortion legal and do so little to support adoption and foster homes.

  2. Marshall Sprigg, '81 February 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Bill Dempsey and members of the Sycamore Trust should be commended for efforts to (in Bill’s words) “prevent further deterioration in the hope of the advent of a transformative leadership team upon Father Jenkins’s departure.” However, we need to measure success by more than just the percentage of Catholic faculty. Declarations of being “practicing” or “devout” Catholics often belie the truth, as evidenced by politicians and others who routinely make such declarations while publicly advocating positions that directly contradict Catholic teaching. Some non-Catholic faculty may advocate positions that are more consistent with Catholic teaching than their Catholic colleagues. Faculty should embrace Catholic teaching on critical moral issues or at least not undermine it while acting in their official capacity or referencing their faculty position at Notre Dame.

    • I quite agree, Marshall. Some non-Catholic faculty, anchored in their own faith traditions, do much more for the Catholic mission of Notre Dame than many of the nominally Catholic faculty. And the percentage of self-declared Catholics at 54.6% has to be discounted by a very large factor. The term the bishops use to describe the sort of Catholics that should be in the majority is “committed to the witness of the faith.” Whatever terms one uses, the measure will be only approximate and at least will exclude the obviously non-practicing “cultural” Catholics. It’s not important for present purposes to try to be very precise about the proportion at Notre Dame, since it is inarguable that, whether it’s 20% or 30% or even 35%, it’s far short of the required majority. Our sources on campus estimate around 20-25%. A respected scholar who examined the situation and included his conclusions in a book on half a dozen universities estimated 20%. Of course there is more to it than the faculty, in particular especially the curriculum. But as Dr. John Garvey, the outstanding president of Catholic University has recently written, everything follows from the faculty. He said, to paraphrase, that if you have a majority Catholic faculty you have a Catholic university and if you don’t, you don’t.

  3. Warm thanks to all of you for these fine exchanges. I offer some brief comments on several of the points raised.

    First, while there are ample reasons to be discouraged, to give up on Notre Dame would be to abandon hope for Catholic higher education on a significant scale. If Notre Dame can’t make it as a Catholic school, no major Catholic University can. It is still the most Catholic of any of them except possibly Catholic University, but that fine school lacks resources.

    Second, there is still a great deal that is very good about Notre Dame at the heart of the school in a solid, if much diminished, corps of Catholic teachers and a student body that is about 85% Catholic, nominally at least. A student that wants to get a Catholic education can get the best there is. The odds are against it, but careful selection can beat the odds.

    Third, what is lacking is leadership. In sum, the challenge is prevent further deterioration in the hope of the advent of a transformative leadership team upon Father Jenkins’s departure.

    I think that can be done and that Sycamore can play a significant role. We have to do what were doing and more of it in the way of investigative reporting, assistance to the fine Catholic student organizations, mailings and advertising, and expanding our reach. It now stands at about 17,000 subscribers, but many are not alumni, and there are well over 100,000 alumni out there.

    Turning the spotlight on the school makes a difference. As we say often, the decline of Catholic faculty is the root cause of the problem and its increase is the remedy. Soon after we began publishing the faculty data, the decline leveled off. The data were alarming. The administration knew it. It is our most important drive.

    More broadly, the businessmen on the board know that ND’s principal asset is its reputation as a Catholic school. That asset has taken a lot of hits recently. At some point the board may not only sense the problem, which I expect some at least do, but act.

    As to petitions, our first action item was a petition on the faculty, which attracted thousands of signatures. We have had three others on board members, two of which succeeded and one of which failed. One needs to choose with care. As to speakers, the avenue is through a club or institute. There are in fact a number of splendid speakers throughout the year on important subjects including, I’m sure, abortion. They are inspirations to their audiences, but those attending are mostly those who already agree. We can follow up on this.

    Finally, I might mention that I studied the canon law route some years back and discarded it. I knew Bill Blatty and have kept up to date on the Georgetown petition to Rome. It’s been pending for years and has gone nowhere and I’m sorry to say I think it never will.

    With, again thanks for your interest and dedication.

    • Thank you for all you do for Our Lady’s University.

      “[26] For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?”

      Who can deny, that as the veil is being lifted, a Great Apostasy is being exposed?
      To deny the Sanctity of the marital act, is to deny that God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Complementary Love (Filioque), The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage. To deny that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, and render onto Caesar what belongs to God, is to deny Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

      If it were true that it is Loving and Merciful to desire that we or our beloved, remain in our sin, we would not need Our Savior, Jesus The Christ.

      “Who am I to judge”, in regards to sin, is not Loving or Merciful, for it lacks the desire for oneself or one’s beloved to overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy, so that we are not led into temptation, but sin no more.

      To feed the hungry;
      To give drink to the thirsty;
      To clothe the naked;
      To harbour the harbourless;
      To visit the sick;
      To ransom the captive;
      To bury the dead.
      The spiritual works of mercy are:

      To instruct the ignorant;
      To counsel the doubtful;
      To admonish sinners;
      To bear wrongs patiently;
      To forgive offences willingly;
      To comfort the afflicted;
      To pray for the living and the dead.
      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10198d.htm

      Love does not divide, it multiplies, as in The Loaves and Fishes.

      “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

      Prayers for Father John, his beloved Mother, and his beloved family.

      Prayers for Notre Dame.

  4. Katie B., Class of 2000 February 15, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with Molly’s comment. I am a catechist in a Catholic elementary school and I see the same things happening at the elementary level. Clinton won our school’s mock election to loud cheers from all the classrooms, while the few students who were not happy about this result sat in embarrassed silence. It was a heartbreaking thing to witness. As a parent, a catechist, and an ND alum I will work tirelessly to insure that the devil does not take hold of these places I hold dear. The one essential thing we can all do is pray. We can pray for our beloved University and those who lead it, and we can pray for ourselves to have the courage to be salt and light in what often feels like an ever-darkening world. We can pray to be true examples of Christ’s love to everyone, especially those who disagree with us.

  5. John McNamara '86 February 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Dear “Dad”- In response to your request, the names of the University’s Board of Trustees and the fellows,and their employers can be found if you click on the phrase ‘get involved” in the upper right hand corner of this page and scroll down to “Board of Trustees”. In addition, if you want a history of what’s been going on, through older e-mails similar to this, click on the word “Bulletins” in the upper right hand corner, and you can catch up on past articles. I can’t speak for Sycamore, but something tells me that Sycamore and many of the alums writing today would appreciate all the concerned dads and moms and relatives who want to support a return to a stronger Catholicism at ND and an end to the liberal/secular politicization of the campus, demonstrated by that previous faculty poll described in the above article. I think your interest is great!

  6. Jeannine Eisenbacher '97 February 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    My husband and I both graduated in 1997, twenty years ago, and will be married 20 years this August. We love the University where we met and fell in love. Fr. Miscamble was a beloved friend while there, and we immersed ourselves in the truly Catholic culture of daily Mass, the rosary, ND Right to Life, Knights of the Immaculata, and Children of Mary. We are heartbroken over the state of the University. We see very little to give us hope. We have eight children, our oldest applied for admission to ND a year ago. Despite being an outstanding candidate, he was not accepted, and he is a freshman at Catholic University of America. We are so grateful for where he is, and are relieved he does not have to deal with the dissent at Notre Dame. He is surrounded by faithful students and faculty, and is flourishing in his Catholic faith. This whole situation breaks our hearts, and we feel so helpless. We are grateful for the work of the Sycamore Trust, as they are fighting the good fight. You have our wholehearted support!

  7. Jim Thunder, ’72

    At his Notre Dame Night talks, the great late Emil T. Hofman, my chemistry prof, would say that there were three sets of alums: before 1967 or so, 1967-1973 or so, and after 1973. The middle portion were on campus for the Vietnam War. I was there. And when students swarmed through O’Shag after the “Cambodian incursion” entering classroom after classroom unannounced and yelling at people to quit the classroom, I was there. I later learned that the late Professor Gerhart Niemeyer, a German émigré, said that it reminded him of the Nazi brownshirts. Yes, we shut down the semester early with all the disruption to papers due and final exams.

    I am reminded from this Bulletin that one of my favorite professors, the late Edward A. Goerner, would not, when discussion inside of class or outside of class, veered toward the War, allow the discussion to continue. And he would never express any view on the War. With the number of FACULTY signing on to anti-Trump petitions, it sounds like the campus has become extremely liberal, of course, and politicized. . . . and have NO interest in life/abortion; conscientious objection; truth; etc.

  8. John McNamara '86 February 14, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    It’s good to see some more recent alums picking up their batons and joining the race today with our respected and treasured senior alum leaders! I think that Sycamore may want to focus on two issues to start the push back towards Catholicism at Notre Dame: 1) Push for a higher percentage of Catholic faculty, as the University charter provides for (as discussed in an earlier Sycamore newsletter); and 2) Push for more pro-life speakers on campus, including maybe one national pro-life figure each of the next five years. Sycamore recently reported how pro-abortion US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg had a large cheering crowd, including Fr. Jenkins, while pro-life Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput had a small gathering, no Fr. Jenkins, which doesn’t show much respect for the Archbishop. Let’s get our Irish Rover friends to help us, Young alums and students need a leader to identify what the Church stands for and rally supporters, and could be a powerful force, as Molly Kraker suggests. Let’s take Mr. Sheehan’s petition idea, which Messrs. Spahr and Kaple supported, and narrow it to request two items that will be hard to resist and make fun of on a Catholic campus: 1) Higher percentage of Catholic faculty, to limit the number of radical faculty on campus petitioning against a pro-life president; and 2) at least one major pro-life speaker on campus each year, starting wth former Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and let’s ask Fox News/Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity to cover it on national t.v. Let’s think of future speakers like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito or New Jersey Judge Andrew Napolitano to discuss the Constitution and the Right to Life, or maybe Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron (Internet Youtube “Word on Fire” guru) to discuss Catholicism and the Right to Life. Lets ask Bishops and Cardinals to write to and telephone Fr. Jenkins to support this petition and do what it requests. We can grow to other issues, like the sanctuary campus issue, with all due respect, after those first two issues which probably touch most directly on Catholic teaching at Notre Dame.

  9. lease publish the names of the financial heavyweights pulling the strings of the spineless Jenkins and trustees.

  10. Notre Dame began engaging in idolatry in 1967 and most of us missed it.

    It became full fledged idolatry in 2005 and went global in 2009.

    What is next?

    What are the idols, the idols of the leadership?

    Why Harvard, Stanford and the ivies of course.

    Pray for a change in who we vainly try to copy and all else will change for the best.

    Charlie Kenny 1963

  11. John T Gugle, '92 February 14, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of these posts. I might have displaced Molly as the youngest alum to write on here, but I am ashamed to say that I have sat in silence the past 8 years watching the school I love trade its soul for 30 silver pieces and a spot at the secular table of evil. I have cried watching as cafeteria Catholics like Father Jenkins and other ND faculty and students have turned a blind eye to the horrors of abortion and the trampling of religious freedom at the hands of evil doers within our government. I can no longer stay silent watching Notre Dame fall further from its Catholic identity. There is something very foul when I can no longer distinguish Notre Dame from Cal Berkeley – it is at that point that I know Satan has been winning in South Bend. Donald Trump is not perfect, but he was a far better choice than Hillary Clinton when it comes to protecting the unborn and the rights of religious freedom. I love it when the anarchist Left spews hateful terms like racist, sexist, elitist, islamophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic – it shows just how far they have lost the debate on facts and must resort to petulant name-calling to bolster their arguments.

  12. William J. O'Connor February 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Any Catholic identity at Notre Dame was destroyed when Iggy and the Marshmallows( Father John Ignatius Jenkins and The Board of Trustees) adopted Notre Dame’s policy of participation in human sacrifice, sacrificing the lives of the innocent to avoid government mandate fines. Please, if it is something other than human sacrifice, please tell me. As for Trump, it was a miraculous achievement he was elected, maybe he can work miracles in office. At least we won’t have dead diplomats combined with mass deceit :” It was a movie.” As for Notre Dame, Our Blessed Mother and Her Son will return someday. Until then, The Grotto, Sacred Heart , and The Golden Dome are nothing more than secular tourist attractions. while the main focus at Notre Dame is slobbering over teenage football recruits. Thank God I came to my senses and sent all our kids to Purdue. William J. O’Connor Hammond, Indiana

  13. Tom Marciniak, '61, '68. February 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I am in total agreement with the comments posted regretting Notre Dame’s abandoning any claim to being a Catholic university. In my view Hesburgh was the best thing and the worst thing that happened to ND. The worst, however, began with Land O’Lakes through the Cuomo disaster and the continued slide since. Hesburgh’s idea was to make ND into an entity like the ivies – expensive and secular.

    Ending the slide won’t be easy. Withholding donations is a nice thought but I get the feeling there are plenty of big donors lined up to get their name on something. Perhaps a different approach is needed.

    William Peter Blatty, author of “The Exorcist” and a Georgetown graduate, became very upset about the turn his alma mater had taken especially with regard to abortion. A club supporting abortion “rights” had been allowed to form and the medical school had abortion classes. There were other issues as well. Beatty and other Georgetown alums filed a petition first wth the D.C. Cardinal which was then sent to the Vatican to have Georgetown’s Catholic designation revoked if it did not conform to Ex Corde Ecclesia. A decision is still pending.

    Perhaps this is an approach the Sycamore Trust should pursue. It would be great if there a number “name” alums who could front the effort. If the Georgetown petition were to be successful that would put additional pressure on ND’s trustees an administration to either change or turn Sacred Heart into a museum. That would be the choice if the sacrament had to be removed from the campus.

    Something to think about.

  14. David Kaple, ’81

    I will be the first to sign the above mentioned petition. My gut tells me there would be many thousands more to follow!
    An Irish Statesman once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
    Many thanks to the Sycamore Trust for all you do!

  15. Molly Kraker '90 February 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    John, I forgot to mention that I’m class of ’90 so I may now officially be the youngest person to post here:) I completely agree that the tree of mealy-mouthed, watered down catechism bears rotten fruit! I know many of my fellow ND grads of similar age share our passion for this problem and may be still so busy raising their families that they haven’t yet joined this fight. I’m not sure if we are a silent “majority,” or are indeed what many would like us to believe is a small minority, but we have been silent for too long. We can all learn a lot from the trapped fish in Finding Nemo. If we all commit to swimming hard in the same direction together, the net will not be able to hold us.

  16. I agree wholeheartedly that our beloved university is, and has been, running headlong toward the secular world and away from its Catholic identity, but I would encourage all those who love Notre Dame to stay in the fight. I have a sophomore daughter at ND who is surrounded by a circle of friends who are solidly grounded in the faith and are committed to living out that faith in a radical way compared to many of their fellow classmates who prefer partying and participating in the hook-up culture to daily mass and nightly rosaries at the Grotto. Changes must be made at Notre Dame to urge it to turn away from the secular world and more fully live out its Catholic mission. The field of education k-12 through the collegiate level has long been a strong hold for Progressive thought promulgated through bullying tactics, name-calling, misinformation and political correctness and an unwillingness to expose young, malleable minds to any substantive debate on issues. Like it or not, we all must stand in opposition to their toxic agenda that cloaks its ardently anti-life, anti-family attacks in catchy slogans like Pro-Choice, Love is Love and Love Trumps Hate. A single burning candle can drive back an awful lot of darkness. Jesus tells us that “if the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” Fighting for change at ND isn’t going to be easy and won’t make us popular, but I’m committed to working with Sycamore Trust to return the university to being more than Catholic in name only. True, it is not now a Franciscan University, Ave Maria, or Christendom College, but it is also not yet a Duke, Yale or Cal-Berkeley. The seeds of a more positive version of Our Lady’s University are there now, we just need to step forward to help nurture them.

  17. I feel that Notre Dame has become so money hungry and political that as a Catholic I am shamed by what Notre Dame has become. I feel at this time it no longer should be called a Catholic university. Catholic values as I understand them are no longer in use. It’s time to give Caesar what Notre Dame has become.

  18. John McNamara '86 February 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I think Mr. Sprigg’s comment summarizes the history of what happened to Notre Dame very well, especially if you include Fr. Hesburgh inviting Governor Cuomo and ABC’s Nightline to campus in the mid ’80s to give his “I am a Catholic but I can not impose my pro-life views on others as a politician” speech. I also think Mr. Heil was right on point in writing that students are still forming their ideas as young people, but the faculty can not be forgiven for their outrageous statements. I think I read in an earlier newsletter that some believe that Fr. Jenkins and possibly Fr. Hesburgh are and were on the forefront of trying to make birth control and abortion acceptable in the Catholic Church. They are winning this long battle over the years. Look at how many of the alums commenting here are from the 50’s and 60’s and how few are from the 90’s and 2000’s. As a member of the class of ’86, I may be the youngest person on here to join in these comments and I will be 53 this summer. When the administration and faculty encourage this hate of Trump and do not support the Pro-Life movement, young kids in college think that is the acceptable position of the Catholic Church, as I did with the Cuomo speech, until my father told me otherwise in a phone call shortly thereafter. Notre Dame is taking huge steps away from being like ND of the 1950’s and being like Catholic University of America, and is quickly moving towards becoming secular Georgetown, for the motives Mr. Spriggs describes very well. The scary thing is that other smaller Catholic colleges across the country will follow Notre Dame, when perhaps Notre Dame ought to follow Catholic University and shut down Fr. Jenkins, as the Vatican and Catholic University shut down Fr. Curran in the 1980’s. Today’s young Catholics do not have the strong foundation in Catholic theology that people attending high school in the 1950’s and 60’s did, since Catholic education in the parishes has been watered down so much and when some Jesuit or other liberal priest comes along and challenges Catholic doctrine, young people are easily swayed, because they and their parents have had so little, and such poor training in what the Catholic Church believes in and why.

  19. I believe we should form a group of alumni who publicly support with our gifts and talents a “real” Catholic university like the Franciscan University, Ave Maria, or Christendom College.
    This might send a message to the university administration that we are “moving on” and rebuilding Catholic education without them.
    We will support the Eternal Word.

  20. Christopher Manion '68 February 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

    When Notre Dame Academy, down the road from us in Middleburg, Virginia, became profoundly secular (along the lines of the Notre Dame we know and love) a few years ago, our bishop, Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, removed the Blessed Sacrament from the premises and suggested they change their name (which they did: It is now Middleburg Academy).

    Yes, Notre Dame is worried indeed about “federal money,” but so are our beloved bishops. They receive a billion a year in taxpayer funding, much of it to programs that (they fear) President Trump might shut down (e.g., $200 million annually to care for immigrants, legal and illegal). And Catholic institutions like Notre Dame, taken together, receive billions more through a myriad of federal programs.

    Ideology aside, their hands (and tongues) are tied with “golden handcuffs.”

    Pope Benedict promulgated a law (Motu Proprio, Intima Ecclesiae Natura, November 11, 2012) which, if followed would resolve all this. But folks aren’t inclined to follow laws they don’t like these days.

  21. Marshall W. Sprigg III February 14, 2017 at 10:57 am

    That so many of Notre Dame’s faculty and the students they influence show little interest in right-to-life and religious liberty is not surprising. To a great degree, ND is now Catholic in name only. Father Hesburgh and his colleagues set ND and other Catholic universities on a path of secularization with the Land O-Lakes Statement 50 years ago that declared Catholic universities to be independent from “authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.” What they failed to recognize is that without such authority, they would be seduced by the pursuit of prestige and money. The aspiration to be counted among the elite universities put greater emphasis on fund-raising and research. Catholic theology was subordinated to attract a more diverse faculty and appease a lay Board of Trustees with progressive political leanings. Dramatic tuition Increases well above inflation were acceptable as long as donations rolled in from alumni eager to erect buildings bearing their names. The result is that the administration, faculty, student body and alumni look, think and acts very much like their counterparts at other universities where open support of social justice caused is encouraged but not protection of the unborn or of religious liberty. As an alumnus, it saddens me to see so many in the ND community embrace ND’s “Catholic identity” only in terms of tradition or as a marketing technique to differentiate it from other universities.

  22. Winston Churchill said, “Show me a 20 year old who isn’t a liberal and I’ll show you a person with no heart. Show me a 40 year old who isn’t a conservative and I’ll show you a person with no brain.” I forgive ND’s students, but there is absolutely no forgiving the old, liberal faculty. I praise Dr. Crowe’s courage and forthrightness. Of the 320, I wonder how many live the sacramental life of the Church?

  23. Frank Sheehan, BBA '66 February 14, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Perhaps Sycamore should start a petition to demand that the university NOT become a sanctuary campus, that Fr. Jenkins immediately extend an invitation to President Trump to give the 2017 Commencement Address, and to commit the university to supporting the president on pro-life issues. Meanwhile, I would recommend all alumni to immediately cease any financial support until either Fr. Jenkins agrees or resigns. I believe such a petition would garner thousands and thousands of signatures from alumni all over the world.

    • Gabrielle Arrieh Comeaux, '88 February 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Great idea, Mr. Sheehan! This is such sad, heartbreaking and scandalous news. I pray that Fr. Jenkins either agrees or resigns before he causes any more scandal to the Church, and I humbly ask Our Lord for His Almighty help in making that happen. I also thank God for the outstanding and faithful work of Sycamore Trust and its supporters, an inspiring and shining light of God’s grace in the darkness.

  24. There are a number of “catholic” politicians who are far more secular than religious when it comes to faith and morals. ND is apparently headed to the Catholicism of politicians and departing from well founded Catholic beliefs.

    Apparently the church of poor immigrants and religious faith is being replaced by the church of the politically correct and ND is at the forefront of this replacement. — A new heresy “modern post modernism” is being birthed in South Bend.

  25. William H. Spahr, BBA, '70 February 14, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Well said Ms. Scalise and Dr. Martinelli. Agree totally.

  26. Michael J Martinelli, MD, '82 February 14, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Thank you for representing the voices of many alumni who hold fast to the true teachings of Holy Mother Church resisting a distorted display of compassion, charity and Christianity in general. I am deeply saddened at how far Our Lady’s University has fallen. The response by faculty and staff certainly diminishes the meaning of “a majority of Catholic faculty.”

  27. Trump should be invited. He supports the unborn. The Notre Dame professors that have federal funding for their scientific projects will jeopardize their life works if Notre Dame foolishly declares itself to be a “sanctuary campus”. Remember the 23 million dollars that was lost in alumni donations when Jenkins foolishly gave an honorary degree to Obama. Many alumni eliminated Notre Dame from their final estate and gift giving. This is a dangerous path for the University to take. Our Lady would hang her head in shame to realize that Jenkins and her University would not recognize someone who is actively trying to reverse the laws that have destroyed so many unborn since the inception of Roe v Wade. Think this one through.

  28. William H. Spahr, BBA, '70 February 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

    As a pre-coed, 1970 grad, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that my beloved Notre Dame is far from what I experienced as a student. It appears that we have lost a great deal of the bedrock moral, ethical and Catholic values that made us stand apart from the secular character of other preeminent universities. Perhaps that was a casualty of the administration’s quest to be considered comparable to the Ivies, especially. Thank God (literally) that there still are some remnants of our historical character as illustrated by Dr. Crowe. Regrettably, it appears that his perspective is by far the minority, even to exclude President Jenkins. I find that amazing and tragic.

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